Certainly the original inhabitants were pagans, practising their rituals in sacred forests. The old name Diepenhorst means in fact "Dense forest". Through the arrival of English missionaries around the year 700 the Christian religion was accepted.
We can be pretty sure guidance of the soul was available to the old village prior to the founding of the later town of Goeree. A privilege was extended to parochial Ouddorp, June 29, 1450 by Frank van Borsselen. that before this year Ouddorp's pastor had the authority over Goeree's church where under his authority a chaplain performed the service. When Goeree's population grew, they were permitted to have a pastor and chaplain of their own. The churchmasters of Goeree therefore owed a yearly compensation of "drie lood fijn zilver trooys gewicht" to Ouddorp's pastor.
Other persons of a spritual bent formed a canonical college with a chapel devoted to the Holy Virgin. This was situated in the present Preekhil.
When the liberators (watergeuzen) came in possession of the town of Goeree, the reformation gained the field immediately. The first meeting took place April 9, 1574. The services were presided over by the preachers of Goeree. Now the shoe was on the other foot: first Ouddorp had it over the later built Goeree, and now Goeree looked after Ouddorp.
The first minister, ds Adriaan Allardi Jansen, one-time monk, served there 1574-1577. His successor was ds. A. Johannis 1577-1593. With the arrival of ds. Jacobus Cornet, a schoolmaster from Poortvliet, Ouddorp became an independent reformed (Hervormd) community. He served from 1595 before departing for Steenbergen two years later. His successor, ds. C. Dammannus arrived in 1601 from Hekelingen en remained for 18 years without getting involved in the religous unrest of the remonstrants. The remonstrants did not gain a hold on Ouddorp: when in Goeree a minister started to attack the reformed credo, the entire congregation turned against him and headed for the Ouddorp service (Kerkelijke Kroniek, 1967, no.2).
Menno Simons, seen at left, founded what was later called Mennonism or Doopsgezind in Dutch. In Ouddorp they became a reality in the first half of the seventeenth century.
Read the church timeline for details.
A few scanned articles in Dutch: beginnings - services - more about services - philanthropy and arms - modern times
Ds. Nikolaas Russius served 1619-1622. He originated from England and in 1621 had to answer charges in Dordrecht for being a Puritan. He admitted this, adding that no better christians existed than the Puritans. He caused some trouble in Ouddorp with his excessive vigour against the Mennonites (Doopgezinden) for allegedly claiming from the pulpit:
"men behoorde tegen de mennonisten niet te disputeren met monde of geschrifte, maar met galgen en stroppen"
To put it in English, he suggested that one should not argue with the Mennonites with word or scripture, but rather with gallow and noose. He earned a stern reprimand for this. His fervour in fact drove many of the flock to seek salvation through Mennonism.
In public prayer, the congregation apparently prefered tried and true formulas over free form, at the least any prayer ought to end with "Onze Vader". If ds Russius deviated, the villagers would leave church before the end of closing prayer, exhibiting great mirth among themselves.. During one sermon this minister was interrupted by the loud yawns of a fatigued and possibly bored woman, causing him to retort, while snapping his prayerbook shut that more christian behaviour could be expected from a cow. He stomped out of church to the amazement of his flock. The elders indicated they frowned upon this type of behaviour, but Ds Russius, still angry, suggested they had hired the woman to disrupt his service. He finally departed for St. Anthony polder (Prof. A Th. van Deursen 'Bavianen en Slijkgeuzen').
Ouddorp had one minister 1818-1864 whose name was famous far beyond the island and village: ds. A. G. van Dijkhuizen. He was born ca 1790 in Nijkerk, Gelderland. In his youth he was certainly aware of the religous revival manifested in Nijkerk 1750-1752 through the revealing sermons of ds. G. Kuypers. His first congregationn was Rijnswaterwoude where 80 jaar before Theodorus van der Groe had began his ministry. In april 1817 ds. Van Dijkhuizen went toserve in Wijk bij Heusden. In March 1818 he entered Ouddorp.
He was known not only for his popularity starting in 1825, causing him to be in high demand, but especially for his sermons distributed through print. Two Amsterdam publishers tried to get their hands on his material for distribution and profit. Sometimes they were published by J. H. den Ouden, other times it was G. van Peursem and occassionally there was collaboration. Ds van Dijkhuizen himself did not get any richer. The sermons went for 15 cents a piece or a dime if one ordered ahead and the profits were supposed to be for empoverished keepers of the faith (ten voordeele van verarmde geloofsgenooten) (Eilanden Nieuws, Opbouw).
From his writings it was apparent Ds van Dijkhuizen adhered to the"Oude Waarheid" (Old Truth) and hoped for a return to a simpler church based on the early model. He was not of a character however to fight and argue. In 1851, together with kindred souls, he was responsible for the publication of the monthly "De wachter op Sions muur" (the Watch on Zion's Wall) subtitled "Voices of the United Dutch Reformed Church". It was not well received by all and seen by some to be against the spirit of the enlightened 19th century. Not to be daunted, he republished, among others, the "Dordtse Leerregels", the five contra remonstrant articles originally from 1619.
In September 1892 the church council received a letter from George KEsz Tanis and Teunis JEsz Tanis with the request to abandon church organisation according to the synod of 1812 and to reinstate among other customs the Church Rule of 1619. Although the council, consisting of Ds Meinsma, W. Voogd, K. Lodder, T. Koek, K. Voogd and T. Grinwis responded, both signatories of the letter, as well as sisters J. J. and H. M. H. Schokker declared they could no longer be members of de congregation (Synodale Hervormde Gemeente van Ouddorp) declaring thier alignment with the more conservative church (Gereformeerde Kerk) following the Dordrecht Church Dogma of 1618-1619. They were followed January 28, 1893 by Jannetje Boelaars, Klaartje Meijer, A Tanis KEz., A. Westhoeve Kd., G. Aleman Mz., P. Witte Ez., H. Tanis KEz. en H. v. d. Pole (A J. Nelis in De Waarheidsvriend, August 25 , 1988 ).
Ca 1834 in Ouddorp there were more than 2450 citizens belonging to the Hervormde Kerk, 90 Doopsgezinden and 10 Roman Catholics. Of the 78 members of the Christelijke Afgescheiden Gemeente (the schismatics) on the islands of Overflakkee en Goedereede in 1841, 10 members were from Ouddorp (De Afscheiding van 1834, volume VII, by Dr. C. Smits)
Their names can be found in the book "Geschiedenis van een kerk: 100 jaar Gereformeerde Gemeente Dirksland": They included A. van der Willigen, P. Sirnon, T. van Dam, A. Esveld, M. van der Linde, C. Witte, L. Duinkerke, K. Grinwis, W. Mastenbroek, and C. Mastenbroek.
Ch. Mastenbroek was sentenced for adherence to an unapproved religion (dr. Bos). In 1840 and 1842 there were 16 (Boers) or 22 members (Smits). The Goedereede couples Andries Esveld-Martijntje van der Linden and Pieter Sirnon-Trijntje van Dam left the NH church in 1836. Other members were Jan Schaddelee and his wife Saartje van Oostenbrugge. Also Sygje Baan, Krijn Meyer, Krijntje Ruit, Johanna and Willem van der Wielen (Smits).
Only in 1892 was the Gereformeerde Kerk recognised as an institution in Ouddorp (Kerkhistorische Kroniek 1967). Preacher Versteegt presided 1918- 1923. He was skipper and/or fisherman, an anchor tattoo graced his wrist. Later he ministered to seafarers. Ds. A. de Blois announced at the church gathering of December 1, 1927 that some Ouddorpers wished to join the Gereformeerde Gemeente of Dirksland. They had already purchased a small building ( a shed on the Spanjaardswegje) where to practise their devotions. They became an independent congregation February 1, 1930 (De Geschiedenis van een Kerk).