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Our Story

Our Story

Pleasant Street Christian Reformed Church was “born” on January 27, 1895 when a number of Dutch immigrants, who recently settled in the Whitinsville area, met to discuss the idea of starting a new church. Worship services began in February and the church was officially “organized” on October 20, 1896. Since then till today, we strive to live life to the fullest by passionately worshipping God with our whole lives, intentionally connecting in life-giving relationships with others in our community, and striving to be agents of grace and truth in the spheres of influence we find ourselves.

Celebrating 125 Years!

First ChurchThe history of Pleasant Street CRC began when Jan Bosma became the first immigrant from the Netherlands to come to the Blackstone Valley in 1886 accompanying a herd of Holstein-Friesian cattle. Mrs. John C. Whitin, whose late husband was the founder of the Whitin Machine Works, was replenishing her stock. Jan found Whitinsville to be a land of opportunity and soon friends and relatives followed him to this small town. Although Jan moved to the western part of the state after 5 years, the small Dutch community continued to grow with men coming to work on farms and in the mills.

In 1895, the group of Dutch immigrants first met to discuss holding worship services.

Later that year, F.J. Drost arrived from the Netherlands to be the first pastor. In October of 1896, the Whitinsville Christian Reformed Church was accepted into the denomination. The membership consisted of 13 families. There was a need to have their own place of worship and in 1899, the first Christian Reformed Church building in New England was completed.

The desire to establish a school for Christian instruction was a continual topic of discussion and in 1928 the first classes of the new Christian School were held in the church basement. 

As the congregation continued to grow, a decision was made to build a new and larger church. The cornerstone for the church on Pleasant Street was laid on October 27, 1929, two days before the stock market crash. Despite financial hardship, the congregation did not waiver in their faith and commitment and the church was dedicated on June 26, 1930. The old church building on Willow Street became the home of the Christian school. By the late 1930’s, the membership had grown to over 200 families.

Church ConstructionThe following decade, the church was impacted by World War II during which 91 young men from the congregation served in the military. All but one returned home safely. On April 25, 1945, a memorial service was held for Edward H. Haringa who lost his life in Germany fighting for his country. During the war, service men and women stationed at military facilities in the area made Whitinsville their church home. Several of these men married young women from the church and numerous families in the church today are a result of these relationships.

The 1950’s was a time of change and progress. The sanctuary of the church was redecorated, the current parsonage was purchased, and the congregation began to support missionaries in Africa. With continued growth, there was a need to organize a second church. The Whitin Machine Works offered the land on Goldthwaite Road and in 1958 Fairlawn Christian Reformed Church was established with 61 families and 9 individuals from Pleasant St. CRC. In July 1957, 28 acres of land was purchased in Uxbridge and this become Fairwoods Christian Recreation Grounds. It continues to be an ideal place for church members to picnic, swim, and enjoy the outdoors. Finally, in 1959, a church plant was established in Framingham, MA and become Hope CRC.

In the 1960’s, Pleasant St. CRC was instrumental in establishing a Christian Reformed Church in Vermont. The congregation continued to support world missions and in 1966, Gordon Kooistra, a son of the church, left for Nigeria to pursue his career as a missionary pilot.

Sanctuary 2Local evangelism became important to the congregation in the 1970’s and Pleasant Street and Fairlawn co-sponsored an outreach pastor. This was also a time of turmoil during which a group of church members left the congregation to pursue a more charismatic, neo-Pentecostal approach to worship.

The 80’s were a time of reflection. The church embarked on the Congregational Master Planning process during which the congregation examined its strengths, weaknesses, goals, objectives, and vision. This opened the door to building expansion, small group ministry, and a reorganization of congregational life and administration. In addition, women were given the right to vote.

In the 90’s as ministries grew, more room was needed, and the church took on a million-dollar building project which added a large fellowship hall, commercial kitchen, and office suite on the main level with classrooms and nursery on the lower level. Also, during this time there was an increased focus on the youth and a pastor of Congregational Life and Youth was hired.

During the past 20 years, the church has continued to have a wide variety of ministries and programs. All generations gather together for a blended worship service on Sunday mornings. Every other Wednesday night, faith formation activities start with dinner and then separate into age appropriate groups including Gems, Cadets, middle school youth group, and Bible studies for adults. We have had women deacons for a number of years and in 2018 council approved opening the office of elder to women.

Sanctuary 1The church continues to have a focus on outreach and missions. We support 12 missionaries both locally and around the world through Faith Promise. As part of the Northbridge Association of Churches, help is provided to those in the community who are in need. Open Door is a ministry for middle and high school students in the community who are looking for a safe and loving environment, a place to hang out, and help with everyday struggles. We also offer outreach programs such as Celebrate Recovery, Grief Share, and Divorce Care. For a week during the summers of 2016 - 2019, Pleasant Street hosted young people from across the US and Canada as part of SERVE. When COVID prevented this in 2020 and 2021, members of the congregation participated in SERVE at home serving the community.

The church building has served us well for many years. Different parts of our building have been remodeled and renovated and a large addition was added. More recently, the basement of the original building was refurbished and The Foundation was create providing a comfortable and relaxed environment for ministry. The original structure now needs some significant restoration. Funds are being raised and some of the exterior work has started.

As we reflect on the past and look to the future, we praise and thank God for his faithfulness over the past 125 years.For a more complete look at our history, explore our 100th Anniversary book!

We pray that Pleasant Street CRC will continue to be a thriving congregation growing in faith and number and serving, God, each other, and the community in the years to come. To God be the glory!

Come be a part of our story!