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Reformed Church of Suriname

The Reformed Church of Suriname was founded in 1668 after the arrival of Rev. Basseliers. It was meant to be a church for the Dutch colonists. Most church activities took place in Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, and around the various plantations in the countryside.

In the second half of the 18th century, as owners of plantations started to move to Paramaribo, the “country churches” which had served them began to disappear. Until the 1850s the church was a state church (the state was paying for pastors and church upkeep) and existed almost exclusively for the elite of the country. The language was Dutch, and the pastors all belonged to the mainline Reformed Church of the Netherlands. Over the following decades this proved to be an asset as numerous streams and splits hit the various Reformed denominations in the Netherlands. None of them had any significant influence on Suriname.

After the 1850s the church opened itself to the lower classes and to African slaves alike. “Negro-English” — a pidgin language used by the latter — was introduced in worship services. This was particularly evident in the border town of Nickeri.

In 1876, when a liberal stream created turmoil within the Reformed Church of Suriname, a number of members joined other churches but did not create a new independent church. However, through various steps (new rules in 1884 and 1957) the church became fully independent from the Netherlands Reformed Church. The central church building also functions as the auditorium of the University of Suriname. There, the first president of the state took oath when Suriname became independent in 1975.

Contact Information

The Reformed Church of Suriname
Wanicastraat 82 boven
P.O. Box 2542
Suriname (South America)
Telephone: +597 47 23 44
Website: Reformed Church of Suriname

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