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Long time church secretary to retire

Janet Avery, long time secretary for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, is retiring at the end of September

Janet Avery, long time secretary for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, is retiring at the end of September

Janet Avery, long time secretary for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, is retiring at the end of September, but will continue as church organist. Janet started as church organist in 1961. Then, in 1974, she took the position of church secretary, which she has held for 42 years.

Janet has played the church organ almost every Wednesday rehearsal, Sunday service and special occasion for 55 years.  She has played weddings, but has not kept a list how many or for whom she has played. One thing she does know; she has served as organist for children and perhaps grandchildren of those she played for when she first started.

However, it the job of church secretary that has made Janet most known at church and throughout town. She has worked 20 hours a week for 42 years.  The Methodist church is an open church, opening its doors to many organizations, groups and people.  It is Janet who keeps the calendar or maybe the phrase should be “guards” the calendar.  The list of what Janet does is long, very long.  Even she cannot list everything; she just does what is needed when needed.  Over the span of 42 years, she has learned that could be almost anything,

The church will celebrate Janet’s retirement on October 2 with a potluck dinner after church at approximately 11:30 am in the Fellowship Hall.  Food can be placed in the refrigerator or an oven during church service.  The potluck will be followed by an open house until 2:00 so people may join the church in celebration.   Love offering contributions may be mailed or brought to the church and should be labeled with her name.

In 1970, Robert Townsend, author of “Up the Organization” added a special chapter for women in his book on business organization. Townsend encouraged women to seize the opportunity to be secretary as they soon know everything about the organization and therefore control it.

Although Janet had not read the book, she followed this advice when she became secretary at the United Methodist Church in 1974.  Today she does know everything about the church and its mission as well as the mission and purpose of the organizations who are part of the church or who use the church building.  Parishioners are wondering how anyone new can learn what Janet knows and does. After all, they won’t be able to use the traditional means to find out things, which is simply “Ask Janet.”

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Working together

Pastor Darryl Miller

Sand Lake/South Ensley United Methodist churches 



Philippians 2:2 New International Version: then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

I had a rare opportunity this Sunday to visit a church other than the ones that I serve and to be ministered to. I love it when these opportunities come around. Most people don’t think about we pastors needing to be ministered to occasionally. The pastor had a wonderful message about the acceptance of Christ. How he welcomes everyone. This got me thinking about my faith journey. When I just got out of High school I joined a Christian band. There were two members who attended the Catholic church, one who attended a Baptist church, one who attended a Lutheran church, and one who attended a non-denominational church. We ministered to young people as a family of believers. I wondered why we couldn’t do that as “mature” Christians. When I first began pasturing, I actually had some pastors refuse to take my call because I was a “competitor.” I never understood this. Yes, I am a United Methodist pastor but I still worship the same God as the church next door.

There was a time when I was searching for a church that would be my home when I ran across a church who had cards that read: “If you do not feel at home here, let us help you find a church where you do.” This is one of the things that made me feel comfortable at this church. That was 25 years ago and now I pastor that very church!

The above scripture is a key part of Christian life. We need to work together. One church can do a lot of ministry, but several churches working together can do amazing things through God. As time has gone on we have begun to understand this idea more and more. In the community where the churches are that I serve, we regularly work together with all the other churches. And God has done amazing things through us. I love to see the different pastors supporting various ministries in our communities together because that is what God wants. We are a family. And together we are one.

If you want to be a part of this family, visit a church near you. Everyone is welcome in God’s house!

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Mark H. Doren


Mark H. Doren, 97 of Cedar Springs passed away at his earthly home Tuesday, September 20, 2016 and was welcomed into his heavenly home by his bride of 77 years, June (Moul) Doren who went before him on February 8, 2016. Mark was born April 23, 1919 in Kent City, Michigan the son of Charles and Ruth (Carlson) Doren. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a Tech Sergeant in Patton’s 6th Armored Division during WWII. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp located outside of Wiemer, Germany. Mark started serving the Lord at Alpine Baptist Church and then in 1955 when moving to Cedar Springs he became a longtime member of First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs. He drove bus, was Sunday School Superintendent, lead the singing and served on the Church, Camp and Missions Boards. He was an engineer at Sackner Products retiring in 1981. He served Algoma Township for 28 years on the Planning Commission, as a Trustee and as Supervisor. After retirement he enjoyed traveling and time at his cabin in Munising, which he called “God’s Country.” When not up north, he enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table and having coffee with anyone who stopped to visit. Surviving are his children, Sharon (LaVerne) Schut, Dennis Doren, Debra Ergang; daughter-in-law, Marilyn Doren; son-in-law, James (Rose) Hunt; 14 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Marie Doren; several nieces and nephews. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Marlyn Hunt; son, Mark N. Doren; brothers, Willard, William and Charles Doren. The family will greet friends Thursday from 4-7 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be Friday 1:00 pm at First Baptist Church, 233 S. Main St., Cedar Springs. Pastors Robert P. Smith and Stanley Mohr officiating. Interment Pine Grove Cemetery, Alpine Township with military honors by the U.S. Army. Memorial contributions may be made to David’s House Ministries, 2375 Banner Dr. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 or the First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Judith Ann Tysse


Judith Ann Tysse age 65, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Thursday, September 15, 2016.  Judy was born at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, the daughter of Clarence and Kathleen (Prater) Tysse of Cedar Springs.  She spent her childhood in Cedar Springs, graduating from Cedar Springs High School in 1969.  She went on to receive her BA in Education from Western Michigan University in 1973 and taught Emotionally Impaired (EI) children at Wyoming Public Schools for almost four decades, during which time she received awards for her extraordinary work.  Judy enjoyed people of all ages, had a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh, and had a way of positively affecting those around her—whether family, friends, colleagues, or students.  She will be dearly missed by her brothers, John (Wilma) of Boyne City, Paul (Della) of La Crosse, Wisconsin; sister-in-law, Michele of Grand Rapids, dear friend and companion, Mary Hanson of Grand Rapids, and many, many nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her partner of many years, Vonce Reed; father and mother; brothers, Thomas and James.  The family will greet friends and celebrate her life on Monday, September 26 from 5 – 7 pm at the Bliss-Witters and Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. A private family graveside will be held at Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs where she will be laid to rest by her parents. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

Arrangements by  Bliss-Witters and Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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c-obit-ritchieDecember 27, 1938 – June 28, 2016

Carol Ritchie, 77 years old, passed away peacefully June 28, 2016, at her home in Seminole, Florida surrounded by family and her two guardian angels. Carol was born on December 27, 1938, to Lee and Betty (Isabelle) Miller Robinson. She spent the early part of her childhood on a horse farm in Fowlerville, Michigan. Carol’s grandfather, Charles Miller (originally Kazimiris Varnigiris) who immigrated to the US from Lithuania, built the “beautiful” barn on their farm. This farm was a business where Carol, her brother Charlie, sisters Blondie and Georgia were expected to work very hard doing barn chores while caring for pregnant mares. They also collected the horse’s urine which was sold to pharmaceutical companies then used in making hormone medication. At about age 13 Carol and her family moved to Cedar Springs where they raised, broke then sold horses at auction. In spite of all the hard farm work Carol loved riding horses! In 1953 Carol married Carl Morehouse and they had four children together. They eventually divorced. Although Carol did not finish school she later completed her GED. She loved to read and discuss anything about history and politics. In 1963 Carol married Jimmy Ritchie and they had 3 children. Carol, Jim and family eventually moved to Florida where she lived for over 40 years. For several of those years she loved working as a special education para pro at Bauder Elementary School in Seminole. Carol eventually transferred her love of horses to dogs and began breeding, raising and showing champion English Bulldogs. After retirement she kept busy collecting, buying and selling antiques taking after her mother Betty. During her life Carol faced and survived many challenges. Her courage remains an inspiration to her family. Carol will be sadly missed by her dear sister and brother-in-law Georgia and Bob Johnson; her children, Cheryl (Eric) Baculy, Carla (Bruce) Springer, Curtis Morehouse, Cindy (Doug) Burnham, Jamie (Mike) Conaty, and Jacquie (Joe) McKenna; grandchildren Lee (Viviana) Myers, Dean Myers, Cheri Nan (Juell) Porter, Jacob Stanton, Cynthia McKenna, Karlena Morehouse, Cody Conaty, Jonathan Baculy and Jimmy McKenna; great-grandchildren Chloe and Nolan Myers, Joshua, Daniel and Eli Porter and many nieces and nephews. Carol is also survived by her guardian angels Standard Poodles Hallie and Buddy. She was preceded in death by her husband Jim, son Joel Ritchie, her parents, her beloved brother Charles (Charlie) G. Robinson, and beloved sister LaVerna (Blondie) Townes. A memorial luncheon will take place to share memories of Carol on October 16, 2016. Contact family for more information.

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Thou shalt not murder

Rockford-Springs-Church-webPastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341


“Thou Shalt Not Murder.” Among other commands, these four words were spoken to the Israelites as they began their journey to the Promised Land after being set free from slavery in Egypt. They were spoken by the one who miraculous freed them—God. Why? Why did He have to say to His people, “Do not go around taking each other’s lives?”

This question is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. Perhaps one could give multiple answers, but let’s focus on one answer quickly and then a second reason with a little more effort.

The first reason is because God knows the danger of our hands and our hearts. We murder. We murder with our thoughts, our words, and sometimes, even with our own hands. So God distinctly and clearly says to the people he has just freed not to engage in the way of death, either with their minds, or their actions. This makes perfect sense. A people will never survive if all it does is kill each other or themselves. In 2015, in Grand Rapids alone, there was 1,381 violent crimes, with suicide being the third leading cause for teenage death. This is a very present agony in our own community with 3 suicides is just one year.

But I believe there is another reason for the law. Within all of God’s laws we learn something about God. Each law gives us insight into the value system of God. Within this particular law we learn the profound truth that God loves life. He did not just create it, but He also sustains it, protects it, and cherishes it. For God, life is good. The taking of life is bad.

If someone is involved with the church of Jesus Christ, a phrase that often is spoken about or sung about is “The Glory of God.” The glory of God can simply be defined as: “The infinite beauty and greatness of all His manifold perfections (his many character traits).” For example, we see the glory of His faithfulness when He commands us to be true to our relationships: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” We see the glory of His order when we hear the command to “honor father and mother.” But when God rises up and commands “Thou Shalt Not Murder,” the glory of His love for life shines like the morning sun breaking through the darkness of the night. His light shines on life and sparkles out the beauty of its glory. So, being image bearers of God we too should love life.

So God loves life. We see this truth in this command. And we also see this truth in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John 10:10 that “He has come to give us life, and to have it to the full.” So when hatred is strong, despair is heavy, chaos is overwhelming, hopelessness is controlling, and the temptation of death is luring, we need to step back and see that God loves life. The taking of life is not the answer, either by word or action. Hurting others, or myself, is never the solution. Life is good; God is good; His way is best. In our battle for an abundant life we must trust God and hold to the glory of life.

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Donald A. (Pete) Shier, age 82, passed away peacefully on Wednesday Sept 14, 2016. Surviving are his wife Carol Shier of 62 years; four daughters, Terri (Pat) Peterson, Laurie (Kim) Patrick, Quinn (Pete) Meade, and Shalyn Ralston; nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Family and friends will be able to meet with Pete’s family Saturday, September 17th from 1-4 pm at the First Presbyterian Church, 125 E. Main St. in Ionia, Michigan. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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When you are lucky enough to reach 80 years old you find you are especially lucky to have 90 plus family and friends throw you a surprise 80th birthday party, complete with your brothers, five children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren from Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Cedar Springs, Kent City, Howard City and points near and far. Lots of tears of happiness, laughter of joy. Many good memories were made. Thank you all for those memories.

A birthday is just the first day of another 365 day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip.

Betty Morris

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Thank You

A heartfelt thank you to all the friends and family who showered Josephine (Jo) Smith with cards and letters in celebration of her 90th Birthday.

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Thank You

The family of Walter Kilts would like to extend our deepest appreciation to family and friends who have shown their support during our time of sorrow.

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