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Archive | Church Connection

Happy 50th Birthday

Happy 50th Birthday to my wonderful mother Kelly.

Love you so much.

Ashley, Matt, Reese, Landon

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RALPH G. BERGMAN


Ralph G. “Jerry” Bergman age 90 of Sand Lake died Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at his home. Jerry was born June 24, 1931 in Ensley Township to Ralph and Mellicent (Woodman) Bergman. He served in the U.S. Army. Jerry was a member of the Cedar Springs Rotary, Tri-Corner VFW 7912, Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce, G.R. Real Estate Board, Independent Bank Board of Directors, Tri-County Eagles 4467, Tri-County Area School Board, Sand Lake Village-former President, and Sand Lake Fire Department. He was owner of Jerry’s Service for 15 years and was a real estate owner and broker with Century 21 and a realtor with Greenridge Realty. Surviving are his children, Gail (Ed) Prentice, Rick (Patty) Bergman, Rosemarie (Gary) Ells, Mike (Lisa) Bergman; grandchildren, Courtney (Matt) Steers, Kerry Prentice, Nicole, Amber, Kyle (Ashley) Bergman, Kelsey (Nate) Kidder, Jasmine, Krista VanDyke, Stephanie (Tim) Kisner, Chad, Jason (Samantha), Nicholas Bergman; 11 great-grandchildren; brother, Edward (Luisa) Bergman; sister, Nancy Northup; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine; son, Jack; grandson, Michael. The family will greet friends Sunday from 2-5 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a Rosary will be prayed at 4:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday 11:00 a.m. at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery with military honors by the U.S. Army. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

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

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AUDRA L. VAN HAREN

Audra L. van Haren age 46 passed away Sunday, January 16, 2022 at her home with her family and close friends present. Audra was born December 18, 1975 in Grand Rapids, MI the daughter of Edwin and Theresa (Burnham) Rogers. Audra was a mother, daughter, sister and friend. Her three beautiful daughters were the light of her life and she was so incredibly proud of each of them. There really isn’t enough room on this page to speak about how many lives Audra touched and changed in 46 years. She exuded love and joy. She said once, “I ask God every day to increase my faith and that I can get up with joy every day. I don’t always get up with joy, but I CHOOSE to be joyful nearly every day.” She embodied this with how gracefully she handled her cancer diagnosis. Audra wanted her faith and trust in God to be a testimony to others and never waivered. She was impressive and inspiring, grateful and funny, a lover of life and adventure. A uniquely beautiful soul. Audra was a light to this world we so badly need and anyone lucky enough to meet her saw that instantly. Surviving are her daughters, Darion (Spencer) Gordon, Mallory van Haren, Maiya van Haren; parents, Ed and Terri Rogers; brother, Adam Rogers; many aunts, uncles, and close friends. She was preceded in death by her brother, Aaron Rogers; aunt, Sheila Drenton. A memorial service and celebration of her life will take place in the spring. Details to follow. A private family burial will take place at Solon Township Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Faith Hospice or Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 

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

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LYLE PERRY JR.

Lyle Perry Jr., age 94, passed away early Wednesday morning January 12, 2022 at his home in Cedar Springs, MI. He was born October 20, 1927 in Grand Rapids, MI to Lyle and Mildred (Sharp) Perry. His little sister was Betty Jane Perry. Lyle graduated from Sand Lake High School in 1946. He was in the US Army, 25th Division (Tropic Lightning), 35th Infantry Regiment on occupied duty in Japan, 1946-1948. Lyle married Gwendolyn Claire Motyer on October 28, 1949. He earned a B.B.A. degree at Western Michigan University in 1953, and a M.B.A. and teaching degree in secondary education with a vocational education teaching certificate in 1965. He and his wife owned and operated Perry’s Super Market in Trufant. He taught at East Kentwood High School for 23 years. Lyle was a member of Pierson Methodist Church, then Trufant St. Thomas Lutheran Church and for the past 58 years a member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. Lyle was a member of Sparta Lodge #334, Free and Accepted Masons. He enjoyed travels with his wife Gwen, playing cards, playing piano, singing in church choirs, writing poems, writing letters to newspaper editors, reading books, talking with friends and family and he loved the ways of nature. He thoroughly enjoyed eating out at Kelly’s Restaurant and visiting friends. Lyle is survived by four of his five children, Lyle III (Ellen) Perry, Lizabeth (Dennis) Boe, Lenn Perry, Lonn (Ruth) Perry; grandchildren, Jessamine (Frank) Sicotte, Max Perry, Chace Perry, Johannes (Elizabeth) Boe, Nicholas (Desi) Boe, Suzy (Jared) Goulart, Aaron (Rachael) Perry, Joe Perry, Nathan Perry; great-grandchildren, Kalysta, Jaiden, Ailie, Ole, Thorren, Dodger, Bronte, Thatcher, Verity, Lilija, Annika, Braxton; great-great-grandchildren, Daejah, Novella, Jayse; favorite sister-in-law, Shirley (Motyer) Ehman; several close cousins, nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his wife, Gwendolyn; father and mother; sister, Betty Frandsen; brothers- in-law, Elwood Frandsen, Douglas Ehman, and Derwin Motyer; sister-in-law, Imogene (Grimes) Motyer; son, Lee Perry; niece, Thais (Ehman) Van Ginhoven; granddaughter, Emily and great-great-granddaughter, Deylani. The family would like to thank Dr. Mark O’Brien, DNP Maria Kurlenda, Elders’ Helpers, Spectrum Health VNA, Interim Healthcare Home Care & Private Duty, and brother Lenn for the excellent care and support of our father. The family will greet friends Friday, January 28 from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Memorial service will be Saturday 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St, Cedar Springs. Pastor Michelle Vallier officiating. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to C.S. United Methodist Church PO Box K, Cedar Springs, MI  49319 or the Alpha Family Center 6 N First St., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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

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MARILYN JEAN MOYER

Marilyn Jean Moyer (Hitchens), age 82, was born April 4, 1939, went to be with Jesus on December 22, 2021. She spent her 1st Christmas in Heaven this year; it was her favorite time of year celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Marilyn will be forever loved by her husband Jerry Moyer, married on January 2, 1999. Born in Detroit, MI., she attended Ludington High and graduated from Monroe High School. She studied Accounting/Business at Lansing Business University. Marilyn had a long successful career of 43 years as Kent County Circuit Court Clerk; she truly enjoyed her job and loved the people she worked alongside; she celebrated her retirement in 2001. She had a gift for organizing and assisting; she used her talents for her church, Frost Creek Church; Women’s and Children’s ministries, organized meals for family members of the sick, helped weekly in the church office, and organized the annual craft show. Marilyn also gave her time for the community using her abilities for Engedi Youth Center by mentoring at the school and the Silent auctions. Marilyn will be remembered with love by Pam (Mike) Swan, grandchildren, Kali (Terry), Krista (Adrain), and Kamie; Tom (Kim) Holloway, grandchildren Taylor (Nathan), Christian (Shelby), and Jackson, Deb (Duane) Granger, grandchildren Jonathon (Andrea), Krista (Dirk), Andy (Yolanna), Timothy (Tracey); (Robin (Steve) DeYoung, grandchildren, Shannen (Ross), Scott (Becky), Brian; Randy (Carri) Moyer, grandchildren Tiffany (Joe), Jenny (Jason), Shalynn (Cody); Lisa Pappas, grandchildren James, Stephanie (Tommy); Jerry (Deb) Moyer, grandchildren Jay (Tiffany), Marilyn leaves a total of 34 great-grandchildren; Marilyn, a mother to many, so grateful for the life she gave them. Mel and Kim Holloway, family members, and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Rev. John and Dorothy Hitchens, son-in-law Mark Pappas and grandson Chris Moyer. Marilyn lived each day as a gift – celebrating and spending time with her family, Her love was unconditional, her faith in God was at the Forefront of Her Life. Marilyn’s love will go on in our Hearts and in our Minds. Marilyn’s Celebration of Life service will be Saturday, January 22nd, at 11 a.m. at Frost Creek Church, 15671 Algoma Ave., Cedar Springs, with Pastor Dylan Mason officiating. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to Frost Creek Church or Alpha Family Center, PO Box 450, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Celebration of Life for LONNIE ARMSTRONG

The Celebration of Life Service for Lonnie Armstrong will be held on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 at Calvary Baptist Church 12501 Montcalm Rd., Greenville MI 48838 at 6:00 p.m. Visitation begins at 4:30 p.m. Evening Luncheon to follow the service. The livestream link for the service is https://live.calvarygreenville.org/

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Know Grace, Show Grace

Pastor Mike Wittmer

Cedar Springs Baptist Church

233 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

One perk of getting older is the joy of rediscovery. Things I once knew have been forgotten—pushed aside by other, foot-stamping facts about parenting, finance, and Cleveland sports. While preaching through the book of Ruth, I was surprised to learn again the secret of Boaz’s love for this outsider.

Perhaps you remember the story. Naomi’s husband escaped a famine in Bethlehem by taking his family to Moab, where his sons married and then all the men died, leaving Naomi with her two foreign daughters-in-law. Both pledged to return to Bethlehem with Naomi, but after Naomi urged them to stay in Moab, only Ruth insisted on coming along. She vowed, “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16; NIV). 

Back in Bethlehem, Ruth gleaned in the barley fields to gather food for her and Naomi, where she caught the eye of Boaz. He graciously filled her arms with grain, warned his men not to touch her, and when Ruth proposed, agreed to marry her and provide a home for her and Naomi. 

Why did Boaz love this Moabite woman? The Moabites were enemies of God’s people who worshiped the “detestable” god Chemosh (1 Kings 11:7). They were not allowed to enter the assembly of the LORD until the tenth generation, which meant forever (Deuteronomy 23:3-6). Moabite women had tempted Israelite men into sexual sin and idolatry (Numbers 25:1-3), and Israelite men were told to never marry them (Deuteronomy 7:2-6).

Boaz knew all this, but he also knew Ruth had pledged to be faithful to Israel’s God. He respected her commitment to Naomi, and he knew something about being an outsider. When Boaz looked at Ruth, he saw his own mother, Rahab (Matthew 1:5). Rahab was a pagan prostitute who hid the spies that came to Jericho, and she was spared when Israel took the city. Boaz remembered how his mother had been saved and he cheerfully chose to rescue Ruth. 

People who know they’ve been graced extend grace to others. What grace have you received? Well, you’re alive and created in the image of God. That’s a lot. You live in America, which offers more freedom than any country ever has. You live in Cedar Springs, which has fine churches that proclaim the good news about Jesus. And if you’ve thrown all your weight on him, you have received the forgiveness of sin. Who has it better than you? 

We are Boaz. As we head into our fields, we may see people who could use a hand. We can look away, or we can remember how much grace we’ve received from Jesus. Where would we be without him? Thank your Father for his love, and pass it on.

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The Value of Focused Vision

Pastor Bobby Gray

Solid Rock Worship Center

11862 Shaner Avenue NE, Cedar Springs

(Office) 616.696.1900  

www.MySolidRock.CHURCH | FaceBook.com/MySRWC

What makes a great team in church work? Some say it takes a great leader; but without strong workers, the leader can only do so much. Some would say you need a great music team; but without a great outreach team, the music team will have no one to sing to. Another may insist, it’s all on the prayer team; but the church still needs some follow-through to be great.

It’s never just one ministry. It will be a mixture of strategies possessing a few common ingredients. The leaders and workers will learn how to triumph together. Not every church will do it the same, but they can have some dependable characteristics that will cause their church to grow and experience revival.

One characteristic is vision. It can’t be just words on a website or business card. I’m talking about a God-stimulated idea, something that moves the church out of its comfort zone. What is a vision? A vision is a God-inspired idea that causes the church to dream of what could be.

Vision is so important to a church leader. It should remain clear and simple. Don’t clutter your vision with too much busywork. Have a strong focus on a limited set of intentions. Do a few things with great intensity and high excellence. Be specific, choosy, and focused. The apostle Paul demonstrated his focus when he said, “But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). This kind of focus will cause us to realize that God is doing something special with us.

In Luke 10, Martha complained to Jesus about having no one to help her with her chores in preparing for Him. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha . . . one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part” (Luke 10:41-42). Sometimes we try to do everything and wind up not doing it to the best of our abilities. Let’s increase our focus and do our vision well.

When Nehemiah was rebuilding the broken-down wall of Jerusalem, Sanballet and Geshem wanted to meet with him to stop his momentum. Nehemiah’s answer is classic, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down” (Nehemiah 6:3). He refused to be distracted or disturbed. The vision must be the guiding force for the church or ministry. The vision is a picture of the chosen destiny. It is the church’s designed future. The vision gives direction. Without vision, we perish (see Proverbs 29:18).

Three elements of vision:

It Must Be PRECISE: If people can’t remember the vision, they will never catch it!

It Must Be MANAGEABLE: People should be able to communicate it to others in less than a minute.

It Must Be INCENDIARY: Ignite a fire of passion that moves people. It should burn in the heart but be too big to do on our own. The vision should cause growth in our spirit.

A vision that captures the church will have people who give their life to it. They are saying, “Give me a vision to die for and I will not miss coming to church. Give me a vision worth living for and I’ll get involved in it.” Everyone wants to be a part of something that is making a difference. The clearer your vision, the easier it is to do what Jesus called you to do.

Remember, good is the enemy of best. When you increase your focus, you decrease your options. Greater concentration equals higher power. As Christians, let’s seek Jesus! Let’s hear and see His vision so clearly that we are overwhelmed by it. Let it consume us to the point that it spills out in everything we do!

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DAN M. CHRISTIE

Dan M. Christie age 76 of Sand Lake, died Monday, January 10, 2022 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. Dan was born November 14, 1945 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Robert and Eleanor (Reminga) Christie. He was a graduate of Rockford High School and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He retired from SBC (Michigan Bell) after 30 years. He loved horses and was a member of the Michigan Trail Riders Association and the Red Flannel Saddle Club. He enjoyed sports of all kinds and following his sons, especially wrestling. He drove bus for Rockford Schools for 10 years after retirement and for many of their sporting events. Surviving are his wife, Diane (Kilts) whom he married on May 2, 1970; sons, Kyle and Kirk; grandchildren, Karrigan (Daniel) Atkins, Kamri, Kalette, Kyrianna, Casey, Kylen, Evelyn, Hazel; great-grandson, Julyian; sister, Darla Ransom; many nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Dave, Dale and Doug. The family will greet friends Thursday, January 13 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 11:00 a.m. Viewing will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pastor Ben Lester officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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

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Judith Goodell

Judith Goodell

The family will greet friends at 

Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home

13603 Northland Drive, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Saturday, January 22, 2022

from 3:00-5:00 p.m.

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