About Rehoboth Church

The old Rehoboth Church (1923-2019)

Established in 1906

The history of Rehoboth CRC should be viewed within the context of history of the Rehoboth Mission campus. In the 1880’s the Christian Reformed Church began to think in the direction of missions. In 1896 Herman and Katie Fryling and Andrew and Effa Vander Wagen were sent out from Grand Rapids, MI, to do mission work among the Indians of the Southwest, before Arizona and New Mexico became states in the Union. Their work was under the auspices of Foreign Missions. They began their work in Fort Defiance, AZ. Their efforts then expanded to Tohatchi and Zuni, NM, with missionaries Mr. and Mrs. James DeGroot and Leonard P Brink joining them in the work. In 1903 the mission board bought the Smith Ranch located outside Gallup, NM. There the missionaries began a mission boarding school, fashioned after the government boarding schools of the time. Rehoboth opened with only six students, but by 1910 it had 38 students and continued to grow steadily.

The first organized Christian Reformed Church of the Southwest was established on Rehoboth’s campus in 1906. Rehoboth CRC was located so far distant from other churches in our denomination that it was part of Classis Pella, IA! Rehoboth students traveled great distances over bad roads to attend school at the mission, going home only during Christmas and summer breaks. They did not have Christian homes or home churches. With Christian teaching in both the classroom and Sunday worship, as well as Christian nurturing from dorm parents, school staff, and missionaries, many students made commitments to Christ through baptism and profession at Rehoboth CRC. Later their memberships were transferred to outlying Christian Reformed Home Missions churches. Rehoboth CRC met in homes and school classrooms until the church building was constructed in 1923. Church members consisted of students, school staff, maintenance personnel, missionary families. and hospital medical staff. (A mission hospital was founded on Rehoboth’s campus in 1910.) Because the school continued to grow and a high school was added in the 1940’s, a small addition to the church was built in 1956 to accommodate additional seating. In 2019 the old high school and the old church building were both demolished and removed.