Epiphany, January 23, 2022

This Sunday:

This Sunday, as we worship online via Zoom and at the COS building, Rev. Andrew Mead will preach from Daniel 1:1-21 and 2 Timothy 1:5-10 in the standard English service. Rev. Karen Campbell will preach from Daniel 1:1-21 in the Basic English Service in Room 5.

Following worship, join for a GPS Session at 11:45 am. 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.

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.

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 opportunity for each congregational member to play their part in building up the body of Christ.

Church News:

Last week’s offering and online giving:  $48,992.02

Current Giving for the month of January: $98,168.52

Giving for the month of December: $187,622

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is: $118,873

GF Balance on December 31 $87,039

Contribution statements went in the mail on Friday so please be on the lookout for them and contact Angelica Zahrt if you have any questions on your statement. 

Giving Envelopes are available for pick up in the cafe. 

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.

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 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.

January Council Meeting Summary

The C.O.S. council met this month via Zoom due to the pandemic. Despite being on Zoom, the council meetings retain their established rhythm of a time of prayer, devotion, sharing, and book study followed by old business, reports from ministries and new business. The highlights from this month include:

  • An in-depth report from Angelica Zahrt and Lori Wiersma on the current financial standing of the church as well as some ideas about how to respond to a decrease in revenue/general fund balance if that occurs in the future.
  • A report from the Human Sexuality Report taskforce about the successful launch of listening circles as well as plans to follow up with future GPS sessions to further explore the questions and responses to this report.
  • A request for prayer for the executive committee as they seek to discern a new C.O.S. vision statement in light of the changes that have occurred in the body and ministries of C.O.S. since the last statement was written.

This council meeting was actively bathed in prayer by a prayer partner who attended the meeting solely to pray for our time together. Council covets any and all prayers for their work.

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.

From Mark Fackler, ESL Coordinator:

A note shared with newly arrived Afghans at the Friendship Center said: “If you can walk to us from your place at 28th and the Beltline, we will teach you, and get you back home.” On Tuesday morning at 9:25 am, the first of the walkers turned the corner and approached the church, then more, then more.

Week 3: 4 sessions, 16 classes, 81 students, masked, distanced, one-touch (the user him/herself) canned water libation at break, and the church van lumbering back to Hawthorne Suites. Contrary to what we say to everyone (“we don’t transport!”) we did transport the rest of the week, pick up and drop off.  

The younger ones (Dari speakers) had some English. The former security agents (Pashtu), none. Our tutors stretched, embraced (not literally), and welcomed. Quite a week.  

Anyone know of ESL tutors hanging around, looking for opportunity?  

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 fall Meijer Simply Give campaign generated $20,190 in Meijer gift cards to be used for purchasing food for our church food pantry which serves community and church families.