Trinity's History

Trinity Reformed Church was organized on May 16, 1956, as a daughter church of First Reformed of Lansing, Illinois. Services were held at Illiana Christian High School for fifty-six families who comprised the 124 charter members and 97 baptized members). The average age of the members was 32 years of age.

The property at Columbia and Ridge Road, a four and one-half acre plot, was purchased June of 1956 for $25,000. On July 4, four men of the church cleared the ground and began construction of the parsonage. This donated labor kept the cost at $23,000, so the generous gift of $50,000 from the mother church was a real blessing to the group. The parsonage was ready in January of 1957 for the newly installed first pastor, Rev. Harold Leestma (pictured below on left).  

In June a ground-breaking ceremony started the construction of the $70,000 church building. The doors were first opneed for service on Thanksgiving Day, 1957. The dedication ceremony followed on December 1. The building committee consisted of the following men (pictured below on right): Russell Hook, Frank Slager, Russell Postma, Clarence Leensvaart, Richard Hook, Rev. Harlod Leestma, John Schoon, Cornelius Hoogewerf, Ernest Kooistra, Garret Vander Noord, and Garrit Schaap.  

Old pews donated by Roseland Church were first used; in July 1959 new pews were purchased and dedicated. Improvements continued on the church grounds, including the 1960 purchase of an additional lot on Ridge Road adjoing the parsonage.

The Rev. N. Vander Werf was installed as Trinity's second pastor in December of 1962. Rev. Gerrit Rosenboon became the third pastor in 1965. Rev. Paul Schmidt was installed in 1967.

A significant event was the first mortgage-burning ceremony on May 26, 1965, making possible plans for expansion. In August 1971 construction began on the addition to the church. Labors of love provided more classrooms, a spacious entry, library, church office, and pastor's study, as well as additional room to the sanctuary. The dedication ceremony took place on May 7, 1972.

Rev. Ralph Ver Ploeg was installed in February 1978 as Trinity's fifth pastor. On Thanksgiving Day a mortgage-burning ceremony freed the church again from indebtedness.

The congregation again felt the need to expand and purchased the Agape House in January 1982. The Agape House provided much-needed space to house expanding educational programs of the church.

Pastor Darwin VanderWal became the pastor of Trinity in September 1981. Rev. Vander Wal's administrative abilities helped Trinity grown in community involvement including local organizations in the Mission of the Month program, development of social activities like the annual craft fair, and new concepts in youth ministry including the Children's Usher program. Pastor VanderWal moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1994.

In June 1995 Pastor Tim Schaaf became the pastor of Trinity. Rev. Schaaf's vision for Trinity was for its people to cherish spiritual revival, grow in depth and size, and seek to become a dynamic, life-changing center for the Gospel.  Pastor Schaaf initiated many changes at Trinity including remodeling the santuary for better use of media and greater variety of music.  Pastor Tim and his wife, Shannon, left Trinity in the summer of 1999 to live and work in Chicago.

Rev. Philip A. Rauwerdink began work as Interim Minister at Trinity Reformed Church on November 22, 1999 and led worship on Thanksgiving Eve.  Pastor Phil brought to Trinity a wealth of experience in helping churches move through a time of transition, develop their mission and build for the future. 

After 21 months of faithful and fruitful service, Pastor Phil left for a new interim assignment at Trinity Reformed Church in Waupun, Wisconsin and Rev. Rich Bawinkel became the pastor of Trinity, beginning his service on September 11, 2001, a day that will long be remembered for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the crash in Pennsylvania of a plane headed to another terrorist attack somewhere in the Washington D.C. area.

During the time that Pastor Rich has been at Trinity, we have been seeking to reach out to our community through programs like "Operation Prayer" in which we have prayed for and expressed thanks to the Munster Police and Fire Departments for their service to our community; by participating in the Munster Fourth of July Parade, handing out bottled water along the parade route; and our annual Fall Festival and Car Show which has grown from a small beginning into a big event which we enjoy sharing with the community.  It is the dedicated participation and work of the people of the congregation who have made these events possible.

In the summer of 2007 we held Vacation Bible School for the first time in several years, and again the people of the congregation stepped forward to make this a meaningful ministry to the children of Trinity and the surrounding community.

We rejoice that more families have become active in the congregation and in the growing number of children participating in our Children's programs.

Through our outreach and programs we seek to maintain the ministry and vision of those who first founded Trinity over 50 years ago--to share with others in this region and around the world the good news of God's forgiving love for us in Jesus Christ.   To God be the glory!