Emden (Minn.) Christian Reformed Church’s recent kitchen renovation has made the space more welcoming to visitors, boosting the church’s outreach programs. A church revitalization grant from the congregation’s classis helped to fund the update.
Nick Daugherty, an elder at Emden CRC, said that the ovens at the church had not been touched since 1963. The congregation planned to update just the ovens, but their plans changed when they realized that the entire kitchen needed to be renovated to accommodate the new appliances. Emden CRC asked its classis (regional group of congregations) for some help with the project, recognizing that doing the update would equip their church members for outreach opportunities. Classis Lake Superior gave the church $5,000. The rest of the project was funded by the Emden CRC community. They were grateful for the grant.
The main components of the renovation were completed in August. Daugherty said, “Since then, we’ve used the kitchen for VBS meals, some ladies from our church made almost 100 meals for area farmers, and one night people got together and baked bars that they delivered to local businesses.”
In January the congregation plans to host a community pancake breakfast, and there are discussions about hosting a cookie decorating night, and later in the new year, a soup supper. These kinds of events are opportunities, Daugherty said. “It turns the church into a home, rather than just a place to be on Sunday mornings.
“People come to visit and have coffee and breakfast—we also do outreach movie nights that we use the kitchen for—these events get people into the church with their kids.”
Betsy Wergin, the chair of the classis home missions committee, which reviews the revitalization grant requests, said Lake Superior’s revitalization fund has been built up over time through the contributions of the member churches. Congregations apply as they have need. “The grants exist to help churches reach into their communities to engage with people who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ or have disconnected with the churches as a whole,” Wergin said. “In doing so the hope is to draw them into the fellowship of believers.”