Epiphany, January 16, 2022

This Sunday:

This Sunday, as we worship online via Zoom and at the COS building, Nicole Romero will preach from 1 Kings 5: 1-18 and Mark 11:15-25 in the standard English service. Rev. Andrew Mead will preach from John 2:1-11 in the Basic English Service in Room 5.

We invite those attending the service in person at COS 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. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.

Special Announcement for this Sunday:

The covid response team continues to regularly assess the spread of covid and the potential impact it might have on our worshipping community. We are grateful for the diligence of our congregation in adhering to mask mandates and social distancing to minimize risks for in-person worship.  We are also grateful for those who have provided Zoom as an option for those who want to worship virtually.

This layered approach has enabled each worshipper to choose the best way to worship according to individual needs. However, in this new year, given the speed of community spread and the high positivity rate, the executive and covid teams are recommending the following plan:

  • Zoom worship will now be the primary mode for worship in the coming weeks.
  • In-person worship is still an option in the BES and SES space (children’s worship and little lambs will continue) for those who wish to be physically present. The previous requirements of masking and social distancing are still in place.

In summary, up until now, in-person worship has been the primary mode, with the offering of Zoom as the ‘opt-out’ option. This Sunday, Zoom will be the primary mode of worship with the offering of in person worship being the ‘opt-in’ option.

What does this mean?  

Given the high numbers currently, we want to give as much permission as we can to our congregation to stay safe, but also stay connected to worship. If you come to worship in the sanctuary, you might notice more cameras near the front of the worship space with the worship leaders focusing more on the camera. However, this should not inhibit meaningful participation.  

We are grateful for your patience in making choices that continue to enable collective ways to love God but also love our neighbor. We pray this adjustment will provide the opportunity for each congregational member to play their part in building up the body of Christ.

Church News:

Gathering to Love; Gathering to Give: The COS pledge drive for 2022 is now at the pledging stage. So far, we have received 137 pledges totaling $753,619.96. We are hoping for about 200 pledges totaling $1,000,000. Won’t you join us in this effort to serve faithfully and gratefully?

Northern Ireland Informational Meeting – February 6. At this February 6 meeting, David Campbell will give a presentation on the history of Northern Ireland and will introduce us to some terms that will be important to understand as we prepare for the summer experience in Northern Ireland.

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

The Creation Care Team meets Monday (1/17) on Zoom at 7:00PM. We will be kicking off our projects for 2022. This is a great time to join us, or just check us out with no commitment. Everyone is welcome:


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.

Parents of Children in K-12 Christian Schools: If you need financial assistance, it’s time to apply for the tuition assistance program for the 2022/2023 school year. Updated step-by-step instructions can be found here: coscrc.org/education. Application is completed online; you will find the direct link to the COS FACTS page on the website. Don’t wait for your taxes; apply now using 2020 taxes and meet the earlier deadlines!
Important deadlines:

  • Please submit your name using the online form by Feb 1 – This will help the team prepare for applications and track the process.
  • Submit FACTS app and documentation by March 1.
  • Mandatory Face-to-face meeting will take place March 23 between 6-9 pm. After your application has been received you will get an email to sign up for a meeting time.

Event with the Climate Witness Project: Katharine Hayoe is a Christian climate scientist. She has become the leading spokesperson for an ethic of love, hope, and action on the climate crisis.  Katherine will be discussing her new book Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World in an online meeting with the Climate Witness Project next week Tuesday (1/18) at 7:00PM (Eastern). Over 150 CWP Partners are already registered. Please join us:  https://loom.ly/PY2JD3w

A COS member is searching for an affordable and reliable used car. If you own a car that you would consider selling, please contact Pastor Andrew (andrew.mead@coscrc.org).

The Refugee Youth Tutoring program had a great first semester! Thanks to the wonderful tutors and drivers who helped make it happen. It has been a joy to see the growing relationships between the students and tutors, as well as the students’ academic progress. 

  • We still need one more regular tutor for one of our high-school girls. No experience is necessary, just the willingness and commitment to spend an hour each week with a student. You’ll help with homework, practice conversational English, and use the provided materials to offer academic support in reading and math. Sessions take place in person at COS on Mondays, from 4:30 to 6:00. Training is provided. 
  • We also need one driver to drive a student home from church (to the area around 54th Street & Eastern) after tutoring on Monday nights at 6:00.  
  • If you’d like to help occasionally, we also need substitute tutors to fill in once or twice per month. 

Please contact Kate Snow to sign up or learn more