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FirstCovGR participates with Kids Hope USA at Sibley Elementary. 97.2% of Sibely students are receiving a free or discounted lunch. This is the highest percentage in the Grand Rapids Public Schools District.


One simple thing will make a big difference in the life of an at-risk child: One-on-one, positive attention from a responsible, caring adult.

Kids Hope USA develops these one-on-one relationships through the creation of church-school partnerships that pair church members with at-risk kids in supportive, mentoring relationships.

Kids Hope USA mentors spend just one hour per week, reading, talking, playing and listening to a child at school. By helping the child feel loved and valued, they help that child to learn, grow and succeed.
You can change a life…and that’s no small change.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, prayer partner, or want to know more about Kids Hope, contact us and sign up for the upcoming Kids Hope Training.


Kids Hope

union high school

FirstCovGR actively supports a number of Union High School ministries, including:

  • Bible Club, which meets weekly on Mondays after school and is organized and run by several of our church members.
  • Open Gym and Bible Study, which is put on by Dale Dalman, Esperanza Covenant Church Senior Pastor, on Wednesdays after school during the school year and during the summer.
  • Campus Life, which has a chapter that meets in our youth room weekly.


In 2001 God opened a door of opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the students of Union High School through our weekly after school ministry called “Bible Club”. Over the years we have seen many of these students make first time decisions to trust and follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Once a week from October to May we enter their school with the Word of God and aroma of Christ (in the form of pizza) and invite students to fill their stomachs with food, their heads and hearts with Truth and their school with acts of kindness in Jesus Name.

Our Bible Club lessons vary as we seek the Holy Spirit's wisdom and direction about topics and life issues that are relevant to their culture and day-to-day situations. Despite our many differences, we have discovered that a consistent caring presence bridges gaps, breaks down barriers and opens the way for sharing stories of faith and transformation in Jesus Christ. Conversation is lively and questions are abundant but God’s Word provides the answers their hearts are searching for.

Come for a visit or join the team! If you would like more information, contact Patty Hansma at 616-450-9927 or at


Every Wednesday we open the gym of the church to middle and high school students. This event attracts teens from a variety of ethnic backgrounds from Union and other area high schools. We start with a time of basketball, soccer, volleyball, pool, etc. providing a safe, healthy after school activity. At about 5:00 we close down the gym and invite interested students to stay for a study of God's Word and share a meal together. This extended time with the teens each week allows us to build relationships of trust with them. Their stories can be heartbreaking, but we are trying to demonstrate God’s unconditional acceptance and love for them. As a result of the outreach some of the teens and their families are now attending church on Sundays!

This ministry is a shared outreach of First Covenant and Esperanza Covenant and also supported by volunteers from several local congregations. We are always looking for adults with a heart for the Lord and a love for teens to join us in this ministry. You do not have to play basketball to be able to have an impact in a teen's life. Our greatest need is for adults willing to spend time mentoring a small group of teens on a weekly basis. If you would like more information on getting involved in the ministries please contact Pastor Dale at 616-589-3925.


Campus Life reaches into Union High School and invites students to enter into relationship with our leaders. Our weekly club facilitates a fun, safe event where kids can be kids and have fun and laugh. We also engage in conversations about issues students face and give them a voice to be heard and to hear what the Bible says. Finally, we share our story- how God has directed our leaders through similar situations. Last year we averaged between 30-50 students each week.

Club is primarily an opportunity to draw kids in with a safe fun environment. Our vision is to see leaders walking intimately in Christ-sharing relationship with students.

Club meets at First Cov in the youth room from 2pm-5pm

For information on getting involved, please contact Jon Blahnik at 616-634-3980 or at

Campus Life

First Evangelical Covenant Church supports the ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Grand Valley State University and throughout the whole of West Michigan.

This ministry is:

  • reaching over 300 students at GVSU, equipping student leaders to represent Jesus on all corners of the campus including Freshmen, International students, Artists, Nursing students, Black students, Latino students, and many in between.
  • working to form a witnessing community of students on campus who are walking with Jesus in community with others as they boldly share their faith compellingly on campus.
  • is in partnership with student leaders, staff provide: Small groups, Large Group worship gathering, evangelism, training conferences, leadership coaching, and discipleship.
  • The vision of the ministry is “to see Students and Faculty Transformed, the Campus Renewed, and World Changers Developed.
  • In the West Michigan area as a whole, InterVarsity is serving 700 students at GVSU, WMU, GRCC, Davenport U, and Hope.

We specifically support Alicia and Derek DeKam, FirstCovGR members, in their work with InterVarsity. Derek is the West Michigan area director of Intervarsity and Alicia is the associate area director.


For many years, FirstCovGR has worked alongside Dégagé Ministries by building relationships and serving meals to individuals in the Heartside Neighborhood. On the 3rd Sunday every other month, we have a team from our congregation that prepares and serves dinner. We also have many individual members volunteering in several other roles at Dégagé.

Since 1967, Dégagé has been a place where followers of Christ extend care and community to those in need. Our mission is to reflect the love of Christ to all who come through our doors by building relationships and offering programs through dignity and respect.

Serving 400-500 individuals daily, staff and volunteers continue to follow Christ’s example by walking alongside men and women as they navigate challenges such as homelessness, joblessness, mental illness, and addictions.

Some of Dégagé’s programs include:

Dining Room: Breakfast & Dinner is served each day.
Hygiene Facilities: Showers, Laundry, & bathrooms.
Referral Services: Resource office & ID Office
The Open Door: Women’s Overnight Shelter
FirstCovGR member, Marge Palmerlee, is the Executive Director of Dégagé Ministries.



Isaiah 58. 7 says, “Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help” (New Living Translation).

The FirstCovGR Food Pantry is a cooperative venture with a non-profit – ACCESS West Michigan. The mission of the Food Pantry is to help supply food and related items to people in significant need. It exists to serve people in the community as well as in our congregation.

It is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 12:30-2:30 (except on election days, when the church facility is used for voting). (Recommended: call to make sure it is open.)

Judy Marsh is the coordinator of the Food Pantry and its volunteers. If you would like to volunteer to work at the food pantry, she can be contacted at 616-915-8900.

If you would like to donate food for the pantry, drop it off at any time the church is open (Sundays and church office hours). (We cannot except outdated food, dinted cans, or open/used containers. If donating items that need cooling, please bring during Pantry hours so items can be placed in pantry freezer.