By Kathy DeMott
There’s a new place to worship in the village: the Vicksburg Gathering of Ada Bible Church.
Before relocating to Vicksburg, Andy and Cheri Vander Moren were very active in their previous church, Ada Bible in Grand Rapids. Led by Pastor Jeff Manion since 1983, it has grown into one of the largest churches in the Grand Rapids area, with four campuses. Each campus has its own worship team and children’s ministry, but the teachings are streamed from the main campus.
The Vander Morens were involved in a Portage church for several years. However, Cheri felt God was leading her to bring a modern expression of church to the village of Vicksburg. Her family missed Ada Bible, and her daughter said, “Why can’t we bring our church here?”
They connected with another local couple, Scott and Shelley Tindall, who had previously attended Ada Bible and missed the teachings and relationships. In May of 2020, during COVID, the Vander Morens, Tindalls, along with Jim and Rebecca DeLaBarre, started the Vicksburg Gathering of Ada Bible Church meeting at Indian Run Golf Course. “For six months, it was just our three families, but then we began to grow,” reminisced Cheri.
On Sunday December 18, 2022, The Vicksburg Gathering of Ada Bible officially celebrated its new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 117 S. Kalamazoo Ave. They welcomed the community, and acknowledged the local partnerships and attendees who helped make this a reality. Cheri, who leads The Gathering, said, “Our vision is to tap into ‘big church’ resources and bring a modern church experience to our small-town community. We want to be here to love, serve, and share the love of Christ to the people of Vicksburg. The mission of the church is to lead people into a relationship with God and his church that transforms them to Christ-likeness.” The core values are evangelism, healthy relationships, service to others, and radical generosity. “We are here for each other, to walk through difficult things together, with love and vulnerability.”
The Vicksburg Gathering is unique because it the only church in Vicksburg that video-streams the teaching and worship from another campus. As the Gathering grows, a worship team will develop. It is completely led by volunteers with a growth path to eventually include pastoral staff.
Brandon and Stephanie Wagner lead Discovery Village children’s ministry. Brandon oversees Life Line, a youth ministry for middle and high school students. Brandon said, “We want to provide a safe and welcoming place, have fun, and learn about Jesus. We want kids to know they are seen, they matter, and are not alone.” As a father and coach, he has a passion for teaching and youth.
Rebecca DeLaBarre leads the women’s ministry and shares, “For many women there is a need and longing for relationship and community.” Her husband and director of adult ministries, Jim, is overseeing the launch of the men’s group. It focuses on relevant topics, bible studies, and supporting each other. Krystal Witherell is director of operations and hospitality. Kathy DeLaBarre-Bumpus is the director of care and oversees collection of donations and local needs.
Church services are Sundays at 10 a.m.
For more information on The Vicksburg Gathering go to Facebook @Vicksburg.gathering.ada.bible or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kathy DeMott