Imlay City’s Blueberry Parade Yields a Harvest

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Three years ago Imlay City (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church began participating in the local Blueberry Festival Parade, and it has been growing exciting results for the congregation.

Pastor David Spoelma highlights one of those results: “We used to have to say that [the church] was next to Silver Grill Restaurant because everyone knew where that was, but not the church. Now we are happy to say that Silver Grill Restaurant is next to [the church].”

Their participation in this community parade features Spoelma’s decorated trailer—accompanied by 40 to 60 members walking, biking, or riding along and handing out fliers “to moms only”—and gets lots of attention.

The efforts have made the community much more aware of the church, and that attention more and more is carrying over to Sundays and beyond. “We have heard so many say when they come visit us on Sundays that they saw our presence in the parade,” Spoelma said.

This parade presence, however, is only one of several community events that members of the church sponsor each year—events that build connections to the larger community. Family nights at the high school, Wednesday Family Nights at the church, their summer Vacation Bible School efforts, and their first sports camp this summer have begun yielding growth. Spoelma noted that the church has seen 100 new members—90 formerly unchurched—added to their numbers in the past two years. 

With a yield like this, the congregation plans to continue its efforts to connect with the Imlay City community.

About the Author

Anita Ensing Beem is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. Retired director of education and outreach at North Hills CRC in Troy, Mich., she now resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is a member of First CRC.

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