This Sunday at COS:

On this Lenten Sunday, Ruth Lemmen will preach from Genesis 9:8-17 and Mark 1:9-15 in our Tree of Life service in the large sanctuary. Albert Strydhorst will preach in the All Nations worship service in Room 4.

Following worship, stick around for Sunday school for all ages. Our Adult Ed (GPS) Sunday School will host a presentation from members of the COS Anti-Racism Team in Room 3 (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.


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)

Preaching Schedule

Feb. 25             ANWS – Rachel Park, TOL – Rev. Len Vander Zee
March 3            ANWS – Ruth Lemmen, TOL – Andrew Mead
March 10          ANWS – Rev. Andrew Mead, TOL – Rev. Len Vander Zee
March 17          ANWS – Makema Lwenge, TOL – Rev. Andrew Mead

Faith Formation:

GPS – Feb.18: Disrupting the Cycle of Exploitation in Housing. Join us at GPS this Sunday as we look behind the curtain of racism in America through the lens of housing. We’ll explore how overtly racist policies of the past set the stage for the covert ways today’s housing market creates stability and wealth for the majority of white families, while trapping many Black and Brown families in poverty. We’ll consider what we can do individually and collectively to disrupt this cycle of exploitation.

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.

Seekers and Skeptics: Skeptical about Christianity? The existence of God? Curious about the relationship between faith and reason? Join a newly forming group for lunch at 12:30pm in Room 17 (just past the nursery) this Sunday to learn more. This group, led by Marilie Coetsee, plans to 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 on Sundays (future dates TBD). Marilie Coetsee is an assistant professor of philosophy at Hope College. The aim of these gatherings is not to convert, but to move towards finding honest answers to difficult questions. Interested? Join us for lunch after GPS (12:30-ish) this Sun., Feb. 18 in Room 17. To sign up for lunch or to get additional information contact Marilie.

Youth Group News Reminder: Mini Lock-in at COS is happening This Sunday, Feb. 18, from 12:30-10pm for students in grades 7-12 and their friends! Join us for food, games, bonfire, t-shirt making, movies, and more!

Summer Mission Trip for students currently in grades 8-12: Join 100 other students from around the US as we participate in a LOCAL MISSION TRIP the week of June 22-29. Our base camp for the week will be LaGrave Ave. CRC and we will spend our week helping our neighbors and local organizations, worshiping “energetically” every night with 100’s of other HS students, and having fun. Students will need to commit to staying on this local mission trip 24/7 from June 22-29. Cost is $400. Assistance and fundraising opportunities are available, if needed. Contact Annette for more information or to reserve your spot.

Experiencing Lent with Children: If you’re interested in resources to help you lead your family through Lent, look for a table in the cafe with options for daily readings. These are available for purchase at a discounted rate.

Introducing: Next Generation & Wednesday Night Hype! New Names for our 2nd-6th Grade Wednesday Night Programs Last Wednesday night, these new names were announced and received with cheers! After spending the fall reflecting on how to make our clubs places of refuge, we decided to choose new names that capture the energy and vibe of each club, so kids can choose the club that suits them best, regardless of gender.

Next Generation and Wednesday Night Hype both focus on helping kids grow in faith and build faith-nurturing relationships with peers and adults who care though fun activities and times of devotion. Since friendships grow as we spend time together each week, kids are invited to check out the other club if they’d like, (or try each one, if they are new to Wednesday night programing), before choosing the club they’ll stick with for the rest of the season.

Kids as Scripture Readers Participation Boosts Belonging! Helping our children to be active participants in worship is one of the greatest gifts and responsibilities we share. From Jo Howe: “I didn’t grow up with a children’s worship program to prepare me for worship. At COS there are so many ways for children to participate in worship—​from speaking the words of the liturgy from the pew, to receiving in the Lord’s supper, joining the liturgical dance, playing in the Joyful Noise Orchestra, being part of a processional at certain times of the year, helping with the sound book, and reading Scripture with a parent, sibling teacher, or friend. Consider if any of these roles might help your child(ren) become more fully engaged in worship. If you’d like more details on any of the options above, please give me a call, or send a note to”

Sunday School is After Church, Almost Every Sunday! 11:45am-12:30pm.

We have wonderful Sunday school teachers who are eager to share the stories of God with our kids. If you haven’t given Sunday school a try, why not check it out this week? Classes for ages 4-1st grade, 2nd-4th grade, and 5th-6th grade meet in classrooms the hallway at the back of the Tree of Life Service. Middle School meets in the youth room, and High School meets in the new youth room, just past the nursery. GPS for Adults meets in the room next to the Café.

LOTION: The item of the Month for the COS Food Pantry Collection Box Near The Main Doors. 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. Thank you!  

Safe Church Sunday School Lessons for Preschool-6th Grade Circle of Grace Curriculum. 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. Jo will teach these lessons along with our Safe Church Coordinator, Amy Heeringa. Circle of Grace is, “designed to provide children, youth and parents with knowledge and language to assist the adults in their faith community to keep them safe.” We hope you’ll send your children to these sessions and follow up with them after class to review the materials sent home. The dates of the lessons will be Feb. 11 for the Preschool- 1st Grade Class, March 10, for the 2nd-4th Grade Class, and April 7 & 28 for the 5th-6th Grade Class (Please note the date change for the 5th-6th grade class). Please reach out to Jo or Amy if you have any questions.


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.

Outreach and Congregational Life:

We surpassed our goal! The Blood Drive on Monday was a wonderful success, collecting 35 pints of blood – 7 over the set goal of 28. We also welcomed two first-time donors! Special congratulations to new gallon milestone recipients: Lorna VanderSluis – 2; Kelise Kathu – 3; Nick Karanicola – 14 (wow!). Thank you, thank you, to all who participated! These donations have the impact of 105 patients receiving life-saving blood. What a gift to our community! Mark your calendars for the next Blood Drive on Monday, May 6. –Ruth Huisman and Beth Karanicola

Welcome Home – Donations: As you may know, we are preparing to welcome a new family in the “Welcome Home” house (this may be happening as early as Feb. 26). We still need some items for the home and family. If you are willing to donate, please drop off donations to the COS office and a member from our “Refugee Support Team” will pick them up. There will be a checklist outside the church office for you to reference. Thanks for your support!

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.