Gender Fluidity and Divine Design

Written by Dr. Rex M. Rogers on . Posted in Local

Rex-2017b-300x242Dr. Rex M. Rogers Gender fluidity is the cultural soup du jour.

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.

Wedgwood Fundraiser Exceeds Goal

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbThanks to sponsors and golfers, Wedgwood Christian Service's 36th Annual Charity Golf Classic raised over $190,000, exceeding the event's fundraising goal by over $10,000. The money will go toward the organization's 100% donor-funded Transforming Services. Even with an afternoon rain shower, the event was near capacity with 348 golfers on both the Valley and Ridge courses.

"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."

President of Calvin Resigns

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

le royThe president of Calvin University announced he will resign following 10 year's at the Christian Reformed Church educational institution. Michael Le Roy said it was a hard decision for he and wife Andrea to make, but "fleeting moments" with a family of young adults and aging parents who need more care makes it the right time to return to the Northwest to be closer to family.

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 Selected as Cornerstone University’s President

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

MorenoThe Cornerstone University board of trustees unanimously appointed Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño as its 12th university president. Moreno-Riaño succeeds Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, who retired this month after 13 years.

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 Taps Rachel VerWys as Executive Director

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

r ver wysRachel j VerWys has joined Safe Haven Ministries as its executive director. She possesses an array of nonprofit leadership experiences over the past 20 years. She most recently served as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of SEE Human Trafficking Coalition and chairs the Kent County Area Human Trafficking Coalition. VerWys was named one of the Top 50 Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2020 and received a Diversity Award from Wedgwood Christian Services in May 2021. As a student at Calvin College, she volunteered at Ramoth House, which later evolved into Safe Haven Ministries, bringing her career full circle.

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.

Wedgwood Recipient of Youth Advisory Council Grants

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbThe Grand Haven Area Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council, Ionia County Youth Advisory Council, and Wyoming Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council have each selected Wedgwood Christian Services as a recipient of their annual grants.

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.

Holland Home Executive Receives Home and Hospice Care Award

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

flietstraHolland Home Executive Vice President for Home and Community Based Services Carolyn Flietstra was inducted into the Michigan Homecare and Hospice Association Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was inaugurated to honor those individuals who have excelled in the home care and hospice profession, those who bring honor and recognition to the MHHA and those who inspire and mentor individuals and students to consider or continue their careers in home care and hospice.

This recognition comes as Flietstra has announced her retirement this year, leaving behind a legacy of exceptional leadership in the home health care profession.

Big Tickets Returns

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

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

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

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

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

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

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

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

Written by Dr. Rex M. Rogers on . Posted in Local

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.

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