Pastor Robby Grames

Robby and his family moved to Iowa in October 2013. Prior to ministering at Colfax, he served as Pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church in Minneola, Florida, for almost 7 years. Robby graduated from Beeson Divinity School (Birmingham, Alabama) in 2003 and Mississippi College prior to that. Robby enjoys spending time with his wife Susie and five children. He also likes to read, run, cook, and commiserate while watching Ole Miss athletics.

Since 1871, Colfax Center Church has been served by 11 pastors.

REV. JACOB BRINKEMA serve as Colfax Center’s first pastor from 1871-74. It was under his leadership that the first building was constructed. After three years of difficult pioneer work with us, he left to do the same kind of work in Kamrar, Iowa, where he served until 1884.

REV. BEREND VANDERLAS was called as Colfax Center’s second pastor in 1874. The congregational meeting where the call was issued was moderated by his brother Rev. Jan Vanderlas, who said it was useless to call his brother because he was a city man. Pastor Vanderlas not only moved from Milwaukee to accept the call – he served Colfax Center for 25 years! During his service, a new manse was built and an organ was purchased. The first Mission Feast was held in 1883 with an offering of $70. PastorVanderlas retired at age 75 in 1899.

DR. JOHN E. DRAKE accepted the call to serve as pastor of Colfax Center Church in June, 1900, after serving as home missionary establishing German Presbyterian Churches in Minnesota, South Dakota and northwest Iowa. He once described his many years as pastor of Colfax Center as “a most blessed pastorate from the first day to the last.” During his tenure, the first church building was expanded and, in 1917, replaced with the present brick sanctuary (at a cost of $29,000!). In addition to his leadership of Colfax Center, Pastor Drake was instrumental in the establishment of the German language Synod of the West. He served Colfax Center until April, 1935, but 50 years after his retirement, there were still people who called Colfax Center “Drake’s Church.”

REV. GEORGE H. SWALVE grew up in the same church in Forreston, Illinois as had Pastor Drake. He preached his first sermon at Colfax Center in November of 1935, and served the church faithfully for the 17 years preceding his retirement in 1952. During his tenure the present brick manse was built.

REV. WIERT EEKHOFF came to Colfax Center from the Germantown Presbyterian Church in Chancellor, South Dakota, in 1952. During his tenure, the educational ministry of the church was strengthened, Women’s Missionary Society (now WIC) was begun, and the church playground was developed. Pastor Eekoff conceived the idea of our education wing and began the radio ministry Redemption Story which was continued through the ministries of Pastors Straatmeyer and Van Curler. In November 1962, Pastor Eekhoff left Colfax Center to work among Native Americans in the Southwest.

DR. GENE STRAATMEYER arrived at Colfax Center in April 1963 from Stateline Presbyterian Church north of Rock Rapids, Iowa.. During his service as pastor here he built up the youth ministry; completed the building project incorporating the education wing, expanded and remodeled sanctuary, and kitchen; developed younger leadership from the significant group of young couples in the church; and led the church and community in the improvement of relations between whites and African Americans. Pastor Straatmeyer left Colfax Center in September 1970 after receiving a call from First presbyterian Church in Fairbanks, Alaska.

REV. JERRY VAN CURLER was Colfax Center’s first pastor whose ethnicity was not East Frisian. He arrived from serving churches in Kadoka and Belvidere, South Dakota, in June 1972 and served through May 1983, when he left to serve First Congregational Churches in Kulm, North Dakota. It was during his pastorate on May 3, 1981, that Colfax Center voted 180-24 to leave the United Presbyterian Church and on October 17, 1982, voted to join the Presbyterian Church in America.

DR. ARTHUR AMES was Colfax Center’s first PCA pastor. He came to Colfax Center from Grace Presbyterian Church in Carson, California, in July 1983. He served until August 1987 when he accepted the call to serve as Associate Pastor responsible for Christian Education at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He currently is Associate Pastor of Harvest Church in Medina, Ohio.

DR. LARRY HOOP came to Colfax Center from his position as Associate Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Elgin, Illinois, in May 1988. In the years since he accepted the call, the church has examined its long range vision, adopted its mission statement and core ministry values, and added second pastoral staff position. As part of the five year plan adopted in 2005, he has led in the development of Ministry Teams to expand the work of the church in its community. Since his coming the church has added a handicapped elevator, air conditioned and carpeted the sanctuary, added audio-visual equipment to enhance worship, expanded the church library, and developed a church nursery.

REV. DEAN TLUSTOS arrived at Colfax Center in April 2001, and for the first time in its 140 year history, the church had a second pastoral staff member. His primary responsibility as Associate Pastor was to maintain, develop and supervise the ministries of the church as Minister of Ministries. He served in that position until leaving Colfax Center at the end of April 2003. He currently serves as Assistant Administrator of Ozark Riverview Manor nursing home in Ozark, Missouri.

DR. LARRY DOUGHAN came to Colfax Center in April 2004 from serving as Pastor of the Bethany Evangelical and Reformed Church the PCA congregation in Ledyard, Iowa. He and Pastor Hoop had collaborated on a Doctor of Ministry project at Covenant Seminary, “Effective Ministry in Rural Iowa.” His focus as Associate Pastor is to strengthen the ministry of the church to young families within the church and the community as Minister of Family Ministries. He leads L.I.F.T., Colfax Center’s youth ministry, the POSTERS ministry to post-high men and women, and the Home Builders ministry to young families. Since coming to Colfax Center, he has assisted with the Grundy Center High School football team and authored a book, E- mails to Rail, a “high-tech update” of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.