To practice holistic discipleship for all ages,
engage in intentional patterns of belonging within our church body,
seek to reflect the diversity of God’s people in challenging and brave ways,
and join God in working for justice on the northwest side of Grand Rapids and beyond.
Trinity Reformed Church is a Reformed Church in America (RCA) congregation centered in the West Leonard Street section of Grand Rapids’ Westside. Transitions abound in a slice of Grand Rapids historically known for its blue collar roots and Polish, Dutch and Lithuanian populations. These days the West Grand neighborhood is diversely vibrant with students from nearby colleges mingling with long-time Westsiders; homeowners living next to local businesses; and recent immigrants from across the globe. Transitions aren’t always easy or simplistic as the neighborhood continues to adjust to its grander diversities involving education, skin color, language, religious belief, and overall worldview. Trinity’s immediate neighbors include a medium sized grocery store, neighbors in rental properties, tattoo parlors, a large GRPS Elementary and Middle School, a popular local brewery, and a hotdog factory.
Trinity was organized in 1908 as the first English speaking Reformed or Christian Reformed congregation on the Westside of the Grand River. In essence, our DNA has always had a missional edge as we learned how to reach beyond typical Dutch populations that many of our sister congregations more easily related to at the time. Not surprisingly, this missional edge has joined the Holy Spirit in not only gathering a diverse worshiping body (especially in education and socio-economic terms) but also in empowering a more robust neighborhood-focused ministry. Today this focus involves a weekly soup kitchen (called Community Kitchen that feeds 75-100 each Thursday); an ACCESS food pantry in our basement (started by Trinity and now ecumenical in scope); a Narcotics Anonymous group; a weekly yoga class; Beer & Hymns once a month, and much more.
Worship is the central hub of our week as persons from all types of backgrounds gather in our well-worn wooden chairs to celebrate God’s story of salvation. Trinity is an egalitarian, open and affirming congregation, and all God's people are welcome—to worship, to participate in the life of the church, to serve, to respond when called to leadership, and to belong. We warmly embrace the form and freedom of our liturgy and appreciate the breadth of scriptural witness provided by the lectionary. We celebrate communion (gluten free) weekly, and baptized children and adults are all welcomed at the table.
Trinity’s particular vision comes from II Corinthians 5:16-21, that God is reconciling the world through Jesus Christ. We believe that God is using us in such work as we learn how to be faithful, engaged, and active in the very story of our savior’s love. Modeling reconciled relationships within our body becomes vital to how we witness God’s purposes and promises to the wider world. Along with the biblically rich theological theme of reconciliation, Trinity has been wrestling with how to best disciple followers of Christ and prepare them for a life within the fuller realities of the world. In this we have been sensitive to age-specific development as well as the power and potential of more multi-generation approaches to growth. Thirdly, as with other urban-focused ministries, there is a very thin line between what we do through our neighborhood ministries and who we are as a worshiping congregation. Trying to figure out how to best reveal grace to neighbors while inviting all to further growth in Christ is both opportunity and struggle.
We began implementing the plan on September 21, 2014. We invite you to join us as we live into this call.