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Archive | Church Connection

Marguerite L. Fifield

Marguerite FifieldMarguerite L. Fifield 93 of Pierson, died Friday, September 19, 2014, at Spectrum Health United Memorial Campus, Greenville. Mrs. Fifield was born March 1, 1921 in Sand Lake, MI, the daughter of Robert and Esther (Anderson) Flintoff. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold, in 1986; daughter-in-law, Mary; and grandson, Wayne. She enjoyed bingo, quilting and puzzles. Surviving are her children, Robert and friend Lynn, Richard (Alice), Bonnie (Gary) Woodruff, Gary (Dixie), Jim (Sherry), Roger (Nance), Mary (Rix) Robinson, Gerald, Wayne (Terri), Janet (Gerald) Skelonc, Nancy (Jeff) Olsen, Dennis, Donnie, Patty (Jack) Price, Mark (Annette); 33 grandchildren and spouses; 63 great-grandchildren; 6 great-great grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Tuesday, Sept. 23 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs, where services will be held Wednesday at 11:00 am. Pastor Joel Cooper officiating. Interment Pierson Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Friends of the Michigan Veterans Home.

Arrangements by Bliss Witters & Pike Funeral Home.

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Why we need children

Courtland-OakfieldUMCPastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford

 

Among the first stories you’ll come across if you read a Bible from the beginning concerns a man named Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Part of their story is a promise God makes to them that they will be the matriarch and patriarch of an entire nation. “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore,” God says in the story.

However, at age 100 and 90, respectively, Abraham and Sarah are skeptical; in fact, they fall down laughing. But in this tale what is impossible for mortals turns out to be possible for God who does just as God promised. Sarah conceives and bears a son and celebrates his birth with a different kind of laughter: “Sarah said, ‘God has given me laughter. Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.’”

We all know how an infant’s coo or a child’s smile can soften the hardest heart. But children mean more to our world than sentimental warm fuzzies. Children are the counterbalance to disappointment, cynicism, and regret. Unfortunately, the scales tip disproportionately toward pessimism when the seniors outweigh the juniors, a trend we have seen in this country, as the baby boom, following World War II, with its average of 25 births per 1,000 population between 1945 and 1959, tapered off to 16 or fewer births per 1,000 population since 1972 (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html).

I’m not maligning folks at the upper end of the age continuum, I just turned 60 myself, but when a person can reasonably conclude that he/she is somewhere in the final 25 percent of his/her life, impending loss produces grief; grief breeds anger and depression; and the anger and depression of unmet expectations and unfulfilled goals is frequently expressed in variations of the lament that everything is worse than it ever was and the country is going to hell.

When one of my now adult sons was a child, there was a day he went to great lengths to turn his bedroom into a mini-theater, created and gave tickets to his parents and brothers, and put on a one-boy show. It was delightful. God gave me the gift of laughter and with it reasons to be optimistic and joyful. Recently his young son, with sword in hand, announced, “I’m a pirate; I’m here to steal your golden balloons!” It was another gift of laughter; another reason to hold on to hope.

Children give all of us a reason for living, a reason for being productive, honorable, charitable, and faithful. But, please don’t read anything into this from your own perspective on the several issues that fall under that nebulous heading of “family values.” I’m not making a political statement here. And please don’t take offense; it is not my intent to disrespect anyone who is uninterested in having children nor to be insensitive to anyone unable to have children.

It’s just that I was listening to the news on my car radio today, wondering whether everything is worse than it ever was, when I caught the smile on the face of the girl in the car next to me as she waved and giggled with the child in the seat beside her and found myself thinking, “along with fresh air and clean water, we desperately need children.”

 

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M. Jean Pratt Chulski

C-OBIT-chulskiM. Jean Pratt Chulski, 91 of Cedar Springs, passed into life eternal on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at Clark Retirement Community. Jean was born April 28, 1923 in Courtland Township, MI the daughter of Eugene and Jennie (Robson) Benham. Her parents, brothers, Nan and Leon; sisters, Marion Ward, Marjorie Mulford, Marie Opperman Cain and Jane Rice, as well as nephew, Gilbert Rice preceded her in death. Jean attended Benham School and graduated from Cedar Springs High School Class of 1941. She married a south Courtland boy, Ross Pratt in July of 1946 and he preceded her in 1976. Ross and Jean had four children, Jan (Duane) Ellis, John (Patty) Pratt, Mary (Jack) Tinholt, Joan (Dennis) Karn; nine grandchildren and their spouses; five great grandchildren. After Ross’s death, she married Karl Chulski in 1982 and he preceded her in 2002. She is also survived by his children, Lois (Harrison) Brigham, Karl (Maria) Chulski, Mark (Val) Chulski; Karl’s grandchildren and great grandchildren; numerous cherished nieces, nephews and friends. Jean was a longtime member (66 years) of  the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. The family will greet friends Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Her funeral will be held Monday 11:00 am at the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St, Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Clark Retirement Community or Emmanuel Hospice.

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JOHNSON – FEIGHNER

C-Engage-JohnsonFeighnerMr. and Mrs. Nort and Kelly Johnson are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Kaitlin Elizabeth Johnson to Alexander Christian Feighner, son of Catherine Griesmer and Charles Feighner. The couple will be united in marriage on December 13, 2014 and will reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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25th Anniversary

C-ANNIV-WilesC-ANNIV-Wiles-wedding

JOHN & BARB WILES

 

John and Barb Wiles of Cedar Springs are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on September 23, 2014. John and Barb were married on September 23, 1989 and have two children, Luke Wiles and Meredith Wiles.

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BRUCE O. SMITH

C-obit-SmithBruce O. Smith 74 of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at his home. Bruce was born April 25, 1940 in Lakeview, Michigan the son of Olin and Lucille (Christensen) Smith. He was a millwright and had retired from Federal Mogul (Sparta Foundry) in 2000. He was a member of the Hungerford Saddle Club and the Flat River Tractor Pullers. Surviving are his wife, Sharon, whom he married on Oct. 20, 1961; sons, Scott A. Smith and Randy B. Smith; granddaughter, Abigaile; brother, Dennis Smith; several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice, 4500 Breton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508.

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

 

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LEONARD E. GOULD 

Leonard E. Gould, 89 of Cedar Springs, died Friday, September 12, 2014 at home. Leonard was born April 27, 1925 in Courtland Township, Michigan the son of Forrest and Rose (Schumacher) Gould. He was a veteran of World War II serving in the U.S. Army, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a Farmall tractor mechanic, heating and cooling serviceman and had been assistant chief for the City of Cedar Springs Fire Department. Leonard was a lifetime member, over 65 years, of the Glen Hill American Legion Post, Cedar Springs. Surviving are his wife, Thelma (Ball), whom he married on June 18, 1948; children, Beth A. Gould-Phelps, Bruce E. (Deborah) Gould, Douglas A. Gould; 10 grandchildren; 27 great grandchildren; brother, Ralph Gould; sister-in-law, Adeline Rusche; brother-in-law, George LeValley; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Marjorie Gould, Marian Smith, Marie Keene; and a grandson, Derek Gould in 1980. The family greeted friends Tuesday, Sept. 16 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was held Wednesday 11:00 am at Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church. Pastor Robert Eckert officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Courtland Oakfield United Methodist Church. God Bless Our Troops!

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

 

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Thank You

A big thank you to our families, friends and neighbors for prayers, food, flowers and cards. The United Methodist Church ladies for the nice luncheon and to Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home for the excellent service. Also, thank you to Courtland Rescue for your efforts.

 

The Family of Beverly Parker

 

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Thank You

We want to thank our families, friends and neighbors for the many acts of kindness, flowers, memorials, cards and prayers. Thanks also to The Springs Church and Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home for their kind servies.

 

“Love the people God sent you – one day He is going to need them back – and we know not how soon.”

 

The family of Bruce Eldred

 

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What Is wrong with the world?

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” goes the French proverb credited to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s not that a society or person organization cannot be transformed. But such change is often cosmetic or superficial. Reality isn’t altered at the deeper, more profound levels.

Simply examine today’s news feeds. There is conflict in the Middle East; fresh bloodshed in Iraq; a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Africa; upheaval with Russia; political unrest at home; is it 2014, 1985, 1978, 1959, or 1913? Has nothing changed within these geopolitical situations? Of course, everything has changed.

There have been new regimes, new faces, and new promises; the old guard has passed; generations have come and gone; the young and the restless have replaced the traditional and the settled. But the root issues and causes – things like greed, selfishness, sexism, patriarchy, racism, and tribalism, remain untouched.

Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world; but no one thinks of changing himself.” Everything we see in the larger world is a reflection of the individual, human heart. So we can’t begin with the world. We have to begin with our own hearts.

One of the greatest British writers of the 20th century was G.K. Chesterton. My favorite essay of his is a tiny one written to his local newspaper, The London Times. The editors solicited responses from the paper’s readership by asking this question: “What is wrong with the world?” Hundreds of long, verbose letters poured in. Then eminent authors and leading thinkers of the day responded with essays. The shortest and most powerful response to “What is wrong with the world?” came from Chesterton.  He wrote: “Dear Sirs, I am.”

If anything about this world is going to change, it will be you, and the change cannot be cosmetic, superficial, or an artificial cover-up. Change must be at the heart, deep within, where our darkness lurks, our transgressions take shelter, and where all our spiritual neurosis is born.

So while I’m quoting Karr, Tolstoy, and Chesterton, I’ll add one more great philosopher to the list. Bob Dylan wrote, “There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a changin’.” True, but the real battle is on the inside, for if the world is going to change, the change must begin right there.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. Please visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

 

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