Ann Arbor Observer cover
Send YCS Students to DC
Ann Arbor Weather:
Monday October 14, 2019
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Pastor Seth Kim Harvest Mission Church

Selling the Holy Toaster

University Reformed to Harvest Mission

by James Leonard

Published in December, 2008

"The skylights leaked from day one," says University Reformed Church pastor Sung Kim.

The URC building at 1001 East Huron was erected in 1962 at the height of Ann Arbor's brief flirtation with modernism. Irreverently nicknamed the Holy Toaster because of its slab-sided design (by Gunnar Birkerts, who also did Domino's Farms), it served its congregation for forty-six years-but the marriage wasn't made in heaven.

"The building had issues," Kim says. "The sanctuary is four stories high and made of concrete, so in the winter when you turn on the heat, it was never more than sixty degrees in there."

After taking over as pastor in 2005, Kim soon concluded the building was "hindering us from doing basic ministry. Our demographics had changed from students to young professionals with children, and we needed a space that would better suit our needs." Renamed Grace Ann Arbor, the congregation now meets in the U-M Modern Languages Building.

But the URC's departure doesn't mean that the Toaster will no longer be holy: the Harvest Mission Church has bought the building. Founded in 1996 by pastor Seth Kim-no relation to Sung Kim-the congregation first met in Angell Hall with a membership Seth Kim describes as "ninety-nine percent college students and one guy who worked for GM who made forty percent of the donations.

"We rented so many different places that we used to joke that you had to have a good IQ to find where we're meeting next," Kim recalls. "Soon people started graduating and getting jobs, and then they started getting married and having kids, so my wife and I saw that we had to get a bigger home for the church.

"We have about four-hundred-plus attending folks," says Kim-four times Grace Ann Arbor's turnout. "In the beginning ninety-nine percent were Asian American, but it's started to be multiethnic because we wanted it to be beyond race. Currently we are about forty-five percent Korean American, twenty-one percent Chinese American, fourteen percent Caucasian, five percent

...continued below...


African American, and one percent Latino."

Harvest Mission paid $1.7 million for 1001 East Huron. "We always want to be able to reach the U-M campus," explains Kim. "The future leaders of the world are coming out of the university, and part of our vision is to be a blessing to the college students, to get them to live a life beyond themselves, to give them a larger vision of a world, larger than money and power-to give them a world view that's more encompassing."     (end of article)

[Originally published in December, 2008.]

 

 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Hands On The Harvest
Tending the Thurston Nature Center
Neighbors work together to preserve "a neighborhood gem."
Anita LeBlanc
Crime Map
A clickable, zoomable map
Lisa Robert's Busy Summer
Rock Paper Scissors arrives in Saline
Billie Ochberg
From Sauk Trail to Maple Village
X-Golf heads to Ann Arbor
Billie Ochberg
Nightspots: Last Word
Subscribe to the Ann Arbor Observer
Fixing the Damn Roads
It's been a challenge for the county road commission since 1919. The problem has always been money.
Grace Shackman
Special Education
Hurricane Hospitality
A Lakewood couple welcomes Bahamian refugees.
Eve Silberman
Arbor Hospice
Delux Drapery offers window treatments in Ann Arbor, Michigan like draperies, curtains, shutters & H
spark ann arbor