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  • Writer's pictureJared Cramer

Grand Haven's oldest church continues to grow, renew

Below is an article from the September 23, 2017, edition of the Grand Haven Tribune about the ministry of our church.

Following its sesquicentennial celebration in 2016, St. John’s Episcopal Church of Grand Haven has announced the closing of its capital campaign, Stepping into the 21st Century.

The capital campaign marks the end of a multi-year effort to address the much-needed restoration and revitalization for the parish campus.

“Now it's our turn to begin the work of bringing St. John’s into the 21st century so that the ministry of Christ in the Tri-Cities may be strengthened, supported and expanded,” said the Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, the parish’s 32nd Rector.

Though there are a few older churches in Grand Haven, St. John’s Episcopal Church is the oldest continually-used house of worship in the Tri-Cities.

St. John’s has been instrumental in a number of Grand Haven initiatives over the years, housing the first iteration of Tri-Cities Habitat for Humanity, opening the first thrift shop in the area, serving as a founding church of Tri-Cities Ministries and currently offering the largest soup kitchen in the area through their Loving Spoonfuls ministries. This ministry offers a free hot meal to anyone, no questions asked, on Sundays at 1 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.

They have continued their historic leadership role most recently when they launched the El Corazón Latino Ministry Initiative — the first year-round offering of Spanish-language worship in Grand Haven. That ministry recently celebrated its second anniversary and has been recognized by the Churchwide Office of the Episcopal Church as a Mission Enterprise Zone. It also just launched a new ministry, the Canterbury Children’s Choir, a participant in the Royal School of Church Music. The choir is open to all children in the Tri-Cities area and includes optional piano technique training with vocal training.

The parish’s capital campaign was focused not only on restoring aspects of the historic building, but also on two other areas: making the church a more accessible place and ensuring it is equipped for ministry in our time. The capital campaign was a carefully planned, church wide effort with a fundraising goal of $326,000 and serves as the first step of a long term master plan for transforming the worship space at St. Johns. The entire project is seen as a continuation of the visionary work of many in the parish the early 1990's, including the rector at that time, the Rev. Henry Idema III, who led a million dollar expansion of the nave which more than doubled the seating capacity due to growth in the congregation.

The ribbon cutting to mark the beginning of these new capital improvement efforts will be held during a special coffee hour at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 1, during which the timing for the first renovations will be announced. All are invited to attend.

St. John’s Episcopal Church is a diverse Christian community in the heart of downtown Grand Haven. One of the oldest places of worship in Grand Haven, they seek to blend historic liturgy with challenging education and active outreach. They gather together for Holy Eucharist on Sundays in English at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., and in Spanish at 12:45 p.m. Additional information can be found at St. Johns website or by calling 616-842-6260.

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