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Jean Ellen Engstrom, age 88, of Cedar Springs, passed away peacefully at her home on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

Jean was born in Harvard, Michigan, on June 4, 1928. She was one of thirteen children born to Eli and Dorothy (Butts) McNees. She worked for Keeler Brass and was a member of the American Legion. Jean is survived by her daughter, Shirley Christensen; her son and daughter-in-law, Garry and Charlene Wybenga; her grandchildren, Robert and Shannon Rowland, Lisa Santoyo, Leigh Ann Wybenga, Nick Wybenga, and Chad and Julie Bonter; her six great-grandchildren; her sister, Margaret (Bruce) Longcore; and several nieces and nephews. Funeral Services for Jean were conducted at 1p.m. Monday, June 13, 2016 at the Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street, Rockford, MI 49341. Visitation was held one hour to the funeral service at the funeral home on Monday. Burial of her cremated remains will take place in Pierson Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be given to the American Cancer Society, 129 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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God is with us

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC, 

65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC,

13600 Cypress, Sand Lake

Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

What a crazy spring this has been! The weather, the politics, the health issues, and that’s just this last week! Sometimes it’s hard to remember these words from our God. How can we look around us on some days and not be afraid? Let’s face it, it’s not easy but God’s reassurance is always there and always true. He is always with us throughout our struggles.

I used to become agitated when we would receive an unexpected income of some kind. A mistake on a bank account, or an underpayment of a refund. We would get some extra money and make plans for it, and then the car would explode or the water heater would melt. Or some other such disaster. (Yes I am being over dramatic.) And then the unexpected money would have to go towards the unexpected repairs. But finally, after experiencing this several times, I suddenly realized that this was a huge blessing that I was missing. God had been providing the needed money for the upcoming problem before we were even aware of the problem!

Sometimes seeing the blessing and presence of God means looking at things a little differently. When we look for God with an earthly perspective we may not always see God in action. However, if we look for God in a Spiritual perspective we can see Him more clearly. God acts in ways that we don’t always understand. And certainly in ways that we don’t expect. We may not notice if we are looking for what we expect instead of what God sees as important for us. There’s an old joke about a preacher who is caught up in a flood. When a boat comes along, he refuses to leave saying that God would take care of him. When a second boat comes along and the preacher is up on his roof to avoid the water, he again refuses to get in because God will take care of him. Now standing on the chimney a helicopter comes along and He waves them away saying that God will save him. And of course he drowns. When he complains to God, God replies: “What do you mean? I sent two boats and a helicopter!”

God can see far more things than we can. He can see things that we would never expect and because he loves us He does now what is best for us in the future. This is why we do need to learn to stand on His words. He truly is with us and He truly holds us up. Check out a church near you to find out more about God’s love.

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Happy 80th Birthday!



Card Shower

If you would like to send Elizabeth a card, send to:

9475 – 21 Mile Rd.

Sand Lake, MI 49343

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From the Pulpit: Putting good theology to good use in our battle against depression 

By Pastor David Vander Meer

In the old days when someone milked a cow they typically sat on a three legged stool. Why a three-legged stool? Because the ground in the barn was never even and so to keep from rocking around and being unsteady they could get good footing with just three legs.

In this article I want to write on three great theological Christian truths to aid us in our battle against depression. We might think that theology is just for seminary professors to argue about but I am here to say that these three great truths are the very thing that can help Christians find a steady footing in a life that often is unsteady. And frankly, what I find to be the most unsteady area in my life, and others, is our emotions…namely, our depression. These three great truths are well worth the effort to call to mind when our emotions are unsettled.

For the Christian, the first great truth is “justification.” What is so wonderful about this truth is that God declares, merely by grace, His people to be forgiven of all their sins and accepts them as righteous in His sight. This great truth gives the believer their identity. But so often when we are battling for joy we are confused with who we are. We may think and say things to our self that are just not true. This only works to put us down instead of helping to lift us up. Our first task is to identify who we are before God—forgiven and righteous because of the finished work of Christ.

The second great truth is “sanctification.” Wow, now there is a word! We get a lot of English  words from the root word, like sanctuary, sanctity, sanctify, etc. But all of these words have something to do with being holy, or separate, or special. So what this truth teaches is that God, again by His grace, enters into the process of making the believer learn to hate sin and desire righteousness. Once again I say that this is a great truth as we battle our unsteady emotions. Yes, I may be a mess, but I have hope that I will change as God works in me. The ultimate aim of my salvation is to become more and more like Him. And God is not depressed!

There is one more great truth for us to speak of, and that is “glorification.” In our depression we can think that we are losing the “game.” The scoreboard says we are behind. Life has us rocking back and forth. But look, the score for the end of the game is posted and we have won. To be clear, Christ has won, and so we have won because for the Christian we are in Christ. He has won the victory, even death itself. He is our vision for victory.

Battling depression is hard. And it can be complex. Often it means getting physical assistance and support from our medical care providers. But it is also a spiritual issue that requires the foundation of truth to help us. It is so wonderful that God helps our body and our soul. May God help you as you battle for joy.

Pastor David Vander Meer

Rockford Springs Community Church 

5815 Fourteen Mile Rd NE 

Rockford, MI 49341


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CramerMem#22June 27, 1940 – June 3, 2014

Loving you always and forever,

Your wife


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Pauline Joyce Reich

Pauline Joyce Reich

Pauline Joyce Reich, 81, of Cedar Springs, died Saturday, May 28, 2016 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Mrs. Reich was born November 18, 1934 in Comstock Park, Michigan, the daughter of Theodore and Mildred (Wiersma) August. She was an avid collector of knick knacks, enjoyed fishing and camping with her husband, and spending time with her family. Surviving are her children, Darlene (Marty) White, Douglas (Lisa) Reich; grandchildren, Jason (Heather) Stoike, Megan Ingold, Douglas (Shania) Reich Jr., Christopher Reich, Jessica Reich, Koren Reich, Paul Reich, Cara Mindoro, Kristy Reich, Rachel Elliot, Randy Atchley; great-grandchildren, Michael and Christopher Atchley, Sierra Winter, Kaylee and Gavin Goss, Joseph, Jazmyn, Breasia, and Blaize Reich-Tanis, Jozelin, Mariah, and Talia Reich, Brody Terpstra, Daisy Reich, Abrianna, Zayden, Genevie and Gunnar Reich, Renee and Rebecca Ingold, Zachary Bulen, Landon, Caleb and Payton Stoike; great-great-grandchildren, Coleton and Ainsley Schumaker, Andee Winter. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Reich and a son, Danny Reich. A graveside service was held Tuesday, May 31st at Sand Lake Cemetery. Pastor Byron Olsen officiating.

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

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Wenona M. Bristol

Bristol WenonaWenona M. Bristol, 92 of Cedar Springs, died Monday, May 30, 2016 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Mrs. Bristol was born May 4, 1924 in Howard City, MI the daughter of Lloyd and Lydia (Goestch) Shupe. She was a longtime member of the Cedar Springs American Legion Auxiliary where she loved playing bingo. She enjoyed watching baseball and the Detroit Tigers, spending time with her family and friends and going out to eat. Surviving are her son, Mark; daughter-in-law, Susan Bristol; grandchildren, Kimberly (David Hart), Eric, Lisa, Lauren, and Jenna; great grandchildren, Gary, May, Rory, Peyton, and Rylee; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Wyman; sons, Stephen and Christian; daughters-in-law, Gale and Sue; eight brothers and sisters. The family will greet friends Thursday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters and Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 11:00 am. Pastor Dennis Tyson officiating. Interment Spencer Mills Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home.

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The Fire of Pentecost

CS-United-MethodistPastor Steve Lindeman

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

140 S. Main St. • Cedar Springs, MI  49319


“1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” (Acts 2:1-3 NIV)

This past Sunday, Churches in this community, and around the world celebrated Pentecost—the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the twelve Disciples and others who had gathered with them. Pentecost is considered by many to be the birthday of the church. The gift of this celebration, which is the Holy Spirit, is most often represented by a flame because the souls of those gathered were lit “afire” with its power.

I think the use of fire to symbolize the power of the Holy Spirit is very appropriate. Not because it brings light and heat, but instead, because of how it spreads. Let me explain. Picture in your mind a bottle of water and several cups. If I were to pour water from the bottle into each of the cups, each would receive a smaller portion of the whole. Each time that I pour out water, it is not replaced; as each cup receives water, there is less in the original bottle. Think of the water as humanity’s power and strength and resources. If we rely only upon ourselves, the water, like that in the bottle, will eventually run out.

But, that is not how it works with God. Now, instead of water, picture in your mind several candles. If I had just one candle lit, and passed the flame from wick to wick, the first flame is not diminished or reduced as the fire spreads to the next candle. This is how it is with the power and strength and resources of God. As the fire is spread among those who seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, the original flame remains, and the fire becomes stronger.

Just as the Spirit spread among those who gathered almost 2,000 years ago, may it also spread through us today. Let the power of the Holy Spirit, burn like a fire within each of us, so that we know the love and the grace and the wisdom of God, which passes our understanding, and is infinite.

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Carl R. Straub, 72, of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at his home. Carl was born April 28, 1944 in Granada, Mississippi, the son of Herman and Marjorie (Egner) Straub. He graduated from Union High School in 1962. He then joined the Air Force serving from 1963-69. He settled in Cedar Springs in 1977 near the Egner Family Farm. Carl was a simple, stubborn man. He enjoyed his cars, guns, Gunsmoke reruns and spending time with his grandkids. He was one of a kind! Surviving are his wife, Marjorie (Race) whom he married on Feb. 27, 1965; sons, Carl Straub & Brynadette Powell, Richard & Carolyn Straub; grandchildren, Adrianna, Brooklyn, Caroline and Blake; brothers, William & Lenora Nawara, John Nawara; sister, JoAnne & Brian Ellis; brothers-in-law, Gordon & Shirley Race, Kenneth & Yvonne Race; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents. The family will greet friends Wednesday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday 11:00 am at St. John Paul II Catholic Church, Cedar Springs. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Private interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs.

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

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Jerry L. Elder


20C--Obit-ElderBWJerry L. Elder, 72, of Newaygo, died Monday, May 16, 2016 at Metro Health Hospital. Jerry was born May 7, 1944 in Cedar Springs, Michigan, the son of Cecil and Virginia (Hanna) Elder. He served in the U.S. Marine Corp during the Vietnam War. He owned and operated Elder Forest Products since 1981. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He loved his work at the sawmill and most importantly the numerous family gatherings with his children and grandchildren. Surviving are his wife of 53 years, Darlene (Wert); children, Chad (Melody) Elder, Tammy (Brian) Hills, Gerry Aley; 8 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; mother, Virginia Fisher; sister, Judy (Dan) Sturgeon; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a son, Maurice Dean; brothers, Jack and Ralph. The family will greet friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 2:00 pm. Pastor Chuck Smith officiating. Interment with military honors at Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Metro Health Hospital or the Friends of the Michigan Veterans Home.

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

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