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Denise Kingdom Grier

Rev. Dr. Denise Kingdom Grier is the lead pastor at Maple Avenue Ministries, a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-generational congregation of the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church in America in Holland, Michigan. She was born in New York City and moved to North Carolina as an adolescent. In 1994, Dr. Grier received a BA in psychology from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and immediately began a career as a social worker. She was pleased to work as a case manager for the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities and for Pan Lutheran Ministries, where she managed a 40-bed emergency shelter and a short-term residential program for homeless families, both in Raleigh.

Upon moving to Michigan, she became a child welfare specialist in foster care and adoptions at Bethany Christian Services. She went on to attend Western Theological Seminary, becoming the first African American female to graduate with the Master of Divinity degree in 2005 and the Doctorate of Ministry degree in 2017. Dr. Grier’s doctoral research interrogates a system of apartheid in the American church in order to redirect outreach practices toward what she calls Embracing, a reciprocal model of community engagement. 

Rev. Grier is also a mission partner with a child-placing agency in Botshabelo, South Africa. Setshabelo Family and Child Services works with local churches to provide loving homes for orphans and vulnerable children within their community as an alternative to orphanages. She works under the supervision of the Global Missions department of the Reformed Church in America. Recently Denise encapsulated her work and interests in the 

She and her husband CJ have been married for 21 years. They live in Holland, Michigan, with their two biological children and a host of adult surrogate and foster children.

Last Updated: 10/13/2020

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