Kelloggsville Church: emerging French-Speaking congregation

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By the grace of God, relationships are growing between Kelloggsville Church and our “nested” French-speaking emerging congregation.

Our relationship began two and half years ago, through the hospitality of the Kelloggsville Church council and the vision of Pastor Mitogo Opira and Pastor Fran Mavindi to start an assembly for French-speaking African immigrants in June 2015.

Since that time, there have been increasing interactions. Pastor Amy Schenkel from Resonate, Pastor Mitogo, Pastor Fran, and Pastor Ulrich from the Emerging French congregation, Pastor Derek Noorman from Classis Kalamazoo, and I met on Thursday, November 2 at 4:00 PM. We had a great conversation about the French pastors’ desire to become an emerging CRC church plant.

Since then I have met with Pastor Amy Schenkel to walk through the process, and I have met with Pastor Mitogo to explain the process. These where both good meetings, although the process seems overwhelming in terms of all that is involved in formalizing a relationship with the CRC.

We have started the New Year with the potential for increased interactions. We were pleased to have Pastor Mitogo bring God’s word, and their praise team lead us in song, at our morning worship service on January 28. I have attached the bulletin from that service, and you can listen to his sermon as it is posted on our website. The participation of Pastor Mitogo and members of his congregation was received very well by the Kelloggsville Church congregation and was very helpful in increasing their profile and presence in our community.

In terms of continuing to build our relationship, we have a few things coming up. First, I have been inviting people in our congregation to watch a movie called All Saints, which is about a church that was facing the pain of closing but made the choice to reach out to a refugee community and was revitalized in the process. There are no easy answers but it does raise interesting questions. Several people have watched it and were impacted by it. We are looking to host a church movie night where All Saints is shown.

In terms of our joint work days, we have the Saturdays of February 3 and 10 set aside to work together to accomplish some of the renovation tasks that are needed to improve their worship space. Brian VanderBie, our seminary intern, has arranged February 3 at 10 AM as a “removal of the old archery wall day”, and February 10 at 10 AM as a “rebuilding and painting day”, to more visually make the switch from an Archery Range to a Lower Level Chapel. We anticipate building relationships as we work alongside each other, but also plan to set aside some intentional time to talk and fellowship by sharing donuts and coffee prior to the start of work, and lunch after work concludes. We will be sure to take pictures and send a report in as we share with you the opportunity we had to work together.

As we look ahead, we are working hard to renew our priority for missional living. On January 14 we had a congregational meeting that named three priorities for Kelloggsville Church. I have included our connections for Feb that reports on this meeting but let me just emphasize that our third priority is Missional Living – The intention to increase Kelloggsville’s focus to live on mission and love even more people toward God. We are actually in the process of creating a job description for such a position because we need someone to help us live into what this means for each of us as we seek to live for the kingdom.

I would like to end by saying thank you. The committee has blessed us greatly by granting us the opportunity to turn our hearts toward our nesting churches and becoming energized by what God is doing among us. Thank you for your generosity.


Martin Benckhuysen, Len DeRooy, and Brian VanderMeulen
Members of Kelloggsville Church’s “Nesting Church Committee”

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