We may be called New Life, but our history in the Reformed faith and Milwaukee is long and rich. The roots of the New Life Community Church can be traced back to 1847. Originally, we were the First Dutch Reformed Church in Milwaukee and later the First Reformed Church in Milwaukee. Our first meeting location was in an upper room of a store front on what later would become Plankinton Avenue in down town Milwaukee. Two years later, the first church building, a log structure, was erected on 10th Street near Galena. Over the next 125 years, we had several locations on the northside of Milwaukee, but progress, mainly in the form of freeway construction forced us to relocate.
In 1981, the congregation moved to its current location on 15 beautiful, wooded acres on the far northwest side of Milwaukee, immediately adjacent to Menomonee Falls. We experienced change and growth with this new location, and soon sensed a lack of space. We added a new gymnasium and educational wing.
While locations have changed, one constant has remained throughout - a rich tradition of trusting and serving God. We are a people who cherish our historical roots; yet we recognize the need to adapt our ways to the present and the future to meet the needs of the community that surrounds us. We were the first congregation in the Classis of Wisconsin to ordain women to the office of Elder and Deacon and currently have several women serve the Church on Consistory. We also value the presence of children on our midst and as a result, we were the first church in the Classis to adopt and develop the Children and Worship Program for our youngest worshippers. Through all our relocating and development, through all our history, New Life Community Church has sought to bring honor and glory to God by our worship, our prayer and our service to God's Kingdom.
New Life Community Church is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America (RCA), which is the oldest Protestant denomination in the United States. The RCA includes among its ministers Dr. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral in California and Norman Vincent Peale of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.
The word "reformed" comes from the Protestant Reformation movement which spread across Europe in the 1500s. Its primary spiritual leader was John Calvin of Geneva, Switzerland, whose reform movement spread to Scotland and the Netherlands. The Dutch Reformed Church, later to become the RCA, is one of the oldest churchs in North America. The Dutch founded the first RCA church in New Amsterdam (New York City) in 1628, just twenty one years after the colony of Jamestown was established.
Today the RCA includes people from a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. The denomination currently has about 950 congregations in the United States and Canada, with a total membership of more than 300,000.