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Archive | Church Connection



Shirley Winner-Snell of Bull Shoals, Arkansas, formerly of Grand Rapids, Michigan went home to Jesus on Sunday December 31, 2017. She was born in spring of 1935 to the late Robert and Virginia Howe. Shirley married her high school sweetheart Robert “Bob” Winner in May of 1952. They lived in the Grand Rapids area until 1980 when they moved to Tyrone. In June of 2009 Shirley married Donald Snell of California and settled in Bull Shoals, Arkansas. Shirley is survived by her children, Mary (Dan) Randall of Sand Lake, Michigan, Timothy (Sheryl) Winner of Grand Rapids, Michigan, David (Kathy) Winner of Vestaburg, Michigan, Robert (Rose) Winner of Elkhart, Kansas, and Mark (Kristi) Winner of Tyrone, Oklahoma; 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren; brothers, Robert (“Mickey”) Howe of Dorr, Michigan, Leon (Trish) Howe of Wichita Falls, Texas, and Larry (Wendy) Howe of Kentwood, Michigan. She was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband, Bob, in 1991 and her second husband, Don, in 2013. Shirley enjoyed crocheting, knitting, gardening, watching the wildlife in her back yard and her three dogs “her babies” and two cats. For the last couple of years Shirley was loved and cared for by her dear friends Laurie and Shannon Johnson. Visitation will be Sunday, January 7th from 5 to 8 p.m. and Monday, January 8th for two hours before the service at Reyers North Valley Chapel 1815 Fuller in Grand Rapids on Monday January 8th at 2 p.m. 

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Jean L. Spaniolo 52 of Cedar Springs, died Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. Jean was born July 19, 1965 in New York, New York the daughter of Denzil and Monica (Squires) Peiris. She was the cheer coach at Cedar Springs High School for many years. She had a passion for cooking and catering and loved to travel. She enjoyed her family and friends and put others needs ahead of her own. Surviving are her husband, Thomas; children, Andrea Caperon, Joshua Plude; granddaughters, Julia and Alexa Caperon; mother, Monica Hill; sister, Laureen Peiris; mother-in-law, Alice Spaniolo; brothers and sisters-in-law, John Spaniolo, Chris Spaniolo, Mark Ravell, Jean Cullimore, Jill Spaniolo, Anne Havens; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father, Denzil Peiris; stepfather, John Hill; father-in-law, Louis Spaniolo; sister-in-law, Gail Ravell. The family greeted friends Sunday, December 31 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Rev. Fr. Lam Le officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Liver Foundation.

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

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In loving memory of our dear mother, grandmother Blanche Naffziger who passed away January 7, 1999, 19 years ago.

Your heart is always filled with love

For everyone you know.

You ask so little for yourself

You reap less than you sow.

It’s time your goodness is proclaimed

For all the world to hear.

There is no mother more beloved

Than you, my mother dear.

Sadly missed by Children & Grandchildren

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Jim P. Scott

Jim P. Scott 78 of Cedar Springs passed to Heaven on Thursday, December 28, 2017. He was born January 9, 1939 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Glenn and LoVern (Paravantes) Scott. He graduated from GR Union in 1957 and the MSU Ag Tech Program in 1959 and 1962. He was a member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. Jim loved his family and doing anything he could to help others. He enjoyed his work with his company, J.S. Electric; disaster work with the Mennonite Disaster Service, being outdoors and working in his shop where he created many lovely pieces. He liked to spend time visiting with family and friends, travel, music and a good potluck meal. He learned from many and taught skills and wisdom throughout his life. A man of strong Christian faith, he lived his beliefs through his willingness to serve – his family, church and anyone in need. Surviving are his wife, Ann whom he married on June 24, 1960; children and grandchildren, Tim and Dorothy Scott, James, Lilly and Allison; Amy and Judd Galle, Glenn, Ruth and Lindsey; John Scott and Amy Nahley, Robert, Jadarius and Mimi; in-laws, Carolyn and Mike Reed, Gene Michaels; nieces, nephews and cousins ; the extended Pratt and Carlson families; and almost son, Dick Johnson. He was preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law, Ralph and Alice Pratt; brother, Toby; sisters-in-law, Terry Scott and Linda Michaels. Jim’s family wishes to acknowledge and thank the staff of Clark Retirement Community for the loving and competent care he received in the nearly three years he lived there. The family will receive friends Friday, January 12 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 13 at 11:00 am at the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St, Cedar Springs with visitation beginning at 10:00 am. Pastor Bill Johnson and Mary Ivanov officiating. Private interment Courtland Township Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) for disaster relief through the Cedar Springs UMC or Mennonite Disaster Service, 583 Airport Road, Lititz, PA 17543.

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

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Wanda M. Wagner

Wanda M. Wagner, 69 of Cedar Springs, died Saturday, December 30, 2017 at her home. Wanda was born February 2, 1948 in Grand Rapids, MI the daughter of Wayne and Stella (Roberts) White. She had worked at Wolverine World Wide and enjoyed camping, mushroom hunting, square dancing and hosting everyone for Red Flannel Day. She was a loving mother and was always there for others and willing to help anyone. Surviving are her husband, James, whom she married on February 1, 1969; daughter-in-law, Leslie Wagner; mother, Stella White; sister, Verna (James) Smigiel; brothers, Vernon (Judy) White, Harvey (Margaret) White, Dennis (Colleen) White; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father, Wayne White; son, Joseph Wagner; brother, Edward White. The family will greet friends Wednesday from 4-6 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Thursday 11:00 am. Pastor Dick Nichols officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help with expenses.

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

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A New Beginning

By: Rev. Mike Shiery

Pilgrim Bible Church


One of the most beautiful promises found in God’s Word comes late in the Bible. In Revelation 21:5 God says, “Behold, I make all things new.” Obviously He is speaking of a coming time in Heaven when the curse of sin is abolished and all the imperfections of time are replaced by the perfections of eternity in God’s Presence. And certainly, to every believer, that is a glorious promise. There will be no more sin, sorrow, or suffering. Pain and problems will be replaced joy and jubilation. 

But in the meantime, we are still ensconced in a world of woe. There are many things which trouble and confound us which are out of our control. Old age and death are an inevitable challenge which lurk in the future mists of our life. Other troubling concepts loom over us which we would like to avoid, but are powerless to change.

However, at this time of the year when many people are taking stock of their lives and finding themselves dissatisfied, there is hope for change in at least one area.

God does not have to wait for Heaven to make a new person out of us. The message of the Gospel is that Christ came to give us abundant life and that starts in the here and now. He came down to our level in order to lift us up to His. Ephesians chapter 2 says that God has raised believers up together in Christ. And all of those believers were one time sinners in need of a Savior. This act of salvation is not achieved in our own strength but rather in Jesus. 

Perhaps someone reading these words is taking inventory of their spiritual life and feeling hopeless. Allow me to point you to Jesus. He can step into your life and fix the things that are broken. This can be the moment when you become a new person in Christ. After all, he specializes in things thought impossible, and that includes fixing the mess we’ve made out of our lives.

As Gloria Gaither wrote years ago: 

Something beautiful, something good —

All my confusion He understood; 

All I had to offer Him

Was brokenness and strife, 

But He made something beautiful of my life.

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Brison Christopher Ricker of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 16, passed away on the morning of Saturday, December 23, 2017, after a brave & courageous battle with DIPG brain cancer. He was surrounded by his family in the comfort of his home, and rests now, comfortably in the arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Born on January 4, 2001, Brison grew up in Cedar Springs and attended Cedar Springs High School. He was outgoing and driven by his faith in everything he did—always striving for greatness. Brison raced motocross, and played soccer and basketball. He loved watching sports too. Brison had a great sense of humor and a kind heart to match. He was an incredible and loving son, wonderful brother and best friend, grandson and teammate, and was loved by so many. Brison leaves behind his parents Brian and Kimberly (Morris) Ricker; brother Preston Ricker; grandparents Kathryn (Gary Burger) Ricker, Joe (Gail) Ricker; Mark Sheldon; uncle Mark Ricker; and many special friends. He was preceded in death by his grandmother Deb Sheldon. The funeral service for Brison will be celebrated by Pastors Julian Newman and Dawn Damon at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 30, 2017, at Resurrection Life Church, 3233 10 Mile Road NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Relatives and friends may call on the family during a time of visitation from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at the church. Those wishing to offer an expression of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution to Brison’s family to assist them with funeral expenses. Brison will be laid to rest in Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs, Michigan.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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Scott L. Case

Scott L. Case of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 58, passed away on Sunday, December 24, 2017. He was born to Ross and Vera (Towsley) Case on December 14, 1959, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Scott was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed spending time with his family. He understood the value of hard work and passed that on to his children. Scott is survived by his beloved wife of over 25 years Melissa M. (Lund) Case; loving children Scott Case Jr., Craig Lund, Colton (Sam Streeter) Case, and Caleb Case; granddaughter Ashlyn and siblings Ross, Corrine, Ron, and Mary. He was preceded in death by both parents and best friend Charlie Hyke. There will be a time of visitation from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2017, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. There will be a Praying of the Rosary following visitation at 7:30 p.m. The mass of Christian burial for Scott will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 29, 2017, at St. John Paul II Catholic Church, 3110 17 Mile Rd NE, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. Fr. Lam will be presiding. There will also be a one hour visitation prior to the service.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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Dolores Marie Symon, 86, of Cedar Springs, Michigan passed away on Thursday, December 21, 2017. Dolores was born on July 18, 1931, in Flint, Michigan to Emanuel (Pudge) and Marie Arndt. Her husband of 64 years, is Burton Edward Symon, and their children are: Chuck and Liza Symon, Jim and (Carol) Nauta, David and Debbie Symon, Laurie (Symon) Eaton, Harry and (Karen) Williams, and Craig and (Mary) Meyer. She had 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Her favorite saying was “Be Nice.” Her children are planning a celebration of her life this coming spring at Chippewa Lake Michigan. 

According to the wishes of Dolores, arrangements have been entrusted to Simply Cremations in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Laura Smith age 87 of Sand Lake passed away December 22, 2017 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. She was born May 6, 1930 in Courtland Township the daughter of Albert and Grace (Stewart) Becker.  During her working years she worked as a seamstress as well as working in a factory for several years. She enjoyed sewing, plastic canvas, crafts, camping, fishing, gardening and swinging on the swing in the front yard. Surviving are her children, Dan (Jane) Smith of Pierson, Margaret Merritt of Sand Lake, Sandra (Harold – Trez) McConnell of Sparta, Edward (Karin) Smith Jr. of Ohio, Randy (Roxie) Smith of Texas, John (Cheryl) Smith of Sand Lake, Lori (Scott) Wesche of Howard City; 16 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; one sister, Martha Parker; one brother, Kenneth Becker; a sister-in-law Dorothy Briggs; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Edward, and seven brothers and sisters. The family greeted friends on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. and prior to services on Thursday. Funeral services will take place on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at the Heckman Funeral Home in Howard City with Pastor Richard Nichols officiating with burial in the Pierson Cemetery. Luncheon at 12 noon to 2 pm at the Sand Lake VFW. In lieu of flowers gift donations can be made in Laura’s honor at Howard City Action Center, 132 E. Edgerton, Howard City, MI 49329.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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