Gathering Season, November 14, 2021

This Sunday:

This Sunday, in indoor worship at COS, Rev. Karen Campbell will preach from Ephesians 5:21-33 and 2 Samuel 22:31-37 in the standard English service. Rev. Andrew Mead will preach from Romans 8:31-34 in the Basic English Service in Room 5.

Following the morning services: There will be an informational meeting and question-and-answer session in the Living Room for the COS Visit to Northern Ireland.

We invite you to sign up to attend the morning service. Please note on the sign up that masking is now required for those over 2 years old. The 10 am service will also be live via Zoom. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the Zoom links.

Children’s Ministry News:

Advent Devotionals for Families on Display in the Café. If you’re looking for a special way to journey with your kids through Advent this year, visit the café to explore some resources for families. We’ll be ordering resources at a discounted rate, so please sign up if you’d like to purchase a copy of one or more of the resources on display.  

Sunday School, 11:45am this Sunday, Nov. 14. We had such an excellent turnout for Sunday school that we’re moving the 2nd-4th grades to a bigger classroom in the nursery hallway! Check out the list of classrooms below. Please drop your children off at 11:45am and pick them up at 12:30pm. Granola bars (including allergy-safe options) will be available outside at the coffee station after church. Please encourage your kids to eat a snack outside and use the restroom before Sunday school starts.  

  • The 4-year-old through 1st graders will meet in room 9, located in the children’s worship wing. This will also be the Kid’s Club room from now on.
  • The 2nd-4th graders will meet in room 19, located in the hallway on the far side of the SES sanctuary, near the nursery.  
  • The 5th-6th graders will meet in room 22, located in the hallway behind the church mailboxes at the back of the sanctuary.
  • The 7th-8th graders will meet in room 17, located in the hallway on the far side of the SES sanctuary, near the nursery.  
  • High school students will meet in the youth room, located at the end of the artery, past the children’s worship wing.
  • Nursery is available for children 3 and younger.
  • Adults interested in learning more about the Northern Ireland trip are welcome to join the Heffner’s in the Living Room for a presentation at 11:45am. The Living Room is located on the left when you enter the SES sanctuary. 

Brrrrrr, Bundle Kids Up for Outdoor Singing on Sundays! Our 2 ½ – 2nd Graders have been singing along with the Little Lambs Jam Band outside before heading to the children’s wing. We’d love to continue singing even though it’s getting cold. So please encourage your children to bring a sweater or coat when they are blessed and sent to continue worship in the children’s wing. If you are leading or assisting in our children’s wing, please bring your coat too!

Collecting Outgrown Coats, Snow Pants, Boots, Hats, and Gloves for Kids and Teens! Please considering washing and donating the winter gear your kids have outgrown! These items will be used for outdoor activities or outings during club ministries and washed between uses, or sent home with kids who need them. Drop your used winter gear in the black bin at the entrance to the children’s wing. *Please note there is also a new glove, hat, and scarf drive happening for our neighbors at Ridge Park Elementary. That collection basket is at the entrance of church. If possible, please donate to both!

Church News:

Last week’s offering and online giving (including monthly ach):  $30,884

Current Giving for the month of November: $37,179

Monthly budgeted General Fund Giving is:  $118,873

Gathering to Love, Gathering to Give: This month, we are beginning a reflection on our financial giving this year and next. The Stewardship Team invites you all to think and pray as we each consider our responses to God’s generosity towards us. As God loves us, so we must show love and support to one another. In December we will ask each individual or household to make a promise, a pledge, about giving to COS in 2022. Literature will be available to guide you, and pledge forms will be available in the building and online in the Giving section of the COS website.

Revised Listening Circle Dates. Sign-ups are open for the listening circles for the CRC Synod’s Human Sexuality Report. The start date for the circles has been pushed back to allow for training of additional facilitators. The new meeting dates for Sunday circles will be December 12, January 9, 23, February 13, 27.  We are grateful for your strong support and interest. Based upon feedback from the interest cards, we will now be offering a Sunday morning Zoom session and a longer Wednesday evening Zoom session that meets on November 24, December 1, 8, 15, 22. See details about available listening circles on the COS website or the sign-up cards at COS. You can also sign up by calling the church office. Please note that middle and high school students who are interested in attending must sign up so we can plan accordingly. We are still looking for additional facilitators. Additional listening circles, including ones that begin after Christmas, may still be added based upon interest. The delayed start also accommodates the November 21, 2021, GPS meeting which will talk about COS’s overture to Synod and the role the listening circles play in COS’s journey to date in response to the Human Sexuality Report. See the GPS announcement for more details.

Remarkable! Our Blood Drive on Monday was absolutely remarkable! Thirty-three donors registered and we were able to collect 32 units of blood, far surpassing our goal of 20! Each pint of blood can impact three lives, so 96 patients will receive life-saving blood from our efforts. Donors – the patients thank you, Versiti thanks you, we thank you!!  Your gift of life is priceless!

Meijer Simply Give Campaign for COS. COS has been awarded another campaign to support our In-House Food pantry. The double day will be on Saturday, December 11. This where your $10.00 purchase of the Simply Gift card will give COS $30.00 in Meijer gift cards to be used to purchase food items from Meijer for our pantry. For those who want Ellen Westrate, Food Coordinator, to purchase the Simply Gift cards at the Cascade Meijer only on December 11, please give your money or a check to COS in an envelope to Ellen Westrate labeled Simply Give.

Thank you for supporting the COS Food Pantry in this way. We have received up to $20,000 in one of the Meijer campaigns for food to feed our church and neighborhood families.

As is our tradition, we will worship together on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00am. We will have space in our service for brief thanksgiving testimonies, and our Joyful Noise Orchestra will accompany the singing of a few Thanksgiving hymns at the end of the service. Anyone who plays a band or orchestra instrument is invited to play with the orchestra for this service. (Wind instruments will need instrument masks/covers.) Music is available for pickup in the music room. Rehearsal will be from 9:00am – 9:45am on Thanksgiving Day. Please sign up in the music room or by emailing Maria Stapert Vander Berg (

Gail and Ken Heffner have been invited to plan and lead an Interest Group of COS members and friends through a study of reconciliation in divided societies with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. This Interest Group will examine the religious roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland particularly during the past half-century as well as the reconciliation work that is occurring in the last several decades. The theological differences and the political, social, and economic factors which led to the Protestant-Catholic conflict will be explored. What lessons can be learned from the Northern Ireland experience? How has reconciliation unfolded in Northern Ireland and what role has the Christian community played? Particular attention is given to the contribution art, poetry, and popular music have played in fostering reconciliation and forgiveness. The group will meet monthly beginning in January 2022 for preparation and learning that will culminate in a 10-day trip to Northern Ireland in June 2022 where participants will be able to experience and learn about reconciliation and justice from pastors, artists, and community leaders in Northern Ireland. Stepping out of our own comfort zones and experiencing another culture can offer insights and perspectives that can be transformative in our own settings.  An informational session is planned for Nov. 14 in the COS Living Room following the morning worship service. For more information, see this link on the COS Website or contact the Heffners.

Social Seniors continues to meet on Tuesdays at 10:00 via Zoom. All are welcome. For more information check our website or call Corrie Vos at 616-558-6634

The Thursday Bible Study continues to meet. We meet Thursdays in the COS cafe area, 9:30 – 11:00 am. This fall, we will be exploring Ecclesiastes. Our focus this week, November 18, is Eccles. 9:1-12 “What Meaning Does Death Bring to Life?”You may pick up a study guide when you come on Thursday. If you need childcare, please contact Mary Loeks. Please wear a mask. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Oak Hill Cemetery Tour – Saturday, November 27, 10am—12pm. The Classis Grand Rapids East’s Racial Justice Team invites you to join a tour of Oak Hill Cemetery (647 Hall Street SE) to learn more about early African Americans and racism in Grand Rapids’ history. The tour is two hours long, so wear walking shoes (or boots). Meet and park on the north side of Hall Street, by the small office building.You can sign up for a tour by filling out the form on