Just two years after the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRC) were born in 1924, Roosevelt Park Protestant Reformed Church was organized in July, 1926. Roosevelt Park PRC originally consisted of sixteen families, and their council comprised three elders and two deacons. The members of this small group found their first meeting place in a room above a department store that was located near the intersection of Grandville Street and Clyde Park Avenue. They gathered there for worship for about two years, and then a more permanent place of worship was acquired on Roosevelt Hill in the same area. The basis for their name was their location -the Southwestern section of Grand Rapids called Roosevelt Park. Rev. Bernard Kok was their first pastor. He led the congregation from 1929 to 1937. Then Rev. Richard Veldman led the congregation from 1937 to 1939. Ten years after moving to Roosevelt Hill, the members of Roosevelt Park PRC built a new church building on the corner of Ellen St. and Rathbone Ave. They began worshipping there in 1939 under the leadership of Rev. Marinus Schipper (1939-1945). Their first parsonage was purchased in 1945. It was located right next to their church building. The name of the church was changed to Second Protestant Reformed Church in 1942. Rev. Sebastian Cammenga (1945-1948) and Rev. John Blankespoor (1949-1953) followed Rev. Schipper.
The congregation prospered spiritually during its early years. The members enjoyed various activities in their Men’s and Ladies’ (Eunice) Societies, and in the Choral Society. Both of these societies were organized around 1937. Two more societies were organized later on; the Young People’s society in 1943, and the Mr. and Mrs. Society in 1946. All of these societies contributed to the organic life of the congregation. Second PRC enjoyed steady growth throughout the late forties and early fifties. By the time of their twenty-fifth anniversary they numbered some 78 families and 337 souls.
The Protestant Reformed Churches suffered a split in 1953. More than half of the 78 families in Second PRC left the denomination as a result of this split. As a result, fewer than forty families remained in Second PRC. Besides losing so many members, they lost their minister, church name, church records, church funds, and their church building. With no church building, the congregation had to rent places to worship until they could purchase another one. Rev. Marinus Schipper led the congregation a second time during these difficult years (1954-1962). Eventually a church building was purchased on the corner of Porter and Meyer in Beverley Park. In December of 1957, the congregation assumed its current name, Southwest Protestant Reformed Church.
Southwest PRC continued to grow spiritually and numerically throughout the years following the split of 1953. After Rev. Schipper led Southwest PRC the second time, Rev. George Lubbers served from 1964 to 1970. Then Rev. Herman Veldman served from 1971 to 1978. During the ministry of Rev. Veldman, it became necessary for the congregation to begin exploring options for a larger church building. In 1975 they took advantage of an opportunity to buy land along Ivanrest Ave. in Wyoming. The plot was located south of 44th Street and just north of the Protestant Reformed Theological School. This is the present location of the church building where the members of Southwest PRC currently gather for worship services. The congregation built a parsonage and a fellowship hall on this site in 1978. They met in this fellowship hall for worship until they could afford to add a sanctuary to it. After Rev. Veldman retired from the ministry in 1978, Southwest PRC called Rev. Michael DeVries, who had just graduated from the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Rev. DeVries served the congregation from 1978 to 1985. He was followed by Rev. Marvin Kamps (1985-1993). By the time Rev. Kamps came to Southwest, the congregation had been worshipping in their fellowship hall for seven years. In 1986, the congregation began planning the construction of a new sanctuary. The project was completed in 1988, and the church building was dedicated on September 23 of the same year. The congregation renovated their church building in 2000. After Rev. Kamps, Rev. Ronald Cammenga served as pastor of Southwest PRC from 1993 to 2004. Rev. Cammenga was followed by Rev. Arie denHartog, who served until his retirement in 2017. Southwest’s current pastor is Rev. David Noorman who graduated from Calvin College (2013) and the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary (2017). Soon after graduating from seminary he married his wife, Carisa (née Meelker), a native of Redlands, CA. He was ordained as a minister of the Protestant Reformed Churches in Southwest PRC in March of 2018. The current building at 4875 Ivanrest Ave. well accommodates the congregation’s 90 families and 360 souls. The members of the congregation are served by eight elders and seven deacons.
Through the years, the Southwest congregation has been blessed with many godly ministers, and it has maintained the marks of the true church, as these marks are defined in Article 29 of the Belgic Confession: the pure preaching of the infallible Word of God, the proper administration of the sacraments, and biblical observance of church discipline. Faithful instruction of the children and youth in Bible history, the Heidelberg Catechism, and Essentials of Reformed doctrine is maintained. With six different Bible societies for the various age groups, the congregation also enjoys an active Bible society life. The Evangelism Committee of Southwest PRC sponsors and promotes lectures, and also mails out pamphlets to various individuals and families who are interested in Reformed reading materials. Southwest PRC is also the calling church of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRCA) for Eastern Home Missions here in the US. Their current missionary, Rev. W. Bruinsma, labors in the Protestant Reformed Fellowship of Pittsburgh. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA, which is the home base for Eastern Home missions.