Metro’s History

Metro was incorporated on October 14, 1954 as the Methodist Union of Greater Grand Rapids with a church planting mission. Church building purchases include Wesley Park, Aldersgate, Forest Hills (later sold to the state highway department), Plainfield, and Georgetown.

In 1970, the organization announced its new calling to move from a property orientation to a people orientation and a Metropolitan Ministry Committee was formed.

In 1978, United Methodist Metropolitan Ministry became the legal successor to the Grand Rapids United Methodist Union. Some of Metro’s early successes include Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, South End Community Outreach Ministries (SECOM), and Grand Rapids Area Service Project (GRASP), along with the development of La Nueva Esperanza UMC, Vietnamese UMC, and Pawating Magedwin UMC.

During the 1990s and the early 2000s Metro provided strategic planning and visioning for congregations and agencies. There was a particular focus on urban United Methodist churches who were working to discern their role in a changed urban ministry landscape. When an urban church does decide to close its doors, Metro assumes the role of property manager to ensure that the property and/or any funds from a potential sale of the property are used to further the impact of the Church in Grand Rapids.  When the real estate bubble burst in 2008, Metro was in the process of preparing a handful of now vacant properties for sale.  With selling the properties no longer a viable option in the short term, Metro worked tirelessly to care for and maintain the properties while still striving to ensure that they were being used in ways that are the most beneficial to the community.

Today, Grand Rapids Metro Ministry has sold these properties and has again shifted focus from property to people. Metro staff, Board of Directors, and community partners envision an educated and empowered community mitigating the impact of poverty and systemic injustice in Grand Rapids.