“Trees of Hope” Brighten a West Michigan Neighborhood

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Hope Christian Reformed Church in Grandville, Mich., celebrated the Christmas holidays by brightening the neighborhood with a display of 35 decorated Christmas trees on a vacant lot next to the church.

Church leaders decided to try the “Trees of Hope” as a way of reaching out to the surrounding neighborhood. “We wanted to do something from an evangelistic perspective,” said Don Van Solkema, one of the leaders of the effort. “Anyone who wanted to could come down and decorate a tree.”

Each of the trees has with it a sign with a Bible verse that is tied to Jesus’ birth, Van Solkema said.

Some church members were creative in how they decorated their trees. One placed ornaments showing their loyalty to the Detroit Tigers baseball team, while another, whose family owns a metal roofing business, created all-metal ornaments using tin snips, Van Solkema said.

The tree display is just part of Hope CRC’s efforts at neighborhood outreach during the Christmas season. Other activities have included singing of carols and a hot dog roast. The church plans to put up a display next year as well.

About the Author

Greg Chandler is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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