Degage’s $7.5 Million Expansion Opens

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

degageDégagé Ministries in the Heartside neighborhood that is for homeless people, recently opened its first completed section of its renovated campus. The $7.5 million "Building Dignity Through Christ" capital campaign is at the Northwest corner of Sheldon Boulevard and Cherry Street in downtown Grand Rapids.
The first phase includes:

• Relocating the organization's main entrance away from the congested Cherry/Division corridor to the more pedestrian-friendly Cherry/Sheldon intersection.
• An expanded dining room to serve 90,000 meals a year (50% increase in capacity, from 120 to 180 seats).

Homes Giving Hope Receives $7,481.00 for Men’s Home

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

bovenRockford-based Homes Giving Hope, a Christian nonprofit Sara and Brian Boven and Kay Wood co-founded for persons with disabilities, recently received $7,418.00 from Wolverine World Wide's Rockford area retail show store Rockford Footwear Depot.

Over the course of one month, the Footwear Depot raised this money by offering a discount to any shopper who made a $5.00 donation. One shopper at a time added up to a generous gift that will help cover the operating costs for the recently opened men's home.

First-of-its Kind in Michigan Graduates Inmates

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

inmateThe Calvin Prison Initiative, a partnership between Calvin University, Calvin Theological Seminary and the Michigan Department of Corrections, recently graduated 40 inmates who received bachelor's degrees while behind bars.

The first three graduating classes (Class of 2020, 2021, and 2022) from the Calvin Prison Initiative program received their bachelor's degrees during a commencement ceremony held inside the confines of Handlon Correctional Facility, in Ionia. The ceremony included those who received their associate degrees, the first-of-its-kind in the state of Michigan.

Guiding Light Promotes Elve to Executive Director

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

elveGuiding Light has promoted Brian Elve as its new executive director. Formerly
the Recovery program director, Elve will lead a team of 26 and set the strategy
and direction for the nonprofit organization in his new role. As executive director,
he will be responsible for the operational effectiveness, financial stability,
fundraising initiatives and the overall success of the organization.

Preuss Tapped as Marantha Bible’s Executive Director

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

preussChris Preuss has been tapped as the next executive director and president of Norton Shores-based Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference. Preuss spent most of his career with General Motors where he served as their global vice president of communications. He also served as the chief marketing and communications officer of Aptiv (formerly Delphi) and most recently led a business network of agency brands that supported the Ford Motor Company around the world.

Traumatized Afghan Refugees Receiving Help, Love From Area Agencies

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1Esther Fifelski: “I do see this as God’s work.”Tourists exploring countries they've never been to take pleasure in encountering people and cultures unlike their own. But for refugees fleeing their homelands, traveling internationally is often an unsettling experience.

Such is the case for Afghans fleeing their motherland. They arrive in the United States traumatized and confused, often carrying with them all they own in a suitcase.

And now with the war between Russia and Ukraine, another wave of refugees will likely arrive in West Michigan.

With the Taliban retaking control of Afghanistan, people are being forced at a record pace to flee their country. As the U.S. armed forces rapidly withdraw from Afghanistan, more than 18,000 Afghans who served alongside the United States are in grave danger and at risk of retaliatory attacks from the Taliban.

Major Fall Concerts Already Scheduled

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

WilliamsZach Zach WilliamsTwo major Christian concert tours are coming to West Michigan this fall and are scheduled in the same venue.

Singer-songwriters Zach Williams (Sept. 18) and Tauren Wells (Oct. 23) are coming to DeVos Performance Hall in downtown Grand Rapids.

The country-style Williams has proven to be a popular concert and Christian radio attraction, and performed last fall in the Mercy Health Center in Muskegon. In 2020 he won a Dove Award as Artist/Songwriter of the year. His best-known songs include "Chain Breaker" and "Rescue Story."

Several Christian Music Artists Featured at GR Festival of the Arts

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Festival 2022 logoSinger Denise Frye was raised on music of the church.

"My brothers, sister and I sang in a family gospel group," said the Grand Rapids woman of her legacy with the vocal ensemble Wings of Faith.

Now at the upcoming Festival of the Arts, Denise will be featuring her solo vocals with a performance at 4pm Saturday June 4 on the Fountain Stage downtown as part of the annual city festival.

A Renewed Outlook

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Senabandith rehearsesTiffany Senabandith rehearses before a performance at a Christian conference l PC: Indirah Michmerhuizen Tiffany Senabandith calls it the darkest time of her life.

"I didn't want to live anymore, but I knew I could never end it because I had too many responsibilities," recalled the Zeeland woman of her feelings around five years ago.

"I felt trapped in a world I didn't want to live in."

But through counseling, prayer journaling and supportive relationships, the 37-year old married mother of three has rebounded with a new outlook. Tiffany is exercising her gifts, helping to lead worship at her church and has resumed her promising songwriting.

"I really have a heart to reach out to people who may be going through the same experience and offer a word of hope," she said.

Call For Prayer and Peace Following Lyoya’s Shooting

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

crccrcThe Executive Director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America says the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya by Grand Rapids police has hit him hard.

Once again, a routine traffic stop ended with the tragic death of yet another young, Black man," said Colin P. Watson, Sr. "This time, though, the community is Grand Rapids, Mich. This is my community — a community that is home to many Christian Reformed congregations and members; a community where the CRC's denominational ministries are housed and many staff members live; a community that many believed to be more safe, more idyllic, and more crime-free than some others that have been in the news lately.

ICCF Has New Name

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

iccfInner City Christian Federation has a new name: ICCF Community Homes. The name better communicates the organization's longtime vision to create vibrant communities in West Michigan with connected neighbors, housing justice and abundant opportunity.

"ICCF has explored a name change multiple times throughout the years," said vice president of Advancement Michelle Covington. "We revisited the possibility in earnest in 2020, consulting with neighbors, partners, staff members and volunteers to better understand our community's perception of ICCF and its work. These conversations showed us that the ICCF name is recognized in Grand Rapids, but does not communicate well the role we play and the work we do in our neighbors' lives."

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