This Sunday at COS:

On this Epiphany Season Sunday, Rev. Len Vander Zee will preach from Jonah 3:1-5,10 and Mark 1:14-20 inour Tree of Life service in the large sanctuary. Makema Lwenge will preach in the All Nations Worship service in Room 4.

Len VanderZee begins this Sunday as our Interim Pastor of Preaching and Worship. Len and Andrew will be sharing preaching responsibilities in the TOL service. 

Following worship, stick around for Sunday School for all ages. Please join us Sunday for a GPS presentation and Q&A session on “Conversations about Synod 2024: Updates from council and classis” by Pam Bratt, Eric Walstra, Cindy VanderKodde, and David Clemo. Our GPS Adult-ed Sunday school meets in Room 3.

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

Church Announcements:

GPS- Harry Plantinga will lead our GPS session on Sunday January 28. Harry is the director of, an online hymn and worship music database. He is also director of, a digital library providing free electronic copies of Christian scripture and literature to build up the church. Harry will share where these websites came from, where they are headed, and the role they play in spiritual formation generally and in his own life.

Upcoming Spiritual Formation Class– Harry Plantinga is extending an invitation to join him for a biweekly spiritual formation class he will be leading. The goal is for participants to experience a deeper intimacy with God and it will be organized around Richard Rohr’s book “Everything Belongs”. The book is “a personal retreat for those who hunger for a deeper spiritual life but don’t know what contemplation is.” These spiritual formation sessions will begin on February 11 at 9 AM (Note date and time change!). It will meet eight times, every other Sunday until May 5. All are invited to this “unretreat” over the next couple of months, spending a few minutes a day in suggested exercises leading to a deeper intimacy with God. Contact Harry soon to sign up for this class to ensure there are enough materials for all participants. Harry Plantinga. Learn more here.

Pledge Drive: To live into our overall vision statement and recently adopted “Our Calling: a Community of Belonging” statement, COS leadership has chosen “refuge” as a guiding theme. When we support Church of the Servant’s mission with our time, treasure, and talent, we are responding to God’s invitation. God calls us to be a community “rooted in Christ, nurtured by the Spirit, to grow in God’s grace to share gifts of refuge, fellowship, and hope.”

The Stewardship team is inviting each of us to pledge 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 mail to the church office.

So far, we have received 151 pledges total $864,368.

Save the Foam: The COS Creation Care Team (CCT) will be providing an opportunity to recycle Styrofoam on Sunday, January 21. Bring your clean, white Styrofoam to COS on either morning. A receptacle will be near the main entrance, door A. Note that plastic bags and film from your packaging can be recycled at many grocery stores. Questions? Contact Peggy Milliken.

COS Anti-Racism and Prisoners in Christ teams invite interested COS members to learn how to organize better and collaborate with others to make a collective impact on the issues facing our families and communities. Join them on Saturday, January 27, from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. for a Together West Michigan “Organizing Team Training” at Brown Hutcherson Ministries Fellowship Hall.1065 36th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508. Sign up here. Questions? Contact Carol Rienstra or Janice McWhertor. 

Joyful Noise Orchestra will be leading the music for our worship on Sunday, January 28. If you play a band or orchestra instrument, you are invited to participate. The music ready to be picked up this Sunday. It is available in the Music Room. You can sign up in the Music Room, or by emailing Maria Stapert Vander Berg ( Rehearsals will be Wednesday, January 24 at 6:30pm and Sunday, January 28 at 9:00am.

It was brought to the attention of the Facilities Team that on Sundays during drop off and pick up times, vehicles are often parked in the circle at Door A, but are blocking the curb cutaway where wheelchairs and walkers can approach without having to step up and lift assistance equipment. While you may of course continue to use the circle for drop offs, please park before or after the curb cutaway, or closer to the flowerbed side of the circle to not block the curb cutaway ramp. Thank you for your assistance and understanding, showing welcome and refuge to all who arrive at COS.

This week, on January 16, we passed a milestone in our church history: the 30th anniversary of the first service held in our brand new building. Actually, the service started at Seymour School’s gym and finished here after a slippery procession by car!  It was a frigid, blustery, snowy day, but we were safe and warm and dry inside these walls. However, after 30 vibrant and eventful years of worship, fellowship, faith formation, VBS, ESL, GPS, and so on, this place is showing its age. Look around and you’ll see stuck doors, broken windows, warped sills, frayed carpet, inadequate security and more – all signs of an active community life and all in need of repair or replacement. But be assured – we’re on it! A task force has been identifying needs, estimating costs, and considering funding; you’ll hear more in the coming weeks about how you can learn about what’s needed and participate in the renewal of our refuge and our home.

New in the Artery: Be sure to check out new artwork in the Artery. Ruth VanderMeulen is a longtime Grand Rapids artist who loves to paint nostalgic paintings of family, friends, and community. Ruth is a guest artist at COS so you may meet people who have come to church to worship with us and the see Ruth’s art. Check it out for yourself!!

In the Artery: Thanks to everyone who bought art for the fundraiser for women’s hygiene needs. Payment was on the honor system so please send your check made out to COS and bring it to the church office. Please mark it as a special donation for the Fundraiser sale or it will go into the general fund. Thanks again to each person who participated, especially at the last minute on the final Sunday. I depend on each of you to complete the process. Thanks again. – Betsy Ratzsch

Our next blood drive here is just three weeks away!  Monday, February 12, 2-7pm in our church cafe. You can help our larger community by sharing your gift of life. Just 38% of people are eligible to donate blood, but less than 5% of people actually do. Every donation is needed to meet the high demand from hospitals in our community. People like you can make a difference – be a blood donor! Follow this link to schedule your appointment:  Questions? Contact Ruth Huisman or Beth Karanicola.

For adult education 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.

Children’s Ministry Announcements:

Children’s Worship Gathering for Leaders on January 21, 11:45am-2:00pm.

All Children’s Worship leaders, and those interested in CW, are invited to gather for lunch and a time of sharing ideas and best practices, exploring stories, providing feedback, and brainstorming about changes or support that would be helpful to leaders, assistants, or kids. I hope this will be a chance to celebrate how the Spirit is working and continue to learn and grow together! If you aren’t yet a CW leader, but are interested in attending, please let me at

All-Church Sledding Meetup at Mulick Park on January 27, 1pm-3:30pm. The snow has been falling! So, it’s looking more likely we’ll be able to have our all-church sledding meetup at Mulick Park in on January 27th. Everyone is welcome to come enjoy some hot chocolate (provided by the church) and snowy fun on the big hill at Mulick Park. We have a few extra sleds to bring along if you don’t have one of your own, and please bring an extra to share if you have multiple. Families, please plan supervise your own children. All children in 6th grade or under must be accompanied by a parent, caregiver, or responsible (high-school-or-older) sibling. 

Winter Break from Wed. Night Meals and Programming. Everything Starts Again on Feb. 7 We’re beginning the new year just as we begin each new week—with rest! During Covid we extended club ministries and Wednesday night meals into the summer, making it a year-long ministry. With that change came the need for breaks throughout the year so our incredible cook, Ellen Westrate, and her awesome kitchen crew, as well as our energetic, Spirit-filled club ministry leaders have time to rest, recharge, pray, and plan for the next season of ministry. We’re looking forward to gathering again for Wednesday nights in February!