First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support of United in Christ Ministries (UICM). Your committed hearts to serve our youth over the years has enabled us the privilege to minister to the lost, and to share the redemptive love of Jesus Christ with those less fortunate.
I am proud and truly humbled to announce that I, Troy Williams, am the new Executive Director of UICM. I am extremely excited by what God is doing—even more so about the future of His ministry. We are so grateful to my predecessor, Allen Pontarelli, for his dedication and obedience in making this ministry what it is today. I visualize his “ceiling” as our “floor” and consider it an honor to serve alongside you as we aim for new heights. Whatever challenges, struggles, tensions, and trials we may face in the days ahead, let us step in and face them together. Today is a brand new day…So let us look forward to new beginnings, new miracles, new mercies, new opportunities, and a renewed hope for a better tomorrow.
Born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan, I am a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) with a Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA) degree from the school of Public and Nonprofit Administration. Raised most of my life in a Christian household by a single mother, I can speak—with confidence—to the impact that a mentor can have on a young person’s life. Early on, as a two-sport student athlete, I knew I was blessed with a gift to guide and mentor youth. This gift granted me opportunities to serve as a parks and rec (volunteer) referee and coach for six of my teenage years. I gratefully accepted a full football scholarship from GVSU and had the amazing opportunity to experience teamwork at its highest level, winning back-to-back national championships. A career ending knee injury was to follow and served as a true test of character and faith that left me questioning God…now what?! Although youth ministry was never a part of MY plan, I was led to serve as a youth leader with Grand Rapids First Assembly’s “Vertical” youth ministry in 2012. Along with my personal submission, the Lord eventually revealed his plan for my life through my GVSU-approved internship with The Motion Initiative (TMI). The rest is, for the sake of time, history.
My First Ministry
God has shown his favor on me by blessing me with a beautiful wife (Suellen) and three vibrant children ages 10 (Troy Jr.), 8 (Xavier), and 6 (Mia). Understanding the commitment and dedication required of an Executive Director, my family remains in full support of all things revealed and unforeseen. After a period away from the “Church”, Suellen and I rededicated our lives to Christ (November of 2012) and were both baptized in water, and thereafter, the Holy Spirit. Our mission was made clear—to raise our children up as His, and to seek out God’s purpose for their lives. What an amazing opportunity to allow God to reveal his burden for the ones He has created in this city. Initially overwhelmed, it was made clear that our mission was to be aligned with God’s.
I am truly humbled to have been seemingly “catapulted” into a position of such opportunity, to intentionally pour my heart out, and to reach those who so desperately yearn for Jesus. As we call for generational chains and strongholds to be broken, my prayer for UICM is to have greater impact on our community through our programming, outreach, and mentoring relationships. God is on the move and I am truly looking forward to new beginnings!
Many Blessings to You ALL,
Executive Director, United In Christ Ministries (UICM)
Please join us for a most “egg-cellent” evening at the UICM Community Center (1035 Godfrey Avenue, S.W.) this Wednesday (September 7th) at 6:00 p.m. to dedicate our newly renovated kitchen and to recognize ALL those who so generously contributed to the project. WE look forward to seeing YOU soon. God Bless!!!
2016 Annual “FORE” the Kids Golf Outing
We are pleased to announce our Annual “Fore” the Kids Golf Outing fundraiser with all proceeds going to help kids in our community. Living in poverty and crisis, too many of our kids today are at risk of becoming disconnected, lost, and forgotten…United In Christ Ministries (UICM) is a Christian-based, nonprofit organization serving kids and their families in the Black Hills neighborhood & surrounding communities of Grand Rapids, Michigan. With hearts on fire for the Lord, WE ARE all about Connecting Kids with Christ, our Community, and Local Churches!!! Through our core programs, community outreach events, and mentoring relationships, we encourage, inspire, and help our kids to form strong values, make good choices, develop life skills, and discover God’s purpose for their lives. By providing consistent and loving support, UICM is empowering young people to find FAITH and HOPE, while changing our community with LOVE…One kid at a time!!!
September 30, 2016 (Friday)
10:00 a.m. Shotgun Start with registration & warm-up (Driving Range & Practice Green) beginning at 9:00 a.m.
The Mines Golf Course
330 Covell Avenue, S.W.
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49534
Conveniently located minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, The Mines Golf Course houses 18 holes of rolling bluegrass fairways and undulating bent grass greens. The golf course is built approximately 150 feet above gypsum mines that were utilized as early as the 1860’s and throughout the 1900’s. Various features of the mines and the mining process were used in the construction of the course. The water used to irrigate the course is pumped directly from the mines. The course offers playability from four sets of tees, making your round truly exceptional.
$95 per player and includes green fees, cart, range balls, and barbecue lunch.
The Mines Golf respectfully asks that collared shirts and soft spikes be worn. No denim please.
Prizes & Sponsorship Opportunities Available!!!
SIGN UP TODAY…
United In Christ Ministries (UICM) is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Thank YOU so much for YOUR loving kindness and generous support of the work we do…God Bless!!!
It is with a heavy—but HOPEFUL—heart that I announce that Allen Pontarelli will be stepping away from United in Christ Ministries (UICM) at the end of this month to pursue his calling as the Pastor of his own Church. Allen has been with our Ministry since we started our journey over twelve years ago. As our Executive Director, Allen has been a champion for so many kids and families in the Black Hills neighborhood. With unwavering faith and absolute resolve, Allen’s direction of our programs and development of our community relationships has helped us to achieve a longevity and success that few could have anticipated.
Over the years, UICM has experienced transformational growth. We have moved from small gatherings in people’s living rooms and Church basements to larger assemblies in the Black Hills Community Center. We have consistently innovated our core programs (God’s Club, Kids Zone, Pathfinders, and The Motion Initiative (TMI)) while improving our mentoring relationships to impact even more kids. We have increased partnerships with area churches, businesses, families, and individuals to help strengthen, support, and serve more and more families in our neighborhood. We have shared in a great many triumphs, achievements, and laughs, while overcoming a number of tragedies, struggles, and tears. In these current and often cynical times, I cannot emphasize enough just how challenging it can be for an Executive Director to develop and lead an inner-city ministry that is both relevant and impactful. But with absolute confidence, I can tell you that there were few things Allen was not able to accomplish. Against impossible odds and with limited resources, Allen utilized every asset and gift that God gave him to be the best Executive Director that he could be. I could spend pages telling you of the countless good Allen has done for our Ministry and this community. Sadly, most of his greatest accomplishments went unacknowledged. That’s the way he wanted it though— ALL done with very little fanfare and very little attention drawn to himself. Allen would be the first to tell you it was never about that. It was always about glorifying God by being the best person he could be and serving sacrificially for the benefit of others. With that spirit of humility, perseverance, and dedication Allen made our team better. He made our Ministry better. He made our community better. He made me better.
To me, Allen’s greatest leadership quality is his ability to see the best in ALL people regardless of their circumstances. It is this unbiased and unconditional love for people that has taught me a great deal about myself and the type of servant leader I wish to be. Thank you, my Brother, for challenging me to be better, for teaching me so much, for being a good friend, and for “fighting the good fight, for finishing the race, and for keeping the faith.”
I know these few remaining days have not been easy for Allen. Twelve years is a long time. I commend my Brother for having the courage to leave the comfort of the Ministry to embrace his calling as a Pastor. Guided by his faith and grounded in the loving support of his wife and two children, Allen now embarks on a new journey…A journey that I am confident will allow him to continue to faithfully serve and impact our community for the better. I delight in the knowledge that Allen’s numerous talents and gifts will morph into a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities…Possibilities and opportunities that will guide and encourage so many others to grow in their relationship with the Lord.
So, how do you adequately recognize someone for twelve years of humble service to something greater than oneself? The truth is you don’t. HOWEVER, as a day of reflection and community celebration, I am asking YOU to join us at 6:00 p.m. on August 31st for our last Wednesday Night Summer Dinner up at Hillcrest Community Church (850 Norwich Avenue, S.W.) to recognize everything Allen has meant to us and to our Ministry. Please join us to thank our Brother and to ask for God’s Blessing and Grace over his new path. And—in his last official act as Executive Director—witness Allen officially “pass the torch” to his new successor and Brother in Christ, Troy Williams.
UICM is a very special Ministry, made so by the kindness, generosity, and service of so many. I am so honored to serve as its Board President. We are truly thankful for the many blessings & accomplishments of our past and we look forward to new beginnings.
Thank YOU & God Bless,
Board President, United In Christ Ministries (UICM)
Our kids know all too well that a longboard Summer beats a long, bored Summer any day…We are again blessed to partner with our friends at The ARC Project for Surf Camp 2016—a two-day, “unsalted” adventure at Holland State Park filled with water safety skills, coastal environment appreciation, surfing, beach games, delicious lunch, and a powerful message about hope & God’s overwhelming love.
The ARC Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to share the love of Christ, instill hope, strengthen faith, and encourage life to its fullest by bringing people with various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds together through the gift of surfing. The ARC Project aims to bring hope and joy to the communities it serves by:
SURF: providing surf camps to underserved youth
SAVE: teaching water safety education
BUILD: opportunities to build relationships and bridge community gaps
To learn more about our friends at The ARC Project and the wonderful work they do, please visit their website at www.arcsurf.org
Have NO FEAR, the Grand Rapids Dirt Dawgs are Coming Here…
We are so pleased and grateful to announce that our friends with the Grand Rapids Dirt Dawgs will be coming to the Black Hills neighborhood on Tuesday (August 16th) to provide our kids with a “Skillz & Drillz” Bicycle Safety & Obstacle Course Training. Complete with music, food, and a whole lot of fun, this event will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the GRCC M-Tec Parking Lot (622 Godfrey Avenue, S.W.). Please remember to bring your signed permission slips/waivers with you and get ready to experience a truly PAW-some event!!!
The Grand Rapids Dirt Dawgs is a mountain bike organization focused on inspiring kids to have adventures outdoors. Their focus is building self-esteem, teaching the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle, and teaching trail stewardship. The number one goal of the Grand Rapids Dirt Dawgs is to HAVE FUN while riding bikes!!!
To learn more about our friends and the work they do, please visit their website at www.grdirtdawgs.com