During the 1920’s, immigrant farm and dairy workers from the Netherlands arrived in the area. In 1925, 17 families banded together to form Hynes Reformed Church in what is now known as Paramount. We rented a tavern on the corner of Alondra and Paramount boulevards and worshipped there – all in Dutch.
In the 1940s we changed our name to Emmanuel Reformed Church and made the hard transition to worshiping in English. As more Midwesterners of Dutch stock moved into the area the church began to grow. But by the 1960s and 70s the dairies were moving out of town and some wondered whether Emmanuel would survive.
In 1971 Harold Korver and his family were called to pastor Emmanuel. Harold did not want to leave Chicago, but as he prayed about this call he literally felt ill unless he was facing westward. So Harold, Shirley and the 5 boys crammed into their 1966 Pontiac station wagon and drove to Paramount where they have lived ever since.
The 1980s saw the ethnic makeup of the Paramount area shift to become more diverse. Harold kept preaching that we were called to be a “Mission Outpost” and we’ve been seeking to live into that vision ever since. Amongst other things, in the 1980s and 90s Emmanuel partnered with the City of Paramount to clean up the city and help catalyze a movement that saw the city transition from one of the least desirable cities to in America to becoming an All-American City.
In the midst of the LA riots and the recession of the 1990s we started our first intentionally multicultural worship service focused on reaching and blessing our community. Then we launched our CenterPoint and Spanish services – and along the way we’ve been trying to learn what it means to be a good neighbor here in Paramount which has meant starting our basketball ministry, After-school program, food ministry, and health ministry.
The newest adventure God is calling us to is to partner with the churches and the people of Compton to see the rebirth of that city that will continue to spread. We’ve committed our next 40 years to the spiritual, social, and economic renewal of the city of Compton – a vision that is way beyond us, and yet is not beyond God at all. We’re committed to planting 100 churches westward towards the heart of Los Angeles. We’re committed to becoming a discipleship center that develops leaders for God’s mission in this region. We’re not fancy people, but we believe God is on the move and we’re excited to be a part of what He’s doing in our area.