Growing in Christ, Sharing His Love

March 2019 Calvin Caller

Life Groups 

I love the community we are becoming as a church!  God has called us together in this church to carry each other’s burdens, encourage each other in the faith, and to grow together in our knowledge and understanding of God and his calling in our lives.  We are a family and community of believers.  There are many ways that this already takes place: worship, fellowship, small groups, youth ministry, SERVE,Friendship, Adult Bible Study, Hearts & Hands (and many more).  In April, we will be introducing another way that we can intentionally grow in, be encouraged in, and live out our faith.
Life Groups are groups that will meet once a week for six weeks.  We will have a variety of groups meeting for the same six-week period, although each group will meet at different times during that six week period. A group may go out and serve in the community each week, or they may meet at church or even a restaurant. Each Life Group will have a different focus. Groups we are currently working on include: Faith 101 (understanding the basics), service group (local service projects), creation care group, pub theology, and a racial reconciliation group. We are hoping to add 2-3 more groups to this list.
Groups will be limited to 15 participants.  We will have descriptions of the groups and sign-up sheets at church.  While six weeks in a row is intense, it is only six weeks long. This is not a long-term commitment. It is also our hope that these groups bring people together in our church in new ways so that we can better know each other, learn more about our common faith, encourage and love each other, and maybe this could be an avenue for inviting someone new to a church event. A few verses that come to mind are found in Hebrews 10:24-25 which says“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Life Groups are not meant to replace small groups, they are meant to bring us together in new ways.  We are doing a trial run this spring and hope to do these groups twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.  We would love for you to participate!  Sign-ups will be out in a few weeks, groups will start the week of April 7th.  If you have an idea for a group and would like to lead one, see Brian or Pastor Mark. Please also see us if you have questions.  

~ Brian Kingshott

Reflections from the Front Pew

Together… worship, in sharing faith, in serving, in community.
Calvin Church fits these words perfectly. We worship our God together, we share our faith stories and struggles, we serve together, and we take care of each other.
As a staff, we are always striving to find ways to “do church” better here at Calvin; for our families, for our young people, for those who struggle, or for those who are on the fringes of our church community. How can we reach out to and support our Calvin community?
Pastor Mark is sharing one new idea in his Caller article: about the creation of Life Groups. Be sure to read all about this new opportunity to learn and connect which will begin in April.
Also,beginning in March, we will focus together as a church on a Family Verse of the Month. Monthly we will use a designated verse in some way during worship, while our children will be learning this same verse during their Children & Worship time. Our hope is that this verse will go home with you,and be in your heart and mind during each month.
For March, our verse is this passage from Romans: What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:31-32 
       ~ Joni Wagenmaker, Director of Worship & Music 


Children's Ministries News
Waiting…is a hard thing to do.  As we enter into the season of Lent we anticipate and wait to Celebrate the Good News of Easter.  Lent is a solemn and expectant time as were member the sacrifice Jesus made in giving his life for all humanity. Lent is observed as the six weeks before Good Friday.  With that in mind, I want to share a couple ways we can observe Lent as a family. One of my favorite ways is to get out some good books.  Our family will be reading “The Parable of the Lily”, “The Jesus Storybook Bible” and “One Spring Lamb”.  Lent can also be a time to grow something as a family.  Giving parents the opportunity to explain how something wonderful can grow from something dead or ugly.  Waiting, anticipating and watching for the new growth is a fun opportunity to talk about the anticipation we have for Easter too!  There are lots of spring bulbs and seeds in stores already.  For a very inexpensive growing activity you can grow grass seeds in old egg cartons.  My kids love any sort of countdown, it is so fun to watch their anticipation build as the countdown gets smaller and smaller!  We will be making a prayer chain by writing a person or situation on each of the 40 strips of paper, then assembling them into a paper chain.  We will be removing one link per day and praying for that situation/person with the kids.  My hope is that you and your family find a way to slow down and reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us, and at the same time, giving the kids a greater understanding of why we celebrate this season. 
Upcoming Events:  March 6, Family Game night 6-8pm.  Everyone is welcome to join us for dinner and games. 
        ~ Courtney Kingshott, Director of Children’s Ministries 


Hearts & Hands
God has given you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another.   1 Peter 4:10 NLT
Thank you for your help in filling the Valentine bags with so many goodies.  They were such a blessing for our Special Friends.  We cannot say enough times how much we appreciate you, our church family, for your generous support of all of our projects!
This month a donation from the Pickleball Fund was approved for the "Be a Blessing" GEMS project.  They are making "Cuddle Up with a Good Book" bags which will include stuffed animals, blankets, and books to be given to students at Campbell School.  They plan to use the money to buy fabric for the blankets.
Sacred Suds currently has a need for food donations which will be used to provide emergency help to their neighborhood families.  Hearts and Hands plans to hold a food donation collection in the near future.
Do you ever think about visiting someone in a nursing home or assisted living center, but can't seem to get around to it?  How about an impromptu visit when you have an errand in the neighborhood or happen to be passing by?  You can make it a special day for someone with just a brief visit and a smile J.
Our next meeting will beheld on March 11, 2019 at 1:00 the Fireside Room.  We meet on the 2nd Monday of the month. Please come and join us for the meeting, fellowship and dessert!
        ~ Antje Waldo 


Finance Team…
Recently as a congregation, we voted on a budget that was much greater than our past budgets have been and we approved a remodeling project for our nursery.  In approving the budget and the nursery, I believe that we are being open to God’s leading for Calvin Church.  In my devotions recently, I was reminded that many times my caution to step out in faith causes me to miss wonderful opportunities.  Many times I say to God, “No,I’m not prepared to do that today”.  I believe God is inviting us as a church to follow Him in ministry in new directions.  We have said “Yes” with our voting for these two items.  Now we have to say “Yes” with our tithes to keep our church on solid financial ground and also with our time to staff the nursery each week with additional volunteers.
          ~ KathyJansen, Chair of Finance 


Prayer Corner
Prayer is not getting things from God… prayer is getting into perfect communion with God: I tell Him what I know He knows, in order that I may get to know it as He does.  –Oswald Charmbers 

 Deacon’s Corner
As our church has been growing, you may have noticed a lot of new faces around. There are likely others who you've seen on Sunday (maybe for quite some time!)that you don't know well, and would like to strike up a conversation with!  Or it's possible you don't know your District Elder or Deacon well, and would like to get to know him/her better! 
To help facilitate this, we have organized "District Dinners"!  These dinners will be organized potluck style,with the people in your District.  If you're not sure who that is,Districts are organized by last name, and are listed on the back of the bulletin, and below.  We are hoping that by doing this, you can get to spend time with others that you may not have in the past, and get to know your District Elder and Deacon better.
We are doing two districts at a time, after church in the Family Life Center; dates are listed below.  Prior to your District date, we will have sign-ups for what to bring, such as a main dish, dessert,etc.  We look forward to food and fellowship with everyone!  Please let your Elder or Deacon know if you have questions.
April 14th – Districts A-B, W-Z                         
May 19th – Districts R-T, U-V
September 22nd – Districts C-F, M-Q                       
October 20th – Districts G-H, I-L
         ~ Meredith Best, Deacon 


AED/CPR Training
We will be hosting a short training session on Tuesday, March 12th run by the Norton Shores Fire Department.  It will be held in between Pickleball classes, from 12:00 – 12:45 pm.  If you would like to participate, please call Maryann Wolffis at 616-842-2331. 

  Among Ourselves
Anniversaries:  Our best wishes to the following couples who are celebrating their anniversaries this month (50+ years together)…
   Len & Shirley Fisher celebrating 55 years on March 20.
Birthdays:  The following people are celebrating their birthdays this month…        
   Mar 3 –Jan Bush                       Mar 20 – Maryann Wolffis
   Mar 3– Emerson VerMerris       Mar 20 – Aaron Rop                         
   Mar 4– Anna Wagenmaker       Mar22 – Diane Kamp
   Mar 4– Peter Wynbelt               Mar 23– John Mogdis
   Mar 5– Joshua Thayer              Mar 23 – Barb Bartkowiak
   Mar 6 – Howard Allen               Mar 23 – Bari Honick
   Mar 6– Shannon Whitlow          Mar 24 – Barry Searles     
   Mar 6 – Rebekah Thayer          Mar 26 – Tracie Wolffis        
   Mar 7 – Bill Wolffis                    Mar 28 – Bob Datema
   Mar 10 – Jeremy Sova              Mar 29 – Dick Kraft
   Mar 11 – Andrew Rop                Mar 29 – Debbie Strohm
   Mar 14 – Ruth Zylstra                Mar 29 – Parker Sneller
   Mar 16 – Eleanor Kingshott       Mar 30 – Kristi Wickerink
   Mar 17 – Jan Weiden                 Mar 30 – Linda Gould
   Mar 17 – Tim Searles                 Mar 30 – Dan Meyers
   Mar 18– Benjamin Datema 

      Directory Info                   
Reminders...  The 2019 Church Directory (not pictorial) will be published soon.  It will be delayed this year due to the implementing of a new data system, which is set to start soon.  Sorry for the inconvenience. The Online Church Directory is going well.  It’s pretty awesome!  You can call or email members right from the app or site.  Call the office if you’re having difficulties setting it up on your device. 

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