The Christian Reformed Church of Sydney (CRCS) was instituted in December 1951. It is one of the original congregations of the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia.
Many Dutch migrants came to Australia after the upheavals in Europe due to the Second World War and the desire of the Australian government to increase its population. The Dutch migrants of Reformed heritage were encouraged by their church leaders to join the Presbyterians in Australia.
In Sydney there was close cooperation with St George’s Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia (Free Church). That church called the Rev John vander Bom from the Netherlands to minister to the Dutch migrants in the Sydney region. John vander Bom spent much time traveling around Sydney on public transport locating Dutch migrants and bring them together as a congregation. Eventually, due to worship and cultural differences it was decided to form a separate church, the Reformed Church of Sydney, with Rev vander Bom as the first minister. The congregation worshipped at several places in Sydney city centre including St Georges Presbyterian church in Castlereagh St; Wembley House, George Street; St Phillips Anglican Church Hall on York Street; the CENEF building on Bathurst Street and St David’s Anglican Church, Surry Hills. Eventually the congregation moved out to the suburbs first using the Willoughby Congregational Church and then in 1986 purchasing their own property at Ryde. Ten ministers have served CRCS including the current minister Mr Laven Shunmugam.
Over the years folk have joined CRCS from Great Britain, USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Indonesia. Since 1998 the congregation has experienced another substantial migrant influx, this time from South Africa. Again a changed situation of the home country and an Australian government seeking skilled workers and professionals has seen the opportunity for many migrants to see Sydney as their new home. And again CRCS has been at the forefront outreaching to the migrants and providing a spiritual home. CRCS has played a significant role in providing a safe haven for migrants in their initial period in Australia before they moved on for work or settling in other regions.
In 2009 the congregation decided to open a new preaching place in Castle Hill as about a third of the congregation lived in the Hills area. It is also the area where many new migrants are settling. So from the early years of meeting in the city itself, CRCS now meets at both Ryde and Hills. In the Lord’s providence a key feature of our ministry has been that of being a spiritual home to new migrants, especially those of Reformed background.