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Doug & J'Nai Klein

Doug and J

Continuing our series of conversations with the St. Stephen family, we talked with Doug and J’Nai Klein about their St. Stephen stories and thoughts on the Renew + Restore + Rejoice campaign.

It’s no surprise that you see the Klein family around St. Stephen all the time. Did you know Doug has been a St. Stephen parishioner for over 44 years? He moved to Grand Rapids with his family and attended St. Stephen from kindergarten through eighth grade. J’Nai and Doug were married here in 2002.

Today, their daughter, Maris, is in 5th grade and son, Elliot, in 2nd grade. J’Nai is active in the St. Stephen school community — really active! You’ll frequently find her helping out in the classrooms and around the building. She also co-chairs the Monsignor Alt Dinner & Auction and runs the SCRIP program, and Doug is a school board member.

OUR CAMPAIGN COMMITTMENT

Doug and J’Nai are excited to see the physical updates to the church and the school. “It’s been untouched for 40 years — since I can remember,” shared Doug. “You see changes but it’s piecemeal, too much of a Band AID approach. What’s exciting about the capital campaign is the opportunity to fix all these issues and move forward in a way that’s sustainable for decades to come. It’s about guaranteeing the future.”

J’Nai added, “You can see new life in the school and the church. [There are more young families] and it’s vibrant. At the school level, we’ve seen competition in the past with specialty schools like Blanford and Zoo school. The changes at the school not only help retain families, it helps them be better learners and makes them better prepared for high school."

WHAT RENOVATIONS ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?

Both Kleins are excited about the new gathering space. “It’s surprising how much more attuned I am to the planned changes because I’m involved in the campaign. When you’re in church before mass starts, it’s so loud. You have people who want to be social, and people who want to pray. To have that distinct, separate space will be great,” enthused Doug.