As children of the light, we seek to serve God by presenting Christ to others in word and deed, showing God’s love for the world by promoting justice and peace for our neighbors near and far.
The deacons at Church of the Servant, in cooperation with our pastoral residents, provide leadership for the congregation in sharing the love and truth of Christ throughout our local community. The deacons are subdivided into three teams – Outreach, Reconciliation & Evangelism, and Mercy & Benevolence – and serve as liaisons for the programs in those areas. These programs and activities include the following:
Ridge Park Mentors
COS offers adults the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with children who attend Ridge Park Charter Academy, a neighborhood elementary school. Mentors meet weekly with one child at the school for the school year to assist with homework and build a relationship. For more information, contact Ruth Lemmen, resident pastor, or Mary Loeks.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
ESL classes are held in our church building several days a week, both in the morning and in the evening. Childcare is provided for children of students (nursery care for young children, and homework help for early school-age children). These classes help refugees and others who are learning English to gain skills and practice together. It is also our goal to assist and befriend these newcomers as they make a make a home in Grand Rapids. More than 40 volunteers regularly tutor one-on-one or lead small groups. For more information, contact Barb Hampton (a.m. coordinator) or Coni Huisman (p.m. coordinator).
Refugee Task Force (RTF)
The RTF, which has served for over 20 years at COS with an emphasis on helping us bring in and resettle refugees, is now modifying itself to focus on the immediate and ongoing needs of our refugee-neighbors. With connections to Bethany Christian Services and a long and fruitful history of helping refugees, we expect this move to create a great new asset to our community. Contact Kristen Ippel to get involved.
Prisoners in Christ (formerly Christians for Prisoners/Prisoners for Christ) is a ministry begun by inmate/member/missionary Troy Rienstra. It was embraced by our church council and congregation in 2006 and continues to flourish. In 2008 COS called Rich Rienstra to be a church planter/developer for Michigan’s first prison-church congregation. Participation in this ministry can include:
- Visiting and corresponding with prisoners
- Being a Department of Corrections-approved outreach volunteer and worship participant
- Mentoring ex-convicts, helping them form new networks as they seek Christian community and job opportunities and encouraging them as they navigate their re-entry
To learn more, contact Rich Rienstra.
Peace and Justice Table
Each week the peace and justice table, in the café area, has letters or petitions you can sign on behalf of victims of human rights violations or in protest of other justice concerns. For more information, contact Ilene Van Bruggen.
Church of the Servant has an emergency food pantry located off the west side of our worship space. Members and neighbors with emergency needs make regular use of its non-perishable, frozen, and refrigerated stores. Volunteers periodically gather to repackage and organize food (often after the 11:00 am worship service). The church bulletin regularly lists requested items for donation. The pantry also serves as a coat closet for those needing winter clothing.
Mobile Food Pantry
Twice a month, volunteers from our church assist residents of the Camelot Woods apartments with the distribution of perishable food items purchased through Feeding America Food Bank (formerly Second Harvest Gleaners). Members may make tax-deductible contributions to the COS account (#719) at Feeding America. To periodically participate, sign up at the welcome counter. Contact the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 956-7611) with questions.