New Music Review: Forrest Wakeman

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

messesWest Michigan's multi-talented Forrest Wakeman has a new worship recording featuring a host of area musicians.

"Messes to Miracles" is a polished effort filled with contemporary ballads and anthems suitable for corporate or personal worship.

Wakeman, who has several advanced music degrees and is music director at Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford, wrote all the songs and co-produced the CD with long time area worship leader Andy Ferris.

Access of West Michigan Annual Hunger Walk Celebrates 40th Year of Supporting Good Food!

Written by WMCN Editor on . Posted in Local

EVENTSTie up those shoe laces and grab your friends, the Access of West Michigan 40th Annual Hunger Walk is coming to downtown Grand Rapids on Sunday, May 7. Registration and food festival - including live music, a food truck, activities for kids and more - begins at 1:30p.m. at Park Church, 10 E Park Pl NE, Grand Rapids. The walk begins in stride at 2:15p.m.

Since 1977, the Hunger Walk has raised over $6 million for local and international organizations promoting a thriving food system through the support of thousands of individuals, businesses and congregations.

Chonda Pierce on May 5

Written by WMCN Editor on . Posted in Local

EVENTSEmmy®-nominated comedian Chonda Pierce is set to bring her "Happily Laugher After" tour to Wyoming's Grand Rapids First Assembly of God (2100 44th St SW) on Friday May 5 at 7:00 PM. The best-selling female comedian of all time, Pierce will deliver an uplifting and encouraging night of joy and laughter, armed with her unpretentious Southern charm and laser sharp wit. The evening will also feature special guest acclaimed singer/songwriter Karyn Williams.

Church Planter Makes 137th Trip to Ukraine, Sees Revived Hunger for Gospel

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

rich c Rich Correll: “I look for people who have dirty hands and dirty feet.”There are a handful of reasons why Rich Correll is an unlikely person to make his 137th trip to the Ukraine to establish new churches.

By his own admission, when he launched Church Planters' Training International (CPTI) in 1992 as founder and president, Correll had no prior theological or church planting experience. In his earlier years he worked for Bethlehem Steel as a sales manager (1967-1988), selling the alloy to some of the area's largest manufacturers in West Michigan.

Plus, he doesn't speak the East Slavic native language, Ukrainian, nor does he dialogue in Russian that nearly 30 percent of Ukrainians speak, nor does he know any of the 40 minority languages and dialects spoken in the Eastern European nation.

Singer Doesn’t Mind Role as “Opener”

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Feliz JordanJordan Feliz Since his childhood days, singer songwriter Jordan Feliz was aware of million-selling Christian music artist Michael W. Smith.

"My parents own every record he ever made," said Feliz, 28, of the veteran Smith. "I never thought I'd ever be able to share the stage with him."

The relative newcomer Feliz is an opening artist on Smith's current tour, coming to downtown Grand Rapids at 20 Monroe Live on Sat. April 29.

"I feel like my childhood experience of listening to CDs in my parents' car is being lived out right now," he smiled.

Smith, 59, needs no introduction to Christian music fans. More than two dozen albums, nearly three dozen No. 1 songs, and various collaboration projects have left an indelible mark for the Gospel Music Hall of Fame member.

Authors Record Year-long Experiment in Radical Change

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

year of small thingsThe Arthur and Wasinger families spent a year changing their lives a bit at a time; and together they recorded that year in the new book "The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us" by Sarah Arthur and Erin F. Wasinger. The authors will speak and sign books at Baker Book House at 7 pm Thursday, April 27.

Arthur, author of several other books, originally pitched the book as one family's year-long practice of new monasticism in suburbia. Then Tom and Sarah Arthur met Erin and Dave Wasinger and asked them to be part of the journey.

"We formed a covenantal relationship with the Wasingers," said Sarah Arthur. "It's a whole different thing when close friends know what you're doing and challenge you, asking you the hard questions."

The goal was to engage in the 12 marks of new monasticism, a lifestyle espoused by the likes of Shane Claiborne and others.

Vander Kolks Leave for Lebanon to Alleviate Pain, Serve Local Church

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

vanderkolk8Rosa and John Vander Kolk are making their third trip to Lebanon. Dr. John and Rosa Vander Kolk will soon make the 24-hour flight to Beqaa Valley, Lebanon where they intend to alleviate the physical pain of refugees who've fled their war-torn homeland of Syria.

This will mark the Grand Rapids couple's third medical mission trip to the Middle East country when they leave April 28 and return May 6. John will head up the dental aspect of the medical Christian humanitarian trip, with Rosa serving as his dental assistant. Joining them will be two dentists, a nurse, two assistants, an emergency room doctor, an obstetrician, a physician's assistant, an epidemiologist and two interpreters.

Summit Addresses Needs of Single Parents

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

mattMatt HavilandMatt Haviland knows all about being a single parent. He's one himself, non-custodial parent to his 10-year-old daughter. He also knows parents like him have struggles that other parents don't.

Now single parents can find help and encouragement at the inaugural Midwest Single Parenting Summit, created by Haviland, founder of A Father's Walk, and Dawn Blocker VanderWerf, founder of Single Parent Missions. The summit takes place at EverGreen Ministries on May 12-13.

"We want single parents to know how loved and cherished they are by God, and that God hasn't forsaken them," said Haviland. "We want them to find encouragement in the sessions and through the people there and the teaching."

Heartside Ministry’s New Executive Director Knows Homelessness Firsthand

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

heartsideTendai Masiriri: “We subscribe to radical hospitality. In other words, we meet people where they are and try to improve their lives.” Tendai Masiriri personally knows what it's like to live on the streets, fending for himself day in and out in his homeland of Zimbabwe. His unsettling days of survival serves as a motivating reason for becoming Heartside Ministry's new executive director.

Masiriri was 15 years old when his father died in 1985, leaving him no other choice but to try to care for himself, he said.

"I didn't have anything," said Masiriri. "I know what it means when people are struggling and want to get out of it. They have the same desires as anybody else. They hope like anybody else.

Outcry of Worship Voices Comes to West Michigan

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

outcry2Kim Walker-Smith (3rd from l.) and Jesus Culture It may be hard to believe, but Jesus Culture singer-songwriter/worship leader and recording artist Kim Walker-Smith was kicked out of her high school choir.

"My teacher thought I was really rebellious and would not let me re-join again at any point in high school," said the singer of the incident during 9th grade. "So all the musical things I did was with stuff outside of school," she recalled.

In college when the hopeful singer first auditioned for the school worship team...she was turned down.

Easter and the Southern Cemetery

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornWhen I was growing up as a boy in the South, there was a cemetery on a little hill beside the country church my family attended. It was an old cemetery, with sunken squares of grass and crooked headstones popping out of the ground, creating a scene you'd expect to find in a Frontier novel or something.

To me and most of the kids I knew, that cemetery had an eerie mystery about it—the kind only a graveyard can offer. It was exciting in a spooky sort of way.
Still, my friends and I taunted our fears in that place. We played games there because it always made the hairs on the back of our necks stand up a little. And every time we were in that cemetery, we were constantly aware that death was just beneath our feet.

Every time, that is, except for one day each year, when we all lost sight of the graveyard's creepiness for a few minutes.

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