Conference to Focus on Ministry of ‘Illusionists’

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Magic scarf God is LoveDuane Laflin makes a scarf magically appear from a “secret message scroll” Magician/illusionist Duane Laflin has performed at secular venues on five continents and had extended runs at some of our nation's great "magic" theatres.

But he's also used his craft to share his faith and deliver a Christian message at mega-churches like pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback congregation in California as well as small churches "in the middle of nowhere."

Now he's organized an Oct. 22-23, 2021 conference to educate and equip Christian magicians/illusionists to use their slight-of-hand and other skills to advance the gospel (see details at the end of this article).

"I want to bring the things I've learned to people who want to do ministry," said Laflin from his modest "Grand Magic Theatre" storefront in downtown Colon Mich. "Teaching is a big part of what I do these days."

FPA to perform C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Great Divorce’

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbFellowship for Performing Arts, a nonprofit New York City-based production company producing theatre and film from a Christian worldview to engage a diverse audience, returns to live theatrical performances in Grand Rapids at DeVos Performance Hall Saturday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m., with one performance only of the hit national tour of C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce."

This updated and expanded version of the original production features four actors portraying 22 vivid characters. They take a strange bus trip from hell to the outskirts of paradise, where they are given an opportunity to stay or return to hell . . . forever divorced from heaven. The choice proves to be much harder than imagined. And it all takes place in 90 minutes!

Faith leaders urge Kent County BOC to support KCHD mask order

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbThe Kent County Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships team recently attended a special meeting of the Kent County Board of Commissioners work session, urging them to require students in pre-K through 6th grade students to wear masks while indoors at school.

"We are gathering to support our (Kent) County health officer, Dr. Adam London, and the Kent County Health Department's order requiring pre-K through 6th grade students to wear masks while indoors at school," said Khary Bridgewater, coordinator for the Kent County Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Team. "As leaders in the faith community, we continue to work alongside our health care providers on the frontline of this deadly pandemic by serving the sick, comforting the suffering and burying the dead. We applaud the extraordinary work of the Kent County Health Department in serving all members of our community, including our children."

Hospice provider to construct Grief Support Center

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbFaith Hospice is currently raising funds to construct a community-based Grief Support Center at its Trillium Woods inpatient facility in Wyoming. The new Grief Support Center will be better able to serve staff, patients, and the general community. As well, the new space will allow Faith to expand bereavement services, give staff a home base to find support, and enhance training and education for better care. Learn more here:

Demand for senior living prompts senior services expansion

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbDemand for senior living services drove Holland Home to undergo a $5.5 million expansion project at its Breton Woods campus on 44th Street near Breton Avenue in Kentwood. Completed recently, the new facility will provide an innovative 19,000-square foot, 15-bed assisted living unit and a 5,400-square foot activity center with a gym and exercise area. The privately funded single-story assisted living unit will be a much-needed addition to the two existing assisted living buildings on the Breton Campus. Each of the existing structures, built in 2015 and 2017 respectively, contain 15-bed units. Meanwhile, as more seniors incorporate iPads, apps and online shopping into their daily routine, they are increasing their risk of online scamming. To help residents understand all the traps and help with password and technology security, Holland Home is offering free educational classes to better equip residents on how to identify and avoid online scams.

Nonprofit starts construction on $10m campus renewal

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

D.A. Blodgett-St. John's broke ground in mid-August on a $10 million multipurpose facility near the organization's Knapp campus in Northeast Grand Rapids. When finished in late 2022, the new building will serve as the campus cornerstone, as it integrates all children and family services under one roof, an intentional move to improve outcomes for the 7,000 children and families it serves annually. Locating all services onto one campus will save the organization $2 million over the next two decades

New Shoots of Evangelism, Leadership to Soon Sprout for GVSU Students

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

gvsuRev. Scott Stark: “The microchurch initiative allows us to have another pathway of leadership ministry.” Green shoots of evangelism and new leadership prospects will soon sprout for Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students.

The Christian Reformed Church in America campus ministry intends to first train GVSU students, with the goal of eventually getting underway microchurches, says Rev. Scott Stark, director of campus ministry at GVSU.

"Microchurches, as we define them, take complex things and make them as simple as possible but they're not simplistic," says Stark. "I'm talking about small communities of people — 5 to 30 people — that are centered around the person of Jesus Christ. They're started by believers but are often designed missionarly in order to welcome de-churched or unchurched people either with shared interests, characteristics, location, and vocation."

Bulthuis & Crew Poised for Benefit.

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Bulthuis Glenn w Hark UpGlenn Bulthuis, shown here performing with the Hark Up HornsSinger-songwriter Glenn Bulthuis has done plenty of benefit shows in his 44-year concert career. But his upcoming Oct. 22 performance with his band the Tonedeafs and Chris Hansen's Brass has special meaning for the veteran musician.

"These two organizations (Manna Media and Turning Point Missions) are close to home," said Bulthuis during a recent interview.

Both of the non-profit ministries are headed by members of his Oakhill Presbyterian Church on Grand Rapids' northeast side.

Movin’ On Up For Ministry

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Monroe completed sanctuaryThe Monroe Church worshiping at its new homeIt wasn't a long walk. But it was one to remember.

On a mild late-summer Sunday, the congregation of Monroe Community Church (MCC) of Grand Rapids, MI began worship at one location, took a walk and then finished worship down the street.

It was goodbye to its old home and hello to a new one.... just a few blocks down Monroe Ave. NW.

Pastor Jim Boer led his congregation in saying good-bye.

Persistent Newsboys Back on the Road

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Newsboys balconyNewsboys (from left), Jody Davis, Duncan Phillips, Jeff Frankenstein, Michael TaitJeff Frankenstein of the Christian pop-rock band Newsboys is primed to go from pandemic isolation to the concert trail.

"We probably tour more than a lot of bands and we're used to being in a different city every day," said the keyboardist during an interview from Nashville, TN.

"From there to going nowhere for 16 months....I had always wondered what that would be like," he said.

Spending time at home with family was a good thing. In fact, Jeff and his wife Jennifer had a "pandemic" baby during the interlude – their fourth child. "I didn't have to worry about missing the delivery day," he smiled.

Terry’s Picks for October 2021

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

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 coming month. Here are a several possibilities for October....

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