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Archive | Church Connection



June 28, 1915 – July 2, 2001

Gone are the days we used to share,

but in our hearts, you are always there.

Love always,

Gary and Barb Woodhull

Larry Woodhull

Grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Posted in MemorialComments Off on LILA MAE WOODHULL



26C-obit-PerryGwendolyn Claire Perry, 88, of Cedar Springs, passed away Tuesday, June 28, 2016 and went to be with her Lord and Savior. Mrs. Perry was born November 5, 1927 in Hamilton, Canada the eldest daughter of Rev. Alfred Clare and Edna (Jefferson) Motyer. She was preceded in death by a brother and his wife, Derwin (Imogene) Motyer; son, Lee Perry; granddaughter, Emily Perry; brother-in-law, Douglas Ehman. Surviving are her husband, Lyle Perry Jr. whom she married in 1949; children, Lyle III (Ellen) Perry, Lizabeth (Dennis) Boe, Lenn Perry, and Lonn (Ruth) Perry; grandchildren, Jessamine (Dustin) Spulak, Max and Chace Perry, Johannes (Elizabeth) Boe, Nicholas (Desi) Boe and Suzy (Jared) Goulart, Aaron (Rachael) Perry, Joseph Perry, and Nathaniel Perry; great-grandchildren, Kalysta and Jaiden Vorase, Ailie Biddle, Braxton Perry, Ole and Thorren Boe, Dodger Boe, Lilija and Annika Goulart; sister, Shirley Ehman; several cousins, nieces nephews and friends. Mrs. Perry graduated from Howard City H.S. and from Bronson Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As a Registered Nurse she practiced her profession at the State Hospital in Kalamazoo and in hospitals in Plainwell, Lakeview, Greenville, and Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was a member of the Howard City Methodist Church, later attended St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Trufant, Michigan and then became a member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. She was formerly a Brownie Scout Leader, President of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club, and a President of the Cedar Springs H.S. Band Boosters. She regularly attended the alumni reunions of the Howard City H.S. and of Bronson Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. She enjoyed attending meetings of the Cedar Springs City Council, and often contributed comments and opinions during council meetings. She enjoyed her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She took occasional trips to Canada to visit a favorite uncle, Selby Douglas Jefferson and to greet relatives and friends there. Being born in Canada, she had warm feelings toward anything English or British. She became a citizen of the USA in September 1941. The family will greet friends Friday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be Saturday 10:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Reynolds Township Cemetery, Howard City. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on GWENDOLYN CLAIRE PERRY



26C--obit-SwiftAlthea Christine Swift passed in her sleep early on the morning of June 25, 2016, and has gone to be with her Heavenly Father. She was born on August 9, 1923, to John V. Johnson and Nora Carlson Johnson and graduated from Kent City High School. She was confirmed in Mamrelund Lutheran Church in Kent City and was a devoted lifelong member of that congregation. In the 1940s, she worked as a telephone operator at Michigan Bell Telephone Company. In 1950, she and her husband Leon Swift bought their farm on Swift Street in Cedar Springs (Courtland Township) and built their family and business together there. She was preceded in death by her husband; her brothers Edwin and Arnold; her sister Norma; and her daughter-in-law Dawn Feikema Swift. She is survived by her sister Imogene (Gene); her sons Roger and Lawrence David “Larry” Swift; her grandchildren Jon, Katie, Elisabeth, Travis and Tyler Swift, as well as many nephews and nieces, their children, numerous cousins and many dear friends. Visitation was on Monday, June 27, 2016 from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Funeral Service was held on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. at Mamrelund Lutheran Church, 4085 Lutheran Church Road, Kent City, MI 49330. Pastor Leonard Dahlgren officiating. An additional visitation was held at the church for the hour prior to the service. Interment in Courtland Cemetery, after which, there was a luncheon at the Courtland Methodist Church, across from the cemetery.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on ALTHEA CHRISTINE SWIFT


25C--obit-nielsenAlger James Nielsen, 91, of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Mr. Nielsen was born November 12, 1924 in Maple Valley Township, Michigan, the son of Carl and Belva (White) Nielsen. He graduated from Maple Valley Township High School in 1942 and Central Michigan University in 1949. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II. Mr. Nielsen was a high school teacher and respected coach at Ashley Public Schools from 1949 – 1956 and Cedar Springs Public Schools from 1956 – 1984. “Coach” wintered in Alamo, Texas (Rio Grande Valley) for 30 years. He was a member of St. Clara Catholic Church, was a devoted family man, and had a love of all sports. He married June Krebs in 1947 and she preceded him in death in 1999. Surviving are his wife Nancy (Kehoe) whom he married in 2001; children, James (Victoria) Nielsen, Peggy (Gary) Hansen, Suzy (Gary) Levy, Debby (James) Gingrich, Ellie (Ric, dec’d) Bohms, Richard (Mary Ellen) Nielsen, Lori (Kevin) Goodyke, Patrick (Tresa) Nielsen; 29 grandchildren: 21 great-grandchildren; siblings, Agnes Skorka, Belva Stout, Margaret Krebs, and John (Jean) Nielsen. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Marilyn Dunn in 1971; siblings, Lloyd Nielsen, Kenneth Nielsen, Frieda Kaiser, and Carl Nielsen. The family will greet friends Friday from 4-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a Rosary will be prayed at 7:00 pm with community sharing to follow. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday 10:30 am at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Interment with military honors at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Sand Lake. Memorials may be made to the Cedar Springs Education Foundation.

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

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on ALGER JAMES NIELSEN


25C--obit-clarkFCJack L. Clark, 90, of Solon Township died Thursday, June 16, 2016 in the presence of his family. Jack was born August 30, 1925 in Cedar Springs, Michigan, the son of Lyle and Cora (Smith) Clark. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1943 and MSU in 1950. He was a veteran of the Army Air Corp 8th Division, serving during World War II. He was in banking for 36 years, working for the Cedar Springs State Bank, Union Bank and NBD. He was a member of the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, having perfect attendance for 59 years and was a Paul Harris Fellow + 8. He was a member of the Cedar Springs Community Players, Cedar Springs Education Foundation, Red Flannel Acres Treasurer, Solon Township Board for 37 years, serving as Supervisor and Trustee. He was honored to be the 1992 Red Flannel Parade Grand Marshall and the Cedar Springs Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1986 and recognized as a Major Donor to the Rotary Foundation. He enjoyed bowling and golfing and was in a weekly bowling league for over 60 years. Jack was an active member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church for many years and recently worshipped with the East Nelson United Methodist congregation. His greatest passion was spending time with his wife and family. Surviving are his wife, Marjorie (Woodworth) whom he married on June 21, 1946; children, Marilyn Higley, Nancy (COL RET Tom) Noreen, Dr. Mark (Sue) Clark, Barbara (Gene) Waller; grandchildren, Megan (CPT Brian) Szczepanek, Kate (Dr. Jeff) Brakenhoff, Krista (Dr. Eli) Horn, Andrea Edrington, Amy (Adam) Hutchinson, Dr. Karen Noreen, CPT Sarah (Ben) Smith, CPT Janet (Russell) Scott, LT Peter Noreen; great-grandchildren, Emily, Connor and Chloe Szczepanek, Taylor and Trey Brakenhoff, Caleb, Kai, and Asa Horn, Brody Edrington, Melanie Hutchinson, Evelyn and Noah Scott; sister-in-law, Olivemae Woodworth. He was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, David Woodworth. The family greeted friends Tuesday, June 21 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service was held Wednesday at the United Methodist Church, Cedar Springs. Pastors Steve Lindeman and Herb VanderBilt officiating. Interment Solon Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs or East Nelson United Methodist Churches, the Cedar Springs Education Foundation or the Cedar Springs Rotary Foundation.

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

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on JACK L. CLARK


25C--obit-DavisKathleen Marie Davis, 96, died peacefully Monday evening, June 20, 2016 at Green Acres Retirement Living. Kathleen was born in Cedar Springs, Michigan on October 6, 1919. She was active in 4-H for nine years, and graduated from Cedar Springs High School. Following high school, she graduated with a home economics degree from Michigan State College (University) and taught high school home economics in Onekama, Michigan. Kathleen married Alan G. Davis on November 23, 1944. After finishing the school year, she joined Alan in Port Townsend, Washington, where he was stationed at Fort Warden. After the war was over, they moved back to Lansing, Michigan, and eventually moved to Greenville where Kathleen has lived ever since. In Greenville, she was known as Kay and was very involved in the community throughout her life. She taught Bishop-method sewing in the Greenville Community Education Program, volunteered as a Gray Lady at United Memorial Hospital, led Girl Scout troops for many years, and was involved in the PTA and other school activities. As a member of Greenville First United Methodist Church, she was a regular in the Homemakers group, the United Methodist Women, and the choir. Kay loved to sew and do special projects for family and friends. She looked forward to the annual church holiday bazaar and the room that she and her friends filled with hand-made goods. Their room became quite popular. She also had a booth one summer at the Danish Festival, filled with unique stuffed animals and other hand-made treasures. Kay especially loved to cook. Her cookies, pies, bread, and holiday candy became her trademark. It would be hard to estimate how many tasty treats came out of her kitchen, but there was always a smell in the air of fresh baked cookies or loaves of bread. Kathleen has touched many lives over the years and will be remembered for her cheerful spirit, hard work, positive attitude, and kindness. She loved helping others and was selfless with her time and talents. She lived by a few simple words: “A great day ending and a new day beginning.” She will be missed. Kathleen is survived by her two daughters, Karen Davis of New Boston, New Hampshire and Denise (Craig) Whitlow of Cary, North Carolina. She leaves a granddaughter, Dyan (Derek Underhill) Whitlow Underhill of Minot, North Dakota; two great-grandchildren, Davis Underhill and Mae Underhill; and a niece, Jean Benjamin and nephews, Fay Benjamin and Dan Davis, all of Cedar Springs. Her husband, Alan Davis, and her brother, Warren Benjamin, predeceased her. A funeral service in celebration of her life and faith will be held at 10:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2016 at Greenville First United Methodist Church, with Rev. Don Spachman officiating. Interment will be in East Nelson Cemetery, with a luncheon to follow at East Nelson United Methodist Church. Visitation will be Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville. Memorial contributions may be given to Greenville First United Methodist Church or East Nelson United Methodist Church, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.hurstfh.com.

Arrangements by Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on KATHLEEN MARIE DAVIS


25C--obit-sickmillerFCRev. D. Robert Sickmiller, 97, went to be with His Lord on Thursday, June 16, 2016. He was born February 5, 1919 in Williams Center, Ohio, the son of Elmer and Nettie (Stoll) Sickmiller. Bob enlisted in the US Marines in 1940, serving six years in the Pacific Theater and Guadalcanal. His life was forever changed when he became a Christian at the age of 28 and prepared for the ministry at Greenville College in Illinois, attending through the GI Bill. In 1949, he married Marilyn Maxine DeVoll, and together they spent 57 years in the ministry, serving 40 years at Pilgrim Bible Church in Cedar Springs, Michigan. During this time, he started a K12 Christian school, instituted an annual family camp, hosted a radio program on WFUR, and began a mission program in Haiti. He was an excellent speaker, continuing his ministry even after retirement in 1998. He preached his last sermon at the age of 92. Bob was an outstanding shortstop on his college baseball team and was an avid Buckeye. He loved music; he taught himself to chord on an old pump organ, sang in a college male quartet, and directed the church choir, often writing the programs. He was a people person. He could strike up a conversation with anyone of any age, often turning the conversation to spiritual matters. He was a mentor and encourager to many young preachers. Bob was a magnet for children and young people loved to talk sports with him and listen to his war stories. He dearly loved his wife and daughters, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the light of his life. They will always remember his famous treasure hunts with the rhyming clues, the Snickers in his pockets, and spellbinding stories. He was preceded in death by his five brothers and daughter Becky. He is survived by his beloved wife Marilyn Maxine; daughters Robbie (Don) Coxon, Cheryl (Glenn) Hemrick; grandchildren Cara (Jamey) Gremillion, Kevin (Elizabeth) Coxon, Ona and Gina Hemrick; great-grandchildren Cameron, Cade, Kelcie and Karis Gremillion, Macy and Declan Coxon; sister Betty Sharp; brother-in-law Gene (Linda) DeVoll, sister in law Mary Belle DeVoll; and several nieces and nephews. Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Funeral services were conducted on Monday at the Pilgrim Bible Church. Pastors Mike Shiery and James Durr officiating. Visitation was held Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Burial took place in Elmwood Cemetery. The family wishes to express special thanks to Jessica, his wonderful hospice nurse. Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice and Palliative Care.

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

Posted in ObituaryComments Off on REV. D. ROBERT SICKMILLER

Dealing with struggles 

pioneer-christian-cedarfieldPastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church

Meets at Cedarfield Community Center

3592 17 Mile RD NE, Cedar Springs


In John 5, we hear of an invalid who for 38 years struggled to get around, had no friends to help him and was looked down upon by some who believed his disability was the result of sin in his life. The man believed his only hope was to get into a nearby pool that was noted for its water that would occasionally stir. People believed that angels would stir the pool and if they could get in while this occurred, they could be healed. Unfortunately, he was too slow to make it into the water on time and so he remained embroiled in his struggles for many years.

I think we can identify with a man like this; we have our struggles too. Many of us battle things like health, finances, addiction, loneliness and other difficult challenges. How do we deal with the struggles of life? We find help by looking at another character who also appears in the story — Jesus. Jesus saw the man, spent time with him and asked him if he wanted to be healed. These three encouraging things are what Jesus still provides for us in all our struggles.

First, Jesus sees our struggles. Sometimes we might feel as though nobody knows what we’re going through, but that’s not true, Jesus does.

Second, Jesus comes near to us in our struggles. Sometimes people see our struggle, but want nothing to do with us, but that’s not true of Jesus; He wants everything to do with us.

Third, Jesus wants to provide help to us in all our struggles. I hope that you are encouraged by his awareness and presence and that you take advantage of the help He offers. The man in the story struggled with that last part.

When asked if he wanted to be healed, he didn’t say yes, instead he told Jesus about his desire to get into the pool to find healing. He failed to see that Jesus was able to help him and I think sometimes we do the same thing. In health struggles, sometimes we rely only on doctors and medicine, but fail to include Doctor Jesus in the equation. When we call out to Jesus in prayer, we may not always be physically healed, but it does tend to bring us a sense of peace in the storm.

In struggles with addiction, sometimes we rely solely on willpower, but we need to lean on the words that Jesus spoke about overcoming strongholds in our life. There is powerful guidance found in scripture that can help us towards finding victory over any enemy.

When sad in life, sometimes we see material possessions as the solution to our blues, but it’s when we turn to Jesus and ask Him to use us in service unto Him that a renewed and lasting joy is found.

In all our troubles, know that Jesus is aware of them, He’s near to us in them and wants to help us with them all.

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Dealing with struggles 

Solon church welcomes new pastor 


The Solon Center Wesleyan Church is pleased to announce the arrival of a new senior pastor, Rev. Chadrick Brown.

Pastor Chad and his wife Tracy come to SCWC from Mt. Pleasant where they pastored Cornerstone (Wesleyan) Church. In addition to leading the church there, Pastor Chad also serves as Assistant District Superintendent to the North Michigan District of the Wesleyan Church as well as holding the position of Chairman for the District Board of Ministerial Development. He is also a ministerial instructor.

Ordained since 1998, Pastor Chad has also enjoyed working as Chaplain for the Michigan State Police in the Flint area since 2009, and being a part of the Isabella Critical Incident Stress Management Team.

Prior to their time in Mt. Pleasant, Pastor Chad and Tracy served God in a variety of capacities within the church, as worship pastors, youth pastors, CE Pastors, and Celebrative Arts Pastors in churches in Michigan, Indiana and New York. They have led leadership seminars, marriage retreats, and planted two churches in their ministerial career.

Comfortable in front of two people or 2,000, their goal is always to encourage people in their walk with Christ, or help people start a walk. “People are what matter,” says Pastor Chad, “Because people are who Christ died for, and people are what make the church, the church. We serve a God who has created everything in excellence and so therefore, we are driven to be excellent in everything we do, not for our own glory or attention, but to point all to the Creator of the universe.”

Pastor Chad and his wife, Tracy, who is also an ordained minister in the Wesleyan church, have three children—Miranda, who is married to David Stout; Madilyn; and  C.J.

The church invites the community to join them in welcoming Pastor Chad and his family to the Cedar Springs area when Pastor Chad brings his first message to the church on Father’s Day, June 19 at 10 a.m. The church is located at 15671 Algoma Avenue, Cedar Springs.

Posted in Church ConnectionComments Off on Solon church welcomes new pastor 



In loving memory of my wonderful mom, who passed away 18 years ago today – June 18, 1998. I am the woman I am today because of my mom: she taught me to be strong, loving and kind.

Love you Mom,

Your loving daughter,


Posted in MemorialComments Off on GINA CRAMER