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Tag Archive | "Cedar Springs United Methodist"

Responsible freedom

Rev. Bill Johnson

Cedar Springs United Methodist

140 S. Main St.

Cedar Springs, MI  49319


In the tradition of my church, there is a vital combination between personal faith and social witness. Methodist founder John Wesley was among the leaders of social reform in England during an age when living conditions in neighbor France led to massive revolt among the common people. Historians believe that the leadership of Wesley helped avoid a similar revolution in England because he addressed the conscience of his country’s government and strived for political change. 

With the mid-term election behind us now, this is a good time to pause and reflect on the relationship between faith and politics. Our Judeo-Christian heritage speaks to this. Regardless of political leanings, serious religious people are called to a higher loyalty. We believe that our job is to find God’s word in our culture, and align our words and actions with God’s eternal truths. The Old Testament prophets are our model, as they spoke for God in their day…the shepherd Amos marched from his fields in Tekoa to Jerusalem with a vision of a wall and a plumb line hanging beside it. God’s desire was the straight plumb line, and the wall was crooked. “Seek the Lord and live…you that turn justice to wormwood and bring righteousness to the ground.” Amos didn’t win favor with Kings when he spoke for God with those words, but they were words of truth. 

But here’s the thing: In this super-charged political year, it is tempting to believe that one candidate or another has God on their side. The reality is that God has no “side,” but compassion, truth and justice. God’s bias is with equality for all people, no matter what their political ties. Justice and peace are not the possession of any human; they are signs of God’s reign. Without them, God is grieved. With them, human action has painted a picture of the Kingdom realized.  

We can be grateful that we live in a nation that gives power to the common people. We must believe we can make a difference, or we will not achieve the equality our founders saw in establishing our union. Whether our political leanings draw us toward the right, the left or the middle is not as critical as a commitment to sharing responsibility for preserving the rights of all people. People of every faith are obligated to look for God at work in the world, and then speak and act as those who believe God can actually influence human history. Like Amos our job is to announce our understanding of God’s word, and vote our conscience. When we have done that, we have been faithful to our obligation to practice responsible freedom. If you voted this year, you did your part. 

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Live Backwards

Rev. Bill Johnson

Cedar Springs United Methodist

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


“If you want to know how to live your life, think about what you would like people to say about you after you die … and live backwards.”

All who routinely use the Internet have grown accustomed to a barrage of unbidden wisdom filling our inboxes. Urbane or not, it is for the most part harmless. Some of it is forwarded to friends and family, while other pieces find their way into the recycle bin. The above anonymous quote surfaced recently, and survived below the radar of “junk mail.” 

A long-ago seminary course comes to mind, called “The Minister and Contemporary Human Life Crises.” We studied a range of common events faced by humans from birth to death. In the section on death and dying we were asked to write our own obituary. I remember how difficult that was, because as a young adult I had not yet dealt with “numbering my days” as the psalmist wisely advised. 

Does the suggestion to think about death bring some discomfort? I know it wouldn’t be on my top ten list of waking thoughts each day. Yet as people with an interest in the religious side of life, who among us doesn’t consider the end of our days, once in a while?  

Christians around the world have recently observed the season of Lent, the season when we especially do the things we say we should do all year. Namely, we practice the spiritual disciplines. Protestants and Roman Catholics consider the rich traditions like prayer and fasting, and we often enter the season of Easter with new religious habits, rituals that help form and reform us. We have learned to say goodbye to some old ways, and have created new or renewed paths toward deeper faith. Some would use the words death and Resurrection to describe this experience. 

In the northern hemisphere the earth emerges from its cold tomb in April (hope springs eternal!) so perhaps this is a good time to consider how we’d like to begin reordering our lives, renewing them to live as we would like people to speak of us when we’re gone? Can we take some moments amid the pounding pace of life? Or, if your pace doesn’t pound quite as much as it used to, carve out some space each day for creating and recreating a connection with God? For some that could mean a new prayer life. Others might practice tithing for a season. Others may find a need in the community that draws attention. Others may atone for some wrong doing, and others may rejoice in a new vision of God’s grace at work. 

The whole point is to die to some old way of being that holds you back from God’s desire for you. Imagine how life can be better! Think about what you would like people to say about you after you die…and live backwards.

It could be the most forward thing you have ever done.

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Robert Edward Townes, age 89, of Cedar Springs, Michigan, passed away Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Green Acres Cedar Springs. He was born May 23, 1928 in Cedar Springs, Michigan, to James and Maxine (Winters) Townes. Bob, as everyone called him, graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1946 and served in the Navy. He held many jobs in his younger days. Some of these included serving under his father as a deputy police officer and driving for Bliss Funeral Home. He was a long-time employee of Michigan Wheel, retiring after 38 years of employment. In 1952, Bob along with his father, James Sr. and Edward Townes, created the Cedar Springs Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club and was a lifetime member. He was also a lifetime member of the Grand Rapids Steelheaders Association. He enjoyed many years of hunting and fishing, especially on Lake Michigan. He will be fondly remembered for his smoked fish. One of the best around! The community of Cedar Springs was very important to him. He spent many years coaching baseball and then could be found on the field or basketball court as an umpire or referee. His biggest commitment to his community was his dedicated service to the Cedar Springs Fire Department, retiring after 51 years of service. He passed this dedication to the Fire Department onto two sons and two grandsons. He loved to be a part of Red Flannel Days and enjoyed his last one on October 7th. There was always a pot of chili made for family and friends. Bob is survived by his devoted and loving companion, Delores Koopman; 7 children Christine Segard (Gordon “Doc” VanOtteren) of Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids, Victoria Cooper of Howard City, James Townes of Cedar Springs, Larry (Elaine) Townes of Six Lakes, Cheryl (Gordon) Pratt of Holland, Susanne (Rodney) Mosher of Cedar Springs, and Paul (Tami) Townes of Cedar Springs; he was blessed with 33 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great-grandchildren, with one on the way; brother James Townes, Jr. of Reed City; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends from Michigan and Florida. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 49 years, Anna (Seaborn) Townes; parents; stepfather, Ed Grossman; sister and her husband; one granddaughter and one great-granddaughter. Bob attended the United Methodist Church in Cedar Springs, where his funeral will be held Thursday at 1:00 p.m. His family met with friends Tuesday 6-8 p.m. and Wednesday 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Pastors Karen Sorden and Michael Shiery officiating. Interment with military honors at Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. He will be greatly missed by his family. His memory will live on through his acts of service and his love of family. The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Spectrum Health Hospice and Green Acres Cedar Springs, especially Sonya Lovell. Memorial contributions may be made to Cedar Springs Fire Department, Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Spectrum Health Hospice or Green Acres Cedar Springs Activity Dept.

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

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Time for Cub Scouts


It is that time again where Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are selling popcorn in our community. You will see boys of all ages trying hard to earn their way to summer camp, which offers a fun and safe environment to learn and grow while developing interests and skills. These boys that are selling, live in our community and take part of everyday events and activities here in Cedar Springs. You may see them cleaning up parks and trails while on a hike, or participating in our Red Flannel parade.  Show your support for our local scouts by visiting a Popcorn booth near you to purchase yummy popcorn or to make a donation.

Boy Scouts of America encourages character building and development centered around good morals, and core values that offers a chance for boys to learn life skills that help them become successful adults and contributing members of society. The local Cub Scout packs focus on these values in all pack activities.

If you are interested in Volunteering for Cub Scouts or signing up you son, kindergarten to fifth grade join us for a Cub Scout sign up night Thursday September 15, at Beach elementary at 6:30pm.

Also Cub Scout Pack 3220 is hosting a Mother/Son Dance at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S Main St.  If you would like to join us for a fun activity to learn more about Cub Scouts please join us Saturday September 17th from 4-7 p.m.The cost is $10 per couple, at the door. This will include a grilled chicken and pasta dinner. We are asking that you RSVP due to limited space. RSVP to email cscubscoutpack3220@gmail.com.


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The missing puzzle piece

CS-United-MethodistPastor Steve Lindeman

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

140 S. Main St.

Cedar Springs, MI  49319


In my reading of the Bible, one of the saddest verses is found at the very beginning. Genesis 3:9, God calls out Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” God has been walking in the garden in the cool of the afternoon. This portion of Holy Scripture is short but teaches so much about the relationships that we have been created for. As I read the text, I envision that there was a time when God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden in community with one another; but humanity had rejected this relationship and we have been hiding from God ever since. Due to the power of sin, it seems we have become unable to live in direct relationship with God, as we had prior to the fall. It is the hope of God’s love that continues to pursue us, and this hope is made available to all of us through the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.

Not long ago, I was listening to an evangelist at a tent revival that my congregation hosted as a part of our church’s sesquicentennial celebration. She used a statement that I have tried to communicate both from the pulpit, as well as in more intimate conversations; we have been created with a God-sized hole in our hearts. There is nothing that can fill that place in our lives except God. My children played with a plastic blocks puzzle when they were young; each had its own unique shape and could only properly fit in the space that it had been designed for. They couldn’t force the wrong block into the wrong hole without either the block or that space being damaged. As people, we try to put all sorts of things into that space in our hearts that’s designed for God (drugs, alcohol, abusive relationships, love of power and riches). We get the same result as the block puzzle—we damage ourselves and our relationships with others. This God-sized hole is of our own construction. God did not decide to be separate from us; God has sought us throughout history and has pursued us so that we might be in right relationship with him again.

Here is the good news for our life puzzles: God has provided a fix for our hearts. The cross of Jesus Christ fits within that hole. We simply have to accept the gift of grace and allow Jesus in. So as you continue on the journey that is your life, remember that God is pursuing each of us—seeking a relationship with us—seeking to restore our hearts and to make us whole.

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Hometown Happenings

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

Register for the Red Flannel Prince & Princess Contest

ATTENTION KINDERGARTEN PARENTS! Register your kindergarten boy or girl for the RED FLANNEL PRINCE AND PRINCESS Contest! Visit www.redflannelfestival.org to download a packet of information, pick one up at Kindergarten Roundup or call the Red Flannel Office at 616-696-2662. All students in the Cedar Springs School District (CTA, Algoma Christian, Home School) are eligible! #33-36p

Resurrection Lutheran Preschool Open House

Aug. 23: Resurrection Lutheran Preschool Open House/Orientation will be held on Tuesday, August 23rd. Any and all families interested in enrolling their 3 or 4 year old in our preschool program for the 2016/17 school year please join us at 7 pm. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have. #33p

Michigan Blood Drive

Aug. 23: Michigan Blood Drive will be held at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church from 12:30 pm-7:00 pm on Tuesday August 23rd. This is your last chance to have a hot dog grilled by one of the ladies from the Cedar Springs Women’s Club. Chips and a drink will also be offered. Last month we collected 35 units of blood which has the potential to benefit 105 people! The Blood Center thanks all the people who attempt to donate. #33

Greenville Garden Club

Aug. 24: On Wednesday, August 24th the Greenville Garden Club meeting at 7 pm will feature speaker Tony Wernette. Tony is a MAEAP technician with the Mecosta County Conservation District, working to help develop and implement economically feasible, effective, environmentally sound pollution prevention practices. Learn the roles that horticulture and agriculture play in our state’s water quality, as well as how gardeners and greenhouse growers can be more conscious of their water use and input management practices. The public is invited. Greenville Area Community Center, 900 E. Kent Rd., Greenville. #33

Annual 2nd Best Sale

Aug. 26,27: Holy Spirit Episcopal Church’s Annual 2nd Best Sale will be Friday, August 26th from 9 am – 4 pm and Saturday, August 27th  from 9 am – 2 pm. There will be a $5 “Early Bird Admission” charge on Friday only from 8-9 am; after 9 am admission is free! The sale is sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) in support of parish activities. We have something for everyone and everything is priced to move! Holy Spirit Episcopal Church is located at 1200 Post Drive NE, Belmont (corner of Post & Pine Island, 1/4 mile west of Exit 95 on US 131). #33

Tent Revival in Morley Park

Aug. 28: Cedar Springs United Methodist Church celebrates 150 years with a Tent Revival in Morley Park at 4 pm on Sunday, August 28th. Jolene DeHeere speaks on being Radically Committed. Music by Deb Eadie. Hotdogs, chips and water to follow. Bring your own chair and a Joyful Heart! Questions call 616-696-1140. #33,34b

Cedar Springs Lions Club’s Canvas & Wine

Sept. 7: The Cedar Springs Lion’s Club will present Canvas and Wine with local artist Andra Lucas. Oh it’s that kind of pARTy! Wednesday, September 7th at 6 pm at Cedar Chase Golf Club, 7551 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs. $50 includes canvas, paint supplies and a glass of wine. $45 for those under 21. Limited seating. RSVP by August 30th. Text or call Brynadette Powell 616-835-2624 or Dawn DeVreugd 616-240-0857 or register online www.ohitsthatkindofparty.com Funds raised from this event will go to Million Penny Mission to purchase equipment for the Cedar Springs Library. #33,34p

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Help stock the Cedar Springs food pantry

Edward Jones is collecting food through November 16

Would you like to have a chance to really make a difference in the community?
Buy a few extra items when you buy groceries this week to donate to the local food pantry and drop them off at our local Edward Jones branch.
The Cedar Springs United Methodist Food pantry, who works in conjunction with North Kent Community Services, feeds hundreds of local families each year. In 2010, they fed 794 families—1,589 adults and 932 children. “We actually saw a rise in single adult households,” noted Mary Ivanov, pastor at Cedar Springs United Methodist.
In the past the food pantry depended on the fall food drive with the local U.S. Post office to help stock their needs. Now that the carriers are based in Rockford, they no longer have the big drive to benefit this pantry, so a local business is stepping in to help restock the shelves.
Edward Jones, 4027 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, hopes to collect 1,250 pounds of food for the pantry before November 17. Non-perishable foods can be dropped off at their office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some of the supplies needed include boxed or canned meals such as soups, hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, rice, pasta, spaghetti sauce; baking and pancake mix; and canned meats. Personal care items such as bar soap, laundry soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and toilet paper will also be accepted, but not weighed.
Call 696-9370 for more information.

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A brush of kindness

By Tom Noreen

On July 10, youth and adults from the Cedar Springs and East Nelson United Methodist Churches headed north on the 300-mile journey to Manistique for a volunteer week with Habitat of Hiawathaland. This is the 7th time the group has worked on a mission project in the UP.

In an effort to help more people, Habitat is expanding its mission from just building and renovating homes for families. Its “Brush of Kindness” program helps provide maintenance. This year the team undercoated and put two coats of paint on Cathy’s home and storage shed plus built a 10×14 ft deck and washed her exterior windows. Next door, we insulated the floor joist cavities for Dustin and his family.

With a crew of 17, we had the house painted in three days so asked for some other projects. One crew cleaned out a Habitat house we had worked on during our first mission trip in the UP. The family had to give up the home, as they were moving out of the area for work. Another group replaced part of the floor in a 14×20 ft cabin that vandals had set on fire. A third group helped with office chores and others built walls to subdivide a room in the Blanchard Volunteer Center for families. The center currently has male and female dorms but no facilities for families. These rooms will be used both for families working and as a place for local families in a crisis. A team also put door and baseboard trim up in the men’s dorm, one bathroom and the new shower facility.

Each year the crew gets an afternoon off to see some of the local attractions. Last year we went on a Pictured Rocks boat tour. Because we were working about 50 miles north and east of Manistique, we went to Oswald’s Bear Ranch andTtahquamenon Falls State Park.

On Thursday, July 14, Habitat held a potluck for the group and the family. Joining us this year were also Tracey and her family and Jody and Jim and children. Two years ago we worked on the renovations of Tracey’s home and last year we painted and did trim work on Jody and Jim’s home. Having them join us is a tribute to the relationships made between the team and the families.

We have already set dates for next year. Mark your calendars for July 15-21.

Representatives from Cedar Springs UMC were Shelby Towers, Lauren Falicki, Ryley Clark, Kelsi Briggs, Tyler Bevier, Josh Champion, Jackie Champion, Aaron Burnside, Jake Potter, Kenny Neville, Dan Davis, Nancy Kidder, Theresa Champion, Jim Champion, and Tom Noreen. Jenny (Hendges) Pavlak and Sabina Nelson joined the group from East Nelson.

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God—the great “give-away-er”

Cedar Springs United Methodist
140 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs
Pastor Mary Ivanov

Last week, I was watching the evening news, and a “good news” story came on.  Though these kinds of stories don’t get a lot of press, I know good news happens everyday. This story was about a man named Loren Krueger who had given away a total of over $3 million dollars to all of the churches and many organizations in his hometown of LeRoy, Minnesota. People were stunned by Krueger’s gift, especially because he seemed very frugal with his money. It was only after his death that people realized how generous he was. His gifts to the community have allowed churches to offer new ministries, the local senior center to thrive, and the community nursing home to make much needed improvements so that they can better care for the residents who live there.
When the news was over, my daughter asked some questions about what this man had done. And then she said, “Wow, he was a great give-away-er!” I wrote down her quote immediately because I’d never heard that expression before.
As I sat thinking about what she said, I realized that she hit on the true spirit of Christmas. Yes, we give gifts out of love and thankfulness, but we also give because our faith rests in a God who is the ultimate Giver of all that is good. God is a great give-away-er!
On Friday and Saturday, many of us will gather in our churches to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I look forward to Christmas Eve services every year. And it’s not just good memories that come back for me; it’s faith memories.  I remember sitting with my family and singing hymns. I remember going out of church and seeing stars on cold, clear nights. I remember the wonder of those moments as a child.
And even though we might know the story (read in Matthew 1: 18-25 and Luke 2: 1-20), every time we gather, the Holy Spirit brings it to our hearts again. Jesus is the One who comes to save us from our sins. Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us!  Jesus is the One the people had waited for—the Messiah.  And, Jesus is the One we have been waiting for!
God is a great give-away-er! God gives us the most precious gift of all—the Son of God who comes to be with us and be one of us so that we might know better what God is like and what God wants us to be like as we live in God’s world.
As you give gifts this year, remember that God is a great give-away-er who offers you a gift that cannot be bought in a store or online. God offers a relationship that brings forgiveness, healing, and hope. As you worship this year, I pray that the story that’s so familiar would sound fresh and new on your ears so that you can claim God’s promises again or for the first time.
And if don’t have a church home or have been away for a while, consider getting back to church or trying it out for the first time. I invite you to worship with us on Christmas Eve at 7:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., join us this Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
We share the love and hope of Jesus Christ!

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A community united in worship

By Judy Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

It was a historic moment in Cedar Springs on Sunday, August 31, when at least eight different churches in the area joined together for a community worship service at Morley Park. “We weren’t Methodist, or Baptist, or Pentecostal, or Christian Reformed, or any other denomination,” explained one worshiper. “We were just Christians, worshiping as a community, and remembering what we all had in common, rather than what separates us.”

“It was awesome,” remarked Pastor Kevin Reed, of Grace Evangelical Free Church. “It was good to see so many people come together. There was a lot of energy. People were excited about worship.”

The event, called United—a community for one! was put on by the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association, with Reed as organizer. He estimated that at least 500 people attended, and maybe more. “I was extremely pleased with the turnout for our first year of doing this,” he noted.
Unseasonably cool temperatures and morning clouds may have kept some people away from the outdoor event, although the weather cleared and the sun came out when the service began. “Nobody prayed harder than I did that the weather would be good,” said Reed with a laugh. He said that next year they might use a tent.
A worship team made up of worship arts pastors and musicians from various churches led the singing. It was followed by messages from a couple of different pastors, and several pastors offered prayer for specific community needs. Churches represented included The Springs Free Methodist, Cedar Springs United Methodist, North Kent Community, Crossfire Ministries, Solon Center Wesleyan, Grace Evangelical Free, Pioneer Christian Reformed, and the Journey. Hillcrest Community joined in activities later in the afternoon.
After the worship service, there was a free picnic, games for kids, and a dunk tank where parishioners could dunk their pastor for a donation. There was more music later in the afternoon.
The offering that was taken raised over $1,000 for the En Gedi Youth Center, and the pastor dunk tank raised $130 for the Alpha Family Center.
Reed said he had nothing but positive feedback from those that attended, and some would like to see it happen more than once a year. But Reed isn’t sure whether that will be possible. “It was a lot of work,” he explained. But they would like to do it again next year, and they hope that sense of community lives on all year long.

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