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Verita LaBelle DeVries passed into eternity and into the loving arms of Jesus on February 23, 2018 after 96 fruitful years of loving and helping here on earth. She was born in Eldorado, Kansas to Lewis and Hester (Hand) Barnum on October 5, 1921, the fourth of 12 children. Her spiritual gifts were helping and encouraging others, and she was good at it. She liked to smile, have fun and really loved children. Her hobbies were sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting and baking. She and her husband Francis “Gus” loved the grandkids and spending time with them. She is preceded in death by her husband Francis “Gus” DeVries, 10 siblings, two grandchildren and her mother and father. Surviving are her daughters Beverly & (Jerry) Schaap and Patricia & (Mike) Smith; 4 grandchildren Sue Norton, Dave & (Cyndi) Schaap, Eric & (Melissa) Smith and Andy Smith; 10 great-grandchildren; 7 great-great-grandchildren and her sister Gloria & (Luther) Shears. Heaven has gained a special and wonderful addition to their family, but earth and her daughters will sadly miss her smile and loving arms. Dementia finally won the battle here on earth, but God has given her a new body as He promised, and a much better life. Visitation was held 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, February 26, 2018 . Funeral Services were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at the Marshall Funeral Home, Greenville with members of the family meeting with friends and relatives from 10 a.m. till the service. Memorial contributions may be made in Verita’s name to Faith Hospice or Alzheimer’s. Burial will be in Altona Cemetery. 

Arrangements are by Marshall Funeral Home, Greenville, with complete obituary online at www.marshallfuneralhomeinc.com where you can leave a message of condolence for the family.

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Barbara Jean Hartline, age 74, formerly of Cedar Springs, passed away Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at home under the loving care of her family, friends, and Spectrum Health Hospice. The daughter of Bert O. & Anna Marie (Petersen) Chambers, she was born on April 15, 1943 in Grand Rapids. On November 10, 1967 she married Alvin Henry Hartline, Jr. and together they raised two children. Barbara also worked outside the home for the State of Michigan as a Claims Examiner for the Michigan Employment Security Office for 33 years, retiring in 1995 with plans of traveling, trips to the casino and more. She loved to play in her garden and take care of her flowers. She was preceded in death by her parents, Bert & Ann Chambers; her husband, Alvin Hartline, Jr.; and a brother, John Chambers. Surviving are two daughters, Shelly & Matt Porter of Morley and Susan & Tim Cole of Sand Lake; her grandchildren, Jamie (Jeremy) Bockheim, Jessica (Cody) Balkema, Mike (Sabrina) Osburn, Zachary Johnson, Nick Terpstra, Kaitlin Rounds, Abby Cross, Justin (Danielle) Porter, Tara (Denis) Evans, and Josh (Rachael Marrion) Porter; many great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank Bonnie Magoon Miller for the care she gave Barbara in her home. She became a very special friend to Barbara. Also, to Spectrum Health Hospice for the care and attention that was given to Barbara this past year. Honoring her wishes, cremation has taken place. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Barbara’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: www.ChristiansenCares.com

Arrangements were entrusted to Christiansen Cremation & Funeral Care, Greenville.

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Missing identity

Pastor Ryan Black

Cedar Springs Christian Church

340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs


So many in the world today find themselves lost and desperate in trying to find themselves. Many search far and wide to determine who they are as a person and what their identity is. Who am I? What is my image? While we can look in many places through out the world, the truth of the matter is we will never find our true selves in what the world has to offer. Whatever we think we can find ourselves in is temporary or false hope. Because of this, people can become tired, depressed and frustrated. They often think they’ve found themselves, only to later be extremely disappointed when it falls apart or disappears. 

The world’s hopes are false hopes laid out by Satan to distract us from the truth (1 Timothy 6:17).  That truth being that our true identity is not of this world but of Christ himself. The bible tells us from our creation we were made in His image (Genesis 1:27). This is partly why growth in our faith and relationship with God is so important. Not only do we get to know God, but we also get to know ourselves as we begin to discover our true identity in Him.  

This by no way strips us of our unique personalities, traits and talents that God himself has blessed us with. That is the beauty of it all. We all commonly can share in an identity in Christ, yet at the same time keep our individual uniqueness. Thus, we can have our own individuality shown through our true identity and image in Christ.  

Never feel down and frustrated thinking you can’t find who you are or what your purpose in life is.  Simply look to God and he will help you find yourself in Him, the true image and identity he created you to be.    

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January 16, 1931 – February 22, 2010

Softly in the morning

You heard a gentle call.

You took the hand of God offered

And quietly left us all.

Remembered with Love

Your Family

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August 21, 1962 – February 21, 2017

We miss you more than words can say but we know that one day we will be together again.

Your Wife, Dad & Mom, Brothers Jeff & Jay & Families!

“On the Other Side of Death”

Death is a GATEWAY

we all must pass through

To reach that Fair Land

where the soul’s born anew,

For man’s born to die

and his sojourn on earth

Is a short span of years

beginning with birth…

And like pilgrims we wander

until death takes our hand

And we start on our journey

to God’s Promised Land,

A place where we’ll find

no suffering nor tears,

Where TIME is not counted

by days, months or years…

And in this Fair City

that God had prepared

Are unending joys

to  be happily shared

With all or our loved ones

who patiently wait

On Death’s Other Side

to open “THE GATES”!

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The Real McCoy

Pastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta


Did you ever wonder where that expression “the real McCoy” comes from? According to the folks at phrases.org, nobody really knows for sure. Whatever the origin of the term, we all know what it means—the genuine article, the real deal!   What does real Christianity look like? What are the tell-tale signs that distinguish “the real McCoy” from a cheap imitator?   

Some might suggest real Christianity means going to church or having perfect attendance. Obviously, I’m in favor of church attendance, but I also know that there is more than that to “the real McCoy.” You can’t tell real Christianity by how big a Bible a person carries, or how a person dresses.

The Christian “real McCoy” always produces three things in a person’s life: controls the tongue, softens the heart, and purifies the soul, and if it doesn’t, something’s wrong!

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless (James 1:26, NIV). Now, that is quite a statement. James explains this further in the third chapter; he says the tongue is harder to control than a wild beast. It corrupts like a poison and consumes like a roaring fire. There is not a single one of us that doesn’t know that by experience—either from the effects of our own tongue or from the receiving end of someone else’s razor-sharp words.

“A pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world,” (James 1:27, NIV). The plight of such people was not a pretty picture in the ancient world. We tend to rebel at what is fake, just as Jesus himself rejected fakes. Others can be fooled, but not God; he will unmask us sooner or later.  

Even sincere people are not perfect. A young man filled out an application for admission to a university, and in response to a request to “List your Personal Strengths,” he wrote, “sometimes I am trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” Where the form said, “List Your Weaknesses,” he wrote: “Sometimes I am not trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” No one is perfect.

One thing that has limited the influence Christians have on the world is that many who claim to follow Christ are not authentic. An inconsistent lifestyle repels people from the church. So how authentic is your walk? Are the people around you drawn to faith by your life? Do people who cross your path recognize that there is a difference in the way you live?

The key is being authentic, being real, not trying to just appear perfect, and if you think you are fooling everybody, then the only person you are fooling is yourself. You can be assured you are not fooling God. What you say and what you do, influences those God puts into your life, and we must be ready and willing to be the good news, before we tell the good news. 

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90th Birthday

Ike Jamison

Wishing Ike Jamison a happy 90th birthday on February 15th!

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Evelyn M. Bliss 97 of Cedar Springs died Monday, February 12, 2018 at Bishop Hills, Rockford. Mrs. Bliss was born August 31, 1920 in Detroit, Michigan the daughter of John Jay and Mary Ellen (O’Leary) Seeley. She along with her husband, Tom owned and operated the Bliss Funeral Home from 1954 – 1981. She was a member of St. John Paul II Catholic Church in Cedar Springs. She stayed very involved in her church and the Cedar Springs community throughout the years. Surviving are her daughters, MaryAnn (Ted) DeVries of Plainwell, Peggy Helsel of Rockford; grandchildren, Brenna Willis, Eric (Jessica) DeVries; beloved great-granddaughters, Hannah and Delilah Willis; unofficial third daughter, Joan Walsh Duffy; nieces, nephews and many dear friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas in 2010; son, Patrick in 2015; and brother Floyd “Bud” Seeley. The family will receive friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a Scripture Service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday 11:00 a.m. at St. John Paul II Catholic Church, Cedar Springs. Rev. Fr. Lam Le presiding. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Sand Lake in the spring. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs Public Library, Hospice of Michigan or the charity of donor’s choice.

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

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EmmaJeanne (Hamilton) Albrecht 90 of Grand Rapids, died Sunday, February 11, 2018 at Green Acres of Cedar Springs. She was born November 5, 1927 in Akron, Ohio the daughter of Paul and Mary (Steele) Feutz. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and cousin. She was always there for her family and nothing was more important. Surviving are her children, Joe (Sheryl) Hamilton of Wayland, John (Ruth) Hamilton of Jenison, Julie (Mark) Barnhart, Joni (Scott) Olmsted, Jeff (Annette) Hamilton all of Cedar Springs, Jan Chase of Gobles, Jeanne Hamilton of Pierson, Greg Albrecht of Grand Rapids, and Ted Albrecht of Rockford; son-in-law, Marshall Morris of Cedar Springs; sisters, Nancee Cyr of Kalamazoo, Sally (George) Erwood of Grand Rapids; brothers, Roger (Mary) Feutz, Richard (Sunop) Feutz of Grand Rapids, and Tom (Alice) Feutz of Cedar Springs; 23 grandchildren; 48 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by husbands, Donald Hamilton and Arlie Albrecht; daughter, Jari Morris; son-in-law, Chris Chase; brothers David Feutz and Gerard (Evelyn) Feutz; brother-in-law, Bill Cyr; sister-in-law, Connie Feutz. The family will receive friends Wednesday February 14 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the Rosary will be recited at 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday 10:30 a.m. at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Rev. Fr. Lam Le presiding. Interment Pierson Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart or Diabetes Associations.

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

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Jeanette E. “Jan” Cookingham, 85 of Cedar Springs passed away Sunday, February 11, 2018 at home surrounded by her family. She was born in Harrietta, Michigan to Carl & Mable (Hewett) Mercer. She married Corry S. Cookingham on June 2, 1956 and loved being a mother, grandmother and taking care of her home. She is survived by her husband Corry; children, Corry C. (Patti) Cookingham, Sue Mansfield, Craig C. Cookingham and Curt C. (Laura) Cookingham; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her grandson, Lucas Mansfield. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs with the family meeting friends at 10:00 a.m. Memorial contributions to Shriner’s or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospitals.

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

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