Avery Street Church began in 1960 when a Christian Reformed family moved to Vernon, Connecticut. With a few other denominational families, they saw the potential and challenge of establishing a church. The Fairlawn Christian Reformed Church in Whitinsville, Massachusetts took on sponsorship of the group in May 1961 and provided leadership through Rev. Herman Teitsma. The first worship service was held in June 1961 at the Phillip R. Smith School in South Windsor. In March 1962, Arthur Stienstra, the first full time worker, joined the group for six months to provide additional leadership and to help establish the new church.
The Home Mission Board of the Christian Reformed Church provided support in June 1962, thus permitting the call of a Home Missionary under the sponsorship of the Whitinsville Church. Rev. James Bonnema accepted the call and was installed as the first pastor in February 1963.
The South Windsor area was identified as having great potential for future growth and in September 1963, the current church property was purchased. The parsonage was completed in March 1964 with much volunteer labor from the group and the Whitinsville Church members. In May 1964 construction began on the original church building. The building was dedicated on June 23, 1965.
On January 31, 1966 the Avery Street Christian Reformed Church was formally organized and the first Church Council was elected (2 elders and 2 deacons).
Rev. James Bonnema served the church until December 1970. Interim pastors led the congregation until August 1971 when Rev. Peter Mans accepted the call from this congregation and was installed as the second pastor. He served Avery Street Church until February 1978. In September 1978, Rev. Berton VanAntwerpen accepted the call and was installed as the third pastor.
As the church grew, a Building Expansion Committee was established in September 1979. In March 1981, the congregation approved a proposal for an expansion program that provided 40 percent additional seating capacity in the sanctuary and almost doubled the facilities for Sunday School, fellowship, and office use. Groundbreaking took place in November 1981 and the addition and revised sanctuary were dedicated on November 7, 1982.
Additional staff was soon hired. In the summer of 1985, Cindy Holtrop came to the Avery Street Church to serve two years as a Long Term Volunteer and then in the newly created position of Assistant in Ministry. At this time, to accommodate the church's growth, two Sunday morning worship services began and a parking lot expansion was completed during the summer of 1989.
In January 1989, Pastor VanAntwerpen left to accept another call. During the vacant period the church was served by several interim pastors. In the spring of 1990, Rev. Douglas VanderWall accepted the call and was installed as the fourth pastor in June, 1990.
In January 1991, the 25th anniversary of the Avery Street Christian Reformed Church was celebrated. The ministry coordinator position was filled by Sherry Robison, a Long Range Planning Committee was reactivated and a Building Expansion Committee began reviewing options for expansion.
Rev. Vanderwall retired in the spring of 1995 and Rev. Carl Bergman accepted our call in the spring of 1996. By the time he and his family arrived, the church had purchased a larger parsonage on Felt Road. The church offices moved into the former parsonage, now known as the Administration Building. Pastor Bergman served at Avery Street Church until December 2001. Avery Street Church was blessed with many interim pastors from that time until Pastor Lion accepted our call.
On September 23, 2003 church members awoke to the news that a fire at the church had destroyed the Education wing of the church and badly damaged the Sanctuary. The fire made the church uninhabitable and the congregation returned to its original meeting place, Phillip R. Smith Elementary School, located just down the street.
In July of 2004, Rev. Jerald Lion was installed at Avery Street Church after accepting a call from the congregation. The church formed a new building committee and began raising funds to erect a new facility to serve the Lord. A Ground Breaking Ceremony was held in June of 2005, and the new building was dedicated to God's service in November 2006.
In June of 2016, Pastor Lion retired and Rev. Dave Poolman accepted our call to be pastor and was installed in September of 2016.
Through the years God's hand of blessing has been upon this church. By His grace people have come to know Him and grow in Him. We look forward to serving Him together as He leads us in building His kingdom in this community.
To God be the Glory.
From left to right: the old church before the fire, the fire, and the church rebuilt after the fire
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