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Outdoor worship service to benefit Family Promise

Jessica Courtright

Contributing Writer

Green Street United Methodist Church and Hope United Methodist Church are partnering for an outdoor worship service and fundraiser at Thornapple Plaza Sunday, Aug. 25. The event will raise funds to fight homelessness in Barry County. All offerings and donations made during the event will go to Family Promise of Barry County.

The outdoor prayer service will begin at 9:30 a.m. (Some downtown streets will be closed, so guests may want to allow extra time.)

The event is free, and all are welcome to attend. Free drink and snack tickets will be handed out between 9:30 and 10 a.m. for breakfast-style refreshments.

Music during the service will be provided by members of both congregations, including the Green Street Band. Green Street United Methodist Church Pastor Bryce Feighner and Hope United Methodist Church Pastor Kim Metzer will lead worship. Family Promise Executive Director Martha Gibbons will share information on her organization.

For roughly eight years, Green Street United Methodist Church has held an outdoor worship service during Hastings Summerfest to raise funds for community outreach programs. The goal, Feighner said, is to take worship outside of the church and help the community. In the past, the church has raised funds for local nonprofit organizations such as Barry County Cares and the Community Meal Program.

“We wanted to highlight them and bring attention to the good work they are doing,” Feighner said of the congregation’s decision to direct funds to Family Promise, adding that Green Street is proud to be a host church for Family Promise, which officially opened in April.

Gibbons said she is honored and grateful to the churches for selecting Family Promise of Barry County as the beneficiary of this event.

Temporary housing is only a small part of what Family Promise of Barry County provides. In addition to regular meals and access to the facilities and resources of the day center, at Hope United Methodist Church, families receive mentoring customized to their specific needs and goals. With daily to weekly meetings, Family Promise monitors guests’ progress to ensure they stay on track and continue working toward their goals.

Gibbons said she is always looking for more volunteers and partner churches. Even if a church is unable to host families, there are many other ways for congregations to get involved and support families in need.

Volunteers or churches who are interested in helping may call Gibbons, 269-953-6189, or email

Following Sunday’s service, the two churches will host a free community cookout at Thornapple Plaza. Church members will be serving hamburgers, chips, and other picnic-style foods. Individuals who are unable to attend the service are welcome to participate. Donations to Family Promise will be accepted during the cookout.

Additional information, including how to donate, can be found at


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