Social Justice

 

Oakdale Park CRC is committed to the biblical value of social justice.  Social justice is about seeking human flourishing. It involves working to eliminate barriers to human flourishing--barriers evident in poverty and oppression--and advocating for human laws that align with the law of God.  God commands us to look out for widows (James 1:27), to take up the cause of orphans (Isaiah 1:17), to provide for the needs of the poor (James 2:15-16), to defend the oppressed (Isaiah 1:17), to remember those who are in prison (Hebrews 13:3), to welcome immigrants (Deuteronomy 10:19), and to engage in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).  We are called to demonstrate our love for God with actions and in truth (1 John 3:17).  

Oakdale Park Church looks for ways to develop ministries of mercy, service, and justice to respond to the needs within our church and the needs of persons living in the broader community and around the world. Those ministries change and grow according to the gifts of our members. 

Learn more about the social justice efforts of our denomination, and sign up to receive action alerts, newsletters, and prayer updates at Office of Social Justice - Christian Reformed Church.

Justice and mercy go hand in hand.  Here is a list of additional local organizations committed to human flourishing by loving mercy and seeking justice.  We would encourage you to join their mailing lists, serve as a volunteer with one of them, or utilize their services.

 

African Resource Center of West Michigan theafricancenter.com

The ARC is a non-profit organization that seeks to build healthy African communities in West Michigan by connecting African immigrants with communities and equipping African immigrants with the skills to be responsible, American citizens.

 

Celebration Fellowship   celebrationfellowshipcrc.com

Celebration Fellowship is a multi-site prison congregation of the Christian Reformed Church pastored by our own Andy Hansen. Currently church services are held with 125-150 members at Ionia Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, Handlon Correctional Facility, and Bellamy Creek Level I. Overall, the churches are flourishing and, according to the warden’s at of these facilities, have had a very positive impact on the culture of the prisons themselves. Many former members are now reestablishing their lives in the West Michigan area where we assist them in finding a home church, housing, jobs, and other support systems that facilitate their reintegration into this community.

 

CLEAR

Our own Ralph Mason founded the Coalition, Leadership, Education, Advice Rehabilitation program called CEAR which meets every Thursday with former prisoners. The organization was formed to help ex-offenders stay out of prison and adapt to civilian life.

 

Criminal Justice Chaplaincy cjcministry.org

CJC works so that people whose lives are affected by crime may experience justice, mercy, and healing. In partnership with CJC, Oakdale Park CRC hosts monthly community reentry fellowship lunches for returning citizens and the families of returning citizens to connect with church folks and mentors. 

 

Disability Advocates of Kent County dakc.us

Disability Advocates’ mission is to advocate for, and facilitate action by, persons living with disabilities and our community in order to achieve equal access for all.

 

Family Haven  iccf.org/fh/get-involved-family-haven

Family Haven helps West Michigan families transition from homelessness to permanent housing. It is a ministry of Inner City Christian Federation in Grand Rapids, which provides housing opportunities and services that encourage family responsibility and independence for the purpose of building stable communities. Oakdale supports Family Haven financially and by sending groups to volunteer at the shelter.

 

Immigration Legal Services dioceseofgrandrapids.org

ILS provides low-cost, legal representation in legal matters to those in our community whose household income falls below 200% of the poverty line, helping clients reunite with family abroad, obtain U.S. citizenship or legal permanent status, and assisting immigrants who have been victims of crimes. 

 

Inner City Christian Federation iccf.org

ICCF provides housing opportunities and services that encourage family responsibility and independence for the purpose of building stable communities.

 

LINC  lincrev.org

LINC is a community development corporation that provides services to Kent County, revitalizing neighborhoods through authentic engagement, stimulating economic development, expanding housing opportunities, creating affordable housing, and developing leadership and capacity of residents and grassroots organizations.

 

The Micah Center themicahcenter.org

The Micah Center exists to educate people about the biblical call to do justice and how they can respond to that call in their local community. It accomplishes this work by hosting a monthly lecture series on current issues and by facilitating eight advocacy groups. These groups advocate for policies that advance the cause of justice in areas such as poverty, the environment, health care, worker justice, and criminal justice. Oakdale is one of 40 churches that send members to participate in the powerful work of the Micah Center in Grand Rapids. 

 

Partners for a Racism-Free Community prfc-gr.org

PFRC works to educate members about racism and train them for the purpose of fostering inclusiveness and welcome in work place environments.

 

Plaster Creek Stewards calvin.edu

PCS seek to educate the community about watershed ecology, performs ongoing research, and does on-the-ground work for restoration like installing rain gardens and planting trees. Oakdale Park CRC is in the Plaster Creek watershed. 

 

Pregnancy Resource Center prcforlife.org

The PRC is a non-profit ministry that offers education, family support services, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and STD/STI testing and treatment that affirm the gift of all human life.