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Stephen “Steve” Edward Slater of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 62, went home to be with the Lord on September 30, 2016. Steve was born on November 1, 1953, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Steve leaves behind his five loving children: Shane (Sarah) Slater, Stephen Slater, Chad Slater, Tara (Gordon) Soyka and Nicholas (Tara) Slater. Steve also leaves behind his three beloved siblings: Daniel (Sheri) Slater, Janice (Ralph) Mason and Norman (Kathy) Slater. Steve leaves behind eighteen grandchildren; two great-grandchildren with one on the way; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Norman and Grace Slater; and baby sister Norma Jean. Steve was a simple man with a heart of gold that loved family, singing, playing music, morel mushroom hunting, fishing, shooting his guns, and watching movies. He will be dearly missed. A time of visitation with the family was held from 2:00 until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 2, 2016, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. The funeral service was held Monday, October 3, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the family’s Go Fund Me page to assist with expenses. https://www.gofundme.com/2qunrpys?ssid=755549801&pos=2

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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First Baptist Church to install new pastor

Pastor Robert Smith and his wife, Ronette. Pastor Smith will be installed as the new pastor at First Baptist Church in Cedar Springs this Sunday, October 9.

Pastor Robert Smith and his wife, Ronette. Pastor Smith will be installed as the new pastor at First Baptist Church in Cedar Springs this Sunday, October 9.

The congregation of the First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs is rejoicing over the call of their new pastor, Pastor Robert P. Smith. Pastor Robert and his wife, Ronette, moved to Cedar Springs from Des Moines, Iowa, a few weeks ago and are settling into their new home just south of the city.
Pastor Smith will be installed as the 39th pastor of the church this Sunday, October 9, at the 10:45 a.m. service. During the service, former Interim Pastor Daniel Currie will issue a charge to Pastor Smith, and former Pastor Stan Mohr will issue a charge to the church.

Pastor Smith received his Master of Divinity from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in Allen Park, Michigan, in 1984, and his Bachelor of Arts from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn. in 1980. He has pastored churches in southeast Michigan, but most recently pastored Grandview Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He pastored that church for 15-1/2 years.

Both Pastor Robert and Ronette grew up in the southeast area of Michigan. They have been married for 35 years. They have two married children and five grandchildren. Daughter Lauren and her husband David Ollila live in Allen Park, Michigan with their children Carson, Coleman and Cael. Son Colin and his wife Melissa live in Ankeny, Iowa with their children, Charlotte and Harrison.

Outside of the church, the Smiths enjoy cycling and golf.

Welcome to Cedar Springs, Pastor Robert and Ronette!

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What do you say…

Pastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake Ave NE, Rockford

…when you don’t know what to say? Brainyquote.com gives credit to Abraham Lincoln for the familiar axiom, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Lincoln has a reputation as a Bible reader so he might have been putting his own spin on Proverbs 17:28a that says, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise” (King James Version, no NIVs or NRSVs in Lincoln’s day).

I wonder if the editor of the Post would have indulged me if I had asked to just print my name with a few inches of white space below so that even though a fool, I might be counted wise, or at least avoid removing all doubt.

It’s just one of those seasons that come along from time to time in the lives of those of us whose vocations include public speaking and frequent writing. We might have plenty on our minds, but when it’s a mix of the unresolved and personal, knowing what needs to be said, what has the potential to be useful and productive, isn’t always obvious.

Come to think of it, anyone of us can expect to find ourselves in such uncertain moments. Are you familiar with the guideline that if it’s not true, not kind, or not necessary, it ought not be said? Right now little is coming to mind that fully passes muster.

A couple of contributors to the Bible had interesting perspectives on not knowing what to say, remaining silent, holding one’s peace. The prophet Amos ran off a laundry list of wrongs being committed by certain people of ancient Israel. He named those who “abhor the one who speaks the truth,” “trample on the poor,” “afflict the righteous, take a bribe, and push aside the needy.” Then he drew an ironic conclusion after having just spoken up so loudly and clearly. The “prudent,” he said, “will keep silent in such a time.” Who says there’s no wit along with the wisdom contained in the pages of the Bible? (Amos 5:10-13, New Revised Standard Version.)

To those who find themselves at a loss in one particular form of dialogue, the Apostle Paul writes, “We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans.” (Romans 8:26, Common English Bible.)

I hope you weren’t counting on this leading up to a pithy and profound conclusion. I don’t have one, unless it counts simply to pass on that the Bible seems to indicate that it’s ok not to know what to say and sometimes, saying nothing is the only way to get where we want to be. “Stand silent. Know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a, The Living Bible.)

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Martha Jane Barber


11/23/1922 – 9/26/2016

Martha Jane (Tester) Barber, 93, of Green Valley, AZ, formerly from Cedar Springs, MI, passed away Monday, September 26, 2016. Jane was a member of Mary Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, Sand Lake, MI. Jane was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Her comfort, compassion, friendship and love will be truly missed. Jane was preceded in death by her husband Harold L. Barber, grandson Samuel A. Musick and son-in-law Larry J. Carlon. She is survived by her daughters, Linda Carlon of Cedar Springs; Katherine (Murphy) Musick of Patagonia, AZ; Paula (Dave) Allington of Middleville; Julie (Ed) Ludtke of Green Valley, AZ; grandchildren Kathleen Carlon, Lisa (Aaron) Anderson, Carly (Mike) Pshenishny, Christina Allington, Maya (Andy) Musick-Listz, Kelly Ludtke, Karen (Zach) Presley; great-grandchildren Michael and Caitlin Madlener, Hannah, Abby and Brayden Anderson, Riley and Jensen Pshenishny and Grant Presley. Cremation has taken place, and there will be a private memorial in Patagonia, AZ. Memorial contributions can be made to the Cedar Springs Public Library, P.O. Box 280, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-0310.

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Dennis D. Sherman 63 of Sand Lake, died Friday, September 23, 2016 at his son’s home recovering from a recent heart attack. Dennis was born January 28, 1953 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the son of the late Clayton and Theresa (Thurner) Sherman. He had worked as an electrician at Electrolux in Greenville. He enjoyed attending local high school football, wrestling and sporting events. He had a great heart and cared for others, he was a great father and was excited for the birth of his grandbaby in January. He was loved by his brothers and sisters and will be missed. Surviving are a son, Brian (Ashley) Sherman; sisters, Theresa Phipps, Ruth Ann Lake, Sandra (Larry) Wilson, Debra (Bruce) Hill; brothers, William, John and Patrick Sherman; other survivors include, Shirley Mitchell, Beverly Bratcher, Howard Bratcher, and Debra (Roger) Jones; many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. The family will greet friends at a memorial visitation and luncheon at the Courtland Township Hall on Sunday, October 9 from 1-4 pm. In memory of Dennis, donations could be made to the family to plant trees on the Sherman farm.

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

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39c-obit-ford-webWinifred L. Ford 92 of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, September 22, 2016 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Winifred was born May 13, 1924 in Sparta, Michigan the daughter of Arvid and Delma (Lauffer) Johnson. She was the Food Service Manager for Cedar Springs Public Schools for 25 years and had volunteered for many years for the Grand Valley Blood Center. She was very involved in her church, Mamrelund Lutheran, which her family helped start and was a strong woman of faith. Surviving are her sons, Dale & Jeny Ransom, Dean & Deb Parker; grandchildren, Amy Ransom & Dana Aspinall, Rick & Rene Martin, Jason & Cyndi Parker, Julie & Bob Robinson, Jeremy & Haley Parker; 9 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Joan Johnson, Virginia Johnson, and Greta Ackerly; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by husbands, Mervil Parker and Otto Ford; brothers, John William, Robert and Lowell Johnson. The family will greet friends Friday, September 30 from 1:00 pm until time of service at 2:00 pm at Mamrelund Lutheran Church, Kent City. Pastor Matthew Deames officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to Mamrelund Lutheran Food Pantry.

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

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Long time church secretary to retire

Janet Avery, long time secretary for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, is retiring at the end of September

Janet Avery, long time secretary for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, is retiring at the end of September

Janet Avery, long time secretary for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, is retiring at the end of September, but will continue as church organist. Janet started as church organist in 1961. Then, in 1974, she took the position of church secretary, which she has held for 42 years.

Janet has played the church organ almost every Wednesday rehearsal, Sunday service and special occasion for 55 years.  She has played weddings, but has not kept a list how many or for whom she has played. One thing she does know; she has served as organist for children and perhaps grandchildren of those she played for when she first started.

However, it the job of church secretary that has made Janet most known at church and throughout town. She has worked 20 hours a week for 42 years.  The Methodist church is an open church, opening its doors to many organizations, groups and people.  It is Janet who keeps the calendar or maybe the phrase should be “guards” the calendar.  The list of what Janet does is long, very long.  Even she cannot list everything; she just does what is needed when needed.  Over the span of 42 years, she has learned that could be almost anything,

The church will celebrate Janet’s retirement on October 2 with a potluck dinner after church at approximately 11:30 am in the Fellowship Hall.  Food can be placed in the refrigerator or an oven during church service.  The potluck will be followed by an open house until 2:00 so people may join the church in celebration.   Love offering contributions may be mailed or brought to the church and should be labeled with her name.

In 1970, Robert Townsend, author of “Up the Organization” added a special chapter for women in his book on business organization. Townsend encouraged women to seize the opportunity to be secretary as they soon know everything about the organization and therefore control it.

Although Janet had not read the book, she followed this advice when she became secretary at the United Methodist Church in 1974.  Today she does know everything about the church and its mission as well as the mission and purpose of the organizations who are part of the church or who use the church building.  Parishioners are wondering how anyone new can learn what Janet knows and does. After all, they won’t be able to use the traditional means to find out things, which is simply “Ask Janet.”

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Working together

Pastor Darryl Miller

Sand Lake/South Ensley United Methodist churches 



Philippians 2:2 New International Version: then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

I had a rare opportunity this Sunday to visit a church other than the ones that I serve and to be ministered to. I love it when these opportunities come around. Most people don’t think about we pastors needing to be ministered to occasionally. The pastor had a wonderful message about the acceptance of Christ. How he welcomes everyone. This got me thinking about my faith journey. When I just got out of High school I joined a Christian band. There were two members who attended the Catholic church, one who attended a Baptist church, one who attended a Lutheran church, and one who attended a non-denominational church. We ministered to young people as a family of believers. I wondered why we couldn’t do that as “mature” Christians. When I first began pasturing, I actually had some pastors refuse to take my call because I was a “competitor.” I never understood this. Yes, I am a United Methodist pastor but I still worship the same God as the church next door.

There was a time when I was searching for a church that would be my home when I ran across a church who had cards that read: “If you do not feel at home here, let us help you find a church where you do.” This is one of the things that made me feel comfortable at this church. That was 25 years ago and now I pastor that very church!

The above scripture is a key part of Christian life. We need to work together. One church can do a lot of ministry, but several churches working together can do amazing things through God. As time has gone on we have begun to understand this idea more and more. In the community where the churches are that I serve, we regularly work together with all the other churches. And God has done amazing things through us. I love to see the different pastors supporting various ministries in our communities together because that is what God wants. We are a family. And together we are one.

If you want to be a part of this family, visit a church near you. Everyone is welcome in God’s house!

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Mark H. Doren


Mark H. Doren, 97 of Cedar Springs passed away at his earthly home Tuesday, September 20, 2016 and was welcomed into his heavenly home by his bride of 77 years, June (Moul) Doren who went before him on February 8, 2016. Mark was born April 23, 1919 in Kent City, Michigan the son of Charles and Ruth (Carlson) Doren. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a Tech Sergeant in Patton’s 6th Armored Division during WWII. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp located outside of Wiemer, Germany. Mark started serving the Lord at Alpine Baptist Church and then in 1955 when moving to Cedar Springs he became a longtime member of First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs. He drove bus, was Sunday School Superintendent, lead the singing and served on the Church, Camp and Missions Boards. He was an engineer at Sackner Products retiring in 1981. He served Algoma Township for 28 years on the Planning Commission, as a Trustee and as Supervisor. After retirement he enjoyed traveling and time at his cabin in Munising, which he called “God’s Country.” When not up north, he enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table and having coffee with anyone who stopped to visit. Surviving are his children, Sharon (LaVerne) Schut, Dennis Doren, Debra Ergang; daughter-in-law, Marilyn Doren; son-in-law, James (Rose) Hunt; 14 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Marie Doren; several nieces and nephews. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Marlyn Hunt; son, Mark N. Doren; brothers, Willard, William and Charles Doren. The family will greet friends Thursday from 4-7 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be Friday 1:00 pm at First Baptist Church, 233 S. Main St., Cedar Springs. Pastors Robert P. Smith and Stanley Mohr officiating. Interment Pine Grove Cemetery, Alpine Township with military honors by the U.S. Army. Memorial contributions may be made to David’s House Ministries, 2375 Banner Dr. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 or the First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs.

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

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Judith Ann Tysse


Judith Ann Tysse age 65, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Thursday, September 15, 2016.  Judy was born at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, the daughter of Clarence and Kathleen (Prater) Tysse of Cedar Springs.  She spent her childhood in Cedar Springs, graduating from Cedar Springs High School in 1969.  She went on to receive her BA in Education from Western Michigan University in 1973 and taught Emotionally Impaired (EI) children at Wyoming Public Schools for almost four decades, during which time she received awards for her extraordinary work.  Judy enjoyed people of all ages, had a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh, and had a way of positively affecting those around her—whether family, friends, colleagues, or students.  She will be dearly missed by her brothers, John (Wilma) of Boyne City, Paul (Della) of La Crosse, Wisconsin; sister-in-law, Michele of Grand Rapids, dear friend and companion, Mary Hanson of Grand Rapids, and many, many nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her partner of many years, Vonce Reed; father and mother; brothers, Thomas and James.  The family will greet friends and celebrate her life on Monday, September 26 from 5 – 7 pm at the Bliss-Witters and Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. A private family graveside will be held at Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs where she will be laid to rest by her parents. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

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

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