We are a congregation of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS), a denomination which has its historic roots in the Reformed branch of the Protestant Reformation. The Heidelberg Catechism, The Canons of Dordt, and the Belgic Confession (The “Three Forms of Unity”) are the doctrinal standards of our denomination which we continue to believe, teach and confess. The confessions are not divinely inspired, but we believe them to describe most accurately the doctrine contained in the Word of God. For more about what we believe, read “What We Believe.”
A brief history of our congregation
by John Honeck
On October 12, 1967, out of concern for the truth of the Gospel and proper biblical instruction of their youth, thirty-seven people gathered for a meeting at the Harrison Township Hall. This small group immediately formed into a loosely organized yet tightly knit church. Temporarily assuming the name of St. John’s Reformed Church, within a couple of weeks they were able to secure the aid of Rev. LaVern Alt from the Church of God of Wauseon, Ohio. For many weeks Rev. Alt served as a supply pastor while the congregation was considering whether it should remain independent or become affiliated with a denomination. In the course of time, discussions were held with Reformed Church in America, The Church of God, and the Christian Reformed Church, the pastors from each of these denominations provided the preaching of the Word of God.
The name of the congregation was soon changed to the Community Christian Church. It was obvious that it did not take a building to make a church. Church services were held during the years in various locations: the Harrison Township Hall, the Harrison Grange Hall, the South Side School, the Florida School, the Florida American Legion Home, and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church from September of 1969 to June of 1975.
On January 28, 1968 the congregation voted to purchase a 3.6 acre tract of land on Huddle Road in Napoleon. This land was soon paid for and additional money collected in a Building Fund to one day erect a building for worship. From its beginning to the present time, the financial support for the work of the church has been very generous.
By the providence of God, members of the church heard of the existence of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) which had been their heritage from many years back. The first contact regarding this group was made by Bud Honeck to Paul Treick, then a student at Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia). After some congregational investigation and discussion, the Rev. Chester Ploeger, a pastor serving Zion Reformed Church (RCUS) in Menno, South Dakota, was called to serve as the congregation’s minister. He accepted the call on August 23, 1970, and he and his wife Grace lived in a congregation-provided apartment at 650 Welsted St. in Napoleon for his first year of service.
In 1971 not only was the name of the congregation changed from the Community Christian Church to the Peace Reformed Church, but also the parsonage at 927 E. Graceway Drive in Napoleon was purchased.
In 1972 the Peace Reformed Church petitioned the Reformed Church in the U.S., Eureka Classis for membership and was accepted by May. Rev. Ploeger pastored the flock through these critical times from 1970-1973.
In July of 1973, Rev. Paul Treik accepted the call of the church to become its next pastor. During the course of his ministry, plans for a new church building to be located on the Huddle Road property got under way in January of 1974. In May of that year the congregation decided to proceed with the plans to build. Ground breaking ceremonies were held in September of that same year. On June 22, 1975 the building was able to be used for the first time with an official dedication service following on August 17. With the new facilities being available, the congregation decided to host the 1978 meeting of Eureka Classis.
Rev. Treik resigned from the ministry of this church in the spring of 1985 to accept a call to an RCUS mission work in Modesto, California.
In October of 1985 Rev. Douglas Erlandson accepted the call of the Peace Reformed Church and he served the congregation until January of 1989.
In April of 1989, Pastor Frank Walker accepted the call of the Peace Reformed Church to become its next pastor. Under his leadership, the group hosted the 1990 meeting of the Great Lakes Gulf Classis, which voted to change the name of the Classis to its current name of Covenant East Classis. Pastor Walker continued as pastor of Peace Reformed Church until December 1995 when he resigned to accept a call to an RCUS church in California.
In February of 1996, Pastor Harvey Opp accepted the call of Peace Reformed Church and led the congregation for approximately 11.5 years. During his tenure, the congregation hosted two regular Classis meetings and one special meeting of the Covenant East Classis. In August of 2007, Pastor Opp resigned the charge to accept a pastoral call from Peace Reformed Church of Garner, Iowa.
During the timeframe from August 2007 until March 2010, the charge of Peace Reformed Church of Napoleon, Ohio was declared vacant by the Covenant East Classis. In this time period, the Lord blessed His Word to go forth every Lord’s Day from our pulpit utilizing elders of the congregation, Pastor Ben Willford, Mr. Steve Altman, and a number of visiting ministers of the RCUS.
In October of 2008, Mr. Altman continued to build upon a course of study that the Lord would lead him to becoming a minister in the RCUS.
In March 2010, at the spring meeting of the Covenant East Classis, Mr. Steve Altman successfully completed licensure, internship, and ordination requirements of the RCUS. At this meeting, he accepted the call of Peace Reformed Church to become the sixth pastor of the congregation.
In May 2010, Rev. Steve Altman was ordained and installed as pastor of Peace Reformed Church and continues to serve the Lord and the ministerial needs of the congregation.
A look at the history of our denomination and our congregation must surely bring a humble and thankful response, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!” (1 Samuel 7:12) We praise God for the pastors, members, and friends of our congregation who have labored diligently and faithfully in the face of many obstacles in order to establish the Peace Reformed Church as a witness to the Gospel in Napoleon, Ohio.