WMCN News Briefs 6/26

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbCalvin, Kuyper, plan for reopening in fall

Calvin University and Kuyper College are among the local Christian Reformed Church in North America-affiliated institutions that plan to welcome students back to campus this fall. Both educational institutions suspended allowing in-person classes and their campuses when the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping across North America in March.

Calvin University has partnered with the health-care testing company Helix Diagnostics giving Calvin access to 5,000 tests, thus ensuring faculty, staff, and students will be tested and screened for COVID-19. This ensures anyone who tests positive will receive proper care before integrating with others on campus.

Faith and Arts Still Connecting at Calvin U.

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Jack Droppers and the Best IntentionsJack Droppers (2nd from left) & the Best IntentionsJack Droppers knows music from all the angles – backstage, on-stage and audience.

So the Grand Rapids native is a natural as he settles into his new role as executive director of the Calvin University Student Activities Office (SAO).

"I heard from a friend about the potential of this job being open," said Droppers, 30, from his home on the city's southeast side. "He told me: 'You need to apply for this.'"

Calvin's SAO organization books music artists and films for the campus, with input from an advisory board. Most of the events are open to the wider community.

A Graveyard for Churches? Hardly. Redemption Church in Grand Rapids is Where People Meet Jesus

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 21Redemption Church Grand Rapids is at 1535 Cambridge Dr. SE.Why launch another church?

That's a question the pastors and elders from Redemption Church in Grandville heard over again when they were mulling the prospect of opening a house of worship in Southeast Grand Rapids.

Actually, some of the comments were downright bleak when area ministers learned the location of its Grand Rapids church plant.

Stars Heading to Town to Film Mel Trotter Story

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

Dennis-Van-Kampen-Mel-Trotter-CEO-PresidentDennis Van KampenGrand Rapids will soon host well-known film and television star Dean Cain to bring to life the mission and vision of Mel Trotter Ministries, celebrating its 120th year.

Scheduled to film in late June, "One Life at a Time" chronicles the journey of a modern, privileged young man who gets into trouble and as part of his sentence must work at Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM). Flashbacks reveal the story of the real Mel Trotter, an alcoholic petty criminal who decided to, in the winter of 1898, take a train to Chicago, get drunk, and throw himself off a pier.

WMCN Briefs 6/11

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbGrand Rapids ministers decry racism

The Grand Rapids Association of Pastors (G-RAP), a coalition of pastors committed to work towards unity, reconciliation and justice, held a press conference June 4 on the front steps of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 510 Franklin St. SE, to decry the murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.

"The pain of our community is on display — a pain rooted in the sin of racism," said Dr. Timothy Harris of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. "As ministers, we believe it is the work of the church to pursue justice in the midst of this pain, and we plan to do this work together, across the lines that have divided us."

Pastors from across the denominational, racial, and economic spectrum spoke at the news conference.

A number of Grand Rapids pastors also took part in a peaceful protest on May 30, praying, providing security and adding their voices to the cries for justice. Others took part in the clean up of downtown on May 31.

Grant enables MTM to offer telehealth services

Mel Trotter Ministries has been awarded a grant for an undisclosed amount by the Saint Mary's Foundation that will enable the nonprofit to offer telehealth services to the homeless. The funds make it possible for guests that stay at Mel Trotter to receive accessible medical care onsite by removing barriers that hinder them from receiving care. Services will be billed through insurance and those without insurance will be guided to resources in the community to receive health insurance.

The COVID-19 pandemic made the lack of proper medical care among the homeless population more clear. Implementing telehealth seemed like the right move, but with so many resources going towards COVID-19 response efforts, MTM turned to the Saint Mary's Foundation for assistance.

"We know now more than ever that medical services are being provided in a different way and many providers have moved to seeing patients through telehealth," says Adrienne Goodstal, vice president of community engagement and advocacy. "Those experiencing homelessness might not have the ability to engage with their doctors in this manner due to a lack of technology, understanding how telehealth works and the lack of privacy to conduct a telehealth appointment. Bringing this service onsite is going to allow our guests an opportunity to either become reengaged with their healthcare provider or get connected to a new provider."

Guests at Mel Trotter Ministries can start seeing doctors through telehealth starting June 16. Staff and volunteers at Mel Trotter will assist guests in scheduling their appointments. Appointments can be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will be held in the medical exam rooms.

Guiding Light maintains Platinum Seal of Transparency

Guiding Light has again been awarded a Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar, the world's largest source of information on U.S. nonprofits.

Nonprofits ranked by GuideStar can qualify for any one of four designations. Of the nearly two million nonprofits the organization tracks nationally, approximately 10,000 are rated Platinum, which is the highest level bestowed by GuideStar. It is shared by less than two dozen of the more than 2,300 nonprofits GuideStar tracks in the greater Grand Rapids area.

"GuideStar is a highly respected organization for measuring and interpreting nonprofits' progress," said Stuart P. Ray, executive director at Guiding Light. "The organization's decision to continue to recognize our commitment to accountability and transparency with Platinum status is an honor."

In the greater Grand Rapids area, Guiding Light joins 19 other organizations in earning Platinum status, including Acton Institute, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Junior Achievement of the Great Lakes, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Civic Theater and a few others.

Founded more than 90 years ago, Guiding Light works to engage God's spirit in partnering with individuals to fulfill their God-given potential through rescue, recovery and re-engagement in the community.

Episcopal churches raise over $200,000 for Michigan food banks

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan will award $220,000 to Michigan food banks to help them respond to the growing need for access to food caused by the COVID-19 virus. Inspired by their desire to help feed the millions of Michiganders who now must rely on food pantries, hundreds of Episcopalians throughout Michigan helped the diocese exceed its initial goal to raise $200,000. Just over a month after the Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry was consecrated as the 11th bishop, the coronavirus began spreading and Michigan became a national hot spot.

Moved by reports of historically high demand at local food pantries and soup kitchens, Perry called on the people of the diocese of Michigan to respond by putting their faith into action. The diocese combined money from a fund established in 1940 to assist people with tuberculosis, with gifts from All Saints' Episcopal Church in Pontiac and Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills to create a $100,000 fund, and challenged people in the 76 congregations throughout the diocese to match it.

Wedgwood Christian Services Traces 60-year Heritage

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 1 Jean  Jim BoelkinsJim Boelkins with his mother, Jean, who co-founded Wedgwood Christian Services when it was known as The Christian Home for Boys.Wedgwood Christian Services (WCS) is celebrating its 60th anniversary thanks to two women who firmly believed there was a better way to reform boys who were placed in the juvenile detention system.

LaGrave Christian Reformed Church members Jean Boelkins and Dorothy Huizenga decided in 1960 to launch The Christian Home for Boys, and make it a place that would provide grace-filled care and hope.

"They asked their pastor, Jacob Eppinga, to tour this facility and find out what it looks like it in," says Vivian TerMaat, WCS's chief advancement officer "He went there and he couldn't sleep for two nights. 'It was miserable,' was his words. Jean and Dorothy said, 'Let's come up with something better and staff it ourselves and have a healthy home life and teach them basic skills to succeed in life and talk about their faith.

Terry’s Picks for June 2020

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

EVENTSThis is the monthly column in which I offer three "picks" from inspirational concerts, arts, or other enrichment opportunities happening through the month.

As you know, the last few months have been challenging in tracking a revolving landscape of cancelled, postponed, rescheduled, or re-rescheduled events: The calendar has been a rolling wave of various COVID-19 related announcements.

Here's the latest at press time for a sense of what June is bringing...... and a touch of beyond:

Our Daily Bread Debuts Podcast for Christian Women

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

God HearsHerPodcastGod Hears Her, a new podcast from Our Daily Bread Ministries, offers Christian women a place to connect and explore the truth that God hears, loves, and sees them. Hosted by Elisa Morgan, former president of MOPS International and cohost of the radio program Discover the Word, and Eryn Eddy, founder of the lifestyle clothing brand So Worth Loving, God Hears Her debuted May 11.

The first season includes 12 episodes released each Monday on all podcast platforms including Google Play, Spotify, and iTunes, as well as via the website www.godhearsher.org. Each episode runs about 30 minutes and features personal stories from the cohosts and occasional guests. Season one will include guest appearances by Christian thought leaders Margaret Feinberg and Philip Yancey.

Unity Festival Rescheduled for Next Year

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

UnityLogoSeveral factors combined to lead officials to call off the 2020 Unity Christian Music Festival.

"It became clear that we were not going to be out of the woods with all the social restrictions anywhere close to festival time," said Unity director Kevin Newton of the four-day Muskegon event originally planned for August.

"The reality is there's no way we could do an event like Unity this summer."

Newton had hoped to wait until June to make a final decision. But to delay making that call would tie up vendors, suppliers, technicians and others who would quickly need to find other options.

WMCN Briefs

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbEditor's note: Manna Media/West Michigan Christian News introduces a new feature to its website that will report topical information related to the regional Christian community.

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