Building Our Church:
- May 6, 1953 ~ First CRC, Orillia held its institution service in First Baptist Church in Orillia, and then continued holding its weekly services in what is now Marchmont Baptist Church. Later, services were moved to the West Ward Community Hall and then again to the Orange Hall.
- April 27, 1960 ~ The new church building that was erected at 157 Coldwater Road was dedicated, and the first service in that location was held on May 1, 1960.
- September 12, 1984~ Another new church building, this time located at 50 Fittons Road West, our current location, was officially dedicated. The first service had been held here already on July 25, 1984.
Pastoring Our Church:
- Rev. Jacob Kuntz ~ February 1958 – September 1962
- Rev. Evert Gritter ~ September 1963 – September 1966
- Rev. Wiebe Van Dyk ~ January 1967 – June 1973
- Rev. Siebert Van Houten ~ September 1973 – August 1977
- Rev. Peter Slofstra ~ September 1977 – June 1980
- Rev. Gerard Ringnalda ~ September 1982 – June 1987
- Rev. Peter Meyer ~ September 1988 – October 1995
- Rev. Richard Nanninga ~ September 1996 – June 2003
- Rev. Doug Vanderkamp ~ September 2004 – June 2010
- Rev. Jane Porter ~ June 2014 – present
Growing Our Church:
- 11 Families and a Few Singles ~ 1953
- 148 Members ~ 1957
- 280 Members ~ 1967
- 357 Members ~ 1977
- 386 Members ~ 1987
- 261 Members ~ 1997
- 308 Members ~ 2002
More important, however, than the number of families or members within our church body is the growth we experience individually and corporately in Christ. “…we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15b-16)
Visioning within Our Church:
- 1998 ~ Under the direction of the church council, a Vision and Goals Committee was formed which met regularly to give direction in mapping out a vision for First CRC, Orillia. Ward elders carried out a Kitchen Table Visit with nearly all members/families of the congregation to gather input. Following a retreat, several ministry initiatives were determined: youth ministry, leadership training, council restructuring, mutual care ministry, and becoming more of a community church. As a result of this process, the following ministries and developments were born:
- Stephen Ministry, with nine individuals currently trained and commissioned to provide support and a listening ear in one-on-one relationships with those who have needs;
- Pastoral Care Workers were appointed to visit with and minister in word and deed to each member;
- discipleship training to prepare and empower participants for leadership within their sphere of gifting;
- renewed focus on youth, with Teen Club and Youth Group leaders emerging to take on the challenge.
- 2003 ~ The process continued as Council directed the working committee and the congregation to develop specific strategies for becoming more of an outreach-oriented church. Since our congregational retreat, held on March 27, 2004, we are being challenged to set new goals to embrace in our various ministries, each one of us encouraged by the apostle Paul’s words “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Council approved the concept of small group ministry, and after a time of planning and training, six small groups are under way, meeting for the first time on January 9, 2005.