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Archive | Church Connection

50TH Anniversary

27C anniv Harrison 1

27C-anniv-Harrison-2-webPHILLIP & SUE HARRISON

Phillip E. and Sue Ann (Grannis) Harrison of Cedar Springs will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday July 10, 2015 with a family dinner and a celebration with family and friends on Saturday.

Phil and Sue met in 1962. They attend Cedar Springs United Methodist Church where they were married on July 10, 1965.             .

Phil is retired after working 30+ years as a sheet metal journeyman.  He loves his 1955 Chevy ambulance and 1957 Chevy convertible, is an avid hunter and teaches hunter safety classes. Sue is a retired English and Drama teacher who worked most of her 30 years at Cedar Springs High School. She directs church choir, is active in Women’s Club and Community Players, and sings with the Grand Rapids Sweet Adelines Chorus.

Phil and Sue have two children: Scott (Sherry) Harrison and Amy (Craig) Emenaker.  They have five granddaughters:  Emma Harrison, Jordan and Rachel Ackerman, and Mira and Maeve Emenaker.

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Happy 10TH Anniversary

Mike & Belinda Sanderson


July 9, 2005 to July 9, 2015

You are the

Peanut to my butter

Water to my ocean

Glaze on my donut

Spring in my step

Twinkle in my eye

Blue in my sky

Cherry to my sundae

Sweet in my dreams

Flip to my flop

Beat of my heart

Cheese to my macaroni

Best to my friend

Love of my life


I know we’ve had our ups and downs but everything we’ve been through has made us stronger and I want you to know that you complete me. I love you!

Love, your wife, Belinda

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Virginia M. Connor, 91 of Covenant Village, Grand Rapids, formerly of Cedar Springs, passed away Monday, July 6, 2015. Virginia was born July 27, 1923 on the family farm in Algoma Township the daughter of Lewis “Jack” and Marie (Colby) Pennington. She graduated from Sparta High School and was a longtime member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. She loved music and enjoyed singing in the choir at church for many years. Virginia and her husband lived on a farm west of Cedar Springs. She was a homemaker for 62 years and her family was most important to her. Surviving are her children, Carol Connor, Connie (Clare) Kidder, Bill (Peg) Connor, Marilyn (Mike) Slater; grandchildren, David Kidder, Laura (Ben) Courtright, Robert Connor, Andrea (Brian Nadeau) Connor, Stephen Connor, Katie (Chris) Bond, Sarah Bakhan, Todd (Ashley) Slater; 11 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert on the same date, July 6 in 1998 and a sister, Ruth Humphreys. The family will greet friends Thursday, July 9 from 10:00 am until time of service at 11:00 am at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Private family interment at Blythefield Memory Gardens, Belmont. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church or Habitat for Humanity.

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

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Jerome Albert Ratz


Mr. Jerome Albert Ratz of Alma, Michigan, formerly of Cedar Springs, age 89, has completed all the designs laid down on the Trestleboard of Life on Sunday, July 5, 2015, and has answered the summons of the Grand Warden of Heaven and Earth and has entered into the Grand Lodge over which the Supreme Grand Master of the Universe presides. Jerome was born to Albert and Margaret Ratz on Tuesday, March 30, 1926, in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.  He was preceded in death by his parents; and beloved wife Annabelle M. Ratz.    Jerry and Ann lived a majority of their lives in the Grand Rapids area and Lakeland, Florida with his resent residence being Alma, MI.  As a truehearted countryman, Jerome proudly and courageously served his flag and country in the United States Army during the final years of World War II. Jerome was always active and incredibly proud of his service with the freemasons. He was a life-member  of Masonic Lodge #344 of Sparta, MI, a life-member of Peninsular Chapter #65 OES, a member of Saladin Shriner’s Big Wheels and a PABG Job’s Daughters Bethel #10. He also worked most of his life as a television repair man, eventually retiring from the Kent Intermediate School District. Jerome is survived by his loving children, Terry (David) Pierce of Dublin, OH, Wendy (James) Echtinaw of Newaygo, MI, Thomas Ratz of Grand Canyon, AZ, Theodore (Kathy) Ratz of Titusville, FL, Jill (Finn) Kilsgaard of Orlando, FL, Todd Ratz of Grand Rapids, MI, and Tammy (Kary) Dankenbring of Cedar Springs, MI; thirteen grandchildren; and sixteen great grandchildren. The memorial service for Jerome will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Rev. Dr.  Steven D. Pierce will be officiating. There will be a time of visitation one hour prior to the memorial service from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., also at Pederson Funeral Home. Inurnment will be at Graceland Memorial Park, Grand Rapids, MI. Those wishing to offer expressions of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution to the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, 1200 Wright Avenue, Alma, MI 48801.

Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford, www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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Marian L. Osech, age 84, of Cedar Springs, passed away on July 4, 2015. She was known to many as “Ma” and had an open door for everyone. She enjoyed routine trips to the casino. She was strong willed, independent, and when times were tough, she knew to say something to make you laugh. She enjoyed being a part of everyday life with her grandchildren, Stacy (CJ) Meade; and great grandchildren, Joseph, Matthew, and Jacob. She was preceded in death by her husband of 36 years, Roger; son, Skeet; two grandchildren, Patrick and Christopher Conway; brother in law, Ken Lockard. Marian will be greatly missed by her five children, Christie (Henry) Slagter, Deric (Terry) Osech, Leslie Osech, Sherri (Alan) Oberlin, Shelly Osech; 10 grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren; sisters, Bertha Lockard, Karen (Bill) Barnum, Shirley (Roy) Joppie, and Sandra (George) Kenney; several nieces and nephews. Friends met the family at the funeral home on Wednesday, July 8, 6 to 9 p.m. Graveside services will be held on Thursday, 11:00 a.m. at Solon Township Cemetery, 18 Mile at Algoma Ave.

Arrangements by Hessel Cheslek Funeral Home www.hesselcheslek.com 

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27C obit Williams

Dolores Marie (Branch) Williams, 89, of Cedar Springs, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Friday, July 3, 2015 at Twin Oaks Retirement Home, Gowen, with family by her side. Dolores was born on April 17, 1926 in Lockport, New York, the daughter of J. Weldon and Olivia (Christensen) Branch. The family lived in various places but settled in Trufant, Michigan in her teen years. She graduated from Lakeview High School in 1944 as Valedictorian of her class. On February 3, 1946, she married Edward L. Williams in Constantine, Michigan. They eventually settled in Cedar Springs. She was a hardworking, loving mother that raised four boys. She came to know Jesus Christ as her Savior along with her boys at Cedar Springs Baptist Church where she was a long time member. Her favorite pastimes were reading the Bible and the newspaper, gardening and collecting antiques. In their retirement, Dolores and her husband had a rabbitry where they enjoyed many great times with their customers who they sold rabbits to. After her husband passed away, she sold printing for Arrow Swift Printing of Greenville for seven years. Later, she had a small antique shop in her home. She will be greatly missed by her four sons, Edward and Judy Williams of Greenville, Dr. George and Lisa Williams, Bill and Linda Williams of Scotts and Robin Williams of Holland; a sister, Peggy Ryckman of Owosso; 13 grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 34 years, Edward L. Williams; her parents, J. Weldon and Olivia Branch; a brother, Jeff Branch and his wife, Marjorie; and brother-in-law, Irwin Ryckman. A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, July 11, at 11:00 AM at Calvary Baptist Church, 12501 Montcalm Ave. NE, Greenville, Michigan. Rev. R. Mark Shaw will officiate. A luncheon will follow in the fellowship hall. The family would like to extend a special thank you to the owners and staff of Twin Oaks Retirement Home and Great Lakes Caring Hospice for their loving care of our mother and support to our family. They are all very special people (angels). Memorial contributions in Dolores’ memory can be made to Cedar Springs Baptist Church. Hurst Funeral Home is serving the Williams family, and messages of condolence may be sent via www.hurstfh.com.

Arrangements by Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville

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July 27, 1930 – July 9, 2012

In loving memory of our father and grandfather, who passed away 3 years ago.

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


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

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Living Unafraid

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

In the late 1800s, an outlaw began burglarizing the Wells Fargo stage coach line. The bandit would wait in a narrow pass, and at just the right moment, would emerge dressed in black, a hood over his head and brandishing a double-barreled shotgun. To match his appearance, he had a deep baritone voice that caused his victims to melt with fear. This terrifying gentleman bandit was nicknamed “Black Bart.”

Wells Fargo finally arrested him in an extravagant apartment in San Francisco. When they removed his dark, menacing hood, Black Bart was not seven feet tall, like some of the witnesses had claimed. He was not young and rugged. He wasn’t a bloodthirsty bandit.

He was Charles Boles, a handsome, well-educated, sixty-year-old clerk too timid to ride a horse or load his gun. Black Bart used the most effective and crippling weapon in his arsenal: Fear. But when unmasked, he was nothing people said he was. He was just an unarmed, deep, shadowy voice in a dark empty suit.

I’m not naive; the world around us is dangerous. Yet, the living Christ has shown this world for what it is: Powerless against those who are in him. This doesn’t mean the world will not hurt us. It does not mean that some of the things we fear won’t take place. It simply means that nothing in this world can finally or completely destroy us.

Imagine that your life is a chess match or a football game, if you like. There comes a point in any such game, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, where the decisive move is made. Yes, the game continues, but it might as well be over, as the final outcome has been determined.

The decisive move in God’s universe came at the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Yes, life goes on. We struggle. We suffer. We wrestle with our phobias and try to keep our fears at bay. But we have hope—not fantasies that the world isn’t the way it actually is—but assurance that Christ has overcome the world, leaving so much that would terrify us as an empty threat.

In these perilous times, we do not have to lose our heads. The power we have been given and the love we have been shown flows from the Providence who is larger than our fears, and when we live in Him, we can live unafraid.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.


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Robert Allen Johnson, 76, passed away peacefully in his sleep early Thursday, June 25, 2015. Bob was born January 28, 1939. Bob lived most of his life as a resident of Courtland Township. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1957. He retired in 1992 after 30 years at General Motors Fisher Body plant on 36th Street. He loved farming and his family. Bob had a stroke in January, 2000. Although life was never easy after that, he always had a smile on his face. He was the kindest and gentlest person you would ever meet who cared deeply about others. He was preceded in death in 1997 by his father, Wesley. He is survived by his mother, Elna, whom he loved dearly. She was his primary caretaker. He is also survived by his children; Bob and Paula Johnson, Tim Johnson and Kathy Kay, and Kathy and Ken Coleman. Bob has three grandchildren, Ryan Coleman, Kate Coleman and Logan Armstrong. He is also survived by his sisters Joyce and Dick Kastas and Judy and Jim Idziak and their families. The family thanks the Green Acres of Standale family who took care of dad the last few months of his life. And also the Porter Hills home health care nurses who took care of dad at home before Green Acres. The family greeted friends on Sunday, June 28 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services were held Monday, June 29. Pastor Robert Eckert officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Paws With A Cause, 4646 Division St, Wayland, MI 49348.

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

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In loving memory of our dear father and grandfather, Peter Naffziger, who passed away 49 years ago July 5, 1966.

As long as hearts remember,

As long as hearts still care,

We never part with those we love,

They are with us everywhere.

Sadly missed by

Children and Grandchildren

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