With his flowing white beard and Ben Franklin-style glasses, 60-year-old Randy radiates a peaceful countenance. The reason is as simple as it's profound: the outer man now matches the inner.
Randy gives Alcoholics Anonymous credit for his calmer demeanor and clear headedness. And for this, the Grand Rapids resident readily acknowledges his indebtedness to God.
"Without God's help, I couldn't have done any of it," he says.
Butterball Farms Inc., and Lumbermen's Inc. are participating in Kuyper College's urban WorkPlace Partnership program, which will launch this fall. "A portion of the student's tax-free compensation will be used to pay down tuition, which when added to additional state and federal grants, can help students graduate with little to no debt," said Dr. Patricia Harris, president of Kuyper College. Under the WorkPlace Partner initiative, class schedules are configured to allow students to work 20 hours each week. Presently the college is finalizing partnership agreements with other Grand Rapids businesses.
The committee is composed of individuals with a broad array of experience and gifts who share a commitment to seeing how God's faithfulness revealed through Calvin's new leader.
The gender revolution fight is over, and the new gender ideology has won.
I don't mean we should give up, so to speak. I certainly do not mean we should jettison a biblical understanding of sexuality, and I don't mean we shouldn't speak this truth in love.
I mean: the idea gender is fluid and socially constructed (i.e., immutable, binary biological sex does not exist) is now America's culturally accepted norm. It's a done deal.
Most intellectuals/academics, elite opinion influencers, corporate, and government leaders embrace the new view without question.
Anyone who raises doubts, let alone rejects the new gender ideology, will or can be socially ostracized, cyber bullied, or "cancelled" in the form of a lost job, professional standing, or ruined career.
This is a growing existential threat, for Judeo-Christian values no longer provide a "sacred canopy" over American culture. These historic, foundational values are no longer ascendant or respected or even referenced by a vast cross-section of society.
So false prophets now practice their craft with seemingly little resistance.
This new church plant is getting the word out that it will be a congregation for people of all abilities — meaning those with and without disabilities.
Its inaugural service is Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. It will share space with Monroe Community Church at its new location at 1020 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.
"The plan is to keep it at 5 p.m.," says Vander Woude. "We looked at different days and times and that's the best time. We'll look at it again in four to six months and if we need to adjust the day and time, we will."
Born to American-citizen parents in Brazil, Brown developed her love for music from her church choir-director mother and through her own musical studies. She especially loved the grand tones of a pipe organ – something her own church didn't have.
"When I first heard a pipe organ with that wonderful sound I said, 'I've got to learn that instrument,'" she recalled.
He was home-grown in so many ways. Coming of age here in West Michigan, Ken graduated from Wyoming Park High School and Western Michigan University. He spent seven years leading worship/music at Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, followed by many more years serving at Resurrection Life Church in Grandville.
Dull joins the Hackett Catholic Prep family with three decades of experience leading schools and serving communities. He holds degrees in Biology, Philosophy and Educational Administration.
The project is expected to keep 5.4 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere - the equivalent of 7.4 American homes being taken off the grid or the carbon sequestered by 3,000 acres of forest in a year, explained Nate Dierlam, a church member who spearheaded the project.
This 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 August...
For the first time in 13 years, the Allegan County Fair will host a Christian concert on its main stage during its September fair schedule.
In a June letter to area churches, fair executive director Saree Miller officially announced a concert line-up of Casting Crowns, David Crowder and Phil Wickham for Thurs. Sept. 16.
Perhaps it's simply part of the post-pandemic surge in live music events. But nevertheless it is significant addition for the area's largest county fair, which dates back to the 1800s.
It's about identity, who we are.
It's not about lust or licentiousness. It's about declaring human beings can create "their truth." It's about idolatry.
If male and female are simply arbitrary categories, then anything goes. Morality, modesty, masculine and feminine don't really exist. We're all just some hybrid social construct.
It's the latest craze that's morphed beyond political correctness to indisputable orthodoxy. Dissent is not permitted. If you ask questions, based upon common sense, biology, a few thousand years of human history, or even religious conviction, you're a bigot, a hater.
Proponents (especially activists) of gender fluidity believe biology is not destiny. In their view, biological sex is mutable, something "assigned" at birth. One's "real sex" is determined by one's feelings about gender, conveniently presented as an ever-lengthening spectrum of choices (some social media are offering 112 gender choices).
For proponents or activists, (most people struggling with gender dysphoria are not activists¹) there is a clear set or steps a person should pursue once they self-identify with a gender that does not align with their biological sex.
"We are moved by the generosity of our sponsors and participants," said Vivian TerMaat, Wedgwood's chief advancement officer. "Coming out of 2020 we were unsure to what level people, businesses, and organizations would be willing and able to be a part of the Charity Golf Classic, but it is clear that our community values this event and cares deeply about individuals and families who are navigating mental, emotional, and behavioral health challenges."
The 2021-22 academic year will be Le Roy's last at Calvin. "I intend to fulfill my duties with integrity and to give my full attention to the advancement of the institution's mission and Vision 2030 in the time that remains," said Le Roy. "I want the community to know that the board has been very supportive of Andrea and me throughout our time at Calvin, and I have full faith and trust that the board will manage this transition well. I have been blessed to work with an excellent team of leaders during my time at Calvin, and I believe that they will be committed to a seamless transition to new leadership.
Moreno-Riaño joins Cornerstone after serving for over seven years as executive vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. There, he was also a tenured professor of government.
The selection of Moreno-Riaño comes after a six-month, nationwide quest coordinated by executive search firm Carter Baldwin. The exploration produced 70 viable candidates, which, after extensive interviews, was narrowed to three names, of which the board unanimously chose Moreno-Riaño.
Safe Haven offers comprehensive domestic violence services throughout Kent County, Michigan. Our 24/7 hotline number is 616-452-6664. We offer emergency safe shelter, nonresidential programming, and education & prevention for the entire community.
Each area Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is made up of local teens who review all grant applications and select recipients based on the organization or project's impact on youth in their community.
The grants from each YAC will support the Children's Hope Annual Fund which makes it possible for Wedgwood to provide 100% donor-funded Transforming Services, including: Recreation & Wellness, Prevention, Manasseh Project Outreach, Employment Training, and Chaplaincy & Young Life.
This recognition comes as Flietstra has announced her retirement this year, leaving behind a legacy of exceptional leadership in the home health care profession.
"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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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?'"
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
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
- Women of Influence: Dawn Scott Damon
- A Look Behind the Leader: Glenda R. Williams
- Terry’s Picks for May 2021
- Wedgwood Partnerships Leads to Xander Bunnies
- Grey Appointed Assistant Superintendent of Catholic Schools
- Holland Home Keeps Residents Active With ‘Exergaming’
- New Book Offers Students Hope During Lockdown
- Mentorship Program Receives $1.3 Million Grant
- Michigan Chapter of Pilots for Christ Provides No-cost Flights to Critical Care Patients. ‘Our Mission is to Share the Gospel’
- Creative Couple Making Entertainment, Ministry Connections
- “A Place to Belong” Returns
- Terry’s Picks for April 2021
- Coats That Transform into Sleeping Bags Handed Out
- Jenison Pastor to Serve as Director of Candidacy
- Seminary President: Veer From ‘Either Or’ Thinking
- Hand2Hand Purchases Former Grocery Store
- Area Ministers Receive ‘Shot of Love.’ Vaccine Will be Offered to all Michiganders Age 16 and Up Starting April 5
- Dramatic Turns on the Easter Message
- Sus Manos Gleaners CEO: ‘We Want People to Know the Food is Not Coming From Americans’
- Exploring the “Heart’s Wasteland”
- Women of Influence: Beth Fisher