This Sunday at COS:

On this Eastertide Sunday, Rev. Jack Roeda will preach from John 10:11-18 and 1 John 3:16-24 in the Tree of Life worship service in the large sanctuary. Rev. Andrew Mead will preach from Acts 4:5-12 in the All Nations Worship service in room 4.

Following worship, stick around for Sunday School for all ages. In Adult-ed GPS, we welcome John Bernbaum to discuss “The Pain and the Blessings of the Ukrainian Wartime Refugees”. Read more about GPS below. New Members’ classes begin this week in the living room.

The 10 am Tree of Life service and GPS will also be broadcast via Zoom. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.   

Faith Formation:

GPS April 21: The Pain and the Blessings of the Ukrainian Wartime Refugees – led by COS member John Bernbaum, who co-authored with Phillip Yancey, What Went Wrong? Russian’s Lost Opportunity and the Path to Ukraine. Ukrainian refugees began one of the largest migrations since World War II when the Russian armed forces invaded their country in February 2022. What happened to these refugees, mostly women and children, and what impact have they had where they settled? How has God used the evil of this vicious war to build God’s Kingdom?

GPS April 28: Israelis and Palestinians – Two Traumatized Peoples: Key Understandings for Americans. This presentation, led by Bart Den Boer, will briefly address how the post-WWII traumas of Israelis and Palestinians affect their relationship to each other and other parties. It examines the reality of settler colonialism, the military occupation of Palestine, the siege of Gaza, and apartheid. It considers a way forward that is not recognized by either Hamas or the Israeli government, but honors biblical shalom and is thoroughly American. This is a session packed with content and therefore arriving early for the beginning of the presentation is vital to a full understanding.

Bibles for 2nd Grade Graduates on June 2 – On June 2 our 2nd graders will each receive a New International Readers Version (NIRV) Adventure Bible to mark the milestone of graduating from our Children’s Worship program. This will be the last day they’ll be dismissed to continue worship in the children’s wing, where they’ll explore their new Bibles and prepare to join in congregational worship the following week. If your child is in 2nd grade but doesn’t attend Children’s Worship, please send Jo a note at, so she can be sure they’re on the list to receive a Bible.

Children at the Lord’s Supper Class on June 2, 11:45pm-12:45pm &

Welcoming Children to the Table on June 9– Through our baptism we are welcomed to the table for the Lord’s Supper, but most COS children spend part of the worship service in Little Lambs and Children’s Worship through the 2nd grade. So, we offer this class for graduating 2nd graders and baptized children of any age who would like to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Together we explore the meaning of the sacraments and how God meets us in the sacraments. We practice how we participate in communion at COS, and we invite the children to join in the feast! 

            We’ve scheduled this class to allow a smooth transition into full participation in worship for our 2nd grade graduates, but older or younger children are certainly welcome. On June 9th we’ll welcome the children to the table, whichever service they attend. If you’d like to participate in this class with your child(ren), please send Jo a note at, or a text at (616) 238-1324, or WhatsApp (same number) to confirm you’ll be available to attend on June 2 and June 9. She will respond with further details about the class. If these dates don’t work for you, but your child is eager to participate in the Lord’s Supper, please also reach out so we can make a plan for welcoming your child(ren).


Finances at COS: In March, we collectively gave just over $104,000 to our operations here at COS, with a total income including interest and rentals of just over $105,000.  March was one of the two months each year when we had three (bi-weekly) paydays instead of the usual two. This bumped our spending to almost $126,000. We cover the extra with our running balance, but on average we need about $5,000 extra in income each month to account for it. Our cash balance dropped a little, but we covered the difference.  For the fiscal year so far, with two such extra payroll months already passed, our income and expenses are just about even. The finance committee remains grateful for the generous spirit of giving.


Council Nominations:  At this time of the year each of our members is asked to prayerfully consider leading and caring for our congregation by serving as an elder or deacon.  The council needs to nominate four elders and two deacons for a new term.  If you feel so called and/or have questions about this opportunity please contact a member of the council or the nomination committee which consists of Kurt Schaffer, Jolene Vos-Camy and Suzanne Van Engen.

Outreach and Congregational Life

On Monday, May 6, 2-7pm, we will have another Michael Karanicola Memorial Blood drive. 27 years ago, Michael’s family started sponsoring blood drives at COS in thanksgiving for the many church people of California who responded to the need for blood when 3-year-old Michael had a bone marrow transplant in Los Angeles. Now, each unit of blood donated here will make a life-and-death difference to someone in our community. Will you consider giving an hour of your time and sharing your gift of life? You can make an appointment online here. Talk to Nick or Beth Karanicola if you have any questions or want to know more of Michael’s story. Thank you!!

Meijer Simply Give: COS is delighted to once again partner with Meijer Simply Give in support of our in-house Food Pantry. Simply Give runs until June 29, 2024. During this time, you may purchase $10 Simply Give cards at the Cascade Meijer, and that money goes to the COS food pantry. The Double Match Day will be June 15. This means that every $10 card purchased on June 15 will result in $30 for the COS food pantry. If you would like COS to purchase the cards on the double match day on your behalf, please drop your donation in the Sunday offering and label your gift “Simply Give.”

Toilet Paper: The COS Food Pantry Item of the Month for April – Please consider donating toilet paper during the month of April to help restock our food pantry with this essential item. Baskets for collecting toilet paper are at the children’s check in station between the main church entrance and the coat racks. 

Help a kind-hearted woman run errands on first Fridays. VIS (Volunteers in Service) has asked COS for one or two volunteers—or a rotating group—willing to transport Susan, a COS neighbor in her 50s. This would be from 9 a.m. to noon, starting May 3 and every first Friday afterward. You’ll drive Susan on a set list of errands near Breton Village and Gaslight Village to a blood draw lab, bank, grocery store, and two pharmacies. You’ll also help by going in with her, pushing shopping carts, and carrying in her purchases to her apartment. VIS says, “Susan is very sweet and kind-hearted as you get to know her. She blooms when introduced as ‘your friend!’ Susan thrives on routine and consistency to manage her life. She is always thankful, even if she forgets to show appreciation in the moment as she works diligently to manage each situation.” If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Joan Huyser-Honig, chair of deacons.

The March/April 2024 newsletter from the Classis East Racial Justice Team is available on the COS website. The newsletter includes a report on The Reparations Working Group, a subgroup of the Classis East Racial Justice Team.

Volunteers Needed: Last Sunday several COS folks attended an Afghan dinner party at the West Michigan Friendship Center. We gathered to celebrate the journey of the Haidari/Shirzad family, whom we sponsored as refugees four years ago. The family has prospered this past year through participation in English classes and social activities. Starting in late May Nasima (mother, age 65) and Rahima (daughter, age 30) will not be able to regularly attend COS ESL classes twice a week or participate in programs at the West Michigan Friendship Center.Perhaps you would like to help fill this gap. I am soliciting volunteers to help the ladies this summer by:

  • Visiting with them and/or taking them on walks or short excursions
  • Spending time doing art and craft projects
  • Inviting the ladies and other family members to participate in gardening or garden visits
  • Engaging in English conversations and tutoring (at a very basic level)

It would be great if a few people could do some of these activities with the ladies through the summer. Perhaps you are interested in more than one activity or have other ideas. Finally, Hossein (son, age 33) could use some mentoring on financial management and tutoring in English and civics, as he prepares for his citizenship exam in a few months. Please contact Joel Westmaas if you would like to volunteer.


Preaching Schedule
April 28            ANWS – Charles Rugiramarora, TOL – Rachel Park
May 5               ANWS – Nola Galluch, TOL – Rev. Andrew Mead
May 12             ANWS – Ruth Lemmen, TOL – Rev. Len Vander Zee
May 19             Prism combined service – Lucy Gitau

Office and Facilities:

April is Staff Appreciation Month at COS. Throughout the month of April, there will be a box in the café to place cards of thankfulness and encouragement.

Saturday, April 27 will be our annual COS spring workday. If you would like to help get the facility ready for the change in seasons, work will begin at 9:00am. If you have volunteered as an adopt-a-garden “parent”, this would be a great time to get started on your gardening tasks. There will be tasks for all ages and skill levels, some indoors and some outdoors. We should finish around 11:30am.