Epiphany, February 19, 2023

This Week:

On this final Sunday of Epiphany, Rev. Karen Campbell will preach from Exodus 24:12-18 and Matthew 17:1-9 in the larger worship service. Rev. Andrew Mead will preach in the All Nations Worship Service in Room 4.

Following the worship services, we invite you to stay for Sunday school for all ages. Our adult education class, God’s People Seeking, begins a 2-part series on “Racism and Policing in America.” The first session will examine the larger historical and structural context of policing in the United States. 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:

The Winter/Spring season dates for Wednesday Night activities are 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 jo.howe@coscrc.org.

Church News:

Current Giving for the Month of February: $46,337

January 2023 Giving: $122,071

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $118,873

We received notification from the giving envelope company our order has again been delayed to possibly mid-March. If you would like to receive temporary giving envelopes for the interim, contact AJ Zahrt or the church office.

The COS Executive team encourages you to support World Renew as they a response 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 worldrenew.net. 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 23 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 ben.videtich@coscrc.org. Thanks! 

Did you know… Blood transfusions are often given to NICU babies, cancer fighters, sickle cell warriors, transplant patients, trauma survivors, and more? Someone needs blood every two seconds. That’s a lot of blood needed. And you can make a difference! Donate at our next drive here at church – Monday, March 13, 2-7pm in our cafe area. It only takes about one hour of your time and is the gift of life! Schedule your appointment online: https://donate.michigan.versiti.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/144937  Questions? Contact Ruth Huisman or Beth Karanicola.

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.

COS is blessed to have been recognized by 70×7 Life Recovery for being a Restorative Church. Learn more about COS’s connection with 70×7 in their latest newsletter, and find a picture of the plaque on the 70×7 Facebook page.

Join our Ash Wednesday worship service on February 22 at 7 pm in the Large Sanctuary. Ash Wednesday marks the start of the season of Lenten renewal, a time to reflect on our mortality and need for a Savior, reaffirm our commitment to daily repentance, and remember with assurance that Christ has conquered death and sin. The service will end with the imposition of ashes, a sign of our vulnerability, mortality, and repentance.

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.

Welcome Home Co-sponsorship update: The Albaz family, including seven Syrian adults, is a gracious family that arrived on January 16. They are adjusting well and express appreciation for a most-comfortable home where they feel safe. Welcome Team members, as well as others from COS, are enjoying the opportunity to get to know this lovely family while providing support and friendship. Google Translate is a helpful resource in overcoming language barriers. They are attending COS ESL classes.  Although some are eager to get jobs, the goal is to not pursue employment until they have around three months to learn some English. In the meantime, Bethany’s refugee resettlement programs provide adequate financial benefits. Snow was a new experience for them; they were delighted to learn that several COS members noticed their first snowman. 

One request: We have received a donated computer but need a monitor. Please contact Wilma Huyser if you have a monitor to donate (Stephanie Bogema, RST chairperson; Wilma Huyser, Welcome Team Leader.)

Liturgical dance opportunity – join us as we dance to “Agnus Dei” (O Christ, the Lamb of God). Anyone ages 5 and up is invited to join us, however any dancers that attend Little Lambs/Children’s Worship will need to return to the sanctuary as we dance during the communion preparation time. Rehearsals will be held Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6:30pm and Saturday, Feb 25 at 10am (only one is required). Any questions, please contact Julie Yonkers (julie.yonkers@sbcglobal.net).

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. Registration costs are covered by our COS budget. Please prayerfully consider attending or coming back for a refresher. Register at COREnow.org

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 purchase 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, includes replying to emails, participating in Zoom meetings with parents, and meeting 1-2 times as a Team. 

We are still working on a new church picture directory. Six printed draft copies are on the main counter and two copies on the ANS table. Please look at one of them (they are all the same), find your entry, and check the data for accuracy. If something isn’t correct or is missing, write it in the margin. If you aren’t listed and would like to be, complete one of the forms on the directory clipboard and email a picture to office@coscrc.org.

The Feeding America West Michigan Mobile Food Pantry was honored by COS’s support in 2022 and is proud 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 Smith or Greg Snow, or call 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.