Season of Lent, Sunday, March 14, 2021

This Sunday, March 14, we will continue to worship using our zoom format, individually, but still as one body, united in Christ. Rev. Karen Campbell will bring us a message based on the scriptures of Exodus 19:1-8
 & John 15:9-17. Rev. Andrew Mead will preach in the 11:30 am Zoom bilingual service.

This Sunday in God’s People Seeking (GPS): We invite you to join GPS following the 10 am Zoom Worship service for part one of the 2-part presentation with Kristin Du Mez, Calvin professor and author of Jesus and John Wayne. In preparation, you’re invited to view these resources:

A presentation at Calvin last fall, available here
A recent piece on Patheos
Kristin is cited in this NYT piece recently

Children’s Ministries

Lent Kit for Kids Weeks 4-6 Pickup: The final 3 weeks of the Lent kits will be available for pickup at COS on Saturday March 12th from 10:30-12:30pm and Sunday March 13th from 2:30-3:30pm. I hope these resources provide simple ways to live into the season of Lent together as we journey with Jesus to the cross. 

Week 4 of Lent: Mary Anoints Jesus: In this week’s story, Mary anoints Jesus with fragrant perfume and Jesus appreciates this gift of love. Kid’s love to give and receive gifts as a token of their love! This week you’ll wonder with your kids about what it must have felt like to give Jesus that gift, and help them consider how to offer gifts of love to Jesus with their words and actions. Look for the Children’s Worship story video on the House Church Resources page, or older kids may prefer to read the story from John 12:1-8. Weeks 4-6 of the Lent kit for kids is available here on the COS website. 

Outdoor Boys & Girls Club March 20th or 21st (Your Input on Date & Time Needed!) With the weather warming and the covid numbers going down, we’re cleared to resume some programming at COS! Plans are in the works for an in-person outdoor meeting at COS for Girls Club and Boys club kids (2nd-6th graders) next weekend. But I need help scheduling the best time for families. If your son or daughter loves and misses Boys or Girls club, please reach out to me by phone, text, or email this weekend (jo.howe@coscrc.org and 616-238-1324) to let me know if you would bring your kids to this event, and what time on Saturday March 20th or Sunday March 21st, works best for your family. I’d really appreciate the input!

Church News

The Covid Team recommends opening the church building according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services updated epidemic orders dated March 5 which allow for nonresidential gatherings of up to 25 people inside and 300 outside. Although gathering indoors is not without risk, consistent masking, keeping a distance of 6 feet or more between people and good ventilation will be used to reduce risk of Covid transmission. We don’t currently recommend a return to indoor worship but are closely watching variant spread, case numbers and vaccination rates in our area hoping that we avoid a variant driven surge. Please continue to mask and be cautious regarding gathering together and get a vaccine when it is available to you! Go to vaccinatewestmi.com or clinic.meijer.com  to join a vaccine wait list. Starting March 22, those 50 and over are eligible for a Covid vaccine in Michigan.

COS Sponsor Team Members urgently needed! We anticipate the arrival of new refugee families in Grand Rapids in the coming weeks, and desire to work with resettlement agencies to sponsor at least a couple of families. COS has the money, resources, and knowledge necessary to do this. However, we will not be able to sponsor new families without additional volunteers to serve as “Friends of New Americans.” As a Friend of New Americans, you will become a mentor and friend to a particular family, with the main goal of establishing a relationship and serving as a guide and friend to people who are making their way in a new country. The Refugee Support Team is preparing information and training sessions to help you fill this important role. To find out how to join a sponsorship team, contact Joel Westmaas at joel_westmaas@hotmail.com or Nita VanderBerg at nitavanderberg@hotmail.com

Sunday morning scripture readers wanted! If you would like to read scripture on Sunday morning, go to Signup Genius to sign up to read any Sunday. Click here to sign up.

Financial Update:
Last week’s offering and online giving (includes monthly ach):  $49,821.21

Current Giving for the month of March: $70,196.40

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $112,926

From the Church of the Servant Anti-Racism and Reconciliation Team: In light of the trial starting in Minneapolis this week and the new international discussion about racism occasioned by Oprah’s recent interview with Harry and Meghan, the COS ARRT encourages each of us to revisit the COS June 2020 “Call to Justice” to take on the personal and interpersonal work of understanding how we have internalized racism and to expand our civic awareness and public advocacy against systemic racism of every sort.

How have you taken up the mantle of racial justice over the past ten months? If you have discovered new insights or noted significant progress in your own walk on these issues, the ARRT would appreciate hearing your learnings and insights or your experiences regarding issues of race that these months have stirred in you (send your thoughts to Janice McWhertor –janice.mcwhertor@gmail.com).

SERIOUSLY… we do want to hear from you!!! … send your sentences, paragraphs, videos or list of bullets so we can know what is happening in our lives and our efforts to become “an antiracist and multiethnic community of faith in Christ that intentionally recognizes, exposes and dismantles racism in all its forms.”

Here is the link to the June 11 Church of the Servant “Call to Justice:” 

https://www.churchoftheservantcrc.org/a-call-to-racial-justice/

As a reminder, the two recommendations for each of us within the “Call:”

1)  Engage with at least one person of a race different than our own, using the guidelines for such action found in the CRCNA Racial Reconciliation Statement. Commit to the personal and interpersonal work of looking into our hearts and deepening our understanding of internalized racial superiority (IRS) and internalized racial oppression (IRO). Hold one another accountable by reading, praying and walking the long journey together.

2)  Expand our civic awareness and public advocacy by praying for our elected officials, becoming familiar with issues related to racial justice, and lifting our corporate voice for legislation that dismantles systemic racism and oppression in all its forms. This includes, but is not limited to, participating in public meetings, community forums, and city and county commission meetings. 

Volunteers needed! Do you have a passion for serving with people as they tackle difficult financial issues and seek the knowledge and resources that will contribute to their financial security? If so, please enroll in the 4 sessions which COS is co-sponsoring on March 16, 18, 23 and 25, from 6-8 pm. Volunteers in Service (VIS) will provide these classes to our members free of charge. The training will help attendees become Financial Mentors who can provide assistance in a way that builds confidence and self-direction as they learn basic financial management skills. To sign up, please see the flyer here or go to the VIS website at http://www.visgr.org/

Our Simply Give Campaign is in full swing. Please note that the Double Match Days will be March 13 and April 3. The biggest change is that folks need to use ONE Simply Give 10.00 donation cardavailable at COS only. And preferably On March 13 and April 3, which are the Match Days. If you use a card from the Meijer store, the funds will not be applied only to our food pantry, but distributed citywide. You can give money to the Simply Give account by check to COS so Ellen can purchase all the cards with that money. Please note that you can swipe the one 10.00 Simply Give card 5 times for $50.00 or 10 times for $100.00. You do not need multiple Simply Give Cards. Thank you so much for supporting our Indoor Food Pantry.

Social Seniors meet every Tuesday morning from 10:00 to 11:00. Designed to provide opportunity for church family camaraderie, Social Seniors is led by Corrie Vos and Dale Cooper, and is open to anyone who would like to attend, regardless of age. We enjoy a social time together with a Biblical focus. 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

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83263669013?pwd=UzE4Z1czT2h2Q0lsck0zaXV4T1NMdz09

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.