A Cross-Cultural Worship Journey

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Simpson Jeremy studio shotRev. Jeremy Simpson was a guest preacher recently at Maple Ave. Ministries in Holland.Jeremy Simpson is a perfect advocate for multi-ethnic and cross-cultural worship ministry.

He's lived that role nearly his entire life.

Simpson, 35, is co-director of the Wesley Foundation, a student-based ministry which reaches persons of all faith backgrounds at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

But he has influence in hundreds of churches in his part-time role as a denomination-wide "worship catalyzer" for the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC).

Local Pastor Still “Igniting” Radio Airwaves

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

JR Kishen abnd Sherita EdwardsPictured are “Ignite Radio” co-hosts JR Pittman (center) and Kishen Newton (left) with on-air guest, Grace Christian University professor Sherita EdwardsGrand Rapids pastor JR Pittman has a multi-faceted ministry. At least one of them includes a hot beverage: "Coffee with Pastor JR."

"I just want to be accessible...to meet people and hear them out," said the pastor of Ignite Fellowship Church on Alpine Ave. NW. "I love conversation."

Conversation is a main ingredient in the most public of his ministries. Pittman is founder and co-host of "Ignite Radio," an on-air broadcast with a 10-year history of making community connections as well as spiritual ones.

The two-hour program (heard 3-5pm Sundays on the R&B-formatted 102.5FM "The Ride") continues its mixture of interviews, scripture, and gospel music
.
"The goal is live radio that's relevant with real people telling their real stories," said Pittman, who co-hosts with Kishen Newton.

"While people share their stories and their journeys, I'm able to sense where it is that the Holy Spirit wants to convey the gospel."

Let the Spirit Move You, Along with All That “Stuff”

Written by Editor in Chief on . Posted in Local

Stocks. Bonds. Home. Cottage. Valuables.

If you're being thorough in planning for your eventual death, you're careful to include it all – right down to which nieces and nephews receive those treasured knick-knacks.

But will your final wishes recognize and reflect the religious or spiritual components that helped define your life?

"It's valuable to have a conversation not only about your stuff, but about the importance of your religion or your spirituality when it comes to end-of-life decisions," Carol Robinson stresses.

MTM Unveils Mobile Shower Unit

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbMel Trotter Ministries recently unveiled its new three-stall mobile shower unit, which will allow those experiencing homelessness to receive not only a hot shower, but dignity and compassion as well.

The mobile shower unit will be placed at strategic locations throughout the city where hygiene services are most needed. Mel Trotter Ministries, along with community partners including The Other Way Ministries, The Homeless Outreach Team and others feel strongly that being builders of relationships in the West Michigan community is paramount to helping unsheltered individuals with tangible needs such as hygiene.

Dégagé Ministries Names New Executive Director

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

degDowntown Grand Rapids homeless shelter Dégagé Ministries has named Thelma Ensink as executive director following the retirement of longtime executive director Marge Palmerlee.

Ensink brings a wealth of leadership experience with her to the executive role, most recently in positions with Grandville Calvin Christian Schools. Ensink is familiar with walking alongside the marginalized, which began when she was a young girl growing up in South Africa during apartheid and continued when she immigrated to the United States and worked as a paramedic in Grand Rapids for American Medical Response. It was her work as a paramedic that first introduced her to the patrons at Dégagé.

Terry's Picks February 2021

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

EVENTSThis is the column in which West Michigan Christian New writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-inspired arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month. This one goes beyond February to some events set for later this year...

Dignity Dwells at Homes Giving Hope for Special Needs Persons

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

rock1Homes Giving Hope is in Northeast Rockford.Nestled in a copse of trees in Northeast Rockford is a 4,000-square foot home where dignity resides.

This is where Homes Giving Hope (HGH) dwells, a Christian nonprofit Sara and Brian Boven and Kay Wood co-founded following the Bovens' purchase of the 23-acre property in December 2019 for persons with special needs. The woodsy area includes a former chapel whose downstairs now serves as office space.

Local Ties to New Film on Trafficking Plight

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Trafficked movie posterThe new movie filmed in Michigan highlights the issue of human traffickingIt doesn't take long for actress Sophie Bolden to recall her most challenging scene in the film "Trafficked: A Parent's Worst Nightmare." It was the very first day of shooting for the movie, which was completed here in Michigan.

"My character (teenager Allison Riley) had just been kidnapped and she's in this new place and was being dragged down a stairway," said Bolden. "I was totally unprepared for how uncomfortable this story would be to put on film."

The trip down the stairway was the easy part. Much more difficult was the uncomfortable weight of the script based on actual true stories of young girls forced into the sex trade.

"Normally, a movie is all pretend," said Bolden, 21. "So even in scary or emotional scenes you can take yourself out of it 'cuz you tell yourself it's not real. But this scene was so many young girls' stories...I wasn't playing pretend anymore."

Two Profound Questions: What Think Ye of Christ? How Should We Then Live?

Written by Dr. Rex M. Rogers on . Posted in Local

rex99Dr. Rex M. RogersWe ask, or we are asked, many questions in life. Among the most important questions we engage might be, “Will you marry me?”

In a traditional sense, ladies wait for men to “pop the question,” and guys think her first thought was, “Yes,” when actually, it probably was, “Well, it’s about time!”

Or maybe the guy is a cautious one, so he sneaks up on the issue, asking, “If I ask you to marry me, will you?” He dips his toe in the water to see what her reaction might be before committing.

But either way, we probably agree these are more important, life-changing questions than “What do you want for dinner tonight?”

There are at least two other questions in Scripture that demand our response.

Behind the Closing Doors: (part 2)

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Rev Andrew DeBraber at frinal serviceRev. Andrew De Braber addresses an empty sanctuary at the final service at Comstock Park Cong-UCCRev. Andrew DeBraber had a calm and rather solemn look as he rose to begin this special church worship service.

"Hear and believe this good news," he said. "Our help is in the name of our God who is continually making and re-making heaven and earth."

It was the opening of the closing service of Comstock Park Congregational-United Church of Christ.

Sunday November 22, 2020 was the official end date for this historic church on Lamoreaux Dr. NE whose roots go back more than a century.

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