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Calvin Caller - November/December 2021 

Prayer Team Goals…

The Prayer Team at Calvin Church is attempting to rejuvenate and encourage a stronger prayer life in our congregation with the following goals... 

 One goal is by reconnecting adults and grade school, middle school, high school students with a Prayer Partner.  We will be signing up children and adults for our Prayer Partner Ministry in the narthex after worship on Sunday, November 14 & 21.  Please sign up to pray for a child and/or sign up your student to be prayed for.  If you are already a Prayer Partner (adult or student) there is no need to sign up, nothing will change for you.

Another goal is to strengthen our Prayer Chain.  If you are not on the Prayer Chain and would like to be, please contact Vickie with your email address and/or join our Facebook group “Calvin CRC – Muskegon”.  This is now done by email and Facebook only.  

This next goal is brand new to Calvin.  We are starting “Focused Prayer” requests.  These will appear in the bulletin each week.  You will be asked to pray for this request all week.  It could be a local, national, or international need.  If you have suggestions for the Focused Prayer, please let Doug LaFayette, Sherry Wilson, Karen Swords, Myrna Johnson or myself know.  We would appreciate any prayer ideas you may have for the congregation. 

Also, remember the Prayer Group meets at 9:40 AM each Sunday before worship and EVERYONE is invited. 

Prayer itself should never be complicated.  Whether you pray using the acronym ACTS, meaning first Adoration, then Confession, next Thanksgiving and lastly Supplication (this may seem too structured for some).  Or you may choose to pray simple one sentence petitions throughout the day.  Either way works!  The important thing is that you stay connected to God, your Creator.  Some people ignore Him and don’t think He listens or cares about their needs.  To fail to pray is to ignore a lifeline from God and choose to live with only the limited resources of this world. * 

What keeps you from praying?  What does your prayer life reveal you believe about God?  Call down His supernatural power into your situation and see how He answers. 


* The Doctrine of Prayer (BSF Notes 2020)

~ MaryAnn Mellema, Prayer Team Chair


Reflections from the Front Pew 

I love You, Lord for Your mercy never failed me
     All my days I've been held in Your hands
    From the moment that I wake up Until I lay my head
    Oh, I will sing Of the goodness of God

This month I decided to write about the goodness of God because it’s Thanksgiving soon & also because the new song, “The Goodness of God” by Jenn Johnson, has been playing so often on the radio.  When I googled the words of this song, an article popped up that said exactly what I wanted to say, only so much better. 

So here is that article…

What Does the Goodness of God Really Mean?

The thing I can't walk away from is that the Bible doesn't just say that God does good things.  It says that God IS good.  It's not just what he does; it's who he is -- and who he is never changes. 

Whenever a plane goes down, there is inevitably a news story about the people who were supposed to be on the plane but weren't -- either because their alarm didn't go off or there was a traffic jam or they switched travel plans at the last minute.  Yesterday was no exception.  Amidst the horrifying reports of a plane dropping altitude over the Alps and then crashing into the mountain with 150 people on board, there was the story of a soccer team who changed their travel plans because they decided the layover in Dusseldorf was too long.  When we hear stories like that, us Christians tend to say, "Wow! Isn't God good!?" 

We say that a lot -- "Isn't God good!?" -- when we hear reports of people who inexplicably avoided doom. 

~ A woman has car trouble and avoids the fatal 12-car pile-up on the interstate that she would've been in if her car had started.  Isn't God good?

~ A man goes to his doctor for pneumonia and the chest x-ray shows a tumor in his lung that is entirely removed and cured because the doctor accidentally discovered it when it was still in its early stages.  Isn't God good?

~ I survived an aggressive form of breast cancer when I was 28 years old. Isn't God good?  

People say this a lot when they hear my story of how I almost died, and how God spared my life.  Yes, I always say.  God is absolutely good. 

But is this WHY God is good? If God hadn't spared my life, would God still be good?  Because here's the thing -- for as many stories as there are of people who escaped doom, there are just as many (if not more) stories of people who weren't so "lucky." 

~ There were people killed in that fatal interstate pile-up who usually take a different way to work, but for some reason thought the interstate would be faster that day.  Isn't God good?  It sounds obscene to say that.

~ There were people diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and died weeks later because their cancer was discovered too late.  Isn't God good? 

No, my instincts say.  It doesn't make sense to draw attention to God's goodness in a situation that seems to be the opposite of good. 

~ Two of my friends have died of breast cancer in their 30's.  Isn't God good? 

I have to honestly answer that I don't know, and it makes me think hard about what God's goodness even means.  The thing I can't walk away from is that the Bible doesn't just say that God does good things. It says that God IS good.  It's not just what he does; it's who he is -- and who he is never changes. 

In Psalm 46, the psalmist says, "God is our refuge and strength, a present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear..."  In his commentary on Psalm 46, Charles Spurgeon wrote that God is good -- not because he causes things that seem or feel "good" to happen in our lives, but because in the midst of the storm, God comes closer to us than the storm could ever be.

So THIS is why we can say with absolute confidence that God is good.  This is why we can say, no matter how bad the storm is, no matter how much pain we experience, no matter how different the outcome is from what we've prayed for, that God is good. In the hardest moments of life, God comes close to us and he doesn't change, he doesn't falter, he doesn't quit, he doesn't leave and he doesn't let go.

~ God is just as good to the 150 people who went down on the Germanwings plane as he is to the soccer team who switched flights at the last minute.

~ God is just as good to the people who died in the car accident as he is to the people who avoided it.

~ God is just as good to the parents of obedient children as he is to parents of children who have rebelled.

~ God is just as good to infertile women as he is to women who have as many biological children as they want.

~ God is just as good to the family who loses their home in a fire as he is to the family whose house doesn't burn down.

~ God is just as good to the single person as he is to the person who gets married.

~ God is just as good to the people who lose their jobs in corporate downsizing as he is to the people who earn a promotion.

~ God is just as good to the people who drown in a tsunami as he is to the people who are rescued.

~ God is just as good to the young women who died of breast cancer as he was to me when I survived it. 

Isn't God good?  YES!  The answer is always a resounding YES.  GOD IS GOOD!

But we have GOT to stop only talking about his goodness when an unexpectedly pleasant thing happens.  Because God's goodness is not dependent on an outcome or an emotion or a barely-missed-doom story.  God is not good because we avoid danger.  God is good because when the storms of life hit, he comes closer to us than the storm ever could. 

~ He holds us in his loving arms.

~ He doesn't change.

~ He doesn't falter.

~ He doesn't quit.

~ He doesn't leave.

~ And no matter what, he never let’s go. 

Article by Sarah Thebarge, journalist, speaker, author 

In this month of Thanksgiving and through all the times of your life, remember this little phrase: “God is good all the time; all the time God is good”.

~Joni Wagenmaker, Director of Music & Worship


Faithful Family Verse of the Month 

We are using a designated verse(s) in some way during worship on a monthly basis.  Our hope is that this verse will go home with you and be in your heart and mind during each month.  

You will find our monthly verse in the bulletin, on the website and used in various ways during the month.

Let’s keep digging into God’s Word together. 

November:  Colossians 2:6-7

December:  Luke 1:37


Men’s Prayer Breakfast… 

Each Thursday morning at 8 o'clock a group of men meet in the back section at Russ' restaurant to lift up in prayer the needs of Calvin Church and its members, its staff, and its ministries. 

In the ancient world of the Bible, cities had walls surrounding them to provide protection from enemies.  When the wall was breached, the city was vulnerable to destruction; the only way to secure it was for people to risk their lives by literally standing in the gap in the wall and fighting the enemy. 

When you pray on behalf of others you are standing in the gap between that person and God. You are also bringing to God your request that He protect the person you are praying for and that He would keep them safe from harm and danger.

This is why we gather each Thursday morning at 8 o'clock at Russ' to pray.  You are welcome to join us for our time of bringing Calvin Church to God in prayer followed by breakfast together and a time of fellowship. 

~ Carl Bergman


Crossroads Prison Ministry…   

We call ourselves Christians.  So just what does that mean?  That means that we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and in Mark 15:16 he said, “Go into all the world.  Preach the good news to everyone.”  Have you ever wondered ‘how could I do that?’  Crossroad Prison Ministry offers a way that God’s gospel can be shared with people who want to learn more about Jesus and his teachings.

At Crossroad Prison Ministry we connect people inside prison with mentors on the outside.  Unlikely friendships unfold when two people with completely different backgrounds exchange letters and study the Bible together.  As they encourage each other, developing a friendship rooted in Christ and apply Scripture to their lives, God begins to transform their hearts. 

The Crossroad Prison Ministry is an exciting and very satisfying way to share God’s love with others who are less fortunate.  It is an easy and very effective way to work with others who want to learn more about Jesus Christ.  This program has a great number of prisoners, in every state, who are in need of Mentors.  If you feel that the Crossroad Prison Ministry program is something you might be interested in, talk to Tom or Cheryl Veldman.  We Need you to help!

~ Tom & Cheryl Veldman


Mission & Outreach News… 

As we move into fall and begin a new year of ministry, here’s an update on some of the outreach opportunities here at Calvin Church. 

Our Food Truck Ministry continues to serve our community, but in a new way because of Covid-19.  Rather than having recipients walk past the tables to receive food, the groceries are pre-packed for them and loaded into their vehicle without them needing to get out.  On October 2nd we were able to serve over 100 neighbors.  It’s rewarding to hear how appreciative they are to be able to make a difference in the lives of those who are in need of this help. 

Several of our other ministries that had been temporarily suspended such as the Household Pantry, and MAP Supper House, have resumed their ministry. We are grateful for all those who serve in these ministries and for the opportunities that God gives us to serve our community. 

Community enCompass - Fall/Winter CSA 2021  This year the farm is offering a Fall/Winter CSA program.  This is a great way to help support the farm and also receive a farm fresh box of veggies weekly until the end of the year!  This program will greatly help the farm continue to support our community by providing thousands of fresh locally grown meals to our neighbors.  If you didn't receive a summer CSA share this year, signing up for the winter CSA will get you a discount on next year’s shares and ensure you a spot for next season.   To sign up for the Fall/Winter share go to and select what you want.  They offer weekly and bi-weekly shares.   

Muskegon Rescue Mission - Thank you to everyone who helped fill the barrel in the church narthex with boxes of stuffing.  We partnered with other churches to help the Muskegon Rescue Mission in their effort to provide Thanksgiving Baskets to 900 families with a turkey and all the dinner trimmings in time for Thanksgiving Day.  Thank you again!

Meijer Simply Give Fall Campaign is here from October 4, 2021, through January 1, 2022, at the Harvey St. and Holton Rd. stores!  Your help is needed to raise $10,000 in time for Double Match Day on December 11th!  Meijer will then donate $20,000 and MRM will receive $30,000 in food-only gift cards! 

As we continue to support the ministry of the Holtrops in Nicaragua and the Meyers in Spain, the need for our prayers seem to be greater than ever.  The devastating effects of Covid -19 in Nicaragua and the secular culture in Spain have caused challenging times for our missionaries.  Please continue to remember them, their families, and their ministries in your prayers and pray fervently that they will remain healthy and able to serve well.

~ Mission and Outreach Team

Carl Bergman, Dennis Berens, Tom Shepherd


Hearts & Hand…

" Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!"  Psalm 90:17 

A beautiful quilt was recently given to Jim Graves and it was nice to see the joy it brought him.  Sherry Wilson is the one we turn to when a member of our church family is seriously ill.  Making a quilt is a huge undertaking, even for an accomplished quiltmaker like Sherry. 

Joyce Borgman voluntarily puts together our "new-baby" baskets.  Joyce has a "flair" for arranging these baskets so beautifully, and new mothers love receiving them. 

We are grateful to both Sherry and Joyce for their willingness to share their special talents with Hearts and Hands.   We depend on them and so many others from our church family who help us along the way. 

....AND...I just have to add something that's on my heart.  Most of you know that Maryann Wolffis leads our Hearts and Hands group.  What many of you might not know is to what extent and how often she reaches out (on her own) to help others: 

She, almost daily, visits Carolyn Ahrens to check on her to see if she's in need of anything.  This might involve driving Carolyn to appointments or maybe taking her out for a ride - and simply being a dear friend to her.  This has been part of Maryann's normal routine since Carolyn first became homebound. 

Maryann has recently become concerned about some of our members with health issues who may find it difficult to attend church.   When Kristi Wickerink had her neck surgery, Maryann reached out to Kristi and John, driving Kristi to many appointments, even some that were out of town.   Eventually, she reached out to a dozen or so church friends who were willing to bring Kristi & John to Sunday morning services these past several weeks.  Soon, Kristi will be able to drive.

Maryann also made it possible for others, like Mary Forton and Marva Jacobson, to attend church.  Maryann herself will pick these ladies up or make arrangements for others to assist with this. 

She does all this, and so much more, yet still makes time to lead Pickleball every Monday and Tuesday morning! 

Maryann is a caring, compassionate person and I am honored to be Maryann's co-chair for Hearts and Hands.  We work well together.  She devotes so much time to H & H and keeps our committee up-to-date on needs that should be met.  She works hard to prepare for our meetings and it shows!  I am very proud to work with Maryann ~~ she amazes me! 

Our next meeting will be in the Fireside Room at 1:00 PM on November 8, 2021.  All our meetings are held on the second Monday of each month. 

~ Jeanne Maycroft, Hearts & Hands Co-Chair


Fellowship News… 

Please mark you calendars with the following holiday events: 


Directory Info…


Many Thanks... 

October was filled with appreciation!  We are so grateful to be a part of this gracious Calvin family.  From each heartfelt card and thoughtful gift to the hosted lunches, they have all been so very appreciated.  Thank you from all of us!

May your November be filled with Thanksgiving.

May your December be filled with Christmas Blessings.

May you see His love in every kindness, find His joy in every part of your celebration, and feel His peace in the quietness of your heart. 

The Church Staff,

Pastor Mark Milkamp, Brian & Courtney Kingshott, Joni Wagenmaker, Vickie Curtis, Mike Retzlaff


Among Ourselves...

November Birthdays:

Nov 2 – Dan Wagenmaker                 Nov 13 – Collin Best                 

Nov 2 – Brittani Moore                        Nov 14 – Dennis Berens          

Nov 3 – Carolyn Hagen                      Nov 16 – Liam Sova         

Nov 3 – Joyce Gillette                         Nov 17 – Verne Van Houten         

Nov 3 – Amy Basch                            Nov 18 – Mike Prince           

Nov 3 – Joel Alexander                      Nov 18 – Vaughn Lakatos

Nov 4 – Fran Weaver                         Nov 20 – Virginia Dantuma     

Nov 4 – Luke Thayer                          Nov 20 – Bruce Hoffman

Nov 5 – Chad Beisel                          Nov 20 – Coy Lakatos              

Nov 7 – Jenny Mabrito                        Nov 21 – Lucas Dethloff              

Nov 7 – Jake Dethloff                         Nov 23 – Dean Thayer

Nov 7 – Levi Postema                         Nov 24 – Marian Schlukebir

Nov 8 – Jim Graves                            Nov 25 – Nick Apostle

Nov 9 – Meredith Best                        Nov 26 – Michael Ann Olmstead

Nov 9 – Addelyn Kingshott                 Nov 26 – Hannah Scholtens

Nov 11 – Pam Alexander                    Nov 26 – Isabella Riner

Nov 11 – Amber Willea                       Nov 28 – Kevin Dethloff

Nov 12 – Betty Hewitt                         Nov 29 – Earl Lewis

Nov 12 – Dena Alexander                  Nov 29 – Keaton VerMerris

Nov 13 – Gary VanDonkelaar             Nov 30 – Scott Teusink

Nov 13 – Jan Van Houten

December Birthdays:  

Dec 1 – Jan Sorensen                        Dec 21 – Marcia Workman                  

Dec 1 – Blake Riner                            Dec 23 – Joan Bishop                    

Dec 4 – Jim Meyers                            Dec 27 – Teddy Nekic

Dec 7 – Judy Hepler                           Dec 28 – Bill Ypema

Dec 9 – Wayne Bishop                       Dec 28 – Harrison Gillette 

Dec 10 – Vicki Schneider                   Dec 29 – Ryan Mellema

Dec 12 – Dan Doctor                         Dec 30 – Cornie Van Tol 

Dec 13 – Kathy Willer                         Dec 30 – Amy Kempf              

Dec 15 – Marc Lakatos                      Dec 30 – Stephanie Riner       

Dec 16 – Sara Wilks                           Dec 31 – Yvonne Wyn             

Dec 17 – Joe Hain                                                       


Anniversaries:  Our best wishes to the following couples who are celebrating their anniversaries in November (50+ years together)…

    Merlin & Naurine McPheron celebrating 52 years on November 1.

    Wayne & Joan Bishop celebrating 57 years on November 24.   

    Paul & Sherry Wilson celebrating 54 years on November 26.



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