This Sunday:

This Sunday, June 13, we will worship outdoors in the COS patio area. Rev. Karen Campbell will bring us a message in the 10 am service based on 1 Samuel 16:1-13. Mark Fackler will preach from Proverbs 8 in the 11:30 bilingual/ BES service. Sign up to attend our outdoor services. The 10 am Service will also be broadcast via Zoom: Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.

Communication about Sunday Services – from Council:

We give thanks for how far the Lord has brought us this year. Gradually, we are beginning to envision a return to worship in person and indoors and have been so grateful for your patience, your feedback, and your support in staying together to cultivate a safe environment for all.

We are encouraged by the good news of dropping positivity rates, which the covid response team has been following closely as an indicator of minimizing risk during our worship gatherings. We are also encouraged by an increasing number of our own congregation getting vaccinated.

The worship team has been monitoring closely how the move to in-person/outdoor worship has been received by the congregation. We are grateful to see many familiar faces in our back patio as we gather on Sunday mornings together. Yet we are also aware that the summer heat and uneven grassy ground provide accessibility challenges.

Therefore, the staff alongside the covid response team have been discerning carefully next steps to phase our worship back to indoors.

We propose that by July 4th we will try to transition back to indoor worship in the sanctuary. This will happen initially at 50% capacity of our worship space and therefore signup will occur via Eventbrite. The capacity will continue to be carefully monitored. We hope to continue our zoom worship alongside in person indoor worship to enable everyone to have full access to our worship services.

Moving indoors will involve a return to masking during gathered worship. Masks are required for all worshippers, vaccinated or not.

The staff and covid response team have carefully examined the data regarding risks pertaining to indoor singing. At this time, we believe the risk was too great given the unknown percentage of people vaccinated and exact numbers of immune-compromised individuals.

Therefore, while music will be present in worship, it will function in a limited capacity out of an abundance of caution. Whilst we know this may be disappointing to some, and it functions as an ongoing recognition that we are still operating under restricted circumstances, we give thanks to God for how far we have come in bearing patiently with each other and encouraging each other to meet faithfully together in the fellowship of believers.

At our recent council meeting, our devotion was based on Jude 20-21 and we share it as an encouragement to focus on the love of Christ for He who keeps us is faithful: 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Church News:

Financial Update: Last week’s offering and online giving (includes monthly ach):  $34,820.51

Current Giving for the month of June: $37,203.81

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $112,926

For the month of May, we received $90,384 ($90,326 of it was general fund giving) in revenue and incurred expenditures of $104,743. This caused our general fund to have a deficit (revenue minus expenditures) of $14,359 for the month of May.

Family Camp at Tall Turf: The COS Anti-Racism & Reconciliation and the Prisoners in Christ Restorative Justice teams invite COS members and friends to attend Tall Turf Family weekend camp (July 9-11 or July 30-Aug. 1). These are the only on-site camps this summer. “Camp to Go” kits for youth ages 8-13 include STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) worship themes and activities. Whether on-site or on the go, the mission of Tall Turf ( is to equip youth and families for lives of reconciliation in God’s world.  Scholarships are available for families who have a loved one in jail or prison or are dealing with other hardships. Registration due at least one week before camp dates.See brochure or contact Carol Rienstra or the Tall Turf office  616-452-7906  for more information. 

Celebrate Juneteenth – June 19th, 2021 The Emancipation Proclamation declared more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states to be free. More than two years would pass, however, before the news reached African Americans living in Texas. Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, informing them that slavery had been abolished –the former slaves immediately began to celebrate with prayer, feasting, song, and dance.

The first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas on June 19, 1866. Within a few years, African Americans in other states were celebrating the day as well, making it an annual tradition. Celebrations have continued across the United States into the 21st century and typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with music, food, and dancing (

See additional resources about Juneteenth and a listing of local celebrations on the Church of the Servant website.

Link to Cindy Vander Kodde’s article on Juneteenth:

Link to Juneteenth resources:

Oak Hill Cemetery Tour – Saturday Junes 19, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Classis Grand Rapids East invites you to join us for a tour of Oak Hill Cemetery (647 Hall Street SE) to learn about some of the African Americans whose contributions impacted our city, and the role of race and racism in Grand Rapids’ history. The tour is two hours long. Wear your walking shoes. We will meet at the entrance on the north side of Hall Street where there is parking next to the small office building. Questions can be directed to Pastor Shannon Jammal-Hollemans,

Social Seniors meet every Tuesday morning from 10:00 to 11:00. Designed to provide opportunity for church family camaraderie, Social Seniors is open to anyone who would like to attend, regardless of age. We seek to be spiritually encouraged and to provide opportunities for sharing, humor, expression of our sorrows and joys, and prayer for one another and our church. The Zoom link below will work for every Tuesday. 

Topic: Social Seniors

Time:  10:00 – 11:00 AM

Meeting ID: 832 6366 9013

Passcode: COS  

You can also join by telephone: 1 312 626 6799. When prompted, enter the meeting ID plus #, and then when asked for your participant ID, merely enter #, and you will be connected to the group.

Nature lovers are needed to help water the new trees at COS this summer. 4-6 people are needed each week to help haul hoses to the trees and then return them to storage.  For more information and to sign up, contact Hope Bradley.

Fabric and Fellowship: Join a group that likes to sew and enjoy a time of fellowship. Our next meeting is June 28th from 10am to 2pm in room 5 of COS. We have a stash of fabric that we are using up in quilts for ministry organizations. You can bring your machine or come to design, cut pieces or iron for others. Also bring your lunch. Contact Claire Elgersma or Hope Bradley for more information.

Downsizing? Cleaning your Garage? COS maintenance could use a few items:

1.  Broken hose to be cut up for tree staking

2.  Stakes and rope for tree staking

3.  Belt sander to work on the playhouse

You can drop any item by the garage and let Hope Bradley know they are there.

Sunday Nursery Volunteers Needed – Jana Brasser, our beloved Nursery Supervisor, is opening up the nursery for the summer and is looking for volunteers who can help her keep our youngest members safe and cared for during the 10am service. Our strong preference is that nursery volunteers be fully vaccinated and at least 14 years old. If you are interested in being on our nursery volunteer rotation this summer, please contact Lori Wiersma: