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Church History

The Community Church of Kamrar has its roots in the Presbyterian Church or, more specifically, in the theology of John Calvin. During the middle of the nineteenth century, a steady stream of immigrants expressing a Presbyterian form of Christian faith and practice were finding their way to the shores of the United States from East Friesland, Germany. A group of such immigrants, in the year 1872, made their way to the central part of what would become Hamilton County, just northeast of what would later become the town of Kamrar. These immigrants were a mixed lot, some having come directly from Germany, and others continuing their migration west after having lived in Illinois and portions of Grundy County, Iowa. These Germanic immigrants brought with them their Bibles, songbooks, and Westminster Catechisms and a desire to establish a place of worship and from this desire came the establishment of the German Presbyterian Church, near Kamrar.

By the fall of 1874, approximately eleven families had established residence in the county and were seeking the furtherance of their religious education. Thus, these families, totaling nineteen men and women, who had a common religious heritage, which was largely of the Calvinistic tradition, petitioned the Presbytery of Waterloo, Iowa, to organize them into a church, and supply them with a minister. Responding to this petition, Pastor John Arends of Ackley, along with Pastor Jacob Brinkema of Colfax Center, met on February 19, 1875 with the petitioners to help them officially organize a congregation. And, two days later, the newly organized congregation met with Pastor Brinkema once again, and issued a unanimous call to him to become their first pastor — a call which he accepted.

One month later, in March of 1875, the congregation voted to build a home for their new pastor and began to plan for what would become the first Manse. The dimensions were a scant 24’ X 14’ with a kitchen attached to one side that was to be 14’ X 12’. This first pastoral home was erected on what is now the Arend Jansen farm just north of Kamrar.

The first annual congregational meeting was held on January 1, 1876, and the records show that by 1881, the congregation had grown to thirty-two members, who supported an annual pastoral salary of $100.00 paid semi-annually. It was also in 1881, in the month of August, that Pastor Brinkema offered to donate five acres of ground from a family farm east of Kamrar, under the condition that a church be built upon it at once. And, having accepted the offer, the congregation built the first church edifice that very year.

The German Presbyterian Church of Kamrar continues to provide worship and fellowship in their location just east of Kamrar. However, in October of 1980, a majority of that congregation voted to remove themselves from their denominational ties and become an autonomous body. This difficult decision came because of denominational pressures to compromise long-held beliefs and to adopt continually more liberal theologies and policies. Thus, October of 1980 came to mark the organization and chartering of the Community Church of Kamrar as a separate and autonomous church body under the State Laws of Iowa. Following the split, the congregation of Community Church, an independent and non-denominational church, was served until 1983 by Pastor Marvin Camp, who had served as pastor of the German Presbyterian Church for nearly twenty years, and the congregation met each Sunday for worship in the Lions Building in Kamrar.

Following the departure of Pastor Camp, Community Church issued its first call to a pastor in November of 1984, following their pastoral search process. That call was accepted by Pastor Craig A. Bex who arrived in Kamrar on January 4, 1985 to a congregation continuing without a permanent church home. However, on April of 1985, the Building Committee presented a plan to the congregation for a new church building to be raised just east of Kamrar on 280th Street. This plan was adopted and immediately funds began to be raised with construction beginning in September of that same year. And, on Mother’s Day, 1986, with over 350 people in attendance, the Community Church was dedicated to the service of the Lord.

In 1990, by the grace of God, four years after the initial building program, the original church structure was debt free and continuing to grow in numbers and mature spiritually. In that same year, the first Associate Pastor was called to full-time Christian service in the areas of Youth and Children’s Ministry, helping the Senior Pastor serve a congregation that was growing and becoming increasingly more diverse.

As the congregation of Community Church continued to grow, the need for more educational and ministry space became apparent, and in November of 1995, the congregation voted to build an addition to its existing building. On May 12, 1996, exactly ten years to the day that the initial building was dedicated, the needed funds became available to build and the construction of the addition began shortly thereafter.

Today, Community Church of Kamrar continues to witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ through a myriad of ministries for the young, the old, and all of those in between. As an independent and non-denominational fellowship, the Community Church continues to provide this Truth with an uncompromising conviction of faith and practice, desiring that God alone be glorified and that His Kingdom be advanced.