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A Look Behind the Leader

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Brown Dr. Julie MayflowerLittle known fact: in addition to her flawless English, Dr. Julia Brown speaks fluent Portuguese. But the bilingual Brown transcends spoken language as she brings faith-filled music to her roles as organist and director of music at Mayflower Congregational Church in Grand Rapids.

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.

Ken Reynolds’ Life and Legacy Celebrated

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Reynolds Ken arms liftedKen Reynolds in worship After I heard of the "home-going" of Ken Reynolds on Aug. 7, I immediately felt our loss of a man with great musical gifts – songwriting, choir and musical directing, and worship leading. Ken stepped into eternity after a years-long struggle with cancer, a battle that included numerous treatments and at least one bone marrow transplant. (For memorial information, see below).

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.

Hackett Catholic Prep Names New Principal

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

CapturehackThe Catholic Schools of Greater Kalamazoo and Hackett Catholic Prep have appointed Paul Dull as the high school's next principal, for the 2021-2022 academic year.

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.

GR Church Switches to Green Energy

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

CapturesolarIn July, Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids installed 126 solar panels on its roof as it switched to renewable energy.

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.

75 Mile Walk to Support Growing Hope Globally

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbGrowing Hope Globally (GHG) co-founders Bev Abma and Ron DeWeerd will walk 75 miles throughout West Michigan to raise support for GHG, an organization they both founded in 1999. The walk will begin with a send-off at First Reformed Church in Fremont on Aug. 11 and will culminate with Dairy Day at Nutrient Ag Solutions in Wayland on Aug. 21. The public is invited to join the walkers or participate in one of the events being planned along the way.

Van Harten selected as U.S. Congregational Ministries director

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

CapturevanhartenLis Van Harten was recently named permanent director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America's U.S. Congregational Ministries. The positions oversees the denomination's ministries including Chaplaincy and Care Ministry, Disability Concerns, Diversity, Faith Formation Ministries, the Office of Social Justice, Pastor Church Resources, Race Relations, Safe Church Ministry and Worship Ministries.

Hope College: funding addresses social needs in Holland

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbAs part of the "There's No Place like Home" initiative, an $800,000 grant has been awarded from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Established in February 2020 and administered by Holland-based Hope College, three new community-based partnerships will allow the college's faculty and students in the arts and humanities to work collaboratively with local organizations to provide service and learning opportunities for those at Hope.

Terry’s Picks for August 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 August...

Homosexuality gone mainstream--what now?

Written by Rex Rogers on . Posted in Local

mainstreetchurch   Homosexuality has become something of a growth industry. Lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender individuals (LGBT) are now visible in virtually every subsection of society, including religion.

     Out of the closet, homosexuality has successfully moved into mainstream culture, despite the protestations of conservatives and Christians alike.

     While we’ve fought the culture wars for forty years, including ongoing battles to prevent homosexuality from being morally approved, culturally embraced, and/or legally recognized, the effort has been less than successful. Television, cinema, books and magazine articles, popular music, celebrities, and even local school districts are presenting homosexuality as an acceptable form of sexual expression. It’s just an alternative-but-normal lifestyle, sexual preference or orientation.

Christian Concerts Gearing Up For Fall Season

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

EVENTSIt may seem premature to offer a fall calendar list of Christian concerts in West Michigan. But there's one that represents a "breakthrough." making it especially noteworthy.

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.

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