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About Us

Muskegon County Cooperating Churches Board of Directors 2024

OFFICERS

Bobbie Overton, President, Church of God United

Lucinda Barnum-Steggerda, Vice President, First Congregational UCC

Tim VanderHaar, Treasurer, First Congregational UCC

Jeff Justin, Secretary, Harbor Unitarian Universalist

BOARD

Chauncey Bryant, Ambassador's Church

Delores L. Cole, Mt. Zion Church of God in Christ

Paul Emick, Prince of Peace Catholic Church

Douglas Hughes, Doug Hughes Law

Lily Marx, St. Gregory's Episcopal Church

Georgia Moss, Phillip Chapel AME Church

Rev. John Parker, Mt. Herman Zion Baptist Church

Rev. Danny Peeples, Bethesda Baptist Church

Jared Rider, Church of God United

Tom Wagner, Church of the Brethren

Rev. Andre L. Williams, Jr., New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church

Judy Clark-Ochs, MCCC Board Emerita

Kasey Rose, Administrative Assistant

COMMITTEES and CHAIRS

Community Outreach Committee, Georgia Moss

Peace with Justice Committee, 

Mobile Food Pantry/Depot Delivery Committee, Paul Emick

BRANCHES Newsletter Committee, Bobbie Overton

Our History

We trace our origin to the formation of the Muskegon County Council of Churches on May 26th, 1941, which stemmed from informal discussions among local congregations about community needs. Representatives of 23 congregations gathered at Central Methodist Church (now Central United Methodist Church) for the founding meeting. Since the beginning, the Council has continually sought to minister to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people of our community.

 

One of the Council's earliest projects was to work with local parent-teacher groups (PTAs) during World War II to provide milk to local school children. During the 1940s, we facilitated vacation bible school and training events for Sunday school teachers. The Council also sponsored choir workshops and pulpit exchanges.

 

During the 1960s, the mainstream Protestant organization found renewed energy as it grew to include Catholic and Orthodox traditions. The Council coordinated weekly religious services for a local senior living facility (Brookhaven) and during summer months on The Milwaukee Clipper. In cooperation with the Labor Council, Labor Day Services were held in the L.C. Walker Arena. As part of the Goose Egg Lake project (later called the Blue Lake Cooperative housing development), the Council worked with other social service agencies to organize a preschool program and a clinic. Housing needs were addressed through a revolving loan fund. A jail/prison ministry program, led by Rev. Ed Rogers, was launched in 1975 and continued for twenty years..

In 1978, the Council changed its name to the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches (MCCC). Replacing the term “council” with “cooperating” more accurately described the working relationship among member congregations in service to the community.

The MCCC has a long history of discerning community needs and creating programs to meet those needs. These agencies include Foster Grandparents (1983), Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity (1986), Westshore Dispute Resolution Center (now Mediation & Restoration Services) (1993) and the Institute for Healing Racism – Muskegon (1998).

 

MCCC contributed to the organization of the Westshore Jewish/Christian Dialogue in 1988 (now the West Michigan Academic Consortium). In partnership with the Michigan Ecumenical Forum, we also sponsored an environmental conference in 1994 titled “Dialogue on the Common Good: Seeking a Sustainable Society”. In 1997, MCCC co-sponsored a conference “Building Bridges in the Face of Hate” addressing hate groups and their flawed theology. A conference on poverty co-sponsored by MCCC in 2000 was “Faith in Action: Building a Just and Caring Society” with the Rev. Ron Sider, President of Evangelicals for Social Action as the speaker.

During its existence, MCCC has served as the fiduciary agent for several community organizations, past and present. Past agencies under MCCC’s umbrella include the Muskegon Responsible Fathers’ Initiative, In the City for Good, Community Connects Choir, Recovery Congregations, and Profiles on Muskegon. Currently, MCCC is the fiduciary agency for the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and for the annual Muskegon CROP Hunger Walk. MCCC also oversees the Feeding America mobile food pantries offering help to churches by providing such items as tables, as well as instructions on how to run a mobile pantry. Additionally, we help develop and guide local Peace with Justice activities such as the Prayer Walk Against Violence scheduled for August 25, 2024.

Looking to the Future

Looking forward, MCCC is always looking for new ways to improve the lives of the people of Muskegon County. We are currently involved in the Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition, Strengthening Muskegon, the Emergency Needs Committee, and other programs working to improve the lives of the people of Muskegon County.

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