To William I the Reformed Church
owes its freedom and its very existence.
The liturgy in use today is substantially as when first adopted in 1558
and precisely what it was in 1619 when it was translated into English.
William I (1533-1584)
The Champion of Liberty
to whom the Netherlands
owes its civil and religious independence.
The Latin words, Nisi Dominus Frustra, "Without the Lord all is in vain," declare humanity's complete dependence on God.
The various countries represented on the coat of arms show the principalities of which William was ruler: Nassau in Germany, the United Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and France. To adapt William of Orange's coat of arms, the Reformed Church added the pillars, stars, and mottoes.
Eendracht Maakt Macht, "In unity there is strength," summarizes a lesson the Dutch learned through their war for independence.
The crest of the Reformed Church in America
is adapted from the coat of arms
of the founder of the Dutch Republic.
William the Silent, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, was born German Lutheran
and brought up Roman Catholic in Spain and France. He became a Calvinist.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, he made no effort
to compel people to subscribe to his religious creed.
Instead he worked to secure full religious liberty not only to the Protestants of the Netherlands,
but also to the Roman Catholics of what is now Belgium.
A dissipated spend-thrift in his youth, William became a truly religious, quiet Dutch burgher with a will of iron.
Starting as a courtier and confidant of his most Catholic Majesty,
Charles the Great, (1500-1558, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire)
William became a rebel and refugee with a price on his head,
the persevering champion of free representative government.