Christian Reformed Church is selling its headquarters after 65 years amid financial concerns

The Grand Rapids, Michigan, office of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. In September 2023, the denomination announced that they were selling the property.
The Grand Rapids, Michigan, office of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. In September 2023, the denomination announced that they were selling the property. | CRC Communications

The Christian Reformed Church in North America will be selling its headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after more than six decades of occupying the property as maintenance costs have become "financially unsustainable."

CRCNA's ministry board voted to put the property up for sale, according to a statement Wednesday. Dan DeKam, director of U.S. ministry operations, gives thanks for the 65 years that the CRCNA used the property as its headquarters.

"At the same time, we recognize that the building's infrastructure is aging, and its ongoing maintenance is becoming financially unsustainable," stated DeKam.

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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."

The denomination of over 1,000 congregations plans to list the 1700 28th Street property in fall 2023, while staff continue to explore options for another location that can meet the denomination's needs. 

"The building at 1700 28th Street is too big and doesn’t have flexibility for the future,” said DeKam.

DeKam is optimistic about the property's value, explaining that "being at the 28th Street and Kalamazoo corner" is "likely worth more to someone else."

"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," he added. 

CRCNA General Secretary Zachary King said the denomination's "current building was constructed for a more centralized and labor-intensive model of ministry that characterized the past."

"As we move into the future, we will need a smaller, more decentralized and flexible ministry structure so that we can serve our churches and support ministries in the United States, Canada, and around the world," King said.

A small Calvinist denomination rooted in the Dutch Reformed Church of the Netherlands, CRCNA reported 1,053 congregations across the United States and Canada and more than 200,000 members in 2022. 

In recent years, the CRCNA has been embroiled in a debate over whether to change its biblical 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.

The final appeal vote at the synod was 124 against the appeal, 47 for granting the appeal and six delegates abstaining.

The CRCNA is not the only Protestant denomination that has recently had to put its headquarters up for sale. 

In September 2021, the theologically liberal United Church of Christ announced that it was selling its nine-story, 120,000-square-foot national offices in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, was quoted in the announcement as saying that the move was part of an effort to "carefully steward our precious missional resources."

"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 at the time.  

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