In 1847 a band of immigrants led by Albertus Van Raalte was invited by the state of Michigan to establish a community on the west side of the state. Upon landing, they planted a church for the community. After enduring a harsh first winter, the community and the church in Holland flourished. In 1856, the building that we still worship in was built. Those in the Pillar community assisted in the establishment of Holland Charter Academy, which would become Hope College. Pillar members also played a crucial role in the establishment of Western Theological Seminary.
After the division that occurred in the church in 1882 between the CRC and the RCA, the denominations spiraled in opposite directions. But after 130 years of division, Pillar re-established itself in 2012 to renew its first commitment to be a church for the city: reconciling divisions, raising up leaders, redeeming the city, renewing the church.
In 1856 the founders of Pillar Church hoisted a tin rooster atop the building as a weather vane. Throughout church history, particularly in churches of the Reformed tradition, the rooster has chiefly symbolized two ideas.
First, the rooster calls to mind Peter’s denial of Christ and then Christ’s reinstatement of Peter. The church is reminded that it is made up of the broken and the blessed.
Secondly, in the same way, that the rooster rises before the sun and declares the coming light, the church is to be the herald to the world and to proclaim that the light is coming.