Riverside Church acquired (debt free) the former Beacon Bowling alley on the west side of South Bend in December 2010. And yes… there is an amazing story behind how this happened. Ironically, we liked not having a church building, as it kept us focused on people instead of a facility. For our first seven years, we met on Sunday mornings in schools and in homes throughout the week.
Part of our mission is to “Do mission with God… together,” and we discerned that we needed to do something special with this facility. Let’s be honest; church buildings are nice, but another traditional church building wasn’t going to make much difference in our local community. We asked the community what was needed…Immediately, one need was identified unanimously: space.
To serve the community by providing usable space, we decided to set-up a separate non-profit organization that would own and work to convert the empty bowling alley into a community center–a shared space where the community can connect and grow, kids and students can be themselves in a safe environment, and local non-profits can utilize it to become lights of transformation in our community.
In 2015, The Beacon re-opened with 30,000 sq. feet of renovated multi-purpose programming space available for the community. Today there are over 17 partner organizations that use the space weekly for academic, recreational, or mentoring programs.
To learn more about The Beacon and partner organizations visit
The Beacon’s Website
We feel that God has given Riverside a vision to invest deeply in South Bend while also helping to address the global orphan and poverty situation. Riverside Church puts 10-15% of every dollar aside for our mission programming and partnerships (we hope to increase that percentage as the years go by).
Riverside’s main global partner is ASHA MISSION that operates four children’s homes in India. One home is in Delhi, separate girl and boy homes are in Kolkata, and another home is in Malda, which currently house and care for over 60 orphans.
To learn more about Asha Mission and our partnership, contact us or check out Asha Mission’s website http://ashamission.com/ If you want to send financial support to Asha, or if you are sponsoring a kid through Riverside, click on the below:
Note: Under the Designation drop-down menu choose Asha Sponsorship You can give either via eCheck(ACH) or Debit Card. Both work well, however the fees are slightly less on the eCheck/ACH, so if both ways work for you, please consider eCheck/ACH.
Riverside also partners with Back-2-Back Ministries with a focus on their work in Monterrey, Mexico
Riverside also supports two separate missionaries: Jessica Lembelembe (Discipleship and Peace Practice Coordinator at Congo Initiative) as well as another missionary working in the Asian region.
Local & National
We Partner on many levels with Camp Ray Bird. It’s an amazing Christian camp that specializes in serving families who could not otherwise afford meaningful camping experiences. Learn more about Camp Ray Bird by visiting their website: http://www.raybird.org/
Locally, we partner with ISI/Transformation Ministries. Their mission is: “We seek to transform the hearts and minds of urban youth and their families while connecting others to the city in a positive way.”
We also partner locally with Help with Love as a benevolence partner for people outside of Riverside. (This is in addition to benevolence money that we use to help Riverside church members in need.)
At times we have event where we partner with SAWs, a non-denominational, faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing freedom to low-income, permanently disabled individuals through the construction of high quality wheelchair ramps. https://www.sawsramps.org
Missionaries: While every follower of Jesus is called to be a missionary wherever God has them, the following folks have received a special calling to relocate and dedicate vocationally to mission work. Riverside mainly sponsors missionaries who come out of our church:
Tom and Ashley Carpenter (Navigators College Ministry): To support them go to http://www.navigators.org and click on the “Donate” tab. Search for “Tom Carpenter” and follow the prompts.
Because we feel our church is best represented in our smaller communities, we express our support for local missions through each of our home groups. Each group is encouraged to actively serve together in the community. Some examples of these partnerships include working with the Red Cross to resettle refugees in our area, partnering with MOSAIC to serve people with intellectual disabilities, working with single moms through partnering with Bridges of Hope and Hope Mission, local park beautification, etc.