KDC History


  • The Kalamazoo Deacons Conference (KDC) began in 1968 as a local ministry
    of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and Reformed Church of America
  • Several church women offered cooking and sewing classes in the basement of
    the Second CRC and Immanuel Church.


  • In 1973, Jim Nienhuis became a part-time Diaconal Consultant for the
    Kalamazoo Deacons Conference in a house on the corner of North Westnedge
    Avenue and Lulu Street.
  • KDC was designed to help energize the Deacons of local CRC and RCA with
    training sessions held to teach Deacons how to lead their church to carry out
    its mission of mercy in the community.
  • The governance of KDC then consisted of two delegates from each CRC and
    RCA church.


  • Art Hoekstra was hired in the early 1980s as a full-time director and the
    focus of KDC shifted from providing deacon training and resources to crisis
    ministry for neighborhood residents and the community at large.
  • In the mid-80’s, KDC’s current location at 1010 N. Westnedge Ave. was
    acquired and the organization then focused almost exclusively on Christian
    ministry for crises relief.
  • KDC provided a Monday – Friday open-door policy that anyone would be
    welcomed to tell their story. A KDC trained volunteer would listen to their
    story, research their situation with them and determine the best way to offer
    physical assistance and always the offer of prayer, Christian counsel and
    Biblical knowledge.


  • In 1993, Art Hoekstra recognized the need to expand the organization’s
    governance of all Christian churches and a new Board of Directors was
  • New programs were incorporated to provide job training opportunities at
    KDC, as well as crises relief.


  • In 2001, KDC was challenged to reassess its program priorities and adjust
    staffing levels to accommodate the economic reality of the times. During this
    time, the open-door policy, listening ears and the meeting of material and
    spiritual needs of those in crisis continued.
  • The Board of Directors determined in 2004 that the organization had
    financially recovered enough to again employee a full-time Executive
    Director. Terri McFadden-Sieplinga was hired and, although not officially
    changed, preferred the title of Executive Servant.
  • With tremendous Christian community support, KDC managed through the
    Great Recession years of 2007 to 2011, only to find itself once again
    struggling in 2016 and 2017. This resulted in cuts to the budget once again
    and the elimination of the Executive Director position. Kenny Bizzel,
    Operations Manager stepped forward to take on additional responsibilities at
    the leadership level and the Open Door programs for our guests remain

2018 – Celebrating 50 Years of God’s faithfulness to our ministry!!

KDC History April 19, 2017