Gatherings of Hope

Gatherings of Hope

Basic information

  • Author(s):
    • Edwin I. Hernández
    • Neil Carlson
    • Nathan Ward
    • Amanda Stek
    • Lori Verspoor DeVries
  • Published: November 3, 2008
  • Publisher: Calvin College Center for Social Research
  • Page count: 100
  • ISBN: 9780972726047
  • Full Text: Download

Gatherings of Hope

100-page full-color report from the 2007 Kent County Congregations Study (KCCS), a survey of 583 congregational leaders in Kent County, Michigan conducted by the Calvin College Center for Social Research.

Religious congregations are defined by their focus on worship, religious beliefs and teachings—but they can also be a safety net for people who need material and emotional support. The Kent County Congregations Study (KCCS) documents how congregations of diverse faith traditions fulfill these roles in Kent County, Michigan, an area that includes about 600,000 people in the city of Grand Rapids, its suburbs, and surrounding towns and rural areas.

The study was conducted by the Calvin College Center for Social Research (CSR), with thirteen field interviewers and eight community liaisons conducting nearly 400 face-to-face interviews focused on the core cities around Grand Rapids. Adding phone interviews in the outer reaches of the county brought the total to 583 completions and achieve an 81 percent response rate countywide.

As of 2008, KCCS was the most comprehensive study of religious congregations and how they contribute to the quality of life in Kent County. Inspired by the philanthropic vision of Doug and Maria DeVos, the project affirms the need for educational, community and religious sectors to collaborate in efforts to improve the lives of children and their families.

Today, Gatherings of Hope is the name of a major ongoing initiative to support African-American and Latino congregations in Greater Grand Rapids.


Hernández, E. I., Carlson, N., Medeiros-Ward, N., Stek, A., & Verspoor, L. (2008). Gatherings of hope: how religious congregations contribute to the quality of life in Kent County. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin College Center for Social Research. Retrieved from

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