Epiphany, January 9, 2022

This Sunday:

This Sunday, as we worship online via Zoom and at the COS building, Rev. Karen Campbell will preach from Luke 3:10-23 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 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:  $13,901.36

Giving for the month of December: $187,622

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $118,873

GF Balance on December 31 $87,039

Gathering to Love; Gathering to Give: The COS pledge drive for 2022 is now at the pledging stage. So far, we have received 134 pledges totaling $739,709.90. 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 Postponed. Because of the high number of Covid cases in Kent County, we’ve decided not to meet this coming Sunday and to postpone the first Northern Ireland Interest Group until the first Sunday of February. 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. Stay tuned for more info.

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

We invite you to subscribe to “Setting the Table”. “Setting the Table” is our weekly worship email that provides recipients with a snapshot of where we are in the liturgical calendar, a glimpse of the upcoming sermon, the week’s scripture passage, and interesting bits of information about our current liturgy. These emails help to prepare ourselves for Sunday worship and can be used as part of your weekly devotions. Learn more and subscribe here.

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.

You’re invited to join the Wednesday morning prayer group at COS to pray for the church community. The group meets every Wednesday at 10 am in the COS library. All are welcome to join whenever possible.

2 Tutors and 1 Driver Needed for Refugee Youth Tutoring. 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 two tutors for two 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

The ESL Women’s Bible study is going to be examining the concept of the Trinity in two sessions in January as a follow-up to our fall study on the Fruits of the Spirit. We will meet BY ZOOM on Thursday, January 13, and Thursday, January 20, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. If you would like to join us for these Bible studies, please email Barbara Hampton so she can add you to the Zoom invitation list. You are more than welcome to join us for these special studies! Our community of international women has expanded in the past when we were on Zoom; we love to make new friends and study companions.