Guiding Light Opens Fifth Transitional Iron House

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

glm7The new Iron House provides an ongoing supportive community for men breaking free from alcohol and drug addictions. Guiding Light took another leap forward to help men break free from the bonds of alcohol, drug addictions and homelessness.

This is Guiding Light's fifth transitional housing facility at 557 Andover St. SE in Kentwood that it opened, known as the Iron House.

Guiding Light purchased the home for $250,000.

The ministry now has the capacity to house 35 men at one time.

Summer Concerts Winding Down on an Up Note

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

WaterfrontST Building2View from behind the stage: Building 429 performing July 28 at Worship on the Waterfront in Grand Haven Time is running out to get in on West Michigan's summertime inspirational concert opportunities, many of which come in lovely outdoor settings and are presented on a free-will offering basis.

In terms of weekly events, perhaps the one with the consistently highest attendance is Worship on the Waterfront (WOW) in the newly-remodeled Lynn Sherwood Waterfront Stadium in downtown Grand Haven. Thousands gather each Sunday night for a diverse schedule of Christian music artists.

"We've had a beautiful summer down on the waterfront and attendance has been amazing," said coordinator Kathleen Bobeldyk of their seasonal outreach. The setting has been enhanced: a terraced area in the rear portion of the venue has replaced the former bleacher sections. There are no on-site chairs or benches so fans bring their own seating.

Park Setting Inspires Worship

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

church in park signA sign welcomes Sunday worshipers to Wedgewood Park A Grandville church is keeping a summer tradition it helped begin nearly 30 years ago.

Grandville United Methodist Church offers "Church in the Park" each Sunday, an informal worship service in the outdoor beauty of nearby Wedgwood Park on Wilson Ave. SW.

"I've been to church in the park since it started," said church member Nancy Kitchen, who often serves as a liturgist at the 8:30am service. "I like being outdoors in the summer, and I like the early start, too."

The gathering consistently draws between 40 and 70 worshipers, most of whom bring their own lawn chairs or blankets for the 45-minute service. That number has held true this summer, even through a series of guest leaders in place of the church's on-sabbatical pastor Ryan Weiland. He has now returned.

Climb a Mountain to Help People You Don’t Know? Definitely, Affirms Wyoming Resident Courtney Lanting

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Courtney LantingCourtney Lanting: “Helping people is all that matters. There are a number of ways to raise money for worthy causes. Wyoming resident Courtney Lanting decided she would climb a mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro in northeastern Tanzania to be exact. At 19,340-feet high, it's the world's 7th highest mountain.

Lanting, 29, scaled the inactive volcano in early August to financially support Carol Springs, Ill.-based Growing Hope Globally's ongoing agricultural training for struggling farmers in Kenya, Africa. She was joined by a small cadre of climbers.

Unity Undergirds Blessing of the Students

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

prayer778Veruynca Williams: “(BOTS) is a celebration of their incoming school year.” Unity in Christ will take center stage Aug.18 when Christians from an assortment of denominations gather for the annual Blessing of the Students (BOTS).

Now in its 26th year, BOTS is a confluence of students of all ages, clergy, school administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, community leaders, elected officials, bus drives and whoever else may come, to join in the unity of prayer, said Veruynca Williams, who founded BOTS.

Live music, dance and encouraging words are also in the mix.

Prolific Children’s Author Debuts New Book to Celebrate Baby

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

Wonder Cove High ResGlenys Nellist, author of the Love Letters from God and Snuggle Time series for children, debuts her newest picture book written specially to celebrate the birth of a new baby. "The Wonder That Is You" releases by Zondervan later this month, with Nellist marking the release with several local events.

"I remembered the experience of having my first son, Steven, back in England in 1984. I was overwhelmed but also full of joy," she said. "I went to sleep with Steven in the cot by my bed, and had a dream that I was flying through air in the dark. I flew to the top of a roof and sat there swinging my feet with joy. The moon and stars were twinkling and full of joy too. I felt as if all creation rejoiced with me."

Band Reboot Renews Faith-Filled Mission

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Sanctus Real  standingSanctus Real (from left): Dustin Lolli, Chris Rohman, Mark Gaarlman The very future of Sanctus Real was in question.

The veteran Christian pop-rock band faced a mountain of uncertainty in 2015 when co-founder, lead singer and chief songwriter Matt Hammitt announced he was leaving the group.

"We had seen it coming, but we really didn't talk about it," recalled drummer Mark Graalman during a recent interview. "For myself, I just assumed it would all be done. Matt was such a major part and the signature of the band," he said of the group's history from its mid 1990s start.

But now it's 2019 and Sanctus Real is very much alive. The band has built on its previous catalog, releasing its second full album with new lead singer Dustin Lolli.
The revamped group visits Michigan several times in the coming days- July 27 at a one-day festival in Leonidas and Aug. 9 at the Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon

DcTalk Reunion Tour Coming Into View?

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

dc talk on cruisedcTalk today (l. to r.) Michael Tait, TobyMac, Kevin Max TobyMac has remained consistent through the years when talking about his former Christian music group dcTalk. An eventual reunion was always in the back of his mind.

"It's not a matter of 'if,'" Toby would say each time this reporter asked him about getting back together.

"It's just a matter of 'when.'"

The trio of artists – Toby McKeehan, Kevin Max and Michael Tait – had a terrific run through the decade of the 1990s: Four Grammy Awards, more than a dozen Dove Awards, and sales of more than 7 million albums.

Upcoming Widows’ Retreat Designed to Equip, Educate and Inspire

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Susan VandePol No. 1-1Susan VandePol: “Widows find out they have a calling.” When area widows gather in October for a retreat at the Maranatha Conference Grounds in Muskegon, Susan VandePol will be there to encourage them to embrace a new path in their lives.

"They can expect to be equipped, educated and inspired by their biblical calling," said VandePol, whose husband of 22 years, Los Angeles firefighter Bob Ortega, died in 2005.

Finding their calling

"I start Friday night and close the weekend on Sunday morning on what God's Word says about widows and their place," said VandePol. "Their (widows) stories are so painful to hear but when widows find out they have a calling and take that protocol to their church. They grab onto that."

Since her husband's duty-related death, VandePol is helping families whose first-responder family members died cope with their loss.

Manna Report

Written by WMCN Editor on . Posted in Local

ad2Summertime is often a time to kick back and relax, and things sometimes slow down a bit. But, this is not the case for Manna Media this summer!

Someone recently approached us and said, "Every time I turn on my computer, I see your ads." What an encouragement that was to us, and just a confirmation that our digital media campaign is working.

We are sending out our newsletter a little earlier than usual because the news is just too good not to share. Our Manna Media digital campaign launched on May 7, 2019, and today we are excited to report that our ads have appeared on over one million devices. And that means that over one million people have had an opportunity to be confronted with the gospel.

The DOCK Clothes Middle, High School Students with Christ’s DNA

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1-3dockSteve Roobol: “We show them the love of Christ by sharing the love of Christ.” Alexander "Xander" Szocinski became entwined with the tendrils of friends and fun when he started hanging out in his sophomore year at The DOCK, a year-round ministry at 4669 S. Division Ave. in Wyoming that's across from Kelloggsville Middle School.

"They have just about any board game you can think of," said Szocinski, a 2016 graduate of Kelloggsville High School. "Uno; that's the one I played the most with friends."

Szocinski stayed involved with The DOCK after high school, volunteering for a year where he says it helped him hone a work ethic. He also ran The DOCK's candy store for a time.

"Yeah, I was the candy man, that's basically what they called me," said Szocinski, who's a dishwasher/busser at a Mr. Burger Restaurant in Wyoming. "I had kids daily ask, 'When are you going to open it?'"

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