About Us

East Congregational Church Grand Rapids MI

We seek to find shared beliefs that unite us in covenant and celebrate a wide variety of faith traditions.

United Church of Christ

East Church is a congregation of the United Church of Christ, a denomination that came into being in 1957 by the historic union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches.  This brought together historic roots of the Pilgrims and the Puritans, Christians seeking freedom of conscience, and German evangelicals.  The United Church of Christ still seeks to find shared beliefs that unite us in covenant and celebrates a wide variety of faith traditions.

From the Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ:

The United Church of Christ acknowledges as it sole head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour. . .It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. . .It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression and in purity of heart before God.

As a congregation of the United Church of Christ, East Church joins in covenant with other member congregations to minister in this world.  We claim autonomy in the local churches, finding authority in the congregation that honors our historic roots.  We value independence in expression of faith and commitment to the prayer of Jesus (John 17:21) that calls us to a spirit of unity.

Find out more about the United Church of Christ at ucc.org

Subscribe to the UCC Daily Devotional at ucc.org/daily_devotional

Michigan Conference UCC  michucc.org.


In 2002 this congregation engaged in discussion and study and declared itself to be Open and Affirming.  The following is from our Open and Affirming Statement.

We celebrate the diversity of God’s creation and affirm that each person has special worth as a unique creation in God’s image. All are welcome to worship here and to come into relationship with the church’s life and work. We thank God for the blessing, the challenge, and the joy that we experience in both our unity and our diversity.

We acknowledge that, historically, many Christian churches and societies have excluded people for a variety of unjust reasons. Among these are race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, physical or mental abilities.

We affirm that all people are embraced with the family of God.

We affirm that the full fellowship of East Congregational Church (all rights and duties, benefits and responsibilities as defined by our constitution) is open to all who seek a relationship with God through union with this congregation in Christ. We affirm that all members of East Congregational Church are called to share as fully as they are able in the worship, fellowship, and leadership of our congregation.

As we journey together as a community of faith, we are called by God to seek justice for all people. We, therefore, call ourselves to make a continuing effort toward inclusiveness, standing against all forms of discrimination. Therefore, we declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation.

Each year members of East Church are present at the Grand Rapids Pride Fest bringing this message of inclusion and affirmation to our LGBT sisters and brothers.

Empowering God’s community to grow in faith through worship, service, and learning at every age.

East Church is community-minded

East Church provides shelter for homeless families, staffs a neighborhood food pantry, and runs a community resale shop.  More on community service at East Church.

We are located in the Ottawa Hills neighborhood and participate in many nearby community events like the annual Fourth of July Hollyhock Parade and Garden Tour.

We journey together, leading our community of faith with a spirit of unity.

JT Hills




J.T., his wife Kelse and their two children Jay (8yrs) and Quorra (6yrs), live just north of Reed City. When he was asked about the drive from Reed City to East Church he said, “I looked it up on Google, it’s about 1 hour and 10 – 15 minutes, and that is very doable.” J.T. is originally from Nebraska, then California. He is from a family of ministers. His grandparents Rev. Dr. Warren Kremi and Rev. Anne Lee Kremi served in UCC Church’s and his mother also attended seminary! J.T. served as senior minister at the Evangelical United Church of Christ for 5 years in Tell City, Indiana. Since then he has served as Senior Minister for 2 years at United Church of Big Rapids. At this time J.T. is seeking new direction for his ministry and has accepted the position of Bridge Pastor for East Church. J.T. brings experience and youth to our congregation and a new found love for the state of Michigan.

Bren Elliot, M.a.

Youth Ministries Director


Jameson Thompson

Director of music & arts


Becca Johnson

Director of christian education for children


curtis prussner



Sunday 10:30am

Plan a visit

1005 Giddings Ave SE,
Grand Rapids, MI 49506


Primary Communities Served

Grand Rapids

East Grand Rapids

Ottawa Hills

East Town