Capernaum Campers Demonstrate Leadership Skills

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Sara Webb Cutline No. 1Sara Webb’s 13-year-old son, Malachi, was not a Capernaum camper but served as a volunteer, nevertheless and made friends. “They’re fun people,” said Malachi. "What might the church look like if people with profound and complex intellectual disabilities were conceived of as disciples with a distinct vocation—a calling given them by Jesus?" author John Swinton.

While the summer camp season is in the rearview mirror of history, Sara Webb is filled with the conviction that hope springs eternal.

The reason for Webb's optimism is because of what she experienced with a group of young adults with cognitive disabilities at a four-day discipleship camp at Timber Wolf Lake camp in Lake City.

Upcoming CityFest to Mingle Sports, Music, Kids’ Fun with Messages of Hope

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

CityFest Cutline No. 1Luis Palau has spoken to more than 30 million people in 75 countries.The Sept. 8-9 CityFest West Michigan promises to be an inspirational blend of liveliness.

Think of the two-day faith-based gala at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids as part heart-pounding concert, part sports derring-do, part kid-friendly amusement, with a healthy dose of a ageless human essential: the Gospel of hope.

In other words, CityFest is more of an emphasis on making it a festival than the crusades previous generations have known.

Admission is free and the start time is 3 p.m. for both days.

Crowned Free’s Fashion Line Funds ‘Massive Need’ to Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Crowned Free Cutline No. 1Heidi VanderWal: “God has spoken supernaturally through this whole journey.” Heidi VanderWal purposely keeps a journal next to her bed.

The direct sales entrepreneur keeps pen and paper at hand because she never knows when a concept will unexpectedly sprout in her mind that she can use for her custom fashion business named Crowned Free that her and a friend founded.

The ideas VanderWal says she receives from God are vital because they are fused to Crowned Free's mission of helping survivors of sex trafficking.

Busy Fall Concert Scene Has Plenty of Highlights

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

West MatthewMatthew West comes to West Michigan October 11 This fall brings a good selection of Christian music concerts to West Michigan - in churches and other venues of all types and sizes.

Take September, for example.

*One of the hottest new worship songs these days is “Reckless Love.” The anthem just scored a 2018 Dove Award nomination as overall Song of the Year. The songwriter, worship leader Cory Asbury of Bethel Music, comes to Grand Rapids for a 7:30pm Thur. Sept. 20 concert in Christ Chapel at Cornerstone University. Also performing is fellow Bethel artist Kalley Heiligenthal. Tickets range from $35 to $18; available online
or by phone at 800-965-9324.

Reunion Concert Brings Memories and Music

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

His Image 2018"We'd been talking about doing some kind of reunion for some time," said Ken Reynolds of his former gospel music group His Image.
And after 17 years the West Michigan-based, urban contemporary ensemble is finally coming together again for a concert on Sun. Aug. 26.

The artists individually are involved in various Christian ministries in the area but worked out a time on a Sunday morning when all of them could get together. The performance is part of the New Hope Baptist Church's "Summer Breeze" series.

I’m Not Any Good At That

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornDan Seaborn Parents, here’s a phrase you’re definitely going to hear your kids say somewhere along life’s road. They’re going to say, “I don’t want to do that because I’m not any good at it.”

I have had this experience at one time or another with all my children but I remember when it happened with my youngest child. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to play a certain sport at school because she didn’t think that she would be any good.

Isn’t the same true for many of us? Don’t we only want to take part in events where we know for sure we are going to excel or be the best? Kids need to be reassured that they aren’t alone in these feelings and that it’s okay not to always be the top dog. It is some of the best preparation we can give them for life.

Alpha Family Center of Lowell Serves Pro-life Front Line with New Tapestry of Enhancements

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Alpha Family Center of Lowell No. 1With the help of Eric Bartkus, Christa Wetzel holds the exterior sign that will be displayed at Alpha Family Center of Lowell’s new location. The Alpha Family Center of Lowell's (AFCL) pro-life mission remains firmly intact, but a tapestry of enhancements enable this pregnancy and family nonprofit to stand against the headwind of abortion more effectively.

Recent changes include switching its name in 2016 from Alpha Women's Center to its more inclusive moniker that does a better job of reflecting the services it provides to both women and men; the purchase of an ultrasound machine that affords sharp images of unborn babies at its earliest months of development; adding a volunteer medical staff; and as of July 12 of this year a new, larger location, complete with a remolded interior that conveys an open, bright and welcoming vibe.

Unity Music Festival Set for Banner Year

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Unity Festival crowd 2017The crowd at last year’s Unity Festival in Muskegon The 18th annual Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon has assembled one of its top headlining artist groups ever.

With the Aug. 8-11 line-up of David Crowder, MercyMe, Casting Crowns and For King & County, the Unity gathering has arguably the strongest top-of-the-bill offering of any Christian festival in the Midwest.

"We work on it quite far in advance, and this year fell together especially well and the response has been tremendous," said festival director Kevin Newton.

Tradition Meets Unconventional: Beer & Hymns Combines Quaffing a Pint with Robust Hymn Singing

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Beer  Hymns logoThere is no church steeple, altar or pulpit. Instead, it's a crowd of people who recently packed into the Last Chance Tavern & Grill in Southeast Grand Rapids to sing some of Christianity's oldest hymns while quaffing a beer or two.

Welcome to Beer & Hymns, a family-friendly gathering of people that's connected to a larger movement that started in 2006 at the Greenbelt Festival in England where people were invited to raise their pints and sing some hymns. Beer & Hymns has since mushroomed worldwide.

It's clear the local Beer & Hymns enjoys a reputation that precedes itself since the first time people started belting out hymns at the Last Chance in December 2015. Back then, around 30 people gathered to sing Christmas hymns, said co-owner Tom Eastman. Today, an average of 80 people of all ages show up.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Written by Edwin L. Carpenter on . Posted in Local

mrrogersHe was unique. Tall and thin, with a gentle and distinctive voice, Fred Rogers was the television host for children for many years, as a pioneer of television in the fifties and stretching into the 2-K century. His long-running and award-winning TV show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, ran for 31 seasons--during the years 1968 to 2001. Now, his story is told in this new documentary.

The film opens with black and white scenes of Mr. Rogers from 1967. He begins by talking about modifications and how that the children will have to go through modifications in life. He sits at the piano, tickling the keys, and mentions that it is difficult to go from the key of C to the key of F on the piano, and that his young viewers will face times in their lives that will require modifications that will be difficult. He was, from the outset, a teacher.

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