Residents of the downtown McLaughlin neighborhood in Muskegon, Mich., can enjoy a hot shower and a meal as they wait for their laundry at Sacred Suds community center.
A Sacred Suds client teaches one of the managers how to crochet.
Sacred Suds, started in 2004, is part of Community enCompass, a Christian community development organization supported by several Christian Reformed Churches including Bethany Christian Reformed Church.
“Bethany ‘incubated’ Community enCompass,” said Rev. David Sieplinga, pastor of Bethany CRC, describing the merger in 2008 between Sacred Suds and Bethany Housing Ministries run by the church that created what is today called Community enCompass.
“As Bethany Housing Ministries grew, it naturally developed into its own nonprofit (Community enCompass) but remained close to Bethany’s heart and mission.”
Apart from two comanagers, Sacred Suds continues to be run by volunteers from Bethany CRC as well as other local churches and community members. Volunteers bring in hot and cold meals daily. During tax season, volunteers come in three days a week to help residents prepare their taxes.
Through this service, over $250,000 has been brought back into the neighborhood. Along with laundry and showers, residents also have access to haircuts every other week and computers with Internet access and printers at Sacred Suds. Clothing vouchers through the local rescue mission and household items at reduced prices are also available.
“The highlight for me is providing a much-needed service to the community and treating people with dignity, no matter their race, religion, or income,” said comanager Charlotte Johnson.
Sacred Suds places a high value on neighbor input and shares Community enCompass’s vision of a restored neighborhood in which all neighbors have opportunity to use their gifts.
Other churches that support Community enCompass include Elmhurst (Ill.) CRC, Bradenton (Fla.) CRC, Redeemer CRC in Sarnia, Ontario; Christian Reformed World Relief Committee also supports the ministry.