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Christian Reformed Church to Sell Michigan Headquarters

By Liz Lykins
Photo from Christian Reformed Church in North America

The Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) plans to sell its main office in Grand Rapids, Mich., the denomination announced on Sept. 6 in a press release. 

After more than six decades of occupying the property, the denomination cited both financial concerns and a need for flexibility as the reason behind the sale. 

Maintenance costs have become “financially unsustainable,” said Dan DeKam, director of U.S. ministry operations. “The building’s infrastructure is aging, and its ongoing maintenance is becoming financially unsustainable.”

The U.S. ministry voted to sell, citing that staying in the building would not be a “smart or stewardly financial decision,” according to its release. 

The decision to sell also stemmed from COVID’s impact on the workplace. The pandemic made it so that CRCNA no longer needed the larger office space provided by the Michigan location, DeKam added.

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“The pandemic forced staff into different ways of working and, although the future of office work isn’t entirely clear, we do know it needs to be flexible — for the health of employees and the good of the organization. It is time for a new shape,” DeKam said. “Tapping into the existing value of the land and moving — either to another location on the existing property or to a site nearer connected organizations — would open the possibility for more shared spaces and resources.”

In addition, CRCNA has shifted the way it does ministry, explained Zachary King, general secretary of the CRCNA. In the past, the building was constructed for a “more centralized and labor-intensive model of ministry,” he said. The denomination is now looking to have a “smaller, more decentralized and flexible ministry structure.”

CRCNA is proposing a new space that will follow Universal Design standards while being fully accessible. “A carefully curated and artfully assembled welcome area would celebrate the denomination’s past, display its ministry work, and highlight the new,” the release said.

According to its website, the CRC is a “is a diverse family of healthy congregations, assemblies, and ministries expressing the good news of God’s kingdom that transforms lives and communities worldwide.” The small evangelical denomination has more than 1,000 congregations across both the United States and Canada. According to its website, about 230,000 people belong to the CRCNA.

In the past several years, the CRCNA has debated whether to change its stance on LGBT issues. The denomination defines marriage as between one man and one woman and does not allow the ordination of noncelibate homosexual clergy.

At the CRCNA Synod 2023 in June, church leadership rejected an appeal from Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids to have a deacon in a same-sex relationship.  

In 2022, the denomination also voted to codify its opposition to homosexual sex by elevating it to the status of confession, or declaration of faith, according to Christianity Today.

Outside of the CRCNA, other denominations have recently had to put headquarters up for sale in recent years. 

In September 2021, the United Church of Christ announced that it was selling its nine-story, 120,000-square-foot national offices in Cleveland, Ohio after more than 30 years of use.

The move is part of the denomination’s efforts to “carefully steward our precious missional resources,” said Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president. He cited hybrid work, a smaller workforce and financial benefits as reasons behind the sale.

“Making this move saves the National Setting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by leasing one floor rather than maintaining a nine-story building that once housed 330 employees,” stated Dorhauer in the release. 

The downtown building was bought for $4.5 million and is slated to become housing, according to a 2022 article in Crane’s Cleveland Business.

Another denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, announced its decision to sell its Chicago office building in July 2020. The decision was made primarily due to COVID-19, finances, structure, and a renewed focus on mission, a press release said.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.



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