We believe church community should extend beyond Sunday morning worship. It’s important to be in relationship with one another, to challenge and walk alongside each other in our faith journeys.
OUR MISSION is to cultivate space for people to experience the transforming love of Christ.
OUR VISION is to foster a family of believers in experiencing personal transformation (Rom. 12) using their unique gifts (Eph. 4) to glorify God (I Cor. 10:31) and edify others (1 Thess. 5:11).
Pastor Bill Vis
Our pastorate is currently vacant, and we are currently being led by interim pastor – Pastor Bill Vis, as we search out the man God has in store for us. We welcome you to join us in worship every Sunday as we worship together.
About Sully CRC
We will joyfully offer all our lives in worship to God.
We will never stop learning and have our minds renewed by Scripture and study.
We will be faithful in sharing the life-changing gospel with those who do not know it.
We will promote healthy human relationships that are grounded in Christ’s redemptive purposes.
We will let our character be transformed by the character of Christ and our actions reflect his.
As a congregation, we are united by our love for God and His Word. We believe in the Triune God who has revealed Himself as one God in three persons:
- God the Father created the world and governs all things
- God the Son came to earth as Jesus Christ, lived as a man, suffered, died, and rose from the dead; who now prays with the Father on our behalf and will return to judge all people.
- God the Holy Spirit lives in every believer and acts as a guide, comforter, and source of strength; who empowers and enables every believer to overcome sin and carry out the Father’s will.
We also believe that we are all sinners. Our sin separates us from God. We cannot overcome this sin and separation on our own, so Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin, so we are restored to a right relationship with God. If we admit our sin and accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, God forgives us and gives us an abundant life now and perfect eternal life with Him in heaven.
We believe that the Bible is perfect. In the Bible, God reveals Himself and His plan of salvation, and it is ultimately the only rule for our lives and the basis of our faith and action.
When Dutch families settled in Sully in the late 1800s, they wanted to start a church of their own. Sully Christian Reformed Church was officially organized in 1896, with 17 families attending. The first church the congregation met in was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, testing the faith of the congregants, but the church was rebuilt and continued to thrive.
In 1910, the church decided they needed a larger space to meet, and the church was built at its present location. The time period of World War I was difficult for the members of the church, as services were still being held in Dutch, causing accusations of being pro-German, and arson was a fear for the church and Christian school. The church continued to grow in the days of peace following WWI, and in 1928, the church decided to extensively remodel and enlarge the church building not knowing the Depression lay ahead. The 1930s and 40s saw the transition from using Dutch to using English. The church continued to gain membership, causing families to take turns sitting in the basement.
Because of increasing attendance in the 1970s, the balcony was enlarged and an addition was added to the east end of the church. The parsonage south of the church was built in 1976. The church continued to add parking and remodel as needed in the 80s. In 1996, the church celebrated 100 years of faithfully serving the Lord, with 122 households in attendance.
Over the 100+ years since its founding, under the leadership of missionaries, interim pastors and 20 pastors, the Sully Christian Reformed Church has worshiped God by word and example.
First Church Building
Second Church Building
From 1911 to 1972
Current Church Building
Sully CRC Pastors
2010–2021—Rev. Brian Ochsner
A parsonage allowance was given in 2013 for the pastor to purchase a home within the community, and the parsonage space transitioned to needed additional Sunday school, youth, and Bible study space. The council created an Elders of Calling position to regularly visit widows, widowers, and shut-ins. Homebuilders and Angels in Aprons disbanded, and more informal, in-home Bible studies increased. A sabbatical policy for the pastor was approved in 2016. In 2016, the church building structure was assessed by an engineer, and future building needs are currently under consideration (2017).
2002–2009—Rev. Jack Gray
Many new things were introduced while Rev. Gray served as the pastor of Sully CRC. The Sully CRC Youth Society was renamed to 412, after the Scripture in I Timothy 4:12. A new digital piano and electric drum set were purchased. Projection screens were installed. A Worship Coordinator was hired in 2008. A community youth group started called B.I.G. (Believers in God) that met once a month after the Sunday evening service for all area youth. In 2007, Frank Ede was hired to lead a church plant in Altoona, IA, named Oasis Christian Fellowship. Fellowship group ministries were formed in 2008 to start growing relationships in the church.
1992–2002—Rev. Lawrence Howerzyl
The church celebrated its 100th anniversary in June, 1994, while Rev. Howerzyl was the pastor. By the centennial year, the church had grown from the initial 17 households to 268 households. The Coffee Break Ministry, along with Little Lambs started during the years Rev. Howerzyl was in Sully.
1985–1991—Dr. Joseph A. Brinks
During Dr. Brinks’ service, women—as well as all professing members—were given voting privileges. The church was completely remodeled, with new wallboard, refinished floors, and a new sound system.
1979–1984—Rev. Carl J. Klompien
After a year’s vacancy, Rev. Klompien became Sully’s new pastor. Handicapped parking was added, and a Cadet building on the south parking lot was built. A monthly newsletter called “Fellowship Findings” was started in 1983.
1974–1978—Rev. Fred W. Van Houten
In 1976, plans were made, and a new two-story parsonage was built. Rev. Van Houten and his wife were the first to occupy the new parsonage. Two new ladies’ societies began meeting during Wednesday night church and the other during the day on Thursday.
1968–1973—Rev. Paul E. Bakker
The church celebrated its 75th anniversary while Rev. Bakker was the church’s pastor. Calvinettes was organized in 1968, along with a Mr. & Mrs. Society. The expansion of the church or building a new church was debated for about five years. It was decided to enlarge the balcony, put in an elevator, and construct an addition on the east side of the church.
1962–1967—Rev. Bernard A. Van Someren
The church grew to 178 families while Rev. Van Someren was in Sully.
1957–1961—Rev. Jay Wesseling
A church plant was attempted under the guidance of Rev. Wesseling. This attempt proved to be unsuccessful. The Cadets were organized in 1960.
1943–1956—Rev. John Geels
The church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1946 while Rev. Geels pastured the flock. The number of families was 135. A Moller 16 rand pipe organ was dedicated in 1950, which is still in service today. In 1952 the decision to discontinue all Dutch services was made.
1932–1943—Rev. John Griffioen
Now services were divided between one Dutch and one English service each Sunday. A new electric organ was dedicated in 1939. Rev. Griffioen completed 11 years of service before moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
1928–1932—Rev. Harry Blystra
The church grew to 119 families during Rev. Blystra’s service. Without knowing the days of the Depression were coming, they decided to secure a loan to extensively remodel and enlarge the church building. The reverses of the Depression were only material and not spiritual.
1922–1927—Rev. Ralph Bolt
During Rev. Bolt’s tenure, a voluntary change from Dutch to English services began part-time. Once again, the church building was too small, but no action was taken at the time.
1915–1921—Rev. John Haveman
World War I was in progress in Europe while Rev. Haveman served in Sully. Since the church was a Dutch-speaking church, they were unjustly accused of being pro-German. Mob rule and action threatened the church. The government issued an official proclamation that only English be spoken in public meetings. However difficult that transition, the congregation made the change. Because of malicious threats, the church was closely guarded by night against destruction, and the insurance policy was canceled. Arsonists set the Christian school on fire, but it was put out in time. In the fall of 1918, a flu epidemic closed the church. Some of the Sully congregation died in this epidemic. After peace was declared, the church services were again conducted in Dutch.
1910–1914—Rev. Henry Danhof
By the time Rev. Danhof arrived to become the church’s fourth pastor, a new church building had been constructed and dedicated in 1911. Soon a new parsonage and stables were built.
1908–1910—Rev. Martin Vander Heide
During the time that the third pastor, Rev. Vander Heide served the church, it was filled to capacity.
1905–1908—Rev. William Stuart
Rev. Stuart, a missionary of Classis Iowa, accepted the call to Sully. The Men’s Society was established.
1898–1904—Rev. J. Vander Mey
Rev. John Vander Mey moved to Sully to become the new pastor. A Young People’s Society was organized.
1897–1898—Rev. W. De Groot
It was then decided to call a minister and share him with a nearby congregation in Galesburg, Iowa. A second home missionary, Rev. De Groot, served the church from 1897 to 1898.
1896–1897—Rev. G.G. Haan
Classis Iowa gave permission to organize the Sully Christian Reformed Church in the spring of 1896. On the membership roll of the new church were 17 families. The new congregation canvassed for funds to purchase the Baptist church where they were meeting.
Rev. Haan, home missionary for Classis Iowa, labored both as a pastor and a carpenter to build the first parsonage.
The church was struck by lightning and burned down to the foundation. The congregation then held services in the Methodist church while making plans to rebuild. Synod granted a request for financial aid to rebuild, and between the generosity of the church members, the denomination at large, and the local community, it was accomplished.
A group of Dutch families settled in the Sully, Iowa, area. Wanting to start a church of their own in 1895, they met for worship in a schoolhouse. In the fall of 1895, Classis Iowa of the Christian Reformed Church sent the Rev. J. Smitters, a missionary teacher, who led a small group of worshipers every Sunday in a Baptist church in Sully.