This Sunday at COS:
On this Epiphany Season Sunday, Rev. Andrew Mead will preach from 2 Kings 2:1-12 and Mark 9:2-9 in our Tree of Life service in the large sanctuary. Makema Lwenge will preach in the All Nations worship service in Room 4. In the Tree of Life Service, we have the joy of premiering the first and second place winners of the 2023 COS New Psalm Contest.
Following worship, stick around for Sunday school for all ages. Our Adult Ed (GPS) Sunday School welcomes Marillie Coetsee, assistant professor of philosophy at Hope College, presenting on Religion and Political Polarization (read more about this week’s GPS below).
The 10 am Tree of Life service will also be broadcast via Zoom. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.
Ash Wednesday Service – February 14: Everyone is invited to our Ash Wednesday worship service on February 14 at 7 pm in the Large Sanctuary.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a season for introspection and spiritual renewal. In our evening service, we’ll reflect on our human fragility and the redemptive power of Christ. It’s a moment to reaffirm our commitment to daily repentance and to embrace the powerful truth that Christ has triumphed over death and sin. The service concludes with the imposition of ashes, a moving symbol of our repentance and recognition of our need for God’s grace.
Baptisms: Sunday, February 25 in the Tree of Life service, we will celebrate the sacrament of baptism of Skylar Garone, James Garone, Bennett Garone, Matthew Wang, Abigail Wang, Elijah Wang, and Ramona Venlet as they are welcomed into the family of God at Church Of The Servant. We will receive the promises God makes to His children and heirs, hear the commitments of the families, and together, promise to pray for and encourage Skylar, James, Bennett, Matthew, Abigail, Elijah, and Ramona as they grow in their faith and life. (previously scheduled, but delayed for snow closing)
Lent Season Dance: During Lent the dancers dance “O Christ the Lamb of God” during our communion preparation. New or returning dancers 5 years old and older are welcome to join us. Children that attend Children’s Worship would need to remain in the service or be brought back to the service during the offering time. Rehearsal will be held Thursday, February 15, at 6:30PM. If you have any questions, please reach out to Julie Yonkers.
Feb. 14 Ash Wednesday, 7 pm – Rev. Andrew Mead
Feb. 18 ANWS – Albert Strydhorst, TOL – Ruth Lemmen
Feb. 25 ANWS – Rachel Park, TOL – Rev. Len Vander Zee
March 3 ANWS – Ruth Lemmen, TOL – Andrew Mead
Mercy and Benevolence:
From the deacons: We’d like to report on the assistance COS provided through our Mercy & Benevolence fund in 2023 and thank the congregation for your ongoing support of this important diaconal work. Thanks to our staff and front desk volunteers, too, for your welcoming presence and help in accepting requests. The Mercy & Benevolence team responded to 72 requests for financial assistance in 2023—an average of 6 requests per month. Of these, 22% came from COS individuals or families, and 78% came from the local community. We offered financial assistance in 65% of all cases. This includes times when someone requested major rent assistance and we could provide only a $25 gas card. In some cases, we’ve been partnering with neighboring churches to meet needs in our area. In total, we provided more than $16,000 in direct benevolence assistance last year and took in more than $36,000. The current benevolence fund balance is around $23,000. So far in 2024, we have received more requests than the 2023 average. The high cost of housing is having a large impact in our community.
Pledge Drive: The Stewardship team is inviting each of us to make a pledge of our finances as we live out our commitment to be a community of refuge. Both in our year-end giving and in the pledges for the 2024 General Fund that we make this December, we are showing ourselves to be people of refuge. Questions? Contact any member of the Stewardship team: Chuck Hampton, Joan Huyser-Honig, Carol Rienstra, Michael Zahrt, Andrew Zwart. You can pledge online. You can fill out a printed form at church to put in the offering bowl or designated box or to mail to the church office.
161 pledges totaling $902,988 (Avg pledge $5,609)
Last year we had 154 pledges totaling $868,780.
GPS on Feb. 11- Religion and Political Polarization: Political polarization has grown dramatically in the US since the 1970s, and evidence suggests that it tends to undermine citizens’ commitment to democratic norms and civil dialogue. I begin by outlining some ways in which religious communities may aggravate political polarization, and in so doing undermine the health of democratic institutions. For some, this negative influence of religion on polarization may reinforce the idea that we should keep religion out of politics. However, I suggest that some of the same features of religious life that may lead believers to become more polarized can also be effectively used in the fight against polarization. Believers who are pro-active and reflective in drawing on their rich ethical traditions and social capital to facilitate dialogue between partisans may actually be able to help depolarize American politics.
Seekers and Skeptics: Skeptical about Christianity? The existence of God? Curious about the relationship between faith and reason? This group will undertake a structured but open-ended exploration of questions central to the Christian tradition. We will select a course related to the philosophy of religion or the historical Jesus offered by The Great Courses, and watch and discuss a lecture from that course every other Sunday. The group will be led by Marilie Coetsee, assistant professor of philosophy at Hope College. Our aim is not to convert, but to move towards finding honest answers to difficult questions. In weeks between video lecture discussions, group members are invited to meet together for lunch. Want to hear more about this group? Join me for lunch after GPS on Sun., Feb. 11. To sign up for lunch on the 11th, contact Marillie Coetsee.
GPS on Feb 25, the COS Anti-Racism Team invites you to join us for a presentation titled “The Danger of a Good Story: Telling Our Messy Stories as an Act of Repentance and an Exercise in Sanctification”–in which we we’ll learn about an often-overlooked piece of Classis Grand Rapids East’s history and why it’s important to embrace our messy stories. Our presenter will be Jodi VanWingerden, BSW, M.Div., a member of Neland Ave CRC’s anti-racism team and Coordinator for Student Support and Sexuality Programming at Calvin University.
Youth Newsletter – Annette Ediger sends out a FREE! NO SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED! weekly newsletter to students (and parents of students) in grades 7-12. The newsletter keeps families looped in on activities and programs we offer to these students. And often includes some pictures of our recent activities. Please email Annette.email@example.com to be added to the list.
UPDATE: Pop Up All-Church Sledding Meetup at Mulick Park Date To Be Determined by Snowfall Let’s all agree to be ready to join in the wintery fun on short notice, if the snow flies! In the event of a sledding pop up, you’ll hear about it on our COS and Children’s Ministry Facebook pages, the All-Nations Service WhatsApp group, and via email and the Friday Newsletter.
Safe Church Sunday School Lessons for Preschool-6th Grade Over the next few months, our preschool—6th grade Sunday School classes will each feature 1-2 lessons from the Circle of Grace curriculum aimed at helping to prevent abuse. Amy Heeringa teaching these lessons along with our Safe Church Coordinator. Circle of Grace is, “designed to provide children, youth and parents with a knowledge and language to assist the adults in their faith community to keep them safe.” Dates: Feb. 11 for the Preschool- 1st Grade Class, March 10, for the 2nd-4th Grade Class, and April 21 & 28 for the 5th-6th Grade Class.
Item of the Month for the COS Food Pantry: Lotion All of February
The children’s ministry is collecting a new personal care item each month to help stock up our food pantry with these essential items. This month we invite everyone who can contribute a bottle of lotion. During these cold winter months lotion is so soothing. If it’s possible for you to donate a new, unopened bottle of Lotion, please include your child in shopping for and/or putting the item in the labeled basket near the front entrance to the church.
Outreach and Congregational Life:
Blood Drive – this Monday: 560…That’s how many pints of blood per day that Versiti must collect to supply the hospitals in our state. It takes many donors to reach that goal each and every day! Please consider donating at our blood drive here tomorrow, February 11, 2-7pm. Most likely someone in your family or circle of friends has needed a blood transfusion in the past and wouldn’t be alive today without it. That’s how important these drives are! Make an appointment online here. If you’re new to blood donation and have questions, please contact Ruth Huisman or Beth Karanicola. Many thanks!
AntiRacism: COS has embraced and led antiracism work for over 25 years. CORE (Communities Organizing for Racial Equity) is a non-profit that has emerged out of this continued effort. CORE is a group of Christ followers who work to empower and equip organizations, congregations, and communities to organize and disciple their members to become agents of institutional and individual racial justice leaders. The next one is a workshop on zoom held on six Wednesday evenings from 6-9pm. The dates are February 21, 28, March 6, 13, 20 and 27. Another workshop is scheduled to be held at COS on April 11 (5:30-9pm), 12 (8:30am-6pm) and 13 (8:30am-5pm) Learn more here.