People of the covenant: Dutch Reformed immigration into Canada after World War II

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Fallon, Michael Dennis
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University of Guelph

Following the Second World War, thousands of Dutch citizens emigrated to Canada. Included within this wave of newcomers was a strong contingent of Orthodox Reformed. To the surprise of many, these immigrants did not quickly melt into mainstream Canadian culture as had been assumed. Instead, this group stubbornly held themselves separate from many aspects of Canadian society, in some instances going so far as to recreate their own sophisticated social structure. In a nutshell, this thesis tries to answer a very simple question: why did this band of Reformed immigrants set themselves apart to the extent they did. As such, it examines a variety of stimuli: articulate expression, inarticulate assumptions, theology, philosophy and seemingly archaic, self-perceptions. This paper does not purport to be comprehensive. One of the arguments presented here is how complicated and difficult it is to grasp the worldview of any particular group. With this in mind, this paper explores those elements that bind, as well as those that cause schism. In other words, it examines unity and disunity. This thesis presents a new approach to examining the Dutch Orthodox Reformed who joined the Christian Reformed Church in North America. This approach focuses around ideas, most notably the concept of the covenant and how it manifested itself in the worldview of the Reformed immigrants.

immigration, separation, Dutch Orthodox Reformed, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed immigrants