History of Hus Church


The following is a brief history of our church.  For a more detailed history please click here

The origins of Hus Memorial Presbyterian Church are found in the Christian fellowship of Bohemian Protestant pioneers, who met regularly for worship over a 40 year period, despite the lack of a trained clergy.

In 1874, Cedar Rapids manufacturer, T.M. Sinclair, allowed Czech Evangelicals of the city to meet in his box factory. Three years later, he built Hope Mission Chapel on a hill behind St. Wenceslaus Church. Sunday School was conducted in English and worship in Czech in those early services.

The congregation was formally organized on March 10, 1889, with about 100 members as the Czech Reformed Church and was renamed the Fourth Presbyterian Church later that year.  Hus Church as it is known by many of our friends, is just one of several churches in the Cedar Rapids area with many members of Czech roots. On May 2, 1889 the congregation managed to buy their own building by buying the Congregational Church’s building, which was moved to the corner of Ninth Avenue and Seventh Street. This building was dedicated in July of the same year. To accommodate a growing congregation, a new church was built in 1915 and was renamed Husuv Pametni Presbyterni Chram (Jan Hus Memorial Presbyterian).  This was the location for the church until 1973. In 1972, ground was broken for the present building and then in May 1973 the current building was dedicated.

The first pastor for Hus Church was Rev. Vaclav Hlavaty. He came to the United States as a candidate of theology in 1890 and arrived in Cedar Rapids at Christmas time where he preached at Hus. The congregation at Hus called him to be their pastor on January 7, 1891 and he was ordained shortly after.

Services were conducted entirely in the Czech language until 1932, and then in Czech and English until about 1954. Only English services have been conducted since then.

The church counts as its spiritual forefather, the Bohemian martyr, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake in 1415. His appearance before the Council of Constance is pictured in the painting now hanging in the narthex. The original was painted by the famous Czech painter, Venceslas Brozik, and can be seen in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Hus Church is committed to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In all its service this faith community seeks to offer the experience the reality of God’s love and to share in the message of salvation offered through our Lord Jesus Christ.