WMCN News Briefs 7/30

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbBack to God Ministries International renamed

Grand Rapids-based Back to God Ministries International has been renamed Reframe Ministries, effective 2021. The decision was made at a special meeting of the Christian Reformed Church in North America Council of Delegates. Its new tagline is "God's Story. Today's Media." The new name better introduces the ministry and its ongoing purpose to people who don't know Jesus yet, according to BTGMI director, Kurt Selles.

$1 million tuition assistance offered

Grand Rapids Diocese Bishop David Walkowiak announced that up to $1 million in tuition assistance is available for returning and new families whose finances have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuition assistance is available for the 2020-21 school year. Families may apply at CatholicSchools4U.org. The additional $1 million in COVID-19 tuition assistance is possible through diocesan savings.

Calvin University, Calvin Seminary Receive $11 million to Boost Faculty Development

Calvin University has received a $11 million gift that will deepen the institution's commitment to teach from a Reformed Christian perspective and expand its ability to shape Reformed Christian thought leadership around the world.

This most recent gift will enable faculty to have release-time from teaching responsibilities so they can take courses that will advance Christian understanding, provide time for faculty to develop curriculum and scholarship to enable Christian thought leadership, and offer opportunities for faculty members to receive mentoring from experienced faculty peers.

In short, it will provide faculty an opportunity to deepen and strengthen their understanding of Reformed thinking — the idea that because all areas of study and life matter to God, then they are also worthy of renewal in the name of Jesus Christ.

The gift is from the estates of the late Rimmer and Ruth de Vries, the couple who funded the establishment of the Global Faculty Development Institute at Calvin in 2018. They also endowed Calvin's annual Kuyper Conference and the Kuyper Prize, both named after 19th-century Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper.

Mel Trotter, Next Step merge

Mel Trotter Ministries and Next Step of West Michigan have formally merged. No jobs or services are effected by this merger. Reducing the duplication of services and partnering to assist the same population who are experiencing hunger and homelessness in West Michigan was a driving force behind the merger. "Through this merger, we will become more effective stewards of donor and community resources," said Mel Trotter Ministries president and CEO, Dennis Van Kampen. "Most importantly, our guests will have more options and will move more quickly out of homeless forever. We believe that this will be a huge blessing for all."

Next Step's manufacturing space will provide the merged organizations a great space to train and employ individuals who have little to no work experience, as Next Step has excelled in business and workforce development. Plans to utilize vacant land owned by Next Step will provide Mel Trotter with the opportunity to create affordable transitional housing. Additionally, Next Step's construction experience and skills will be used in building and renovating transitional housing for guests taking their next step out of homelessness. The merger will create a construction division of Mel Trotter Ministries that will manage and renovate projects at an affordable cost.

Grant helps MTM meet essential needs

Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM) has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to help offset the ongoing costs associated with COVID-19.

The funding will enable Mel Trotter Ministries to meet urgent needs, including food, medicine and shelter. Since March 23, MTM has served more than 40,000 meals to an increased number of people staying at the mission as well as offsite during the height of COVID-19.

Pre-packaged food was purchased in order to eliminate buffet lines, along with paper products and disposable utensils. Separate physical spaces were built to allow individuals to remain safe while inside the mission. In addition, MTM purchased bleach, disinfectant, cleaning supplies, and thermometers in bulk, while contracting a third-party cleaning company to bio-fog throughout the facility on an ongoing basis. Mel Trotter Ministries also provided hazard pay for essential staff during the crisis.
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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