Ode to Empty Nesters

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornThat's me. A sort of empty nester. I now sometimes have my dad staying with me along with one of my adult daughters. Parents of younger children often dream about this time when they will be empty nesters. The kids will be out of the house and it will just be the two of them again.

For some parents that idea might be a frightening thought. Some couples have invested their entire life in the activities and lives of their children and they don't know what to talk about or how to act when it is just the two of them. I'm thankful that Jane and I have always built in time for ourselves throughout our marriage relationship so that we are comfortable spending time together without the kids.

Friendship CRC to Display Dozens of Nativity Sets from Around the World Dec. 7-8

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Friendship CRC cutline No. 1Bev Abma: “My journey started years ago when we were in language school in Costa Rica.” The public is invited to gaze at an assortment of Nativity sets from around the world at Friendship Christian Reformed Church, 190 100th St. SE, in Byron Center.

The Nativity sets will number more than 100 and will be displayed from 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 7 and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Dec. 8.

A free will offering will be equally divided to support Growing Hope Globally, formally Food Resource Bank, a Christian nonprofit organization that raises resources to support farmers in developing countries to stem food insecurity; and Enyuaata e Maa Development Organization, or EMADO, that works in to substitute Kenya's female genital mutilation for Maasai women with more positive rites of passage.

Products from Global Gifts also will be available for sale.

Local Author Offers New Look at Bible Characters

Written by Hannah Lemke on . Posted in Local

LessthanperfectAnn Spangler, known for her in-depth and unique studies of biblical stories, this time turns to the flawed characters in the Bible for spiritual insight in her new book "Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We can Learn from Them" (Zondervan).

"I like to say that every story in the Bible is about God; I thought it would be interesting to look at these stories and offer cultural and historical context to see what they reveal to us," said Spangler. "I looked at a range of people, from the despicable like Herod the Great to some who are more like us: a mix of light and darkness."

Christmas Music…Drama, to Celebrate the Season

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Hark Up  Geoff HansenGeoff Hansen’s vocals supported by dozens of musicians in last year’s “Hark Up” Since West Michigan has already experienced a taste of winter, area residents seem further drawn to the upcoming Christmas holiday. The list of  musical/drama holiday events begins this month.

One of the preeminent holiday musicals each season is "Hark Up": the multi-media extravaganza featuring hundreds of performers – choirs and instrumental ensembles and soloists. This is the 19th year for the ambitious production, which features five performances: 7:30pm Fri. Nov. 30 and Sat. Dec. 1, and matinee shows at 3pm Sat., and 1:30 and 5:30pm Sun. Dec. 2 at DeVos Center for Worship & the Arts, at Grand Rapids Christian High School, 2300 Plymouth Ave. SE.

Mark Schultz Combines Family, Music

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Schultz Mark performanceSinger-songwriter Mark Schultz "I just can't stay away," said singer-songwriter Mark Schultz about his frequent visits to West Michigan. "There's a real pull for me there and I just love it."

The veteran inspirational artist was in Grand Haven just last August, closing out the popular summertime Worship on the Waterfront (WOW) series. And now he returns to the area for a solo concert Sun. Nov. 11 in Hudsonville at Fairhaven Church.

He brings with him a new album ("Follow"), several new stories, and a forthcoming Christmas release.

Sunshine Community Church’s New Location Marks Return to Foundational Mission

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Sunshine Church Cutline No. 1Sunshine Church’s new location will be in the Creston neighborhood at 3019 Coit Ave. NE. Sunshine Community Church is moving to a new location that marks a return to its foundational mission when it was founded nearly 100 years ago.

Established in 1923, Sunshine has been at four locations in Northeast Grand Rapids.

Its most visible was its 72-acre campus at 3300 E. Beltline Ave. NE. It included a 2,300-seat worship center built in 1989, as well as a separate classroom building and administrative building, an activity room and a commercial kitchen. It was sold earlier this year to Illinois-based property developer Franklin Partners, which will retrofit the buildings for residential use.

Bon Appetit

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornWould you sit at a table with 21 other people and then have a crane hoist that table l65 feet in the air so you could enjoy a unique dining experience? Many people have done just that and paid over $10,000 for the chance. It's called Dinner in the Sky and it's available to rent in most countries.

If that's not your cup of tea, how much would you be willing to pay for a great meal on the ground? Some of you may say $1,000 while others would go even higher. Still some people wouldn't go beyond $20 for a decent meal.

Recently I was talking with a gentleman who told me he was one of the top chefs at one of the most elite restaurants in all of the United States and perhaps the world. I joked with him that maybe my wife and I would go there and drop a couple hundred bucks.
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Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids Campus to Provide at Risk, Runaway, Homeless Youth with Faith-based Residential Services

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Covenant House Cutline No. 1A rendering of the three-story Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids campus. A first-of-its-kind faith-based residential program in Grand Rapids for at risk, runaway or homeless youth will soon be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids campus (CHMGR) is in the final stages of constructing a $3.5 million three-story building at 26 Antoine St. SW, near the intersection of S. Division Avenue and Franklin Street. It is slated to open in late November, and will have a staff of 20 with an annual operating budget of just under $1 million.

It's the second Covenant House in Michigan; the first is in Detroit, established 20 years ago.

Dove Awards Shower Christian Music Artists

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

WilliamsZach perf at 2018 DovesZach Williams performs at the 2018 Dove Awards. The recent Gospel Music Association Dove Awards ceremonies in Nashville, Tenn. saw dozens of Christian music artists honored by their industry and artistic colleagues.

And many of them have ties to West Michigan or are coming to the area for concerts over the next several months.

The inspirational pop-rock band For King & Country, performing in Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena Dec. 9 , won a Dove Award for its holiday album "Christmas: Live in Phoenix."

"We were kind of shocked by that," said singer-songwriter Luke Smallbone the day after the Oct. 16 award ceremonies. "(The album) really had the band guys' fingerprints all over it, and it was great playing those Christmas songs."

Jesus Culture Brings More Worship Songs

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Walker-Smith KIm  studio shotKim Walker-Smith of Jesus CultureSinger-songwriter Kim Walker-Smith had a few minutes to spare for a phone interview. "I'm taking advantage of some respite time while my children are sleeping," said the mother of three from her Sacramento, Calif. home.

Walker-Smith is part of Jesus Culture, a worship band firmly connected to a church of the same name. The band members were about to embark on a new tour coinciding with the release of their latest album, "Living With A Fire." (The tour comes to West Michigan on Oct. 16....see details below).

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