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Richard A. Rhem papers

Identifier: KII-01

Collection Description

Collection contains papers, records, photographs, and audiovisual material documenting the life and career of Christian minister, Richard A. Rhem, and contains material spanning from 1870 to 2014, with the bulk of material spanning from 1970 to 2014. Within the collection are Rhem’s papers, which include biographical information, correspondence, writings, and records of his work with the Christ Community Church and the Center for Religion and Life. The bulk of the collection comprises text and sound recordings of Rhem’s sermons, prayers, talks, and funeral services, many of which are available in our Digital Collections. The collection also includes photographs and scrapbooks, containing photographs, clippings, programs, and memorabilia, which illustrate the history and activities of the Christ Community Church from its foundation in 1870 to 2004.


  • 1870 - 2014
  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 2014


Access to Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

For information on copyright or permissions for this collection, contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.


Richard Rhem is pastor emeritus of Christ Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan, which he served for 37 years. He graduated from Hope College (B.A.) and Western Theological Seminary (B.D. & M.Th) in Holland, Michigan. He continued his studies with Prof. Hendrikus Berkhof at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, where he received a Doctorandus degree, and did post-doctoral studies with Professor Hans Küng at the University of Michigan.

Starting in the mid 1980's, he began to seriously question some of the traditional Christian dogma that he had been espousing from the pulpit. That questioning was a first step in a long and interesting spiritual journey, one that he openly shared with his congregation. His journey is important, in part because it is reflective of the questioning, the yearnings, and the gradual revision of beliefs that many persons in this part of the century have experienced and continue to experience. It is important also because of the affirming and inclusive way his questioning was done and his thinking evolved. His sermons and other written and spoken materials together document the steps in his journey as it took a turn in 1985, yet continued to revolve around the framework and liturgies of the Christian calendar.


19.41 Linear feet (10 cartons, 13 boxes, 8 volumes) : 417 audio cassette tapes, 17 video cassette tapes, 2 discs


Collection is organized in 6 series: 1) Papers, 2) Sermons and Prayers, 3) Funerals and Memorial Services, 4) Perspectives Series Audio Tapes, 5) Other Audiovisual Materials, and 6) Photographs and Scrapbooks.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Peter Hart for Richard A. Rhem, 2011 and 2013.
Richard A. Rhem papers, KII-01
Special Collections & University Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States