The faith of the immigrants was so strong that it inspired them to move away from everything they new to a strange and foreign land in which they did not understand the customs and could not understand the language. However, their religion proved to be stronger than the uncertainty they felt about emigrating and lead them to their new home in America.
MichiganFaith was the primary reason behind emigrating. The immigrants thought that God would punish the Netherlands because of the lack of faith in the people who were part of the state church.
But what were other reason for emigrating to Michigan? The Netherlands over populated, and the immigrants thought that God had left Michigan empty especially for the them, as their private promised land.
Choose the churchThe immigrants chose a new church to attend. The typically selected one quite like the one they were used to in the Netherlands. It wasn't normal to join an American church. For many, if they didn't agree with any of the churches, they formed their own.
No matter what the immigrants chose, the reasons were always the same. Namely, it was to save their religious conviction and to teach their children the traditional rules. The church and the reverend often were the center of the community.
Measure the churchImmigrants wrote home to the ones they had left behind and described their new home. However, instead of describing how far their house was from a major town, they instead measured the distance from their house to the church. John Ebbers wrote, with pleasure, that there was a new Dutch church in the neighborhood.
"There is a new Dutch parish since May the 11th, which has Reverend Wijngarden, it's a dissenting parish. We have to walk for one hour to the church. We have got the church nearer to us."Sometimes, people had to walk for two hours to a church, surely an expression of the dept of their devotion.
Show your devotionThe first immigrants, who came before 1870 to Michigan, showed their devotion more publicly than the second rush of immigrants. This was a result of many of the first group's belief that they could just escape from God's punishment to the Netherlands. They also told their friends and family that they had to emigrate to escape from God's punishment.
The serviceP. Lankester had described what their church services were like in 1865. Such a 'service' was often a raisings meeting, whereby people became converted to the Christianity. Three times a day there were sermons, and there were thousands of people. The people were asked to stand up and say for who they wanted to include in prayer, e.g. for family who were fighting in the American Civil War.