New Community Church Sprouts 2nd Location for its Counseling Center

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Lew Vander Meer cutline No235The Jefferson Avenue location will an extension of New Community Church’s Community Recovery Counseling Center and provide space for two congregations: Greater Glory Missionary Baptist Church and Take Hold Church.Rev. Lew Vander Meer, senior pastor of New Community Church in northeast Grand Rapids, confirmed the church’s counseling ministry is in the throes of extending its outreach in the former Garfield Park Reformed Church.

Vander Meer said the 90-year-old building located at 1975 Jefferson Ave. SE will be used for its Community Recovery Counseling Center (CRCC), a 12-step recovery ministry that addresses a host of addictive and mental health challenges from a biblical perspective. CRCC is open to the public and provides counseling for all ages. An average of 150 to 200 people avail themselves to CRCC.

Vander Meer’s son, Mark, is CRCC’s founder and director.

Five-year lease at no cost

The Great Lakes Classis of the Reformed Church in America owns the Jefferson Avenue building, which agreed to a five-year lease at no cost to CRCC, said Vander Meer.

New Community Church members are volunteering their time to do cleaning and repairs to the structure, Vander Meer said.

“Everything stays the same at the primary location,” said Vander Meer.The Jefferson Avenue location is going to be an extension of Community Recovery, not a replacement.”

Brief history

The building at Jefferson Avenue served a handful of congregations through its history, said Vander Meer. For many years it was Garfield Reformed Church, which was organized as Zion Reformed in 1917 as a daughter church of Oakdale Park Reformed. It’s located a few blocks from the former Burton Heights Christian Reformed Church, which closed its doors in 2006, turning its property over to a Korean congregation.

Structurally sound

Lew Vander Meer cutline No. 2Rev. Lew Vander Meer: “We believe this is our calling.”“It’s a gorgeous building that’s structurally very sound,” said Vander Meer. “If we want to host different classes or counseling sessions, this building will work fine. There are a host of large and small rooms and a gym. Other groups rented it or attempted to buy the building, but were not successful.”

CRCC counselors are available weekdays for individual and family appointments. CRCC also includes a Friday night ministry that has never missed a night in its 16 years regardless of weather conditions or if it lands on a holiday. Adults and children are served a free meal followed by a recovery worship service, support groups and dessert time.

“CRCC people and myself are missionaries always looking for way to reach out and to care for people,” Vander Meer said. “We believe this is our calling.”

Two congregations will also use the Jefferson Avenue building for their worship services: Greater Glory Missionary Baptist Church and Take Hold Church.

New Community backstory

New Community Church is an independent, nondenominational congregation rooted in Reformed teachings, with the Heidelberg Catechism and Belgic Confession as its source of doctrine.

The church was founded in 1991 with about 20 people and has since grown to 1,000 members. Membership is defined by faith in Jesus Christ, devotion to the Bible and participation in the congregation, according to its website.

In addition to traditional and contemporary services on Sundays at its Dean Lake location, it also holds a traditional evening service at 4995 32nd Ave. in Hudsonville attended primarily by senior citizens.


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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