THe RIVER CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH

The River represents the Sovereign movement of the Spirit of Jesus Christ that flows into our world with the Father's love and brings His Eternal Kingdom into hearts everywhere. The River reveals that it is ALL GOD!


In Scripture we see several places where God uses the illustration of a river or water to teach a spiritual truth. Jesus Himself said, "if anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him," (John 7:37-38). Another example in Scripture is Ezekiel 47. There we see a picture of a river that flows from the heavenly temple of God growing bigger as it travels into a vast desert wilderness. Wherever this spiritual river travels it brings abundant life, fruit producing trees on both sides of the river, swarms of living creatures that live wherever the river flows. This river brings re-birth, revival restoration, reconciliation, and real life wherever it runs. Truly it is the River of God.  


Our passion at The River is to be a part of that river, to drink freely from the grace given to us in Jesus Christ, and to let His sovereign love reign in our hearts in such a way that a thirsty world sees Jesus in us and then drinks. Our deep desire is to see our world filled with the "knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea," (Habakkuk 2:14). We are praying that our lives become rivers that rush into a spiritual ocean that will advance God's glory all over the earth. As you read this we hope and pray you are part of God's Eternal River; and if not, our appeal to you is to jump in and join us in the River of Life!

What is reformed?

The word “Reformed” means that our heritage and tradition reach back to the time of the Protestant Reformation. To be a church in that historic tradition is to believe that God is a covenant God, meaning that He works in the families of the church to establish a people for Himself from generation to generation. It is also to be a church that places all worship, work, life, and mission under the will of a Sovereign God. That will of God is found in the Bible, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. 


Many of the truths of the Bible have been summarized in the creeds and confessions of the church. The River Christian Reformed Church endorses the following as accurate summaries of the Bible’s teaching: 


  • The Apostles’ Creed 
  • The Nicene Creed 
  • The Heidelberg Catechism 
  • The Belgic Confession 
  • The Canons of Dordt 


These are not substitutes for, but serious testimonies to, the truth of the Bible. You can learn more about these important issues by attending our New Members’ Class.


Our History


This is the story of the very first Christian Reformed Church in all of California. It is a very fascinating story of the Lord's work.

This is the story of the very first Christian Reformed Church in all of California. It is a very fascinating story of the Lord's work.


A few brave Dutch pioneers had settled in Redlands in the very early years of the previous century. By 1910, a group of about seven had been drawn together by bonds of language and the Reformed Christian faith. Each Sunday, they had a service as they gathered together for worship in their various homes. The Christian Reformed denomination declared Redlands as a Mission Post. On May 11, 1911, a new congregation was formed, and received its first pastor, and adopted the name First Christian Reformed Church of Redlands. A year later, the congregation built its first worship center, just 28 ft. by 38 ft. The basement was used for meetings and Sunday School classes. The parsonage was finished by June 1912.


The organizing group was small and congenial; everyone was eager and willing to work. When the news that a Christian Reformed Church had been established in California, many families came. By December 1912, the little church building was filled.


The rapid growth of the church also brought its challenges. With new families came new ideas about how things were to be done. The transition from the Dutch language to English was the controversy of the day, when some were afraid that English would become the spiritual downfall of their children. By 1932, the language problem and some theological issues led to the departure of about half the congregation to form the Hope Protestant Reformed Church. In 1936, another group left to form the Bethany Reformed Church.


Yet God blessed the growth of the church. The Redlands Christian School started, and brought in more families. In the 1921, the church building was enlarged. In 1945, the church had grown to 70 families. As the church continued to grow, 16 families left in 1949 to form and build the new Highland Avenue Christian Reformed Church, while the original church built a new, larger building on Church Street in 1950. God had blessed each congregation as they both continued to grow and follow the Lord Jesus.


Then in 1994, God had moved the two churches to merge and forge a common vision for growth, outreach, and worship. The new, unified church accepted the leadership of a new pastor, Tim Spykstra. The church also constructed a new facility, building upon the existing property of the former Highland Avenue CRC. This is the building you see today. 


We have seen God move in mighty, powerful ways over almost a century of church's history. Yet because we have a God whose love and mighty works "are new every morning" (Lam. 3:23), the church is witnessing a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. You will notice a great eagerness in the people to worship God and meet Him in the worship services. You will notice a fervor for prayer and outreach to our neighbors. You will notice generosity and compassion in the hearts of the people. You will notice non-religious visitors awakened to the reality of Jesus for the first time. You will notice that God is adding to and building the church. And so we invite you to come and see for yourself. By God's grace, you will be blessed. 



The River CRC is supported by a denomination called the Christian Reformed Church of North America. 

VISIT the website of the Christian Reformed Church of North America 



God is light stained glass window

Our church window is a representation of the theme “God is Light”.  Many symbols are present within the window, each of which serves a purpose. 

At the bottom of the picture, the symbols represent our town of Redlands and the surrounding area.  The water reminds us of the banks of the Zanja.  The rocks remind us of Mentone and the wash of the Santa Ana riverbed.  The mountains stand majestic in the background.  The orange tree with furrowed fields and groves behind it, remind us that Redlands had its beginnings in the citrus industry. 

Five tulips at the bottom left are a reminder of the Dutch heritage that provided the foundation for churches in the area.  The word TULIP represents the five points of Calvinism:  Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.  

In the Bible, God tells us He is the vine and we are the branches.  The vine in the window is fruitful, demonstrating that we, as Christians, are the branches who are called to bear fruit.  The grapes and the wheat stalks are symbols of Holy Communion, one of the sacraments.  Jesus, as the vine, leads us to heaven, just as the branches seem to reach the heights of heaven within the frame of the window.

The vine is planted next to a river, one that appears to begin at the trinity’s center, moving down from heaven to earth.  This symbolizes that He is the living water.  Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd and to us as His sheep.  We see ourselves as His sheep feeding along the banks of the living water.  The water also signifies the water of baptism, another one of the sacraments.

In the center, we see three doves, symbolic of the Holy Spirit.  Also, the Holy Trinity symbol is visible, representing God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We recognize the glory of the Lord bursting forth from the center, omnipresent in every aspect of our lives. 

At the top of the window is an ethereal depiction of heaven, hidden from our direct view by clouds. This is a reminder that we will one day, see God face-to-face in heaven.  

Notice the style changes within the window.  At the bottom is a border of dark blues and purples, typical of more traditional stained glass pieces.  The window seems to break free of the border as the eye moves up the frame, with the border sometimes disappearing entirely, only to return in lighter shades at the top.  The objects at the bottom of the picture are ones with more substance, ones that we encounter within the physical universe.  As our eyes move towards the top, the objects become less defined, as is our understanding of heaven. 

We pray that the stained glass window will be a blessing to you, inspiring you to an attitude of worship.

The window was given in 1997 to The River Church by Alice Dangermond in memory of her late husband, Peter Dangermond, Sr.