Pentecost Season, Week of Sunday, June 14, 2020
On Sunday, June 14, we will continue to worship in homes, individually, but still as one body. This week Pastor Karen will bring us a message entitled: “The Wind and the Word” based on the scriptures of Genesis 18:1-15 and Romans 5:1-11. Each week we will add a new post that includes a house church liturgy, messages from the pastors, resources for leaders, and media to accompany worship. Visit: coscrc.org/category/housechurch to participate in these worship activities with other COS members.
Students who have completed grades 8-12 are invited to join a weekly summer book & movie discussion club (via Zoom for June, perhaps in person for July?…) to get more educated about race in the US. For the remainder of the summer, our weekly Monday night HS Zoom meetings will include discussions around issues of racism. Here’s the link to join HS Zoom Meetings on Monday nights at 8pm:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/76225676340
CHANGE OF PLANS! Due to shipping & printing issues, many of us will not have copies of the Stamped book before Monday—so let’s watch Just Mercy instead! Just Mercy is available for free on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play. Please watch the movie before we meet on Monday, June 15. Our opening question for that meeting will be “What words or images or questions really stuck with you after watching this movie?” Annette will send out additional discussion questions in my Sunday email.
Pentecost Books! Last Sunday we celebrated the birthday of the church—the global body of Christ that includes every nation and language. As we raise kids in America, we know the social forces that shape them—including, too often, the church—assign meaning to skin color that undermines the dignity and humanity of people of color. Over the summer, I will be recording videos of Children’s Storybooks that help our kids interpret skin color difference as God’s creative work. In this small way, I hope our church can help kids and families have more conversations that give kids the tools they will need to fight internalized racial superiority and internalized racial oppression and take their place as change-agents and peace makers in our community. Look for a story on the COS website and Facebook page on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
Jesus Storybook Bible Read Along: During the summer months children in Kindergarten-2nd Grade explore key Bible stories on a two-year cycle using the Jesus Storybook Bible. You’re invited to keep this reading pattern going through the summer by starting with the chapter titled, The Captain of the Storm. By reading one story each week, your kids will hear of the teaching and miracles of Jesus, the stories of his death, resurrection, ascension, Paul’s conversion, and the promise of the new creation. In the Jesus Storybook Bible presents these foundational stories in a way that invites conversation and wonder. I hope you’ll enjoy them together! If you don’t have a Jesus Storybook Bible at home, the church has many copies available for use. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-238-1324 to borrow a copy!
Little Lambs Creation Stories: This week marks the beginning of the Creation story series in Little Lambs! Look for weekly videos on Sunday morning.
Sunday Sing-Along from 9:40am-9:50am: Join the Sunday worship Zoom call a little early to sing along with Karen Saupe, John Verbrugge, and Meg Voetberg! This is a great way for the kids to sing songs they love and see church leaders they miss.
Kid Zoom Calls with Ms. Karen: Check the COS Facebook group for Zoom invites from Karen Saupe for kids. These are often offered on Wednesday afternoons and include things like cat sightings, laughter, songwriting, and more!
Dark Times: Deep Grace Join us on Facebook live in the COS Facebook group each Wednesday at 8.30 pm as we read psalms of lament and pray in creative ways together. The time together includes songs, art, and words of lament as we navigate these difficult times with a sense of deep grace.
Financial Update – Last week’s offering and online giving: $8,017.68. Total Giving for the month of June (includes monthly ACH) $39,622.91 (3 Sundays left). Our monthly General Fund budget is $119,028.
Please pray for our Office Coordinator, Diane Jonker. Last Sunday she had a bicycle accident and broke her clavicle. Due to the back log of surgeries, on Friday she had surgery to put in pins and plates to repair her collarbone. Pray for good pain control and a complete and speedy recovery. You can send cards to her at: 1664 Stilesgate GR MI 49508.
To our faithful blood donors – our last two drives, scheduled for March and May, were cancelled due to our building being closed. We do have one scheduled for early August, but it’s uncertain whether we will actually host that one. However, the need for blood donations has become immediate and urgent. Hospitals are scheduling elective surgeries again, and there is still the ongoing impact of COVID-19. The Main Blood Center on Fuller Ave can accommodate many donors on multiple dates, and there are other mobile drives now as well. Until we host a drive in our building, please consider donating at one of these other sites. It’s easy to make an appointment online; go to https://www.versiti.org/ways-to-give/our-communities/michigan and self-schedule. Our community thanks you!!
Celebrating our High School Seniors – extended and revised! COS is committed to celebrating the accomplishments of the 13 seniors who have been a part of our church family for all or many of the past 18 years—and you can help! One of our traditions is to give Bibles to our graduates that include notes of encouragement or congratulations as well as favorite Bible verses from members of COS. In lieu of writing these messages directly into their Bibles, I invite you to email personal notes to email@example.com so that I can collect them and distribute them to the graduates along with their Bibles. This is one of the many ways we plan to recognize our students over the next several weeks.
- Select the student(s) to whom you would like to send a note of
encouragement/congratulations/favorite Bible verse from the list
below. Choose one, a few, or maybe even all of these students!
- EMAIL this note to (or if you prefer US postal service, 6244 New Holland St., Hudsonville 49426): Annette.Ediger@coscrc.org by Sunday, July 12 (note new date)
- Annette will distribute them to the students when they receive their
High School Seniors: Rellian (formerly known as Lana) deGraaf, Anna
Devarenne, Calvin Kooyer, Graham Kort, Elena Roberts, Phoebe Ryckbost,
Rachel Sepa, Lindesy Stinton, Ella Stremler, Deborah Uredi, Jacob
Vandenbosch, Naomi Vandervelde, Rebecca Zoetewey.
A word from the Missions Support Team: The Faith-Promise pledge drive for COS missions support is being launched today, Pentecost Sunday! Please check out coscrc.org/missions for an updated, colorful, and inspiring overview of the missionaries we support. The coscrc.org/missions link is also on the COS House Church Resources, along with the Pledge form coscrc.org/faithpromisepledge and the Faith-Promise Brochure coscrc.org/faithpromise2020. We are hoping to raise $27,750 in this year’s pledge drive. Thank you for your Faith-Promise support for 2020!
COVID19 RELIEF Church of the Servant has raised significant funds in the last several weeks for relief both for some within our congregation and our friends beyond our walls, who are severely affected by the Covid19 virus. Here is a brief summary of what we have done so far. Some distributions are still in process, but on the way. We include a COS connection in most cases:
Total Gifts to Covid19 Relief Fund – $28,012
Total Gifts to Uvira Relief – $2,500.
Uvira DRC (Sepa family) $2500
Coit CRC $2,000
Nation Outside (Troy Rienstra) $500
Hessed Community CRC (Detroit, via GR Classis East) $2,000
Navajo Nation Christian Response Fund (Paul and Priskilla Brink) $2,500
Daystar University, Kenya (Facklers and Campbells) $2,500
Transformational Networks in Egypt (Umrans)
Total Covid funds sent for outside Covid relief: $12,000, with another $2500 for the Uvira congregation in the Congo (flood relief). The deacons also have substantial funds for Benevolence, more than $20,000, to help our members over the next several months.
Creating Refugia: In a recent survey, the Creation Care Team asked the congregation what values we should emphasize as we plan the use of this land, that is, we should clarify what is important to us. The survey included several options often cited in conversations at COS; it also invited respondents to add their own ideas. We invite you to read the entire document here.
June 10, 2020
A Call to Racial Justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” Dr. M.L. King, Jr.
The Church of the Servant (COS) Antiracism and Reconciliation (ARRT) team, along with the Prisoners in Christ (PinC) team, commit to take action with a greater sense of urgency, and make a plea to other members of Church of the Servant to join them.
We acknowledge the egregious act of violence perpetrated on George Floyd by representatives of the “criminal justice” system. Let us join in solidarity with ministry partners as we lament and protest the killing of another unarmed black man. We recommend reading statements from the CRCNA Office of Social Justice, The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
We challenge ourselves and our COS sisters and brothers to acknowledge that racism is the primary root of injustice in our country and has led to a prison system that incarcerates more citizens per capita than any other country in the world. We recognize that American Christianity is degraded by its acceptance and promotion of racism within its faith structure. Learning to become anti-racist is essential to our faith in, and obedience to, God who calls us through the Scriptures to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) and “present your bodies a living sacrifice.” (Romans 12:1-2)
With the above understanding as foundational, the ARRT and PinC communities recommend we at COS intentionally develop relationships with at least one person of a race different than our own.
Guidelines for such action can be found in the CRCNA Racial Reconciliation Statement that was posted by Colin Watson on June 1, 2020. Even though separation between racial groups is just one area on which to work, it is a good start. Knowing others helps develop a foundation of empathy and understanding on which to build cooperative action on systemic problems.
We would also like to recommend that as a congregation we expand our civic awareness and public engagement. That means getting to know our elected officials, particularly local leaders, and issues on their agendas. We must pray for them and advocate for legislation that will dismantle systemic racism and oppression of all forms.
May these suggestions serve our congregation well as together we reflect the light of Christ in our neighborhoods, the greater Grand Rapids community, the state of Michigan and the world.
The COS Antiracism and Reconciliation Team: Jolanda Howe, Anneke Kaptyn, Janice McWhertor, Tom McWhertor, Carol Rienstra, Carolyn Strydhorst,
Cindy VanderKodde, Arend VanderPols, Ellen Westrate, Lori Wiersma.
and The Prisoners in Christ Team: Hope DeJonge, Nancy Knol, Lucie Marsden, Carol Rienstra, Rich Rienstra, Troy Rienstra, Arend VanderPols, Andy Vroon