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Yankee Fan

Grand Rapids Area Churches

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So my wife and I, along with our kids, have started attending church at ResLife in Wyoming/Grandville. Outside of the service, which we thought was awesome, we were floored by the variety of things in the building.

First, it is big, really big. To some, this may be a turn off. For our family, we felt right at home. The main building reminded me of Rivertown Mall. Two floors, lots of windows. We were completely blown away.

Second, they have an actual Customer Service desk. Do not confuse this with a church office. This was an honest to goodness, Macy's like Customer service desk. It was fully staffed and they could help answer any questions that you had about their church, the programs, the services, the facilities, etc. It was amazing.

Third, they have multiple coffee "kiosks" where you can buy Starbucks-grade coffee. None of that crappy coffee I grew up on in the CRC. This was the high-octane stuff.

Fourth, they have a full restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and, at certain points, dinner. And this is throughout the week. My wife was so excited by this alone because she no longer is in a rush to get some food on the table. We just go there before/after service.

Fifth, they have a full bookstore, again open most of the week.

Okay, so I could go on and on. I am sure that this is not the only church in the area like this. My point: we have no reason to not go to church. Most important, we have a blended family and no one even flinches when we tell them. They welcome us for who we are, not who they want us to be.

We feel like we have finally found a church home, which is very exciting.

I am curious about other churches in the area. What are they like? What are their pros/cons? What do they offer? Why do you like/dislike them?

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Personally, I dislike churches such as res life. Granted, I am very much a traditionalist, but this is why I do not like it.

It seems, just as you said, like a Rivertown. Why ever leave the building? The church is capitalising on you spending your entire Sunday there. Thus, it has no interaction with any community around it (granted there isn't one because it is in the middle of nowhere.) I very much dislike the idea of warehouse/mall churches, because they lack some important features held by old churches. A church was not built to look pretty. Architectural ornamentation was not added to make it feel special. Old churches, in the way they are built, tell a story. They play on subconciously pleasing measurements and employ a plethora of sacred symbolism so that almost every element of the church has purpose in the telling of some sort of story. Warehouse churches cannot do this.

And again, I would much rather go next door for a coffee than have it inside.

I've been to Res-Life once. I thought "huh, this place is neat."

I've also been to St. Adolphus once. I was overwhelmed with feelings beyond my comprehension.

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,,,,Rivertown Mall. Two floors, lots of windows. We were completely blown away...... This was an honest to goodness, Macy's like Customer service desk. .....Third, they have multiple coffee "kiosks" where you can buy Starbucks-grade coffee. ..... full restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and, at certain points, dinner. And this is throughout the week. My wife was so excited by this alone because she no longer is in a rush to get some food on the table. ....... Fifth, they have a full bookstore, again open most of the week.....

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The eponymously-named Fountain Street is housed in a vintage "churchy" building DT. (Its bells are the ones heard all over DT on Sunday at about 10:55 am.) Some of the stained glass depicts Biblical saints, others depict "modern saints" including Lincoln and Darwin.

Beliefs are similar to the U-U tradition, only less dogmatic.

The coffee is superb, and it's free trade. Several times a month there's an inexpensive soup lunch. A lounge/art gallery hosts various exhibits. Couple years back there was a nice one for the Lenten season entitled "Mardi Gras Parade." During the social hour, there's a (new) bookstore with interesting titles, there's always a (free) book exchange.

Projects include support of the nearby Montessori school, welcome baskets for new residents of Dwelling Place, support of many good local humanitarian causes. ("Hungry homeless vet" was brought into assisted housing by a FSC member.) We had an Iftar dinner during Ramadan.

Families are offered a wide menu of programs and services for various-age children. The teen groups regularly spend spring break on mission trips to places like NYC and NOLA. (An adult group is going there in February, to help rebuild.)

As for other amenities, there's the main GRPL branch, Schuler's, all the local coffee shops, museums, even a public ice rink only a couple blocks away.

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Personally, I dislike churches such as res life. Granted, I am very much a traditionalist, but this is why I do not like it.

It seems, just as you said, like a Rivertown. Why ever leave the building? The church is capitalising on you spending your entire Sunday there. Thus, it has no interaction with any community around it (granted there isn't one because it is in the middle of nowhere.) I very much dislike the idea of warehouse/mall churches, because they lack some important features held by old churches. A church was not built to look pretty. Architectural ornamentation was not added to make it feel special. Old churches, in the way they are built, tell a story. They play on subconciously pleasing measurements and employ a plethora of sacred symbolism so that almost every element of the church has purpose in the telling of some sort of story. Warehouse churches cannot do this.

I've also been to St. Adolphus once. I was overwhelmed with feelings beyond my comprehension.

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So my wife and I, along with our kids, have started attending church at ResLife in Wyoming/Grandville. Outside of the service, which we thought was awesome, we were floored by the variety of things in the building.

First, it is big, really big. To some, this may be a turn off. For our family, we felt right at home. The main building reminded me of Rivertown Mall. Two floors, lots of windows. We were completely blown away.

Second, they have an actual Customer Service desk. Do not confuse this with a church office. This was an honest to goodness, Macy's like Customer service desk. It was fully staffed and they could help answer any questions that you had about their church, the programs, the services, the facilities, etc. It was amazing.

Third, they have multiple coffee "kiosks" where you can buy Starbucks-grade coffee. None of that crappy coffee I grew up on in the CRC. This was the high-octane stuff.

Fourth, they have a full restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and, at certain points, dinner. And this is throughout the week. My wife was so excited by this alone because she no longer is in a rush to get some food on the table. We just go there before/after service.

Fifth, they have a full bookstore, again open most of the week.

Okay, so I could go on and on. I am sure that this is not the only church in the area like this. My point: we have no reason to not go to church. Most important, we have a blended family and no one even flinches when we tell them. They welcome us for who we are, not who they want us to be.

We feel like we have finally found a church home, which is very exciting.

I am curious about other churches in the area. What are they like? What are their pros/cons? What do they offer? Why do you like/dislike them?

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