Heavy rain drenches the streets outside as about 25 people arrive on a Sunday afternoon for worship as part of the newly formed Square Inch Church.
Most members are in their 20s and 30s. Children roam freely in the congregation’s spacious room on the third floor of a renovated building in the artsy East Hills Neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Mich.
This Christian Reformed Home Missions-supported church begins worship with a call-and-response litany; their liturgy follows an ancient Christian pattern.
Congregational prayers come next. People speak of sick friends and of work they can do for others. They offer praises for getting jobs and words of comfort for those who have lost jobs.
Guitars accompany both contemporary praise songs and old-time hymns. Pastor Steve De Ruiter plays one guitar. He also gives the sermon and oversees communion.
De Ruiter’s message centers on the workings of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people. In it, he says, “In moments of great pain, the Holy Spirit articulates our moans and groans. The Spirit holds us tight. . . .”
After the worship service, everyone gathers for a vegan potluck dinner, sharing food and stories and elements of their faith.
“I felt the call to plant Square Inch in Grand Rapids when I realized how those skeptical of the Christian faith—and the church in particular—were seeking their answers outside of the Christian community,” De Ruiter says.
“I am particularly drawn to artists and musicians. . . . But Square Inch is not just a place for artists. It is a place for those who are seeking God and seeking a community within which to work out life’s questions.”
—Christian Reformed Home Missions Communications