Christmastide, December 26, 2021

This Sunday:

This Sunday, in indoor worship at COS, Naji Umran will preach from Isaiah 9:1-3,607 and Philippians 3:2-12,17-21 in the standard English service. Cory Willson will preach from Luke 2:22-40 in the Basic English Service in Room 5.

We invite you to sign up to attend the morning services. Please note on the sign up that masking is now required for those over 2 years old. The 10 am service will also be live via Zoom. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.

Children’s Ministry News:

Children’s Worship Programming on Sunday, Dec. 26th and January 2nd. During the two Sundays after Christmas, we’ll be offering a Christmas and Epiphany movie in the youth room rather than our full Little Lambs and Children’s Worship programs. We appreciate all the time and love the volunteer leaders of these program give our children, so we hope they enjoy a joyful rest during Christmas and New Year’s! Your children will be dismissed from the service in the usual manner, and you’ll pick them up in the café after the service. There will be no after-church programming for children on these two Sundays.

Church News:

Last week’s offering and online giving:  $36,726

Current (Est) Giving for the month of December: $101,211

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $118,873

GF Balance on November 30th: $24,642

Gathering to Love; Gathering to Give: The COS pledge drive for 2022 is now at the pledging stage. So far, we have received 64 pledges totaling $437,230. We would like to complete the drive by the end of December, so please take a few minutes this week to complete your pledge. We are hoping for about 200 pledges totaling $1,000,000. Won’t you join us in this effort to serve faithfully and gratefully.

SAVE THE DATE: GPS Session: 11:30 am. Jan 23, with Peter and Annica Quakenbush on Green (or natural) Burial. What is it? What does it involve? Why would one consider this? What are the future implications? Join us, the Creation Care Team, for this presentation and discussion. If you have questions, contact Steve Mulder or Elaine Hoekstra.

Friendship ESL at COS concluded the fall term last Thursday with “The Meaning of Christmas” and gift bags for each student and child. The staff of 28 tutors and child-care associates conducted 56 sessions, 197 classes, with 577 students (total attendance), following Covid-safety protocols. In addition to language, the staff conducted citizenship test preparation, assisted a Calvin student with research on ESL, and offered eager welcome to BES services and the weekly Bible study on Thursday mornings. The spring term opens January 4. Want to meet and help these friends from Somalia, Ethiopia, Liberia, the DRC, South Korea, China, and other nations? Contact Mark Fackler

COS is looking for at least 2 people to join offering counters team! This is the easiest volunteer job COS has on offer. If we get enough people, each one of you will be asked for one hour – PER YEAR! Maybe an hour and a half.  Just a five-minute job at the end of the service, counting the checks, envelopes and cash that is brought in. If you are interested, please email Gatwiri Mwenda:

NEEDED: a person to provide childcare in the COS nursery during JANUARY THURSDAY Bible studies, 9:30 – 11:00 am. This will be a paid job. Contact Mary Loeks.

Grand Rapids Chapter – Citizens’ Climate Lobby will have a two book discussion series after the first of the year. The first will be the Mary Robinson book, Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, and the second is a book by Jeremy Williams, Climate Change* is Racist-Race, Privilege and the Struggle for Climate Justice. Each book will be covered in two meetings the evenings of January 12 and 26 and Feb 9 and 23 -at 7 pm. Register via links: Climate Justice Book Discussion, Climate Change is Racist Discussion. COS member Tom McWhertor is one of the facilitators for the January discussions.

You’re invited to join the Wednesday morning prayer group at COS to pray for the church community. The group meets every Wednesday at 10 am in the COS library. All are welcome to join whenever possible.

Thanks to generous gifts from members of the congregation, the Refugee Support Team has been able to increase its budget above our requested General Fund allocation in the last year. Although a smaller number of volunteers has decreased the new refugee families we are able to sponsor, this money has allowed us to better support our refugee and immigrant friends, and to support others in our community who are doing good work.  We are pleased tell you that this month we are planning to:

> Provide $500 to Covenant Hope CRC of Battle Creek, in support of their new refugee and immigrant ministries.  This gift has resulted from a new partnership between COS and Covenant Hope due to some of our Congolese BES members moving to Battle Creek in the last couple of months. Nita VanderBerg was instrumental in making this connection and visited the church on a recent Sunday.  She reports that now our former BES members are worshipping regularly with the congregation, and Covenant Hope’s leadership is launching their own ministry with refugees and immigrants.

> Provide $1000 to Bethany Christian Services and $500 to Samaritas in support of resettlement of Afghans in West Michigan.  This is a large-scale project which will result in more than 400 people relocating to our area from war-torn Afghanistan; about half have already arrived.  While we are unable to sponsor any Afghan families at COS currently, we can participate through these gifts to our partners.

> Provide $400 for art supplies and materials for BES and other kids, who will receive them as part of the distribution of Christmas baskets.  

Praise God for his gifts to us, and thanks to all of you who have supported the refugee and immigrant ministries of COS in the past year.  May the Lord bless our efforts in 2022!

Scripture reading: As we continue into our season of Advent and move into the new calendar year, we invite more people to serve as Sunday morning scripture readers. If you would like to read scripture during a morning worship service, please sign up here. Or find the signup on the church website under the “worship” heading.