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Tag Archive | "Solon Center Wesleyan"

Great Expectations


By Rev. Tom Holloway, Senior pastor
Solon Center Wesleyan Church
15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs
(just north of 19 Mile)

Do you have any expectations for the Christmas season this year? Does your family have any traditions at Christmas? Many people use the day after Thanksgiving for the tradition of rising early and battling the other shoppers at the big box stores for the hopes of a new TV, I-Pad 2, or some other electronic gadget at a bargain basement price.  I have to admit to doing some shopping on “Black Friday” this year, and though I didn’t get up early and wait in lines at 3:00 a.m., I must admit I have done it in the past and I really like watching that TV!
Our family has some other traditions that we like to do every Christmas, and one of them includes going out to a local tree farm and cutting down our Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Some times when we do this the weather is warm, and sometimes it’s cold, and when we’re lucky there is snow on the ground. This year it was both unseasonably warm and dry. It didn’t start raining until after we had gotten the tree loaded up on top of the minivan, and got on the road. But now it’s up, lit, and decorated, and it looks awesome!
These are the traditions, and the expectations that are a joy to me. I must admit that I have a certain level of expectation when it comes to the Christmas season, and when all of my expectations are met life is good. However, I have found that often times my expectations go unmet. Sometimes life just gets in the way, and what I would expect and anticipate doesn’t always happen. I, like you, have had Christmas seasons that I would like to forget. Losing a loved one close to Christmas can make the season that I love the most very difficult. Unfortunately, I have lost two grandparents very close to Christmas, and those years were not filled with joy, but rather sorrow.
When we read the Christmas story from Luke, we meet some characters in the Bible.  One of them is Jesus’ mother, Mary. Mary has some expectations in her life. She is engaged to a man named Joseph. Joseph is from the family line of King David, the most powerful King in Israel’s history. The Messiah would come from this family line, and when Mary gets a visit from the angel Gabriel, she finds out that her expectations are about to change.
28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
When met with some unexpected news, Mary reacts in a way that many of us would, she is “greatly troubled.” Wouldn’t we all be? When we find out that our lives are going to change, and that our expectations are going to be altered, we are usually greatly troubled. It happens when we lose a job; when we receive bad news about an illness; when we lose a loved one; when we are downsized, etc. Life can throw us some real curveballs.
Gabriel gives Mary the best news though, because he tells her that God is with her. Life is going to change for Mary and Joseph; it will be difficult to deal with the news of this miraculous birth, because people will question the validity of it. People will question Mary’s character. Joseph will have to be brave.  Life is going to change and be more difficult, but even through it all, God will be with them.
So you might have some unexpected news this Christmas, and life may get altered. Life might throw you a curveball you didn’t see coming. But Jesus is there for you, and He’s not in the manger—He is with you to walk you through life’s difficulties. Expect and anticipate great things this Christmas season. As the angel tells Joseph, “Immanuel” means God with us!

Posted in From the PulpitComments (1)

Thank You


Thank you Solon Center Wesleyan Church, Pastor Tom Holloway, the committee members and all those who helped make our celebration of ministry such a great success and such a God-honoring day.  We would also like to thank the community for their love and support throughout these past 12 years.

Pastor Doug, Rhonda,
Stephen & Joshua DiBell

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Solon Center says Farewell to Pastor of 12 Years


Solon Center Wesleyan Church would like to celebrate God’s love, mercy and grace in a celebration of Pastor Doug DiBell’s ministry at a special service on June 26th @ 10 AM with an Open House following from Noon-3 PM.  Anyone touched by Pastor Doug’s life and ministry is invited to attend this special occasion.  A card basket will be available for anyone wishing to offer a personal note of thanks, encouragement, or a monetary gift.

A Tribute

Little did the young pastor, his wife and 2 baby boys realize what was to come when they arrived in Cedar Springs some 12 years ago.  They were welcomed by a small congregation that met in a very traditional country church building that dated back to 1901.  In June of 1999, Pastor Doug DiBell, his wife Rhonda and two young sons, Stephen and Joshua came to Solon Center Wesleyan Church.  Their family roots both began in small towns in Wisconsin so they felt right at home in this little corner of Cedar Springs.
Pastor Doug received his education at Indiana Wesleyan University and worked in youth ministries in 3 churches in Indiana.  He was ordained in the Wesleyan Church in 1993 and served in 4 churches as senior pastor before coming to Cedar Springs.  Rhonda shared her gift of organization and her talent for singing while supporting her husband’s ministry and caring for Stephen and Joshua.
At Solon Center they began their work not just in ministry, but in carpentry as they both pitched in to make improvements to the parsonage in order to make it a pleasant fit for their family.  Pastor Doug did not hesitate to step into the community and serve in any area his gifts were needed.  He became Chaplain for the Solon Township Fire Department and was on scene as his schedule allowed bringing comfort to those who found themselves in devastating circumstances.  He worked for both Bliss-Witters and Pederson Funeral Homes, assisting where he could in and around his work for the church.
As his contacts grew in the community so did the church.  Pastor Doug did not hesitate to begin a conversation with anyone he might come across.  His outgoing personality and genuine demeanor would immediately put you at ease and the words would begin to pour from your lips without reserve.  Before you knew it, you had made a new friend who made you feel right at home.
Beginning in the first years of his ministry at SCWC, visitors flowed through the doors week after week.  It was a thrilling time for congregates to see this man of God share his faith and bring others to Christ.  It was contagious and soon the little building was bursting at the seams.
As the church grew, it was evident that a new building would be needed to accommodate those in attendance.  His creative and selfless ideas helped the church to raise the needed funds to accomplish a dream of a new, spacious facility.  He took pies in the face and went as far as allowing his head to be shaved for the endeavor.  By the summer of 2001, the ground behind the little church building was broken to make way for the existing 12,000 sq. ft. all purpose style building.  After months of guiding a committee through the monumental process, the congregation took possession of the building in December of 2002.
New growth is often accompanied by change, which brings its own challenges.  This little country church began a move into a new generation of music.  Where traditional hymns had once filled the little sanctuary, worship choruses began to take root and praises rang through the foyer.  The need for a youth & worship pastor came in the form of Pastor Tom Holloway who brought with him guitars, drums, congas, and tambourines and now a myriad of joyful music could be heard during the worship time.  You could always find Pastor Doug at the front of the sanctuary, arms spread wide, singing praises to his Lord and Savior with a love that was unmistakable.
At times, rather than take an increase in pay, Pastor Doug would find other ways to support his family rather than increase the financial burden on the church.  In 2006 he gained employment with Marketplace chaplains.  His assignment was to offer his friendship and spiritual support to the employees on 3rd shift at Gordon Foods Service.   Forfeiting much needed sleep, twice a week he made the trek to southern Grand Rapids where he made many friendships, counseled many souls, and shared something beyond himself.
During his 12 years of service, he has performed 82 weddings, 58 funerals, 127 baptisms, countless baby dedications, and brought numerous people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Many others have been introduced to his best friend, Jesus Christ, by virtue of a simple conversation.
For the North Michigan District of the Wesleyan Church, Pastor Doug also served on the District Finance committee and as the treasurer of the Churchill Ministerial Endowment Fund; a fund offering financial support for education & continuing education of pastors.
In the high calling of God’s work, those called into His service take on a responsibility for those who pass through the front doors of the church.  This means a pastor is available to meet the needs of many at any given time.  It calls for home and hospital visits, phone calls at any hour, a listening ear and wise counsel, endless prayer requests, and a compassionate heart.  Beyond the people, there is the overseeing of the building, the finances, church leadership, maintaining a vision for the church, and writing a new sermon for every Sunday.  It takes a special individual to accept a call into ministry and Pastor Doug has followed God’s direction for his life with obedience and determination.  God is now taking Pastor Doug in a new direction.  In February, he announced his resignation from Solon Center Wesleyan Church, feeling that God was ready to grow this church under new leadership.   He will be moving his family closer to his home town in Wisconsin to take on new challenges in ministry.
Solon Center Wesleyan Church has been blessed beyond measure through the twelve years of ministry of Pastor Doug and his family.  His resignation brings sorrow to many, though his decision to move where God will take him is respected and honored.  Psalm 78:72 so accurately describes Pastor Doug’s ministry, “God presented David to His people as their shepherd, and he cared for them with a true heart and skillful hands.”  Our shepherd has passed his crook, but his leadership will live in our hearts forever.
The writers of this article wish to convey this message on behalf of the congregation at SCWC:
Pastor Doug, we love you and thank you for your devotion and rock solid commitment to the Lord’s work.  You have shepherded God’s people in Cedar Springs and the surrounding communities with a true heart and skillful hands.  We salute your life, your service to God’s kingdom, your ministry to God’s church and your exuberant love, joy and encouragement to all God’s people.  Thank you, Doug, we love you.

Posted in Church ConnectionComments (2)

Leaving a legacy


Church receives founding minister’s Bible

The congregation of the Solon Center Wesleyan Church, on Algoma at 19 Mile Rd, received a very special gift last Sunday, August 22, when the great-granddaughter of their very first minister presented Pastor Douglas DiBell with the very Bible used by Rev. Edwin Potter, the church’s founding minister.

Church historian Kathy Mabie had been researching the church’s history, and that of Rev. Potter, when she received a surprise email from Jayne LeClaire, Potter’s great-granddaughter, who lived in New York. She had Rev. Potter’s Bible that she wanted to give to the church, and to Mabie’s surprise, the Bible was a treasure trove of information about the founding of the church. Pasted in the front of the Bible was an article outlining the church history in a letter he wrote to the Michigan conference.

Mabie told the story last Sunday of Rev. Potter’s work and his sudden death, which happened as he was literally in the pulpit one February day in 1884.  On hand last Sunday for the special service was Jayne LeClaire, her son in law, 2 daughters and 3 granddaughters, all from New York, to participate in the occasion.  Not only did they present the Bible, but they also gave as mementos some mother of pearl buttons from the vest Rev. Potter wore on the very day he died.

Those who would like to hear the interesting story of the Solon charge can go the church’s website at soloncenterwesleyanchurch.org, and scroll down and click on “Hear Us Online,” and then click o “Leaving a legacy.”

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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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