This Sunday at COS:

On this Eastertide Sunday, Rachel Park, one of our Seminary Interns will preach from Acts 8:26-40 and 1 John 4:7-21 in the Tree of Life worship service in the large sanctuary. Charles Rugiramarora will preach 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 Bart Den Boer discussing “Israelis and Palestinians – Two Traumatized Peoples: Key Understandings for Americans” (read more about GPS below). New Members’ classes continue 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.

Outreach and Congregational Life

Camping – Mark your calendars! After a nearly 30 year hiatus, COS will again be inviting all church members to join us for a COS Camping Trip. We have reserved a block of camp sites and cabins at Wabasis Lake Campground for this coming fall, Sept. 27-29. Details are still being worked out, but if you want to reserve a campsite now, contact Annette ( or Ben (

Be a Beacon of Hope!  Share your gift of life with someone who really needs help and hope!  Plan to donate at our next Blood Drive in one week: Monday, May 6, 2-7pm, in our church cafe. You can make an appointment online at 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.

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.

COS is hiring a Campus Facilities Assistant. The Campus Facilities Assistant is responsible for maintaining the outdoor campus of COS and organizing of volunteers to assist where needed. This position is a ten-hour per week position. Contact Monica for the full job description.


The CRC has been COS’s denominational home from our beginning. Yet from our beginning, COS has sensed Christ’s deep and wide welcome to the Table. We acknowledge our failure to fully embody God’s gifts of Refuge, Fellowship, and Hope, even as we seek to grow into them.

Like in many areas, COS has a diversity of views on the matters which face us today. We embrace our diversity even when it is hard, unsettling, difficult, and threatens to divide us. We lean into the diversity and look to Christ to hold us together. Recently, someone said the job of Synod 2024 is to decide if there is room for a diversity of views and if there is room for COS and churches like COS and throughout the USA and Canada.

Synopsis of Sunday, April 14’s GPS:

  • David Clemo covered that IF we have to leave the CRC, here is the CRC process: it involves Council passing a resolution of disaffiliation, engaging with Classis, and then TWO congregational votes at least a month apart. 
  • Pam Bratt gave a summary of the overtures to Synod 2024. There are hopeful overtures, but many more that would make Gravamina more restrictive, declare that present CRC definition of sexual ethics are salvation issues. There is even an overture on top-down discipline to suspend and replace Councils. If some of these are adopted, it will be difficult for COS to remain in the CRC.
  • Cindy VanderKodde gave a presentation on preparing emotionally and spiritually for Synod 2024.
  • Eric Walstra presented some principles that Council is discussing to lead us through the uncertainty in the coming months. 

We are a church committed to our mission and our statement on being a community of belonging. We will work with likeminded churches to find a path forward, whatever it may be. Please pray for Cindy VanderKodde and Eric Walstra as part of the Grand Rapids Classis East delegates to Synod 2024 in June.

Flourishing Forward has also been working hard to help us answer many of the big questions facing COS. They have been giving various topics and questions to Council for discussions. They have been meeting with households, staff members, and getting input from the congregation. The group’s tentative plan is to continue through May with a report to Council in June.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Listening sessions with Council members Sundays, April 28 and May 5
  • Town hall – Sunday, May 12
  • Budget Q&A – Sunday, May 26
  • Annual Congregational Meeting – budget approval and Council slate of office bearers’ approval – Sunday, June 2

God is our refuge and our strength, and we can share the gifts of refuge, fellowship, and hope with those around us looking for a safe place to worship, serve, and belong. Thank you for your prayers.

List of definitions

  • Synod – Synod is the annual meeting of all the delegates from every CRC Classis worldwide, the meeting is at Calvin University
  • Classis – Classis is a group of CRC churches grouped by geographical region. COS is part of Classis Grand Rapids East (Classis GRE).
  • Overture – a proposal towards agreement or action, to be voted and adopted into Church Order
  • Gravamina – a formal, written way of expressing concerns to the church about the confessional documents not aligning with God’s Word


Thirteen refugees have benefited from the Jack and Carol Roeda Refugee Higher Education Fund since it was begun in 2012, many of them having graduated from college. For this we thank God. In the last several years, however, COS has welcomed many more refugees with large families. Seven of our many teenagers and one working father are hoping to attend GRCC this coming fall! We do not have enough funds to support all these students and so we need to refill our coffers for this next year and the following ones. To assist these students is one way in which you can be part of COS’s mission to “share gifts of refugee, fellowship and hope.” Please designate any gift you can give for the “Jack and Carol Roeda Refugee Higher Education Fund.”

Giving receipts for the first quarter of 2024 will be emailed to COS members. If no email is provided you will find a hard copy in your COS mailbox this Sunday. Contact AJ Zahrt with any questions.

Faith Formation:

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.

Help Celebrate our 14 graduating high school seniors! On Sunday, May 5, we will recognize our High School Seniors during the worship service. After worship, they will gather in the Youth Room for a reception where they will receive gifts from our church family to set them up for the next leg of their journey. Can you make a small donation to help celebrate these students by May 5? Donations will be shared among all our graduates and distributed in the form of a Visa Gift Card—one of several gifts they will receive from COS. Donations can be made through COS’ online giving link on their website, or by placing cash or checks in our donation box in the café by the senior picture display. Indicate “Grad Gift” in the memo area. Thank you for supporting these amazing humans!

Wednesday Night Programming Reminder: Wed. Night Dinners and all of our programs for students in grades 2-12 (WNL, WNLX, Wed. Night Hype—formerly known as Boys Club, and Next Generation—formerly known as Girls Club) are on a break until Wednesday, June 19. Thanks for a great year and see you this summer! (Want to plan ahead? Here are the 5 Wednesdays we will be meeting this summer: June 19, 26, July 10, 17, & 24.)

Summer Mission Trip for students in grades 8-12: This summer members of our high school youth group will be participating in SERVE, an organization that partners with local churches to do good in a community. We will be serving right here in Grand Rapids June 22-29, staying at LaGrave Ave. CRC for the week. We still have 4 openings. If you (and a friend?) are interested in joining us, contact Annette by May 5. or call/text 616-308-0143.

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).


Preaching Schedule
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
May 26             ANWS – Rev. Andrew Mead, TOL – Rev. Len Vander Zee

The Joyful Noise Orchestra will lead music for our worship on Sunday, May 12.  If you play a band or orchestra instrument, you are welcome and encouraged to join the group for this service!  Sign up in the music room or by emailing Maria Stapert Vander Berg (  Music is available to be picked up in the music room, or a PDF can be emailed to you if you sign up by email.  There will be a rehearsal on Wednesday, May 8 at 6:30pm in the sanctuary.  There will also be a rehearsal on Sunday, May 12 at 9:00am.   Email Maria if you have any questions. 

Summer Jam Sessions – Wednesday evening programming is finished for this school year, but the demand for jam sessions continues!  If you like to strum, pick, sing, hit, shake, or play folksy/Americana melodies by ear, you are welcome to join these summer jam sessions.  Observers and learners are welcome, too!  Chords and lyrics will be provided.  The jam sessions will be held in the sanctuary from 6:30pm-8:00pm on Wednesdays, May 1, June 5, June 26, July 10, and August 7.  (Summer Wednesday evening programming will also take place on June 26 and July 10.  So come at 5:30 for dinner before jamming.)