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CRCNA Grand Rapids Building to Be Sold

September 6, 2023

The U.S. ministry board of the Christian Reformed Church in North America voted this week to put the denominational office building at 1700 28th Street SE in Grand Rapids, Mich., up for sale. The building has served the denomination for more than 65 years. 

“We give thanks for the 65 years of ministry that this building has supported, and for all of the people and resources that have filled its halls. At the same time, we recognize that the building’s infrastructure is aging, and its ongoing maintenance is becoming financially unsustainable,” said Dan DeKam, director of U.S. ministry operations. 

Staying in the building would not be a smart or stewardly financial decision, the board decided. In addition, a change of space has become more necessary following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic forced staff into different ways of working and, although the future of office work isn’t entirely clear, we do know it needs to be flexible—for the health of employees and the good of the organization. It is time for a new shape,” said DeKam.

In addition, the denomination itself has seen a shift in how it does ministry. “Our current building was constructed for a more centralized and labor-intensive model of ministry that characterized the past,” explained Zachary King, general secretary of the CRCNA. “As we move into the future, we will need a smaller, more decentralized and flexible ministry structure so that we can serve our churches and support ministries in the United States, Canada, and around the world.”

With these things in mind, together with input from staff and board members, and guided by the CRCNA’s core and behavior values, the U.S. ministry board approved a plan that will meet objectives to showcase ministry, tap into the value of existing lands, be accessible and flexible, and maximize the potential for God’s work to be accomplished. 

“The building at 1700 28th Street is too big and doesn’t have flexibility for the future,” said DeKam. “The property, especially being at the 28th Street and Kalamazoo corner, is also likely worth more to someone else. Tapping into the existing value of the land and moving—either to another location on the existing property or to a site nearer connected organizations—would open the possibility for more shared spaces and resources.”

The proposal stated that the new space would follow Universal Design standards and be accessible to all, with spaces designed to flex with changing needs. This space would be smaller, more efficient, and more adaptable to changing workplace needs. A carefully curated and artfully assembled welcome area would celebrate the denomination’s past, display its ministry work, and highlight the new.

To adopt a phrase borrowed from a local church, the new workplace will ‘dignify the ordinary’, by clearly communicating to staff, visitors, and passersby that the people working and gathering there have a meaningful and significant job to do and a well-designed and earth-friendly place to do it in,” explained DeKam. “But, in keeping with the character of the denomination, it won’t be showy or extravagant. Instead, the space should communicate stewardship and an overall value of ‘every square inch’ being intentional so that our part of God’s kingdom work can be accomplished.”

The CRCNA U.S. ministry board approved a plan to list the 1700 28th Street property in fall 2023. While the property is listed for sale, a staff team will continue exploring options for another location that will suitably meet the denomination’s needs and its vision for the future.

“We have been exploring several options already, and while we don’t know exactly where we will end up, we step humbly into the future, trusting God to guide our decisions,” said DeKam.