Reaching Out in Our Community

LaGrave Avenue CRC has a long and deep history of involvement in our community. Throughout the years, our members have had a hand in establishing and supporting many familiar local ministries like: Mel Trotter Ministry, Guiding Light Mission, Wedgwood Christian Services, Degage Ministries, The Bridge, Jellema House, Capitol Lunch at God’s Kitchen, Criminal Justice Chaplaincy, Home Repair Services, Heartside Ministries, Monroe Community Church, Kid’s Life Bible Club, and Celebration Fellowship.

Partner Ministries

Our members continue to bubble up with passion and recruit their friends in the congregation to join them at places like Kids Hope USA, Gilda’s Club, Westowne Jubilee Housing, Mission India, Butterworth Hospital Guilds, and Hope Lodge. Building on that history and temperament, we intentionally partner with outside ministries who carry special calling, passion, and expertise to address needs in our world and community. Explore our current active outreach efforts and ministry partnerships below.

Who We Work With

  • Access of West Michigan
    This faith-based agency is located at 1700 28th St SE, and works with over 300 congregations in Kent County; linking congregational, individual, and community resources to eliminate hunger and reduce the impact of poverty in our area. Our doorstep minister regularly utilizes the Access network to minimize duplication and maximize resources for the people who come to us for assistance. Other Access initiatives include the Hunger Walk, food drives, poverty simulations, education, and advocacy. For more information, call Shelly Smit at (616) 774-2175 or visit www.accessofwestmichigan.org.
  • Celebration Fellowship
    Celebration Fellowship Church meets in the unusual setting of Bellamy Creek Prison in Ionia. Members of LaGrave join this congregation of about 40-50 for spirited Bible study and inspiring worship on the fourth Tuesday evening of each month, and/or the fifth Sunday. Some members worship more frequently, as schedules permit. Dept of Corrections clearance forms and an orientation are required. Contact Ben VanHouten at (616) 459-5262 or signword616@gmail.com.
  • Radical Grace Church (Previously know as Coit Community CRC)
    Located at 600 Lafayette NE,Radical Grace Church is sometimes described as a “hospital of Jesus” because many members have been saved from substance abuse, crime, and other hardships. The primary mission of the church is reconciliation— reconciling people to their God, their families, the church, and people of different color. This small congregation covets our prayers and would welcome our participation in their community outreach events, adult Bible studies, and Community Youth Center ministry.
  • Crossroads Prison Ministries
    With Crossroads Prison Ministries (CPM), church members (high school age and older) correct Bible study lessons completed by prison inmates. No personal information is exchanged, and from the convenience of home and with about one hour per week, members can help change prisoners’ lives with the Gospel. Several members also volunteer at CBI headquarters. Contact Bob Otte at (616) 534-9396 or robertotte@att.net.
  • Dégagé Ministries
    Dégagé offers a variety of services at 144 South Division. Hundreds come into the Coffee House each day to warm up, share a cup of coffee or a low-cost meal, and find a friendly smile. The 2nd floor provides daily services and programs addressing logistical, physical, and spiritual needs. The Open Door Center provides a safe haven during the overnight hours to adult women in need. LaGrave members may serve as donation drivers, cooks, and runners, coffee servers, overnight assistants at Open Door (women only), or hygiene desk volunteers. LaGrave youth work in the kitchen and dining room on the third Wednesday of each month. Contact Dégagé at (616) 454-1661 or www.degageministries.org.
  • Disaster Response Services
    World Renew’s Disaster Response Services (DRS) teams show God’s love and bring hope to disaster-affected communities in North America by restoring the homes and lives of those who are most vulnerable, and these teams regularly include members of our congregation. Volunteers travel to an affected area and serve for a week or more; clearing debris, doing carpentry, painting, cooking for the team, and participating in other restoration projects. Contact our Service Opportunities Coordinator for more information.
  • Doorstep Ministry
    LaGrave provides emergency assistance for our inner-city brothers and sisters, as requested. Our mission is to care for their immediate needs during a crisis and to connect them with appropriate ongoing support and encouragement. Contact our Minister of Outreach for more information.
  • Ferguson Apartments
    Located at 72 Sheldon SE, the Ferguson Apartment building is one of 25 housing communities owned and managed by Dwelling Place. Dwelling Place was founded in the Heartside Neighborhood by seven area churches and two non-profit agencies in 1980. Its mission is to improve the lives of people by creating affordable housing, providing essential support services and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. As a part of that mission, the Ferguson Apartments provide spacious studio apartments for people with special physical and financial needs. A few great ways for LaGrave members to volunteer at Ferguson are: serving on the board of directors, planning occasional social activities for the residents, or helping a resident with a cleaning task. Contact Kristin Batts at (616) 450-9504 or kristinbatts@yahoo.com.
  • God’s Kitchen
    God’s Kitchen helps to feed the hungry with dignity and respect through two programming initiatives. At Capitol Lunch (303 South Division), nourishment and meal-time respite are provided daily between 12:30 and 2:00 pm to guests on a walk-in basis with no questions and no qualifiers. Through Meals on Wheels, noon-time meals are delivered Monday through Friday to home bound people. LaGrave members serve on the third Monday of each month from 11:30—2:00pm. Contact Sher Engbers at (616) 240-2456 or engbers@comcast.net.
  • Guiding Light Mission
    This mission exists at 255 South Division to provide a healing community that allows hurting individuals to discover a new life in Christ. Food and shelter are provided for all. Social, physical, spiritual, and intellectual support services are provided for men, with the expectation of re-engagement in the community. Ministry opportunities are available to LaGrave members in the chapel, on a planning committee, in the kitchen, hosting a fundraiser, as a mentor, or by delivering skilled service. Contact Guiding Light Mission at (616) 451-0236 or www.guidinglightworks.org.
  • Heartside Ministry at meltrotter
    Heartside Ministry is located at 225 Commerce Avenue SW, and its neighbors are often homeless, with little or no income, struggling with mental and physical disabilities and addiction. The ministry works to meet their needs with spiritual, emotional, and practical help through programs and service, as well as by steadfast advocacy on their behalf. LaGrave members are invited to be an encouraging presence in the Art Studio, Community Room, or Computer Room, serve as a GED tutor, or work on special projects.
  • Home Repair Services
    Located at 1100 South Division, the mission of Home Repair Services is to build successful, sustained home ownership for lower income families, thereby strengthening neighborhoods and communities. LaGrave members have both served on the board of directors and built cabinets in the workshop, and other opportunities include serving as Fix-it School Instructors and Remodeling Coaches. Contact Stan Greene at (616) 241-2601 or www.homerepairservices.org.
  • Hope Network Homes & Day Programs
    Located at 1490 E Beltline SE, Hope Network is a Christian organization that empowers people with disabilities and disadvantages to achieve their highest level of independence. LaGrave members are encouraged to visit and support their homes and day programs, providing spiritual guidance and worship opportunities to clients with a variety of disabilities. Activities include Bible study, worship service, music, games, outings, home visits, or being a pen pal. This is a rewarding experience for all church members, including chaplains, student interns, and retired ministers. Contact our Service Opportunities Coordinator for more information.
  • Inner City Christian Federation
    Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) is a licensed builder, headquartered at 920 Cherry St SE. In addition to selling affordable new and reconstructed Energy Star homes, ICCF provides emergency housing for homeless families at Family Haven, owns and manages 96 units of affordable rental housing, and provides extensive home ownership education and financial counseling. LaGrave members are welcome to assist in this mission by preparing a meal and spending one evening with the families at Family Haven, providing child care or instruction for the home ownership classes, assisting with a building project, or taking on a variety of clerical responsibilities. Contact ICCF at (616) 336-9333 or www.iccf.org.
  • Kids Hope USA
    Kids Hope USA (KHUSA) is a one-to-one mentoring program in which volunteers from our church, supported by individual prayer partners, spend an hour each week (October—May) with a child at Congress Elementary School. No teaching or tutoring experience is necessary, and all LaGrave members who love kids are invited to become involved at any time. Mentors spend their hour reading, talking, coloring, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company; and this may be the only one-to-one attention that child receives all week. As relationships are built, God works in the lives of both mentors and at-risk kids. Contact our Kids Hope USA Director for more information.
  • Pregnancy Resource Center
    The Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) is located at 415 Cherry St, SE and 2438 28th Street SW, and their mission is, “Living the truth that people matter to God.” Many volunteer opportunities exist here to physically demonstrate to women, men, teens, and small children in crisis that the details of their lives truly matter to God. The gracious staff at the PRC would welcome the opportunity to train LaGrave members to serve in reception, on the 24- hour help line, as part of the medical or counseling teams, at the material distribution warehouse, with the student drama team, or in a variety of other administrative and housekeeping areas. One-time service opportunities are also available for groups or individuals. Contact Vicki DeGrazier at (616) 259-1518 or www.prcforlife.org.
  • Safe Haven
    Nationally recognized for their unique ability to address issues of faith and the intersection with domestic abuse, Safe Haven empowers clients by providing them with choices, allowing them to make their own decisions, and supporting them along their journey of healing. The organization helps employers, faith communities, schools, and other agencies create a culture of abuse prevention through trainings and resources. To learn more go to https://safehavenministries.org.
    Each summer, LaGrave hosts a SERVE group, which brings young people from across the US and Canada together for a week of service/mission work in our community. The week includes painting, working in food pantries, demolition work, janitorial services, day care, home renovation, and more. The many LaGrave members who volunteer to prepare meals, wash towels, serve as prayer partners, donate food, and take care of many other housekeeping items all make this week a success. Contact our Minister of Youth for more information.
  • Special Project Team
    Occasionally, neighbors and friends turn to us when they need a ramp built, furniture moved, or repairs made as they struggle to become or remain independent; and sometimes they need one-time transportation to the store or a medical appointment. Any member who has willing hands and a willing heart is welcome to join the call list for the opportunity to be included in an occasional one-time service ministry. Contact our Service Opportunities Coordinator for more information.
  • Thanksgiving Baskets
    Each November, our members donate food staples, bake treats, organize the items into baskets, and make the deliveries to people in our community. Contact Della Landheer at (616) 656-5998 or land5933@comcast.net and Dolores Bos at (616) 949-5786 or dolbos4@aol.com.
  • The Other Way Ministries
    Located at 710 W Fulton, this Christian ministry walks alongside Westown urban families as they strive to grow spiritually, relationally, and economically. LaGrave is a supportive partner in their Christmas Store, empowering parents to provide for their children at Christmas time. LaGrave members are also invited to serve as ELL tutors, work in the Children’s Ministry, develop a mentoring relationship with a teen, serve on a work crew, and many other meaningful roles. Contact Rodrigo at (616) 454-4011 ext 5111, or www.theotherway.org.
  • Volunteers In Service
    The Volunteers In Service (VIS) office is located at 7730 Eastern Ave SE, inside Providence CRC. In 1986, Volunteers In Service was created by local Deacons of the Christian Reformed Church to build bridges between needs in the community and Christ-centered churches. A network of ministry partnerships has grown to include many Grand Rapids-area churches. VIS connects people who need caring support with people in the Christian community who are equipped to provide faith-motivated care for their neighbors. Supportive relationships are built through friendship, special projects, and mentoring. The VIS ministry focuses on three key elements: Connecting, Equipping, and Caring. All three are necessary for developing meaningful, life-changing relationships. For more information, visit www.visgr.org. and watch the bulletin for volunteer opportunities.
  • Westminster Food Pantry
    Westminster Food Pantry is located in Westminster Presbyterian Church, at 47 Jefferson St SE, and is funded primarily by donations from the congregations of Westminster and LaGrave. The Pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm. A family style dinner is also served in Westminster’s dining room every Thursday night from 5:30 to 7:15 pm. Many service opportunities exist here for LaGrave members, including special order pick-up, unloading delivery vehicles, produce packing, check-in, interviewing, computer entry, packing groceries, farmers market runs, and dinner servers. Contact our Catering Coordinator & Kitchen Caretaker for more information.