Stockbridge Boiler Room Concentrates on Prayer, Shared Meals akin to Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

stockbridge225 Tim Collier experiences a “beautiful mixture of folks” at the Stockbridge Boiler Room.When is a meal more than an opportunity to scarf down some grub? Tim Collier has some answers.

Every Wednesday, an average of 60 to 100 people gather at the Stockbridge Boiler Room for a weekly “Love Feast” inside a spacious house at 713 5th St. NW that’s on the West Side of Grand Rapids. The dwelling once served as a brothel and crack house.

Stockbridge Boiler Room’s geographical sphere of influence primarily borders
Pine Avenue NW to the west, Turner Ave. NW to the east, 2nd Street NW to the south and 10th Street NW to the north.

Hope and healing found here

There, friendships develop and deepen and hope and healing begin to sprout in a neighborhood that has supplanted drugs, prostitution, poverty and depression with Christ’s Good News.

The Love Feast is akin to the promised marriage supper of the Lamb, said Collier. There, a blending of the homeless share a meal with single mothers, Native and African Americans and middle age people.

“It’s just a beautiful mixture of folks,” said Collier, 30, who is the Boiler Room’s overseer. It’s a title that comes with many hats, including behind-the-scenes responsibilities of raising support, report writing and strategic planning and more forward-facing roles consisting of teaching, leading worship and discipling. In addition to Collier, the Stockbridge Boiler Room has eight other staff members, some who are a husband and wife team.

Collier is married to his wife of five years, Brooke. The couple is expecting their third child.

A Kingdom picture

“Learning to be fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters is a big part of our journey,” said Collier. “The shared meals are a picture of the Kingdom now, and to come, with the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Stockbridge Boiler Room gets its name from old-fashioned steam boilers that drove machines and produced light. Nineteenth-century preacher C.H. Spurgeon attributed his success to prayer meetings often held in basements while he preached.

The first Boiler Room was established in 2001 in Reading, England, with Pete Greig, a founder of 24-7 Prayer, an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice. Greig also leads Emmaus Rd a Boiler Room community in Guildford, England, and serves as director of prayer for HTB, Anglican church in the heart of London and Alpha International.

“People took shifts to pray for an hour at a time for a month to see what would happen,” said Collier. “There were people experiencing the Lord in ways they hadn’t before. It turned into a worldwide prayer movement.”

A handful of Boiler Rooms have sprung up elsewhere in England. The first ones in the United States was in Kansas City and Calgary.

They are akin to early Celtic monasteries sown today in urban neighborhoods.

Stockbridge Boiler Room started on front porch

Tony Tendero and his wife, Jennifer DeGraaf Tendero, moved into the West Side neighborhood of Grand Rapids in 2005 after selling their farmhouse in Ada Township to move near the Basilica of St. Adalbert and across from the Child Discovery Center.

The Stockbridge Boiler Room was born out of a nightly prayer meeting on the front porch of the Tenderos’ home.

“They started praying and God’s love moved into the neighborhood,” said Collier.

Eventually, three families agreed to purchase a foreclosed home that formerly was a crack house and brothel, which the Tenderos converted into a hospitality home and prayer community.

The Tenderos have since relocated to Arkansas to work with a charter school named Knowledge Is Power.

A community of prayer

Stockbridge Boiler Room ministries include:

• Gathering weekly for worship and prayer.

• Daily community prayer Monday through Friday at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. in a three-stall garage behind the Boiler Room home.

• Facilitating a citywide 24-7 prayer movement with 12 churches and organizations participating at this point.

• Developing leaders, including young adults to become disciples of Jesus and interns and a weekly church-based discipleship dinner for the community.

Collier added Stockbridge Boiler Room partners with Stocking Elementary and Crossroads Bible Church to develop mentoring and prayer coverage for students.

“We want to be a community of prayer,” said Collier. “Our mission is to be God’s family in the neighborhood and let prayer be the center of it.”

Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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