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Archive | Church Connection


Ruthann Norton, age 74, of Rockford, died Thursday, January 3, 2019 at Mercy Health – St. Mary’s. Ruthann was born March 22, 1944 in Sparta, MI the daughter of Russell and Ruth (Metzger) Mead. She was a bus driver for Cedar Springs Public Schools for 35 years. She loved sports and always attended her kids events. She loved and accepted everyone. Surviving are her husband, John Norton Sr; children, Bob (Donna) Norton, John (Toni) Norton, Randy (Annette) Norton, Joel (Leah) Norton, Kelly (John) Wright; 25 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; brother, Bob (Alondra) Mead; sisters, Jackie (Eugene) Denslow, Patsy (Rocky) Heiss; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; daughter-in-law, Tina Norton; sisters, Linda Kotchka and Marcia Mead. A memorial service and luncheon will be held Saturday, January 26, at 2:00 p.m. at the Pierson Bible Church Community Room. Pastor Chris Weeks officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. 

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

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Velma “Val” Langland, age 76, of Cedar Springs, went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at Mercy Health – St. Mary’s, Grand Rapids. Val was born July 19, 1942 in Sault Ste. Marie, MI the daughter of John and Rosa (Rabineau) Laaksonen. She was well known for her cooking and baking. She enjoyed the Detroit Tigers, camping and her grandkids. She was very involved at her church, Rockford Springs Community Church, serving others and was a great prayer warrior. Surviving are her husband, Jack; children, Tom (Donna) Langland, Cathy Hoven; grandchildren, Steven Langland, Christopher Hoven, Anna Hoven; brothers, Wilfred Laaksonen, Albert Laaksonen, Raymond Laaksonen; sisters, Irene Soderblom, Elma Benedick, Delores Augustson; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Edward Laaksonen; sister, Bertha Danneberg. The family greeted friends Sunday, January 6 at the Rockford Springs Community Church, 5815 14 Mile Road, Rockford where the service was held Monday 11:00 a.m. Visitation began Monday 10:00 a.m. before the service. Pastor David VanderMeer officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society. 

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

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August 8, 2002 to December 14, 2018

Memorial/Celebration for Cayden Timothy Bonds life will be held at Pierson Bible Church, 101 Grand Street, Pierson, Michigan 49339, from 1:00 til 6:00 p.m on Saturday, January 19, 2019.

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October 21, 1930 – January 30, 2009

In loving memory of our mother and grandmother who passed away ten years ago.

We will always remember the happiness you brought to our lives.

Mike, Sarah, and Terry, Jane and Nick, Jenna, Brian, Luke, Jake and Molly

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In loving momoriy of Blanche Naffziger who passed away January 7, 1999, twenty years ago.

Nothing could be more beautiful than memories we have of you.

To us you were someone very special, God must have thought so too.

The Heavens now are brighter and memories grow more dear.

To our special mother, you’ll always be in our hearts forever.

Sadly missed by 

Children and Grandchildren

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The First Question

Pastor Kristi Rhodes of Hillcrest Community Church 5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Aaah, a new year! Each year is an opportunity for a fresh start. But then, so is each week. Actually, so is each DAY! Today is the first day of the rest of your life! I am certainly not the first one to say that, but the question is, why do we wait even another minute to make positive changes in our lives?

One of the things I have done each year for several years now is to read the entire bible in a year. There is actually an app on my phone to keep me on track with this. A few days ago, I was reading about when doubt first entered the world. Did you know that the very first question in the Bible was presented by Satan to Eve in order to cast doubt on the goodness of God? Look it up, it is in Genesis chapter 3. “Did God really say…?”  

Do you ever find yourself doubting whether God’s way really is the best way? Do you find yourself wondering whether, even though God says it is wrong, something is worth trying anyway?

God gave humankind everything they could possibly want. The entire created world was made for us to enjoy. Every possible need was provided for us. Yet despite God’s perfect provision of everything good, humans looked for something more and gave in to the temptation to take the forbidden fruit. It all started with doubts about God planted by the enemy of our soul in the form of a question. Behind the question, “Did God really say…?” is the demonic lie that God is withholding from you something that is really exciting.  

Eve’s first mistake was to even engage with the snake in conversation in the first place. We are created to converse with God, not the devil. The devil fools Eve, like he still does with us today, that there will be no consequences to her sin, to disobeying God.  The consequences to this one choice changed the entire course of mankind in the world.  

But Jesus made a choice that would change the course of life for all eternity! He chose to come to earth and pay the penalty for all the sins of the world, restoring a perfect relationship with the Father for all who will believe and receive Him.

There are certainly consequences to the choices we make. Each day as well as each year is an opportunity to choose the journey God has marked before us. On this journey, He promises to lead us, to guide us, to protect us, to provide for us, to show us mercy, grace and love. There is an excitement for life with God unmatched by anything the world will ever be able to even come close to.  

My prayer for every one of you reading this today is that you will make a firm commitment to follow God’s path marked out for you this year. If you stay the course, I guarantee God will not disappoint you.

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Made new through Christ

Pastor Ryan Black – Cedar Springs Christian Church

As we end one year and look to a new one, we pause to take inventory. In a rare moment of reflection and honest self-assessment, we admit our failures. We pledge to learn from them and move toward a better future. We all want to be better, to live our lives more fully and to love one another more selflessly. So, we make resolutions. The question is—why do we do it? I suggest that they reveal something of our deepest longing. They present us with an invitation to exercise our human freedom and to choose a better way of life. But, we cannot do it on our own. We need God.

Jesus can make all things new within us, and then continues His work of making all things new through us. Even though our human freedom was fractured by sin, the splint of the wood of the Cross is the lasting and life changing remedy which brings healing to the wound. Jesus alone can fulfill the desire which is really at the heart of the New Year’s celebrations, and help us, by His saving grace, to make them become reality.

I pray we may all find the fullness of grace and the new beginning which comes through entering into a living relationship with the One who makes all things new, Jesus the Christ. (Rev. 21:5) There is a universal longing in every human heart to be made new, to begin again, because the Holy Spirit prompts it. It leads us back to the One who created us and who can re-create us through Jesus Christ. 

In and through Jesus Christ, there is a path to being made new. He walked that path up the mountain of Golgotha, and through the tomb to the Resurrection. That promise of being made new, being born again, is at the heart of the Gospel, the Good News! Paul reminded the Christians in the City of Corinth and reminds every one of us “whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

New Year’s Day is a global existential moment, ready with anticipation and expectations. It invites a spiritually liberating time of reflection, offers us hope for change and invites us to make new choices. Resolutions can become reality, when we turn to the One who makes it possible, the One who truly makes all things new, Jesus Christ the Lord. Our choices make us become the persons we become. In our choosing we not only have the potential to change the world around us, we change ourselves. In 2019, may we choose to live our lives in, with and for Jesus Christ. That is the way to turn those resolutions into reality and experience a real New Year.

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Joann C. Hills, age 81, of Sand Lake, passed away Thursday, January 3, 2019 at her home with her family by her side.

Mrs. Hills was born May 4, 1937 in Detroit, MI the daughter of James and Esther (Heil) Ayris. She worked for American Seating for 20 years and was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. She was very involved and loved her church family at Resurrection Lutheran Church, Sand Lake. Surviving are her children, Debra Fifield, Jack Hills, Chris (Kathy) Hills; 6 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; close friends, Dar Stebbins and Terri Fifield. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack in 2001 and 2 brothers, Bill and Jim Ayris. Cremation has taken place.

A graveside service for family and friends will be held Tuesday, January 8 at 11:00 a.m. at Sand Lake Cemetery. Pastor Lee Zabrocki officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Heartland Hospice, 3230 Eagle Park Dr. NE, Suite 200, Grand Rapids, MI 49525. 

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

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Richard M. Reed Sr.

In loving memory of Richard M. Reed Sr.

October 9, 1933-January 4, 2004

The Fallen Limb

A limb has fallen from the family tree.

I keep hearing a voice that says, “Grieve not for me.

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song. 

The good life I lived while I was strong.

Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you. 

Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through

My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.

Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.

Continue traditions, no matter how small.

Go on with your life, don’t worry about falls

I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.

Until the day comes we’re together again.”

Author Unknown

It’s been 15 years, but we still miss you and think of you everyday.

Love, your family

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Thank You

I would like to thank everyone who came to say goodbye to Steve. We were truly awed at the number of people. Thank you again, it was quite a send off for Steve. Special thanks to Mark Strpko, Marty Fraser and the Cedar Springs Fire Department for the firetruck.

The family of Steve DeMull

Diane, Simon, & Laney

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