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Archive | Church Connection

Ida Loraine Morris

Ida Loraine Morris of Sand Lake, Michigan, age 93, passed away on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.  She was born to Henry and Etta (Schnieder) Roberts on January 16, 1925.  Ida was well known for her delicious fudge and cinnamon buns.  She maintained a beautiful flower garden. Ida enjoyed listening to music, embroidering quilts, and spending time with friends and family.  She is survived by her two loving daughters Connie (Gary) Welch and Terri (Tracey) Wood, six grandchildren, twenty two great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild; her sister, Stella White; sister-in-law, June Roberts; brother-in-law Kenny Becker; and numerous nieces and nephews.  Ida was preceded in death by both husbands Lawrence Heft and James Morris; son, Jerry (Sue) Heft; and grandson Jarrod Welch. There will be a time of visitation from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, 2018, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service for Ida will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, 2018, at Pederson Funeral Home. Pastor Rick Malone will be officiating.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford.

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Toni R. (Felix) Barnhill age 59 of Cedar Springs, passed away Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at her home. She was born November 15, 1958 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the daughter of Earle and Della (Kloostra) Felix. She was a very loving wife and sister. Toni enjoyed playing games and knitting. She is survived by her husband, Larry Martin Barnhill; children, Tia K. (Curtis) LaCombe, Taylor L. Barnhill; grandchildren, Brant, Laurin, Alexander LaCombe and Diesel Jones; siblings, Mary Felix, Corinne (Lyle) Streeter, Charles (Julie) Wiersma; mother-in-law, Caroline Barnhill; brothers and sisters-in-law, William Barnhill (Levi), Mary (Jim) Reimert, Edward Barnhill and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Karen Puite, Frank Felix and Sally Heald. The family greeted friends Saturday, May 19 at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. There was no funeral service. Memorial contributions to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

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

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Gertrude Maria Dudley, 89, of Riley Township entered eternal life Wednesday, May 16, 2018. She was born on October 5, 1928 in Gresten, Austria to the late Maria Magdalena Pfaffenbichler. She met her husband, Charles Marion Dudley, Sr. in Austria while he was stationed there during World War II. They were married in the fall of 1948 in Freemont, Ohio and enjoyed 20 years of happy marriage until his passing on August 7, 1968. Gertrude attended school in Austria for Pharmacy. She would then go on to work for Awrey Bakery for 14 years. When she wasn’t working, Gertrude had a passion for cooking and loved working in her flower garden. She also enjoyed going for long drives. Most of all she was devoted to her family. Gertrude is survived by her daughter, Rose Mary (Gary) Fisk of Pierson; her son, Charles (Cheryl) Dudley of Riley Township; seven grandchildren, Tina Marie (Micky) Rish, Christina Dudley, Angela Weber, Frank (Melisa) Davidson, Charles Dudley Jr., Chad (Jessica) Dudley, and Christopher Dudley; 16 great-grandchildren; a sister, Gertrude; and several nieces and nephews all of Austria. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles. A funeral service was held on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. with visitation being held from 2:00 p.m. until the time of service in the Kammeraad-Merchant Funeral Home, Memphis. To send condolences, visit: www.kammeraad-merchant.com.

Arrangements by Kammeraad-Merchant Funeral Home, Memphis

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On April 2, 2018, Richard F. Dodd D.D.S., aged 84 years and 11 months, passed from his life on earth into the loving, healing arms of his Savior. He was born to Guy and Genevieve Dodd in Ludington Michigan on May 3, 1933. Following graduation from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Richard was commissioned in the USAF and served as Captain in the Air Defense Command. After active service in the Air Force, he established a private practice in Kent County Michigan. He served as a dentist in Cedar Springs for many years. During his professional life he also served the community as a member of the school board and in township government. At the age of forty, Dick began “an affair with the violin” that presented him with ample challenges for the rest of his life. At the age of 71 he moved with his wife of 55 years to Kalamazoo, Michigan and again three years later to Hartselle, Alabama, where they have lived since. He was an active member of First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs, Algoma Baptist, The Journey Church, First United Baptist Church of Kalamazoo and the First Baptist Church of Hartselle. Richard is survived by his loving wife, Rebecca; daughters, Julea (Kevin) Moats of Decatur, Alabama, Al and Amelia Denslow of Hartselle, Alabama; two grandchildren, Steven Dodd Denslow of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Victoria Denslow of Birmingham, Alabama; his brother Larry (Donna) Dodd of Traverse City, Michigan; brother-in-law Karl (Angie) DeVries of Grayling, Michigan; sisters-in-law Martha (Ray) Vandee Panne of Cedar Springs, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews, who all loved their “UncaDick”. He is interred at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, Alabama.

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Start Here

Pastor Dallas Burgeson

The Springs Church 

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs


Jesus said this in John 15:14-16 (NIV): “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 

Three verses. A person could find a lot to think about in any of the three: The analogy of servants and masters. The idea that I could actually be God’s friend! The pregnant possibilities in the statement that “…whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” So many directions you could go. But instead, let’s hold these thoughts all together and see what happens.

Friends of God are people who are already in the process of doing what God has asked them to do. Because of this, they are not only doing but being something very different in comparison to other people. If I’m reading my Bible clearly—both following its threads from the front cover to the back and noticing the details in this book and chapter—I  think that much of the “everything” that Jesus was learning from His Father had to do with both being and doing.

Who was being honored in every moment? Jesus always found His purpose and His identity in His Father. Where was the next leg of His mission going to take place? Jesus was always present with people, and yet was always on His way somewhere. Who was the next person or group of people who needed to hear a fully-dressed Good News? Who was the next person or group of people who needed desperately to experience the presence of the living God? These, I believe, were the preoccupations of Jesus, and so He told those closest to Him “…go, and bear fruit…

But He also made sure they understood that they were supposed to pursue “fruit that will last.” How many of the things you’re doing today will actually last? If you’re not sure many of them will, it seems to me that you need to find a stopping point in your busyness to reorganize your priorities.

Jesus has already done everything necessary to make you a friend of God. Are you prepared to do everything He asks of you? God’s Spirit is very interested, willing, able, and present to guide you in doing things with your life that will have permanent significance. There is a Bible with God’s words recorded in it that will give you structure and insight into how all this works. And there are churches full of God’s friends all around you, trying to do these same things. Are you wondering where to start with God? Start here.

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Mr. Frederick “Fred” L. Wilk of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 71, has “gone fishing.” He passed away on Friday, April 13, 2018, and simple cremation has taken place. Fred was the oldest of three boys. He graduated from Sparta High School in 1965. Fred was an avid hunter and fisherman, and he could tell a “tall tale” better than anyone— he would tell of the biggest fish that broke his line, or the buck that leaped over his arrow or bullet. Fred enjoyed farming corn and soybeans. He also enjoyed growing a garden where he could demonstrate his impressive green thumb. He roasted many pigs for graduations, wedding, and other regular gatherings and parties. He was quite the cook. Fred is survived by his children Jeannie Pritchard, Christopher, Matthew, and Patrick Wilk; three grandsons, four granddaughters, and one great-grandson; two brothers, Aaron and Ricky Wilk; and numerous nieces, nephews, and other beloved members of the family. He was preceded in death by his parents Lester “Roy” and Betty (Constantine) Wilk. A Memorial Gathering will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2018, from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. at the Rockford American Legion Merritt Lamb Post 102, 330 Rockford Park Drive NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Relatives and friends are encouraged to join Fred’s family during this time of fellowship, food, and beverage.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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A perfect storm

Pastor Robert P. Smith

First Baptist Church

233 Main St, Cedar Springs


One of my favorite gospel songs is “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.” I remember singing this song as a small child in church services. As a young person growing up in church, I remember hearing over and over again the Bible story of a man who took his eyes off Jesus and nearly drowned. 

Do you know this song? Is it one of your favorites? Do you remember the words to the chorus?

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.”

According to these words, it isn’t until we “look full” into Jesus’ face that we will look away from earthly things. I believe to “look full” is to give our complete attention to Jesus. It is to see Him and only Him alone through the Bible. The earthly things that appear to offer us so much satisfaction or security will be seen as shallow and superficial compared to the eternal reward of seeing Jesus.

One of my favorite stories of Jesus is when he directed his disciples to cross over to the town of Bethsaida while he went up on the mountain to pray. It was there, alone on the mountain, that Jesus noticed the disciples’ struggle out on the water. The Bible says, “the wind was against them.” 

The human tendency during difficulty is to imagine the face of God with blind eyes, but the Bible teaches the opposite. God sees. God knows. God cares. God acts. True followers of Christ are special objects of His sovereign care and compassion. We’ll know his care when we cast our concerns on him.

The very waves that the disciples feared became the way he entered into their struggle. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.” And when he got into their boat, the wind ceased. When “the wind is against you” do you know that he is with you? If we are not going to be beaten down by the storm we must believe in the One who can calm it. Remember his promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Storms will come. Who do you see in them?

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” Helen H. Lemmel, Singspiration


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David N. Walls, 84, of Trout Creek, passed away early Friday morning, May 11, 2018. Dave was born on Nov. 19, 1933, in Trout Creek, a son of Wilbert and Taimi (Moilanen) Walls. He graduated from Trout Creek High School in 1952 and married his high school sweetheart, Patsy Pittsley. In 1953, they moved to Grand Rapids, where Dave worked in the factories until 1963 when he became an insurance inspector. Dave was promoted to office manager for Commercial Services. At that time the family moved to Cedar Springs. In 1978, Dave started his own insurance inspection company with his partner, Art Clement. They operated the company until 2002 when they sold the company and retired. In 2002, Dave and Patsy returned to Trout Creek where Dave was always fishing on the Beaver in his canoe. When fishing season was over, it was time for hunting with his brother, Kenny, Uncle Gene and son, Dave and anyone else that wanted to go along. Dave was always so proud that he was the catcher for the Trout Creek American Legion Baseball Team. At the age of 15, he was the catcher for Ben Manning (Dave’s idol). Dave was an avid fan of the Detroit Tigers and Lions and all Michigan State and Ewen-Trout Creek sports. Dave is survived by his loving wife, Patsy, Trout Creek; a son, David Jr. (Katie), Cedar Springs; two sisters, Marion Walls, San Antonio, Texas, and Lois Couper, Ft. Myers, Florida; a brother, Dennis, Milwaukee; a grandson, Aaron (Sheryl) Rohen; three great-grandsons, Aaron Wayne (Samantha), Ryan and David; a great-great-granddaughter, Melina Kay; two sisters-in-law, Diana Thompson, Inez, Kentucky, and Pam Walls, Livonia; his son-in-law, Doug Setters, Sheridan, Indiana; two aunts, Shirley Madden and Elma Hirvonen; special friends, Jim and Jean Ward, Cedar Springs; and many dear nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Wayne; a daughter, Darlene; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Art and Evelyn Pittsley; two brothers, Wilbert “Sonny” and Kenneth; a sister, Carol Verran; a grandson, Travis Setters; and two nieces, Teresa Wilder and Tiffney Walls. A memorial service will be held Friday, May 18, at 1 p.m. EDT, preceded by visitation at noon EDT, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Trout Creek, with the Rev. Kay Richter officiating. Luncheon will be served at the American Legion Hall in Trout Creek following the service. Condolences may be expressed online at lakesidememorialchapel.com. 

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. 

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The one important truth

Pastor Darryl Miller

Sand Lake/South Ensley United Methodist churches 



Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (NIV).

April 29 was a “fifth Sunday.” Four times a year we have five Sundays in a month. Several years ago, a woman came to me after services and asked if I would answer some questions for her. I said that I would be glad to and she proceeded to ask about the symbols around the church, the reason for the colors of the cloths and many more questions. It was at this time I realized that I had been neglecting one of my responsibilities as a pastor. I had not been explaining the symbols and the meaning of the various articles and traditions around the church. From that began “Question Sunday.” When there is a fifth Sunday, the people that I serve submit any questions that they have and I do my best to answer them. The questions have ranged from simple curiosity to scriptural thoughts. I have been told by many of the congregations that they really look forward to these days and that they get a lot from them. The truth is that I enjoy them as well. I love to learn and the bible challenges us to study the word, not just to read it. And often I am asked a question that opens up a new line of thought for me.

But as much fun as these days are I always end the day with a reminder. The one truth that we all need to understand is that, as stated in John 3:16, “God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life” (paraphrased).

Understanding the sacrifice of Jesus for us, and understanding that it was an act of unconditional love, is the most important knowledge that we can have. And the best thing to do with knowledge is to share it. God loves you. Jesus loves you. This is the truth. Share it with the world!

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Celebrating 5 Generations

Holding Vanessa Jo Molette is great-great-grandfather Charles Frederick Hargreaves. With the pair are Grandmother Cheryl (Hargreaves) Jepsen (second from left). Mother Melissa (Hargreaves) Molette (far left) and great-grandfather Timothy Hargreaves (far right).

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