We seek to find shared beliefs that unite us in covenant and celebrate a wide variety of faith traditions.

We seek to find shared beliefs that unite us in covenant and celebrate a wide variety of faith traditions.

United Church of Christ

East Church is a congregation of the United Church of Christ, a denomination that came into being in 1957 by the historic union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches.  This brought together historic roots of the Pilgrims and the Puritans, Christians seeking freedom of conscience, and German evangelicals.  The United Church of Christ still seeks to find shared beliefs that unite us in covenant and celebrates a wide variety of faith traditions.

From the Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ:

The United Church of Christ acknowledges as it sole head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour. . .It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. . .It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression and in purity of heart before God.

As a congregation of the United Church of Christ, East Church joins in covenant with other member congregations to minister in this world.  We claim autonomy in the local churches, finding authority in the congregation that honors our historic roots.  We value independence in expression of faith and commitment to the prayer of Jesus (John 17:21) that calls us to a spirit of unity.

Find out more about the United Church of Christ at ucc.org

Subscribe to the UCC Daily Devotional at ucc.org/daily_devotional

Michigan Conference UCC  michucc.org.

East Church is Open and Affirming

In 2002 this congregation engaged in discussion and study and declared itself to be Open and Affirming.  The following is from our Open and Affirming Statement.

We celebrate the diversity of God’s creation and affirm that each person has special worth as a unique creation in God’s image. All are welcome to worship here and to come into relationship with the church’s life and work. We thank God for the blessing, the challenge, and the joy that we experience in both our unity and our diversity.

We acknowledge that, historically, many Christian churches and societies have excluded people for a variety of unjust reasons. Among these are race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, physical or mental abilities.

We affirm that all people are embraced with the family of God.

We affirm that the full fellowship of East Congregational Church (all rights and duties, benefits and responsibilities as defined by our constitution) is open to all who seek a relationship with God through union with this congregation in Christ. We affirm that all members of East Congregational Church are called to share as fully as they are able in the worship, fellowship, and leadership of our congregation.

As we journey together as a community of faith, we are called by God to seek justice for all people. We, therefore, call ourselves to make a continuing effort toward inclusiveness, standing against all forms of discrimination. Therefore, we declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation.

Each year members of East Church are present at the Grand Rapids Pride Fest bringing this message of inclusion and affirmation to our LGBT sisters and brothers.

Empower God’s community to grow in faith through worship, service, and learning at every age.

Empower God’s community to grow in faith through worship, service, and learning at every age.

East Church is Community-Minded

East Church provides shelter for homeless families, staffs a neighborhood food pantry, and runs a community resale shop.  More on community service at East Church.

We are located in the Ottawa Hills neighborhood and participate in many nearby community events like the annual Fourth of July Hollyhock Parade and Garden Tour.

Our facility houses a renting congregation, the Tachanuwnah Full Gospel Center Church, that worships in the sanctuary on Sunday afternoons.

We journey together, leading our community of faith with a spirit of unity.

We journey together, leading our community of faith with a spirit of unity.

Rev. Dr. David Wheeler
Pastor

pastor.eastchurchgr@gmail.com

Bren Elliot
Youth Ministries Director
youth.eastchurchgr@gmail.com

Jameson Thompson
Director of Music & Arts
music.eastchurchgr@gmail.com

Becca Johnson
Director of Christian
Education for Children
education.eastchurchgr@gmail.com

Curtis Prussner
Custodian

cprussner.eastchurchgr@gmail.com

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Twelve people banded together to form the East Grand Rapids Congregational Church. For a time, they met over a store in East Grand Rapids, but as the congregation grew, it became necessary for them to build their own facility at the corner of Norwood and Wealthy.

1894
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Again, the meeting place was outgrown and a site was purchased for a church building at the corner of Norwood Avenue and Wealthy Street. The cornerstone of this church was laid September 16, 1896, and dedicated on December 20, 1896. Largely with the labor of their own hands, pastor and people erected a simple frame structure, which was enlarged in 1910.

1896-1910
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By 1927, that building was pressed for space and the present site was purchased. Ralph Adams Cram, a famous ecclesiastical architect, was engaged to design the complex. In 1929, the first service was held in the Parish House of this building. The following year, construction was begun on the chapel, which was dedicated in May of 1931.

1927-1931
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The sanctuary was completed and dedicated.

1955
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The church voted to become part of the merged Congregational Christian and Evangelical and Reformed Churches, now called the United Church of Christ.

1961
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With the addition of the Henrikson Tower, the church edifice became accessible to handicapped members and friends.

1988
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Our centennial year, a campaign was launched to allow for many repairs and additions to our buildings. New heating, lighting and sound systems, a refurbished chapel organ and extensive repairs to our Neo-Gothic structure were completed.

1994
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In the intervening years, we have continued to upgrade our building by adding emergency lighting in all public rooms and hallways, as well as remodeling the Youth Center to accommodate robing closets for our choir program. In the former choir robing rooms in the basement level, the rooms were revamped to accommodate our food pantry store.

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The congregation of East Church voted to be Open and Affirming, stating that we welcome all who will join with us regardless of race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, physical or mental abilities. We affirm that the full fellowship of East Congregational Church (all rights and duties, benefits and responsibilities as defined by our constitution) is open to all who seek a relationship with God through union with this congregation in Christ.

2002
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The Heart and Soul campaign was launched to fund the replacement of the boiler system in the older portion of the buildings. Thanks to many generous gifts, a hot water heating system will now provide heat in the building for many generations to come.

2004
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Looking to the future we are guided by our vision statement:  “Empowering God’s community to grow in faith through worship, service, and learning at every age.”  We believe:  “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

Upcoming Events

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News / Sermons

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Pastor Ruth D. Fitzgerald

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