The DOCK Clothes Middle, High School Students with Christ’s DNA

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1-3dockSteve Roobol: “We show them the love of Christ by sharing the love of Christ.” Alexander "Xander" Szocinski became entwined with the tendrils of friends and fun when he started hanging out in his sophomore year at The DOCK, a year-round ministry at 4669 S. Division Ave. in Wyoming that's across from Kelloggsville Middle School.

"They have just about any board game you can think of," said Szocinski, a 2016 graduate of Kelloggsville High School. "Uno; that's the one I played the most with friends."

Szocinski stayed involved with The DOCK after high school, volunteering for a year where he says it helped him hone a work ethic. He also ran The DOCK's candy store for a time.

"Yeah, I was the candy man, that's basically what they called me," said Szocinski, who's a dishwasher/busser at a Mr. Burger Restaurant in Wyoming. "I had kids daily ask, 'When are you going to open it?'"

Steven Malcolm Includes GR Hometown on New Tour

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Malcolm Steven kneeling outdoors-1West Michigan native Steven Malcolm was making final preparations for his upcoming, five-week hip-hop tour which includes a July 26 date in Grand Rapids.

"Due to all my upcoming traveling, we gatta find a new home for our dog," he posted to his social media followers in late June. "If anyone is interested in a 2 yr-old pitbull (fully trained, neutered and gentle) HMU (hit me up)."

No doubt by now Malcolm, 28, and his wife Teaira have found a caretaker for their pet at their Kentwood home. But the national Christian recording artist is also readying his on-stage program as headliner for the "Tag Team Tour" with his longtime performing partner Mark (the Baddguy) Evans II and special guest Maddie Rey.

"If I don't lose my voice every single night or wake up sore the next day...this tour wasn't lit enough," Malcolm noted of his performing enthusiasm.

Summer Reading Programs Flourishing at Baker Book House

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

bakerChildren and adults still have time to sign up for summer reading programs at Baker Book House, the leading Christian bookstore in West Michigan. Readers can register through the middle of July for the programs that have readers earning prizes based on hours read or books read.

More than 1,500 youngsters have already signed up for Read. Set. Explore!, with the store forecasting 2,000 registrants by mid-July. This is up from 1,500 last year, 1,200 the year before, and 800 the year before that.

"We want to have the best summer reading program in town," said Josh Mosey, Children's Product Buyer and director of Ready. Set. Explore! and the adult program. "We want to reward kids and adults for reading. If we can help kids develop a love for reading, they'll read their whole lives."

Faith Hospice Memorial Service, Counseling Enable Grief-stricken People Walk Back into Life

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Faith Hospice No. 1From left: Faith Hospice bereavement manager Janet Jaymin enabled people like Sandi Veenkamp stay grounded in life and in the Lord.Sandi Veenkamp has walked through the valley of the shadow of death. But then, the Cascade resident discovered anew the anchor in her life that got her through the deaths of her husband, mother, brother and sister-in-law.

"I have a picture of the Lord reaching down and hauling somebody out of the mire and that was what He was doing all along (for her)," said Veenkamp. "There's no doubt in my mind the Lord was walking with me. I sit down in the morning and invite Him in mind, body and spirit."

World stretched

Veenkamp's world was stretched to the hilt when her husband of 48 years, Nick, died in June 2017 due to prostate cancer and a heart-related condition. The anguish didn't stop there. A week later, her brother and sister-in-law were killed in a traffic accident. Then in January 2018, Veenkamp's mother died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complications.

Hillsong and Friends Lead Arena-Sized Worship

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Brock MackMack Brock Hillsong UNITED heads the platform on its latest arena tour across the U.S. And even though the world- renowned worship music ensemble comes packing a huge stage show, worship is still the goal.

"It's a great production and (Hillsong) has a great team and it looks amazing," said Mack Brock, one of the guest artists on the tour. "In fact, if you were just observing it, you'd think it's an amazing show. But in the moment, it feels like worship."

The Hillsong Church, begun in Australia and now with campuses around the world, has a musical arm which is perhaps the leading source for modern worship music used in many contemporary churches.

Anthems such as "What A Beautiful Name" and "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" are standards in the modern worship catalog.

The tour, which includes Brock and Bethel Music lead singer/soloist Amanda Lindsey Cook, comes to Van Andel Arena on June 25 (see details below).

NFL Star Pens New Series for Tween Boys

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

Rashad-JenningsRashad JenningsRashad Jennings, retired NFL running back and Dancing with the Stars champion, is a man with many talents, dreams, and life goals. Some he's already accomplished—playing in the NFL for eight seasons—and some he's working on now. He created the Rashad Jennings Foundation, focusing on reading education and mentorship, and health and fitness (www.rashadjenningsfoundation.com); he organized a date night that blends his new love for ballroom dancing and his desire to be a marriage counselor one day; and he's written "Arcade and the Triple T Token," first of four in The Coin Slot Chronicles. The second releases later this year (https://www.arcadelivingston.com).

Jennings was in Grand Rapids recently for several events and to visit the offices of Zondervan, publisher of his new series. In the first book, Arcade is given a golden arcade token necklace that grants him the ability to time travel into the past and even into his future. He and his sister Zoe and a few friends have a lot of problems to solve!

317 Coffee is Rooted in Christ’s Love, Passion to Support Missions

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1-3Kelly Irish: “It’s been a joy to pull this place together.” Walk into 317 Coffee and you can immediately discern this is not a customary coffee house.

Yes, the expected products and related accoutrements inhabit 317 Coffee, 3424 Chicago Dr., Suite 101 in Hudsonville: coffee, expressos, hot chocolate, teas, sodas and smoothies are available for sale, as well as some goodies to munch on for good measure.

The shop is populated with tables and chairs, a padded church pew and a sofa where people can chat with one another, relax or surf the internet inside this cozy 1,000-square foot building where sunlight bathes its interior.

In a rush? A drive through window awaits.

Festival of the Arts Includes Faith-Based Efforts

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

The Growing Roots 2019Scott and Lisa Barry are The Growing Roots With churches hosting food booths and performances by area Christian music artists, the annual Festival of the Arts in downtown Grand Rapids is sprinkled with the talents of the West Michigan faith community.

The 2019 festival (Fri. June 7 through Sun. June 9) is the 50th year for the event, which has grown from two stages and a handful of food selections to a multi-faceted arts celebration. In years of favorable weather it's drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors over its three-day weekend. (Official lists of artists, food booths, activities and a map are available at www.festivalgr.org. All musical performances are free).

The diversity and curiosity of the casual listeners is noted by the performers – even from the stage. "It's an amazing feeling to see people intent on walking by, and to watch as your music captures them," said Lisa Barry, who with husband Scott comprises a Christian folk/rock/Americana duo called The Growing Roots. "You can see them perk up, stop walking and turn in your direction," she said of new connections to be made with audiences.

The Growing Roots performs at noon Sunday on the "Backdoor Pop Up" stage, just to the south of the Kent County Building on Calder Plaza.

Hymns Anchor New Book By Local Author

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

George BrainardGeorge Brainard with his new book on hymns George Brainard's investigation into great hymns of the Christian faith led him to some surprising finds. And they've ended up in the Grand Rapids native's new book, "Public Domain" - a fresh look at some of the "golden oldies" in our church hymnals.

For example, there's the story of beloved hymn-writer Fanny Crosby.

"I think most people knew that she was blind," he said of Crosby, who wrote the lyrics for "To God Be The Glory" and hundreds of other stately hymns.

"But she memorized huge chunks of scripture by the time she was 15, wasn't saved 'til she was 30, and didn't start writing hymns until age 40."

Brainard included three of Crosby's hymns in his new book, which features more than 60 songs grouped by theme into 10 categories.

All of the hymns are in the public domain (thus the title of the book), which means they are old enough to no longer have copyrights. The most recent hymn in the collection is Thomas Dorsey's, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," written in the early 1930s.

"That song was Dr. Martin Luther King's favorite," Brainard noted. "It was performed at his memorial service in 1968."

The oldest song in the book? "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" which dates to the 16th Century.

As Seasons Turn, Music and Inspiration Follow

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Screwtape Letters perf shotActor Brent Harris (left) as Screwtape with his slavish demon in the play “Screwtape Letters” coming June 15. Here we are well into spring and most of the way to summer and the concert calendar is filling up quickly.

Let's look at the summer's arena-sized tour: Hillsong UNITED, with special guests Amanda Cook (from Bethel Music) and Mack Brock (formerly with Elevation Worship) lead a worship-based evening at 7pm Tues. June 25 in Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids. Hillsong has just released a new album ("People"). Tickets begin at around $25. Available via Ticketmaster,  Here's a video preview

MAJOR FESTIVALS

The Big Ticket Festival (June 26-29 in Gaylord, MI) features top name headliners, including Chris Tomlin, For King & Country and Danny Gokey: 60 artists over four days. And there are extras such as "experience tents," comedy, films and a strength team. For tickets online. Visit www.bigticketfestival.com  

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