Individuals from within the presbytery were invited in 2018 to share stories and information about their congregational ministries. Their stories were recorded during interviews at the presbytery’s bi-annual retreat and stated meeting at Camp Geneva in Holland during September 2018.
The recordings may be found below.
First Presbyterian Church of Muskegon, MI
Jim Rausch, First Presbyterian Church of Muskegon, describes the evolution of the congregation’s involvement in multiple community ministries focusing on food insecurities and homelessness. Jim describes challenges faced and changes within the congregation as they met these challenges.
First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, MI
Jim Hegedus, First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, reviews the congregation’s ministry to unaccompanied refugee minors. He notes challenges related to their immigration status and highlights the “Aged-Out House”, a ministry done in conjunction with a Lutheran congregation.
North Kent Presbyterian Church of Rockford, MI
Karen Fitz La Barge, North Kent Presbyterian Church, provides insights related to the “Mom and Munchkins” playgroup ministry. This group started out of a community need for a safe place for preschool-aged kids to play. The ministry networks moms who become supportive and find creative ways to help each other.
Kalamazoo County Wide Youth Group
Chrissy Westbury and Meredith Alspach discuss the benefits and challenges of a multi-congregational youth group. Students from sixth through twelfth grade from 5 congregations provide diversity of race, economic status, school experience, and the opportunity to make friends while interacting with new people.
UKirk at Michigan State in Lansing, MI
Neil Myer is the ministry director for UKirk at Michigan State, which serve students from MSU, LCC, and other college age young people in the Lansing area. Neil points out the variety of activities participants can engage in to develop themselves and connect with community. This ministry started with two, then became four, it kept growing, and now they have 50+ in the group.
First Presbyterian Church of Battle Creek, MI
Pat Weatherwax, First Presbyterian Church of Battle Creek, details how the Health & Fun Fair conducted in conjunction with the Synod of the Covenant, has helped the congregation touch the community. They have partnered with many different groups throughout the city, from local pharmacies, women’s shelters, and different employment groups. The congregation has also hosted some community ministries in its facility.
First Presbyterian Church of Diamondale, MI
Scott Crane, First Presbyterian Church of Dimondale, describes how the congregation’s food ministry done in collaboration with the Lansing Food Bank belongs to the Dimondale community. The congregation supplies logistical support, has a committee that coordinates the work, but utilizes others for much of the on-going work. Of special note is the close cooperation with the local Methodist congregation that focuses on filling associated community needs.
First Presbyterian Church of Paw Paw, MI
Tiffany McCafferty, First Presbyterian Church of Paw Paw, establishes the context of the congregation, but moves quickly into describing the work of the presbytery’s Youth Strategies Committee. This self-selected group of individuals who share a passion for youth ministries shares ideas and plans joint events to minister to and with young people.
First Presbyterian Church of Buchanan, MI
Tom Wrasse, First Presbyterian Church of Buchanan, recalls the steps his congregation took to become a certified Earth Care congregation. Tom explains how congregations committed to creation stewardship can earn points the areas of worship, education, facility, and outreach in order to meet the certification requirements.
First Presbyterian Church of Paw Paw, MI
Tiffany McCafferty, First Presbyterian Church of Paw Paw, celebrates an historic anniversary for the Paw Paw congregation. This congregation, located in the heart of a village that serves as the county seat, ministers to those who need transportation, to those who are part of the county court system, and to those who are just released from the county jail. But that’s not all, love takes many forms in Paw Paw.
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