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Archive | Church Connection

Rise Up Church to hold first worship service

Sunday, September 15, at Cedar Springs Middle School

Some of the launch team members preparing for September 15. Courtesy photo.

Rise Up Church, a new church in Cedar Springs, is holding its first ever worship service on September 15, at 10:00 a.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School. The church’s pastor, Rev. Jon Huizenga, said that this would be the first of three monthly services scheduled (September 15, October 20, November 17). A grand opening of weekly Sunday worship will follow later.

“We want to be an accepting, non-judgmental church community that celebrates God rising up to show his compassion in Cedar Springs,” said Huizenga. The young church has been active since January holding weekly launch team gatherings plus monthly invitation events and monthly community engagement and serving projects. 

According to church information, one can expect to experience at the service: “Safe, enjoyable children’s ministry for infants through elementary school. Drinks and snacks. Freedom to wear what you want and to be accepted as you are. A new church community that celebrates God rising up to show his compassion in Cedar Springs.”

Jon and his wife, Sam, have worked with teams to start two other churches. Most recently Jon started and led River Rock Church in Rockford. The Huizengas are planning to move into their new home on Dio Drive at the end of September. “We love the city of Cedar Springs and look forward to living alongside all of our neighbors here,” Huizenga said. “We would love to meet you on September 15 if you are able to join us.”

Follow them on Facebook, just search for “rise up church.”

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Thomas F. Zerfas, age 73, of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, September 5, 2019 at his home. Tom was born March 7, 1946 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Reynold and Bernice (Saller) Zerfas. He was an avid outdoorsman and a loving father and grandfather. He enjoyed attending his grandkids’ events. Surviving are his wife, Sharon, whom he married on October 30, 1965; children, John (Tonya Fenton) Zerfas, Barb (Jeff) Gust, Peter (Amy) Zerfas, Kris (Larry) Nylaan, Sarah (Joe) Morse; 16 grandchildren; 1 great-grandson; siblings, Rose Balczak, Richard (Donna) Zerfas, Hank (Wendy) Zerfas, Ron (Pam) Zerfas; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Jim Balczak. A Memorial Mass was held Monday, September 9 at Mary Queen of Apostles Church, Sand Lake. A celebration of his life followed the mass in the church hall. Private family interment at St. John’s Cemetery, Ensley Township. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice. 

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

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Playing in tune

Pastor Inge Whittemore

East Nelson UMC

9024 18 Mile Road

Cedar Springs MI. 49319

Psalm 100 (NIV): 1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

One of the interesting things about going to an orchestra concert is that the musical instruments can’t automatically play well together. They need to be tuned first. To do so, the first chair oboe player stands up and sounds out an “A” note pitched to 440 MHz  and all of the instrumentalists hear it and tune to that note. 

At first when the orchestra is tuning it sounds really sour. It’s chaos and cacophony and then, as they get closer and closer together the noise becomes coherent. Then the conductor comes out, raps his stand with the baton, raises his hand, all the musicians come to attention and with a downbeat they are off playing in beautiful, exquisite harmony. The chaos is gone and the musical flows. 

The job of the church has always been for people to hear and tune to the same note, which is the message of Jesus Christ. We each need to tune our hearts. We don’t actually play the exact same notes, because we are all different, but what happens is we make beautiful harmony together for the Lord. We are all different but the orchestral arrangement of all of us makes beautiful music for God. Being tuned to Jesus makes it happen!

One of my favorite hymns is a beautiful piece of music composed for God. “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was written in 1757 by Robert Robinson, who was only 22 when he wrote it.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise.

Indeed it is our joy to praise God, even in the face of any storm that may blow into our lives. I love that the Psalmist showed us just how to do it and why! Even our shouts of praise are music to God’s ears.

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Norma E. Mabie, age 80, of Cedar Springs, passed away Sunday, September 1, 2019 at her home with her family in attendance. She was born March 18, 1939 in Whitehall, MI the daughter of Norman and Marguerite (Tysman) Westphal. She worked for Keeler Brass for 34 years and loved to knit and crochet. Surviving are her children, Roy Walter (Kathy) Mabie, Lisa (John) Blair, Linda Kilts, Jennifer (Gene) Hoover; 7 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; sister, Lois Parks; brother, Howard Westphal. She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Michael Mabie; ex-husband, Roy Henry Mabie; brother-in-law, Duane Parks; sister-in-law, Celia Rose Westphal. The family will greet friends Saturday, September 7 from 10:00 a.m. until time of service at 11:00 a.m. at Solon Center Wesleyan Church, 15671 Algoma Avenue, Cedar Springs. Pastor Craig T. Owens officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Hand 2 Hand. 

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

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Max E. Parker was born to Lee and Leona (Bremmer) Parker on April 15, 1947 and joined his Heavenly Father on August 31, 2019. He graduated from Tri County high school and served in the United States Army. Max is survived by his children, Nancy Parker, Lisa (Jason) Spielmaker, Bruce (Mindy) Parker; 6 grandchildren, Timothy, Drake, Zander, Emily, Olivia and Alexander. Private services were held at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and he was laid to rest at East Nelson Cemetery.

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Chad A. Rowland, 32, of Cedar Springs passed away Thursday, August 29, 2019. Chad was born September 2, 1986 in Grand Rapids, MI. Chad will be remembered for his love for his family and his dogs. He enjoyed working and helping his Dad at the store. He loved watching movies and making daily phone calls to check on family. Chad had a passion for volunteer work serving meals on wheels and helping out at the church. Surviving are his parents, Jim Rowland and Jodi DeRuiter; Amy Rowland; brother, Andrew Rowland; grandparents, Maureen (Tom) McConnell; Bob Dunn; many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Rex and Barbara Rowland; an aunt, Marcia Rowland. The family greeted friends Friday, August 30 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service was held Saturday, August 31. Pastor Tim Dieffenbach officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the Epilepsy Foundation.

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

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Barbara J. Skelonc of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 91, passed away on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. She was born to Stephen and Alice (McKrill) Burns on November 21, 1927, in Grand Rapids, MI. Barbara is survived by 7 loving children, Richard (Mary) Skelonc, Steven (Marie) Skelonc, Alice Wesche, Gerald (Janet) Skelonc, Donald (Cindy) Skelonc, Karen (Dennis) Clelland, and Carl (Mary) Skelonc; 20 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren; brother, Dan (Nancy) Burns; sister, Janet (Paul) Harris; brother-in-law, Phil Hallock; and sister-in-law, Jodie Burns. Barbara was preceded in death by her beloved husband of over 40 years, Martin A. Skelonc; brothers, Stephen Burns, Frank Burns and Bob Burns; sisters, Bertha Kent, Bernice Schneider, Ruth Middleton, and Alice “Kay” Hallock; and son-in-law, Mick Wesche. There will be a time of visitation from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 25, 2019, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. A Praying of the Rosary will take place at 7:00 p.m. following visitation. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, August 26, 2019, at Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, 1 W. Maple Street, Sand Lake, Michigan 49343. Fr. Lam Le and Fr. Peter Vu will be presiding. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy may make a memorial contribution to CdLS Foundation, 302 West Main Street, #100 Avon, Connecticut, 06001 or Mary Queen of Apostles Youth Group, 1 W. Maple Street, Sand Lake, Michigan 49343.

Arrangements by Pederson 

Funeral Home, Rockford

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February 23, 1954 – August 20, 2019

Timothy J. Ford, aged 65, of Sand Lake, passed away, Tuesday, August 20, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ken and Velma; brother, Mike; sister, Barb and in laws, Bill and Ann Schmidt. He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Marsha; son, Andy (Sarah) Ford; daughter, Andrea (Jason) Schaefer; 9 grandchildren, Maddi, Bree, Jackson, Grace, Olivia, Mya, Nick, Rylan, Lydia; 3 sisters, Pat Minnema, Mary (Woody) Widmayer, Lori Ford; 2 brothers, Robert (Vicki) Sandoval, Bob (Mary) Ford; several nieces, nephews and cousins. Tim was a dedicated employee of Knape and Vogt, working there from 1979 to the present. He loved to golf, participating in several area leagues and was an avid outdoorsman. He loved to coach youth sports and influenced many young minds. But most of all he loved spending time with his grandchildren.

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100th Birthday


World War II Veteran, Orville Russell, will be celebrating his 100th Birthday on September 11th. If you would like to join in this special event, send a card to 12462 Harvard Ave., Cedar Springs, MI 49319. 

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November 7, 1941 – August 28, 2014

Broken Chain

We little knew that morning that

God would call your name.

In life we loved you dearly,

In death we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you,

You did not go alone.

For part of us went with you,

The day God called you home.

You left us peaceful memories,

Your love is still our guide.

And though we cannot see you,

You are always by our side.

Our family chain is broken,

And nothing seems the same.

But as God calls us one by one,

The chain will link again.

Five years have passed.

Dearly loved and sadly missed by wife, Sheryl; children, Mark (Elsa), Melissa, and Matthew (Marie); grandchildren, Cody, Kira, Skylar, Nicole, Stephen, Triston, Colton, Nayeli and Riley.

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