A Renewed Outlook

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Senabandith rehearsesTiffany Senabandith rehearses before a performance at a Christian conference l PC: Indirah Michmerhuizen Tiffany Senabandith calls it the darkest time of her life.

"I didn't want to live anymore, but I knew I could never end it because I had too many responsibilities," recalled the Zeeland woman of her feelings around five years ago.

"I felt trapped in a world I didn't want to live in."

But through counseling, prayer journaling and supportive relationships, the 37-year old married mother of three has rebounded with a new outlook. Tiffany is exercising her gifts, helping to lead worship at her church and has resumed her promising songwriting.

"I really have a heart to reach out to people who may be going through the same experience and offer a word of hope," she said.

Call For Prayer and Peace Following Lyoya’s Shooting

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

crccrcThe Executive Director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America says the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya by Grand Rapids police has hit him hard.

Once again, a routine traffic stop ended with the tragic death of yet another young, Black man," said Colin P. Watson, Sr. "This time, though, the community is Grand Rapids, Mich. This is my community — a community that is home to many Christian Reformed congregations and members; a community where the CRC's denominational ministries are housed and many staff members live; a community that many believed to be more safe, more idyllic, and more crime-free than some others that have been in the news lately.

ICCF Has New Name

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

iccfInner City Christian Federation has a new name: ICCF Community Homes. The name better communicates the organization's longtime vision to create vibrant communities in West Michigan with connected neighbors, housing justice and abundant opportunity.

"ICCF has explored a name change multiple times throughout the years," said vice president of Advancement Michelle Covington. "We revisited the possibility in earnest in 2020, consulting with neighbors, partners, staff members and volunteers to better understand our community's perception of ICCF and its work. These conversations showed us that the ICCF name is recognized in Grand Rapids, but does not communicate well the role we play and the work we do in our neighbors' lives."

Music, Spirit Elevates Worship-full Event

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Furtick preach crowdA nearly full Van Andel Arena responds to the message of Steven FurtickThe concert/worship dynamic continues to thrive, as exemplified at the "Elevation Nights" experience April 27 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.

The tour featuring Elevation Worship, the music team from the multi-site Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC, highlighted the nearly sold-out house with an eager crowd of more than 10,000.

And Elevation pastor Steven Furtick came along, preaching a message from Mark 5 about the healing of the woman with "an issue of blood."

Was it worship? Was it a concert? ...A spiritual pep rally that touches on both elements? Some local observers offered comments (below) on the presentation.

Report: Christianity World’s Most Persecuted Religion

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

persOpen Doors USA figures that 360 million Christians last year lived in countries where persecution was "significant," the Grand Rapids-based think tank, the Acton institute reports.

Roughly 5,600 Christians were murdered, more than 6,000 were detained or imprisoned, and another 4,000-plus were kidnapped. In addition, more than 5,000 churches and other religious facilities were destroyed.

Afghanistan took over the top spot from North Korea this year. Open Doors explains that it long was "impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they have to flee the country or they will be killed."

New Chair a First for Mel Trotter Ministries

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

tonjaTonja L.G. Moyer has been tapped to become Mel Trotter Ministries first chair of its board of directors. Moyer is the first African American and only the second woman to hold the position. She has been a trustee since 2009.

"Over the past thirteen years, I have watched the amazing work performed by the staff and leadership at Mel Trotter Ministries," said Moyer. "Their dedication to the homeless population is a tremendous benefit to the social and business fabric of our community and I am honored to now serve in a leadership role as board chair."

Moyer has more than 20 years' experience in Lean Improvement and Process Engineering for the healthcare and manufacturing industries, and is passionate about Mel Trotter's mission of demonstrating the compassion of Jesus Christ to those in need.

Calvin Seminary Revamps M.Div. Degree

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

mdivCalvin Theological Seminary has revamped its master of divinity (M.Div.) degree, scheduled to launch for in-person and hybrid learning in fall 2022.

The main curricular changes to the M.Div. include renewed program goals and more effective strategies for teaching skills, such as preaching and using biblical languages to interpret Scripture.

The updated program, designed to be completed in as few as three years in person or four years for distance-learning students, has been reduced from 101 to 87 credits. Distance-learning students will complete a one-week residency on campus each semester.

Calvin University Appoints 11th President

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

boerThe Calvin University Board of Trustees has accepted the presidential search committee's unanimous recommendation and has appointed Dr.
Wiebe Boer as the institution's 11th president.

Boer was born and raised in Jos, Nigeria, to Christian Reformed missionary parents. He graduated in 1997 as a second-generation Calvin student and is married to Joanna Bachew, from Trinidad and Tobago, who graduated from Calvin in 2003.

Boer values his family's historical connection to Calvin University, and he values the global perspective he has gained, having spent much of his childhood and adult life living and working abroad.

New Developments in Reformed-Roman Catholic Dialogue

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

reformedTwo members of the an Catholic-Reformed Ecumenical Dialogue in the United States are preparing a study guide based on documents that focus on its ongoing ecumenical discussion.

Dr. Ronald J. Feenstra of Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids and Fr. Dennis Tamburello of Siena College in Loudonville, New York, are preparing a study guide, tentatively entitled "Learning from One Another: A Study Guide for Reformed-Roman Catholic Dialogue," which is intended for use in local ecumenical discussions.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, through its Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs is a participant along with the Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The first round of this Reformed-Roman Catholic dialogue began soon after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which opened the door for ecumenical discussions.

Memories of ‘Bill’

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Brownson Dr BillOfficials are planning a May 16, 2022 funeral service for Dr. William "Bill" Brownson Jr., long-time voice of the West Michigan-based radio ministry "Words of Hope" and former seminary professor.

Brownson died in Holland on April 1. He was 93
Following his own seminary training, Brownson served in two church pastorates. Then he came to Holland in 1964 to become a professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary. He took his pastoral approach to his role at the Words of Hope ministry, which he joined in the early 1970s.

In his years at Words of Hope Brownson anchored hundreds of weekly radio broadcasts and also wrote devotionals for the ministry's printed outreach before his 1994 retirement. Author of several books, he is perhaps most noted for "Billy and Dave," a memoir written with his wife Helen about their life journey with their sons Billy and David, who died in 1977 and 2003 respectively.

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