This Sixth Sunday of Epiphany, we welcome Rev. Szabina Sztojka to preach from Matthew 5:1-12 in the larger worship service. Rev. Sztojka serves as Associate Minister at St. Columba’s International Church in Budapest, Hungary (read more about Szabina below). In the large service, we also have the privilege of premiering the winners of our COS New Psalm Contest. Rachel Park, one of our seminary interns, will preach from 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 in the All-Nations Worship Service in Room 4.

After the worship services, we invite you to stay for Sunday school for all ages. Our adult education class, “God’s People Seeking,” is pleased to welcome Mark Ogland-Hand from Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. He will provide insights and advice from the organization’s extensive experience in energy-efficient and zero-emissions homes. GPS meets in Room 3. (read more about GPS below)

The 10 am large sanctuary service will also be broadcast via Zoom. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.   

Children’s Ministry News:

Wednesday Night Dinner and Programming continues this week with dinner from 5:30-6:30pm and these programs from 6:30-8:00pm:

  • Nursery for children 0-1st grade
  • Girls club for 2nd-6th graders
  • Boys Club for 2nd-6th graders
  • Wednesday Night Live! for 7th-8th graders
  • A book study for adults

The Winter/Spring season dates are Feb. 15, March 1, 8, 15, and April 12 and 19. Families with children in 2nd-6th grade, please plan to stay to watch your kids race their pinewood derby cars on April 19!

Welcome to the Table: Children at the Lord’s Supper Class, Feb. 26 from 11:45am-12:45pm. In this class a parent(s) or caregiver attends with their child to help them understand the significance of the Lord’s supper and its connection to baptism. For some children this class will prepare them to participate in the Lord’s supper and serve as an invitation to the table. For children already participating in the Lord’s supper, it will deepen their understanding of the sacraments and sense of belonging in the body of Christ. If you’re interested in this class, please let us know you’ll be attending by sending a note to

Church News:

Current Giving for the Month of February (includes monthly ach): $32,216

January 2023 Giving: $122,071

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $118,873

On Sunday, February 12, we will welcome Rev. Szabina Sztojka to preach in the larger worship service. Rev. Sztojka serves as Associate Minister at St. Columba’s International Church in Budapest, Hungary. Her other responsibilities in the Reformed Church in Hungary are the leadership of the church’s national Roma Ministry and the leadership and further development of the Ecumenical Diaconial Year Program (international volunteer hosting and sending program). She has years of experience working with Roma communities in Hungary. She earned her ThM degree at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She was ordained as one of the first Roma women in the Reformed Church in Hungary. The work of reconciliation is one of her passions – she facilitates Healing Hearts, and Transforming Nations reconciliation events internationally and develops the ministry in Hungary. Her other passion is preaching, including researching for new ways of preaching from the margins using contextual and liberation theologies (such as black theology of liberation and womanist theology). 

A weekly Alpha course will begin Sunday, February 12 at 7:30pm in the COS living room. This small group gathering is a safe space for anyone wanting to ask questions about the Christian faith – whether churched, unchurched, or dechurched. Each session begins with video to prompt discussion about questions at the core of Christian faith. If you are interested in participating, please contact Pastor Andrew ( or extend the invitation to someone you know who might be interested.

The COS Anti-Racism Team invites the congregation to follow a prayer guide for the month of February that can be found here on the COS website. Daily prayers will be posted on the COS Facebook group.

The COS Executive team encourages you to support World Renew as they a respond to the urgent needs of people impacted by the two major earthquakes and hundreds of significant aftershocks that rocked southern Türkiye and northern Syria early on February 6, 2023. The organization is accepting donations for Türkiye/Syria Earthquake at More donation and contact information are included in their press release

Thursday Bible Study: Come be shaped by the Spirit along with fellow siblings in faith. We will be entering into the ancient yet astoundingly relevant book of I Samuel over 12 sessions, each of which will cover a fair amount of the biblical book’s 31 chapters. Our next gathering is Thursday, February 16th at 9:30 to 11am in the Cafe at COS. From there, it’s every Thursday except Maundy Thursday, April 6th, all the way through May 4th.

ESL and Thursday Morning Bible studies have ongoing childcare needs each Thursday morning this Spring. The time frame is 9:15 – 11:45 for a total of 2.5 hours. Are you someone who is willing and able to care for a few young children in the COS nursery? Or do you know someone who could do well in this caring role? If so, please contact Thanks! 

Do you enjoy cooking?  We’d like to supply some meals for Rachel Westra. Last month Rachel fell and sustained a fractured ankle. She is scheduled for surgery this week and may not put weight on that ankle for about six weeks. Daily tasks are challenging, so having some meals delivered would be much appreciated! Use this link to find her Meal Train page and sign up to help: It’s easy, and the details are all on the Meal Train page. Questions? Contact Ruth Huisman. (32nd St & Shaffer area – Parish 7)

CORE (Communities Organizing for Racial Equity) will offer an understanding racism workshop here at COS on March 9-11 (Thursday evening, all day Friday and Saturday). These Understanding Racism workshops are designed for our local congregations and Christian organizations.  We hope and pray that COS people continue in this work of understanding racism, to deepen our insight as to what God-led antiracism looks like. Our times are always fraught with racial tension. As Christ followers joining in the ongoing task of dismantling racism, we can do good work together. Registration costs are covered by our COS budget. Please prayerfully consider attending or coming back for a refresher. Register at

King in the Wilderness: As people of faith, we recognize that institutional and systemic racism lives everywhere – in health systems, education systems, municipal systems, mental health systems, social services and in our places of worship. As we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, the COS Antiracism Team recommends viewing this documentary on the life and work of Dr. King, “King in the Wilderness” (2018). There is so much about Dr. King’s conviction, hope, and vision that is applicable and inspiring for us as believers. As Congressman John Lewis states at the end of the video, “When we see something that is not right, not fair, not just we have a moral obligation to speak up, to do something.”

Countdown: Four Weeks! Be a Life Saver  –  donate at our next Blood Drive! We are hosting a drive on Monday, March 13, 2-7pm.  Come and share your gift of life.  Sign up online at a time that’s convenient for your schedule:  Contact Ruth Huisman or Beth Karanicola with questions.

GPS Adult Ed – February 12: Making Your Home Climate Friendly: A Discussion with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. Have you been thinking about improving the energy efficiency of your home, adding solar panels, or replacing appliances with climate-friendly alternatives? Have you wondered how best to evaluate and prioritize the different available options? Are you curious about qualifications for incentive programs (especially through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act) that could help offset your initial costs? If your answer to any of these is ‘yes,’ then join us for the GPS at 11:45-12:30 in Room 3 on Sunday, February 12. Mark Ogland-Hand from Habitat for Humanity of Kent County will share insights and tips from the organization’s extensive experience in energy-efficient and zero-emissions homes.

GPS Adult Ed – February 19 and 26: Why is it that in the United States more than 1,000 people, particularly young Black men, are killed by the police each year?  By comparison, in England in 2019, police killed 3 people (0.5 per 10 million, as compared to 33.5 per 10 million).  In a two-part presentation, we look at “why?” The first session will examine the larger historical and structural context of policing in the United States.  The second session will look at Grand Rapids specifically and consider the local churches’ responsibility to seek the well-being of the city. Presenter Joseph Kuilema is a visiting professor in the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University.  Before that, he taught at Calvin University for 14 years.  He was baptized at COS in 1982 and was a member for decades.

Meijer Simply Give: COS has been awarded another campaign to support our in-house Food Pantry. The double-match days will be on March 4 and 25. This is where your $10.00 purchase of the Simply Give gift card will give COS $30.00 in Meijer gift cards to be used to purchase food items from Meijer for our pantry. For those who want Ellen Westrate, Food Coordinator, to buy the Simply Give cards at the Cascade Meijer only on those days, please give your money or a check to COS in an envelope to Ellen Westrate labeled “Simply Give.”

Save the date! COS Dinner Auction Fundraiser: March 17, 2023. Spend St Patrick’s Day evening at COS for an epic COS dinner and auction to raise funds for 2 BIG Youth Group Summer trips in 2023: the Northern Ireland Campbell-led journey into conflict resolution and peacemaking and the Colorado Challenge trip where up to 30 high school kids get to go experience God in the mountains of Colorado. And start thinking about a skill, item, or experience that you can offer for the auction. Let Annette Ediger know your ideas!

Christian Education Assistance Team is looking for an additional 2-3 members to join the team. There are no required skills, although an understanding of spreadsheets is helpful. The main tasks of the CEA Team are to compile the list of people applying for Christian Education Assistance for the coming school year and input their information into a spreadsheet. Then based on a prescribed formula, an award amount is determined. Once the final amount is determined, the CEA Team meets with each of the families. The CEA Team reports the final amounts to the Finance Team receiving approval for the funds. The length of commitment per year is late January through early April, including replying to emails, participating in Zoom meetings with parents, and meeting 1-2 times as a Team. 

The Feeding America West Michigan Mobile Food Pantry was honored by COS’s support in 2022 and is proud to partner together in 2023. FeedWM is grateful for all the work COS did last year to put food on the plates of neighbors in need. In 2022, COS moved 73,945 pounds of product through the twelve distribution Saturdays. Based on the estimated market value of a pound of food ($2.30), COS has saved roughly $165,493 by partnering with the food bank. The cost of the program was $8850 with contributions donated totaling $4581. If you are interested in giving towards COS’s 2023 efforts, you can mark your offering accordingly. If you are willing and able to give of your time, contact Monica:, Greg Snow, or by calling the church office. If you send a donation directly to FeedWM, it does not go to COS’s account, as it had in the past, but to their general funding.