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Featured Articles

Big Tickets Returns

BTF photo lineup 2021GAYLORD - After taking a COVID year off – as did nearly every major live music event – the Big Ticket Festival (BTF) is back in 2021 with a two-day array of music in a new July weekend slot.

"We hedged our bets a bit on when everything would be clear," said the Christian festival's president Drew Spanding of plans made months ago when pandemic restrictions were still in force.

"The July 9-11 weekend lined up with when the (Otsego County) fairgrounds were available."

With a shorter than usual timeline to produce and promote the festival, BTF nevertheless has come up with a fine artist roster. Front and center is singer-songwriter Zach Williams. The award-winning artist and his pack of forceful songs were the most listened to catalog on Christian radio last year.

Terry’s Picks July 2021

EVENTSThis is the column in which West Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-inspired arts/entertainment/enrichment events in the coming month. Here are a few possibilities for July:

Summer Music Series: Making Room for One More

Beechwood right rearCory Asbury opened the WOW series with an indoor concert at Beechwood ChurchA venue change for one concert series has led to the creation of another.

The move of the Worship on the Waterfront (WOW) Sunday music series from Grand Haven to Holland gave the impetus for another series to spring up in Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.

The new "Praise by the Pier" debuted June 13 at the downtown location along the channel. More on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, the Grand Haven waterfront space came open when the WOW weekly concerts featuring national Christian music artists found themselves dealing with tighter restrictions in accommodating its growing spectator numbers.

"It was a succession of reasons," said WOW coordinator Kathleen Bobeldyk of its decision to change venues. "From working with city officials, we saw the look of this year's concert area would have been totally different."

Church Concert Series, Outdoor Facilities, a “Gift” to Community

drones eye view of amphitheatreA drones-eye view of the new amphitheatre at Ridge Point Community Church in HollandRidge Point Community Church east of Holland wanted to offer a gift to area residents.

And its new summer concert series is only a part of it.

"We have this large property here and we wanted to complete it with features for the community," said series coordinator Vicki Ekdom.

A concert-style amphitheatre (built behind the church's main building and the site of its current "Music in the Backyard" concert series) is only one of the outdoor features on the church's 160-acre campus.

A capital campaign nearly two years ago raised funds for the church to finish landscaping and other work on the church grounds. The result is completion of a mini-sports/recreation complex: basketball and pickleball courts, an outdoor discovery play place and play structure, Frisbee golf, fire pit, and mountain bike and other nature trails.

"It's a beautiful piece of property with all stuff that the community can just come and enjoy," Ekdom said. The concert series is a natural invitation for residents to come and see the new amenities.

Christian Organization Statements— Doctrinal, Lifestyle, Position—Then and Now

rex99In my other earlier life as a Christian educator, I remember Christian organizations or ministries including churches, colleges, camps, missions, para-church organizations, etc. nearly always possessing and periodically citing key, foundational statements.

Doctrine, Lifestyle, Position
These foundational statements are carefully written expressions of:
   • theological understanding = doctrinal or faith statements,
   • employee behavioral conduct = lifestyle statements,
   • ethical perspectives on contemporary issue = position statements.

Christian organizations, especially denominations, sometimes also issued:
   • declarations for statements about current issues,
   • policy or social statements regarding broad issues,
   • resolutions or social messages addressing specific issues, or
   • proclamations for significant announcements.

Myth Buster: PRC’s Day in Lansing Brings Truth to the Fore

prc1CEO of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Grand Rapids Jim Sprague and medical services director Karley Wood were among those who met on the Capitol lawn with community partners from around the state and state lawmakers to highlight the work carried out by pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and adoption agencies. Think of Jim Sprague as a myth buster.

The CEO of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Grand Rapids met with state lawmakers in mid-May for the Empowering Women, Strengthening Communities event.

Coordinated by the Michigan Catholic Conference and Michigan Family Forum, adoption agencies, maternity homes and pregnancy care centers — more than 30 organizations from across Michigan — showcased the essential services they provide to pregnant women, new moms and adoptive families in their communities.

Sprague and PRC of Grand Rapids' and medical services director Karley Wood took the opportunity to inform legislators and the public about the good work the PRC has been doing since it was founded in 1985.

Sprague addressed the House of Representative's Health Policy Committee about the benefits that all pregnancy resource centers in Michigan bring to residents of the state. Many representatives are prolife, but others are skeptical of PRCs.

Terry’s Picks June 2021

nbThis is the column in which West Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-inspired arts/entertainment/enrichment events in the month of June. Here are just a few of them.

A Look Behind the Leader: Jared Heddens

Heddens jared portraitHeddens leads worship at South Harbor Church in Byron Center.The task of leading worship/music in a church is much more than notes on a score or lyrics on a screen.

"There's also the shepherding of people ," said Jared Heddens, worship director at South Harbor Church in Byron Center.

"My real job is to equip the saints. And that's not just a congregational perspective but for my team as well," said Heddens, 42.

His South Harbor worship team roster consists of about 50 players, vocalists and technical folk, although there are usually only five to seven people on the worship platform at any one time. Heddens is in the front on a typical Sunday, but that's actually a fairly small part of his full-time job. "It's about resourcing and equipping teams to do the work of ministry," he said in a recent interview.

And in that process he is developing leaders.

Hampton Receives H.O.P.E. Award Posthumously

Capture12345Dr. Jennifer Hampton, age 48, of the Hope College physics faculty, who was killed in an automobile accident in Holland on March 14, has received this year's Hope Outstanding Professor Educator (H.O.P.E.) Award from the graduating Class of 2021.

The H.O.P.E. award, first given in 1965, is presented by the graduating class to the professor who they feel epitomizes the best qualities of the Hope College educator. This year is the first time that the honoree has been chosen posthumously.

Mel Trotter Launches Renovation Campaign

nbMel Trotter Ministries announced Immeasurably More, a $14.9 million fundraising campaign to fund the construction of a renovated shelter. It has been 54 years since any kind of significant renovation has occurred

Launched in 2019, the Immeasurably More campaign has raised more than $9.8 million over the last year, 66% of the campaign goal. Over 240 community donors, local businesses, and area foundations have supported the campaign.

Hope College Named on of WM’s Best and Brightest

nbFor the 16th consecutive year, Hope College in Holland has been named one of West Michigan's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. The National Association for Business Resources selected the winners for having the most innovative and thoughtful approaches to human resources. They represent industries as diverse as the automotive, construction, financial, healthcare, manufacturing and non-profit sectors.

An independent research firm evaluates each company's entry, based on various categories, including compensation, benefits and employee solutions; employee enrichment, engagement and retention; employee education and development; recruitment, selection and orientation; employee achievement and recognition; communication and shared vision; diversity and inclusion; work-life balance; community initiatives and strategic company performance.

Degage Ministries’ Female Patrons Receives Free Clothing

nbSeventy-five female patrons from Heartside organization Dégagé Ministries recently received free clothing and accessories thanks to donations from the nation's largest social selling apparel company.

Dégagé's Open Door Women's Center, 144 Division Avenue South in downtown Grand Rapids, had women's clothing company cabi provide up to five articles of free clothing or accessories to 75 women. The endeavor is funded by the Heart of cabi Foundation and is part of Heart of cabi Foundation Week, where cabi stylists from around the world host donation events to support women in need in their communities.

Love N Grace Healing Centers Receives Grant

nbMuskegon-based Love N Grace Healing Centers, a nonprofit for adults and children that teaches them how to overcome life's hurts with scripture, prayer and Jesus Christ, has received a $4,675 grant from Community Foundation for Muskegon County to support its Empowered Kids – Go Pro and Grow program.

Rev. Debra Yonkers, executive director of Love N Grace Healing Centers, said the funds would be used to build resilience in students suffering from adverse childhood experiences and the extra trauma brought on from the COVID-19 pandemic. While meeting in schools was limited, the grant will allow students to receive tools and care virtually. More information is available at https://lovengrace.org.

"Now we can reach the students that desperately need care from any school whether they're at school or at home," Yonkers said.

MercyMe Returning to Grand Rapids

MercyMe tour posterAs the pandemic gradually loosens its grip on scheduling of large-gathering events, major concert tours are slowly returning to venues around West Michigan, including Christian music artists.

The inspirational pop-band MercyMe is joining the chorus with its 30-city fall tour that stops in Grand Rapids on November 5 (details below).

The award-winning band comes with a new album – "inhale (exhale)" – and its hit song "Say I Won't."

Women of Influence: Rev. Dr. Denise Kingdom Grier

DGrierJob Title: Lead Pastor, Pastor of Embracing at Maple Avenue Ministries in Holland

Calling: To be a prophetic voice and a missionary to the Church

Denise Grier has many titles. She's called lead pastor, prophet, mission liaison, mom, foster mom, board member, Mama D, and Big Mama. She happily embraces each one, stepping into her many roles that allow her to reach into the church, community, and individual lives.

"My prophetic role in the Holland community has been key to bringing in like-minded partners around the church," said Grier. "And I get to pastor the greatest people in the world. I'm so grateful God trusts me and gives me innovation and inspiration in my roles."

Grier spent her first five years in foster care, a time she remembers as abusive and traumatic on many levels, before being adopted at age seven with her brother. She grew up in New York City, but moved to North Carolina while in high school. There she "connected to a church and gravitated to the God who loves me," she said. She asked herself, "How are you going to live your life according to how God has designed you?'"

Co-founder Affirms Benjamin’s Hope is Fulfillment of God’s Plan for Autistic Adults

Cutline No. 101From left: Dave, oldest son James, Benjamin and Krista Mason. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Hope is sown throughout the 40-acre Benjamin's Hope, a Christian nonprofit in Holland where 30 autistic adults call home.

Planted are a thriving church, a farmstead and an inspired model for those who live there: Live. Learn. Play. Worship.

"The farm is the fulfillment of what God put in my heart so many years earlier," said Krista Mason, executive director of the nonprofit who co-founded Benjamin's Hope with her husband, Dave. Mason spoke during a recent Zoom talk hosted by AMDG Architect.

Mason recounted how she went through an emotional and spiritual metamorphosis when she learned her son was autistic in 1997

Upcoming Plant 616 Conference Aims to Raise Temperature on Urban Church Planting in Greater Grand Rapids

Cutline No. 11111111Pastor Chris Hall: “We’re trying to see a movement of new church plants in the urban footprint of Greater Grand Rapids.” Pastor Chris Hall sees the Greater Grand Rapids area bursting with potential when people see themselves as missionaries immersed in the very neighborhoods they lives in.

Hall is among a handful of other local ministers who have locked arms to help birth a movement of planting new churches among the poor in urban Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Kentwood and beyond. That's a key reason why they're hosting their inaugural ecumenical Plant 616 conference slated for May 26. (See end of story for details.) The seminar is for church leaders who believe God is nudging them to establish new church plants.

West Michigan Singer Leaves Musical Legacy

Sterk Bill largerBill Sterk Both fans and friends are mourning the loss of William "Bill" Sterk, singer and co-founder of the area gospel group The Heralders. Sterk passed away on April 5. He was 82.

They are recalling his clear bass voice that was as deep as he was tall.

Dete Tilma of Byron Center sang tenor with The Heralders for 14 years. He had a long relationship with Sterk both as a colleague and a friend.

"Bill always made us relaxed on stage," recalled Tilma, 68. "When I would play an intro to a song and he wasn't quite ready to come in, he would say 'O Dete, that's so pretty....why don't you play that again?'"

Women of Influence: Dawn Scott Damon

Newman 376Job Title: Lead Pastor of Tribes Church; author, speaker, and life and leadership coach

Calling: Help people find healing and positive transformation to become the best versions of themselves, allowing them to live out their God-given identity, vision, and purpose.

Dawn Scott Damon is a busy woman. She's not only lead pastor of Tribes Church, a multicultural church in north Grand Rapids, she's also part of the Freedom Girls Sisterhood, a group of women dedicated to pursuing their freedom in God. Her book "The Freedom Challenge: 60 Days to Untie the Cords that Bind You" helps women find that freedom through study, journaling, and God's Word.

A Look Behind the Leader: Glenda R. Williams

williamsGlenda WilliamsWorship during this COVID-era has affected church worship leaders and the people they serve in surprising ways. Even those online.

"I hope that people find ways to worship even if they're not in a physical church space," said Williams, worship leader at Kingdom Life Ministries on Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

"People are meant to worship in community, but praise and worship is cyclical," she offered. "Your private worship will pour into your public time and vice versa. You should be 're-fueling' either way."

Terry’s Picks for May 2021

EVENTSThis is the column in which West Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-inspired arts/entertainment/enrichment events in the month of May 2021

Wedgwood Partnerships Leads to Xander Bunnies

Capture114West Michigan Cookie Cutters Haircuts has partnered with Lavender Life Company to give back to kids in residential care at Wedgwood Christian Services.

Through a 'Buy-One-Give-One' program, West Michigan Cookie Cutters Haircuts and their customers are providing kids in Wedgwood's residential care with Xander Bunnies, lavender-filled, therapeutic plush bunnies from Lavender Life Company.

Grey Appointed Assistant Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Capture113The Office of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of
Grand Rapids announced the appointment of Sarah Grey as assistant superintendent of Catholic schools. In her role as assistant
superintendent, Grey will oversee curriculum, instruction, technology integration, and professional development for the 31 Catholic schools across the diocese. She will also coordinate school accreditation. Grey has been
serving as interim assistant superintendent since October 2020, following the departure of Jill Annable, who joined the National Catholic Educational
Association as executive director of academic excellence.

Holland Home Keeps Residents Active With ‘Exergaming’

Capture112Senior services provider Holland Home, a nonprofit that's committed to follow Christ's teachings and examples in all that it does, is keeping older adults healthy and connected to their communities throughout the pandemic with exergaming.

Exergaming combines physical activity with computer-simulated environments and videogame features. This included riding nearly 1,400 miles in March and ranking 7th out of 265 CyberCycle teams worldwide. One Holland Home resident placed 4th out of more than 1,300 riders worldwide in February.

New Book Offers Students Hope During Lockdown

Capture111Zeeland Christian School teacher Carla Zastrow said a new book is teaching students lessons about forgiveness, joy, and hope during the COVID-19 lockdown. Titled "At Psalms School/En la escuela de los Salmos" and presented in Spanish and English, the book is especially geared to help young people better understand and pray the Psalms.

Mentorship Program Receives $1.3 Million Grant

nbGeneration Spark is an intergenerational ministry strategy that pairs young adults (ages 16–24) with mentors (adults ages 45 and up). Hope College began the mentorship program in 2017. Through a one-on-one relationship, students and mentors work together to identify and solve real-life problems in their church or community. This model allows both partners to learn from each other, to make a difference in their church or community, and to develop skills in leadership, critical thinking, and problem solving. There is also an emphasis on calling, faith, and prayer.

Michigan Chapter of Pilots for Christ Provides No-cost Flights to Critical Care Patients. ‘Our Mission is to Share the Gospel’

pilotsLike her husband Tim, Lori Layne is a pilot who is Christ driven.When Lori and Tim Layne decided some 17 years ago to seek a mission-ministry they could join abroad, the response was momentarily jarring: They were considered too old.

Undaunted, the Laynes kept two priorities before them. First, God would find a way for them to serve Him; and second, they would accomplish this work as a couple.

Enter Pilots for Christ International (PFC), founded in 1985 by Rev. William "Bill" Starr. The nondenominational ministry flies critical patients to destinations at no charge. Both Lori and Tim are pilots of single engine prop planes.

Creative Couple Making Entertainment, Ministry Connections

Kevin and Kristen Collier portraitKevin and Kristen Collier Kevin and Kristen Collier are knee-deep in various media ventures all created to serve Christians in the arts. And to help spread the word.

The couple is overflowing with activity. They've produced various books and online programs, begun a talent network for faith-based artists, started a Roku TV channel, designed a clothing line and developed several animated and live action series. Each of these non-profit enterprises can be found under their busy Creative Motion website portal, www.creativemotiononline.com.

"It's like we have a whole basket full of stuff and spilled it on the floor," said Kevin from his Grand Haven area office. "We're like a kid with multiple hobbies."

“A Place to Belong” Returns

Mark Leech portraitMark Leech in front of the revamped stage at Skelletones Skelletones, the former safe-haven, all-ages downtown Grand Rapids concert spot that provided an outlet for young, faith-based bands, fans and others, is readying an encore.

After its ground-breaking run from 2001-09, founder Mark "Mirf" Leech has secured the club's original location and is working toward a September re-opening.

"As time went on I realized that this kind of work resonates at the core of my being, and I've missed it," said Leech, now a church pastor. "And key moments kept pointing me in this direction."

Terry’s Picks for April 2021

EVENTSThis is the column in which West Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-inspired arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month.

Already this month, slowly but surely, concerts and other events are opening up around West Michigan. Later spring and summer look even more promising. Here are a few to consider for April.

Coats That Transform into Sleeping Bags Handed Out

nbMel Trotter Ministries recently teamed up with Empowerment Plan and Chevrolet to hand out to homeless people 150 coats made from upcycled materials that transform into sleeping bags.

The coats are manufactured by parents experiencing homelessness in an effort to help these individuals achieve financial stability and independence for their whole family.

The initiative is part of a larger eight-city road trip, where Chevy and EP will deliver more than 700 coats to cities across the Midwest and Northeast.

Parent company General Motors is Empowerment Plan's longest standing corporate partner and has provided more than $1 million in funding as well as in-kind materials such as plastics and insulation to recycle into the coats

Jenison Pastor to Serve as Director of Candidacy

susanRev. Susan LaClear, discipleship and care pastor at Alive Ministries CRC in Jenison, has been tapped by the Council of Delegates of the Christian Reformed Church in North America to serve as director of Candidacy. LaClear has served on the Christian Reformed Candidacy Committee for the past six years. This synodically appointed standing committee sets ministry standards and oversees the nurture and training of persons preparing for ordained ministry in the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

LaClear says she has appreciated her time serving on this committee and has learned many valuable lessons under the leadership of the current director, Rev. David Koll, who is planning to retire at the end of June 2021.

Seminary President: Veer From ‘Either Or’ Thinking

veerCalvin Theological Seminary President Jul Medenblik cautioned pastors and church members in a recent email to veer from "either or" or" thinking during the ongoing days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Every church needs to develop their ministry in ways that fit their context and follow the unique calling that God has given them," wrote Medenblik, who served as a pastor for 16 years. "As I have listened to churches and pastors who are stressed by the challenges of ministry in a pandemic, I am concerned that many are confronting 'either/or' thinking.

"For example, those who are not ready to fully return to in-person church gatherings are sometimes labeled by others as "not trusting God enough" or letting the government tell us how and when we worship.

Hand2Hand Purchases Former Grocery Store

handtohandCheri Honderd, founder and executive director of Hand2Hand, a Christian nonprofit that has provided food to children on weekends since 2008, announced it has purchased a former Aldi grocery store in Jenison. The 15,600-square foot building at 306 Chicago Drive will house its headquarters, training and packing space and warehouse. Building renovations are projected to be completed by midsummer.

Area Ministers Receive ‘Shot of Love.’ Vaccine Will be Offered to all Michiganders Age 16 and Up Starting April 5

nbLeaders from 50 Kent County congregations volunteered to roll up their sleeves recently and received a "shot of love." Their solidarity was intended to show their communities they are walking the talk by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the West Michigan Vaccination Clinic at DeVos Place, which is a collaborative effort of Kent County, Spectrum Health, Mercy Health and Vaccinate West Michigan.

Staff from the Kent County Health Department, Spectrum Health, and Mercy Health Saint Mary's administered 100 vaccines to faith leaders who are leading volunteer efforts to vaccinate the socially vulnerable in Kent County.

Faith leaders likewise are committed to registering their members and community residents for vaccination. Over the next eight weeks, they will expand this work to include canvassing vulnerable neighborhoods across Kent County to register community residents for vaccination at local clinics.

Dramatic Turns on the Easter Message

Magnify Olympi surrenderThis year’s Magnify Church’s drama highlights an Olympic heroTwo of West Michigan's largest churches are offering some drama in their Easter weekend programs.

Both Central Wesleyan in Holland and Magnify Church in Rockford have added theatrical elements to several presentations, with fresh looks and deeper insights into the meaning of the season.

At Magnify (the former Blythefield Hills Baptist), worship arts director Vicki Modert says the script for the musical/drama "Olympic Surrender" continues the story of sprinter Eric Liddell following his victory at the 1924 Olympics. Liddell's true-to-life triumph was popularized in the 1981 feature film "Chariots of Fire."

Sus Manos Gleaners CEO: ‘We Want People to Know the Food is Not Coming From Americans’

san2The barrels of dehydrated produce Sus Manos Gleaners sends to countries where hunger is widespread always arrive with labels affixed to them. It's the Georgetown Township's Christian nonprofit way of communicating its deepest priority.

"We have labels that say 'in Christ name,'" says Jim Paauw, Sus Manos' board president and CEO. "We want people to know the food is not coming from Americans. We want people to know this is what Christians do in Christ's name."

Exploring the “Heart’s Wasteland”

Guerra Joe on stoolJoe GuerraWhen Joe Guerra read Isaiah 43:19, something clicked.

"It struck me that a lot of time we miss the things God is trying to teach us because we focus so much on the problem at hand rather than trusting His solution," said Guerra, a local Christian singer-songwriter and worship leader.

The biblical verse begins, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"

Women of Influence: Beth Fisher

BFisherBeth FisherJob Title: Chief Growth Officer at Mel Trotter Ministries

Calling: Helping those who are undervalued, underserved, and under-resourced

Beth Fisher worked for 25 years in corporate sales, helping organizations automate their business processes. She loved it, but always felt a little pull elsewhere. Part of that pull pushed her to write her first book, "Remorseless: Learning to Lose Labels, Expectations, and Assumptions Without Losing Yourself," which came out in March 2020.

Creative Gifts Refreshed at “The Well”

Bruins Kathy preferred image“The Well” founder and conference co-director Kathy Bruins "Christian creatives" can look forward to the quenching streams of learning and inspiration at an upcoming spring conference in Byron Center, MI.

"A 'Christian creative' is a person who has been given a talent or gift to use for Kingdom purposes to glorify God," said conference co-director Kathy Bruins.

The April 23-24 conference with its "Quench" theme may be just the catalyst needed to take a creative leap.

Three years ago Victoria Chapin attended her first ever arts conference. "Not only did I learn valuable information for my creative journey, but I was moved spiritually," she said. The Zeeland, MI woman was so enthused she volunteered to be on the planning team for this year's event.

Losing a Language of the Christian Faith

rex99Dr. Rex M. RogersChristians are losing the language of our Christian faith.

This is happening in the public square and one could argue it's happening within the Church.

What I mean is, easily recognized and often used words and phrases that express Christian values are rapidly disappearing from everyday life. Vocabulary or analogies drawn from Scripture that were once common currency in American culture are at the edge of extinction.

Why does this matter? Well, if language is lost, our ability to communicate our ideas, values, and theology are lost. Our influence is lost. Our capacity for sharing and our ability to perpetuate the faith are lost.

GL Secures New Iron House

glm99Kentwood, Michigan, March 1, 2021 – In response to increased demand for its addiction recovery services, Guiding Light has secured a new Iron House in the City of Kentwood – its sixth sober-living apartment building.

The four-unit apartment building will increase the nonprofit's capacity to house men as they transition back into the mainstream of society after successfully completing the Foundation phase of Guiding Light's Recovery program. Remodeling work will soon begin on the newest Iron House, which will accommodate seven men.

The purchase was made possible by a generous gift of nearly $260,000 from a longtime donor who strongly believes in the Iron House model of supportive living as key to long-term recovery success.

40 Years and Counting: ‘God has kept us continually dependent on Him and expanded our vision.’ Elementary Teacher to Retire Full of Gratitude

pot2From left: Superintendent John Booy and 4th-5th-grade teacher Mark Van Zanten. “God went beyond what we could have imaged,” Booy says.After four decades of teaching hundreds of students, 4th-5th grade educator and co-founder of The Potter's House school, Mark Van Zanten, has decided the 2020-21 school year is his last. He's made his decision with heart full of gratitude.

"So many mornings I would get up and say, 'I love my job. I love my job,'" says Van Zanten, known throughout school as "Mr. Van" who turned 70 years old earlier this year. "I've got this fire in my belly. I can't wait to be here. I view myself as a rabbi. I'm learning myself. I just show them Jesus. There's so much to understand about His love, His compassion."

Another of the school's co-founders, Superintendent John Booy, isn't ready to call it quits.

Hinton Joins Guiding Light’s Board

hiltonKyle Hinton, a licensed marriage and family therapist addressing trauma, substance abuse, behavioral health and mental health, has joined Guiding Light's board of directors.

Hinton brings 30 years of experience working in mental health services and serving in leadership roles in higher education, nonprofit work and community involvement. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Hinton helps individuals work through a wide range of issues and create a new lifestyle of hope, health and life-changing opportunities.
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