- 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
- 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
- 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