November & December Calvin Caller
From the Pastor’s Desk…
Buying a new mattress was one of the most frustrating shopping experiences of my life. After 15 years, Sue and mine’s old Queen Mattress was worn out and in need of replacing. When we began shopping for a new one, we were vastly overwhelmed. The amount of choices for a simple mattress is simply astounding. Pillow tops, memory foam, thick, thin, even mattresses you can buy online and are shipped to your home rolled up in a box. These are just a few of the options.
This experience made me realize that in many ways we live in a culture that is far too complex with far too many choices. All around us we are being told what to buy, what to eat, where to go, how to look, and a million other decisions to choose from. There are options everywhere for us to choose from. When was the last time you walked down the cereal aisle at Meijer? Do we really need 400 varieties to choose from?
As the Christmas season draws near this complexity only compounds. I wonder if this is how we were created to live. As our lives are riddled with so much complexity and choices around us, we often miss the most important choice we are offered each day… To dwell in the midst and presence of our great God.
When our life is kept simple, I think our hearts in turn are more able to see and experience God. I am reminded of the well-known teaching in Psalm 46:10… “Be still, and know that I am God.” Such a short statement that states so much.
As we enter into another crazy Christmas season, I invite all of us to a challenge. Let us resist the rat race of Christmas chaos that permeates our culture. Let us lay down the urge to get wrapped up in all its busyness, and instead make intentional choices that allow us to slow ourselves down. Let us find ways to be still and dive into the amazing story of God becoming flesh and making his dwelling among us. Let us live against the grain of this world by being present and walking slowly through this season.
May the pure, simple, peace of Christ dwell in your hearts this season,
~ Pastor Mark
Faithful Family Verse of the Month
We use a designated verse(s) in some way during worship on a monthly basis. Our hope is that this verse(s) 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.
Verses for November: Psalm 95:1-3
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all kings.
Verse for December: Isaiah 40:3-5
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Hearts & Hands…
This fall the Hearts & Hands Committee is beginning its 32nd year at Calvin Church. We are excited to begin a new year of serving the members of our church family and others in our community. We are blessed to have a large group of people on this committee and in our congregation who are always willing to help whenever and wherever help is requested. Thank you to all who send cards, make phone calls and visits, provide baskets and flowers, deliver meals, serve on committees, etc. We look forward to partnering with all of you to make this a year filled with kindness, compassion, encouragement and love for one another.
At our September meeting, we were pleased to welcome Brian Dirkse as our new council liaison. We look forward to working with you, Brian.
Linda Bos has been in charge of our Greeting Card Ministry for several years and has decided to step down at this time. Her remarkable talent for choosing the most appropriate card for each situation and then adding a beautifully phrased message of her own has truly been a blessing to many. At the same time, we are so grateful to Kathy Brown who has graciously agreed to accept this new responsibility. Thank you so much to both of you!
Several members of our church family were honored recently through our Thankful for You Ministry. They received a letter and a gift certificate in recognition of the extraordinary ways in which they have used their gifts and talents to bless all of us at Calvin Church.
The following donation was approved from the Pickleball Fund in September:
- October Women’s Retreat (Expenses for Attendance)
It is hard to believe, but the holiday season will soon be upon us. We would like to continue our tradition of remembering our Special Friends with Christmas cards again this year. Please watch your bulletin for the dates when a collection basket and a list of names and addresses will be available in the narthex. (A list will also be included in the bulletin.) You may place your signed and addressed cards in the basket and they will be stamped and mailed for you. We have had a wonderful response to this ministry in the past, and we trust that you will join with us again in helping to make the holidays a little merrier for these special people.
Our next meeting will be held at church on Monday, November 13, 2023 at 1:00 PM. We always welcome new members and would love to have you join us!
~ Antje Waldo, Secretary
What is the Purpose of Calvin Church’s Benevolence Fund?
The purpose of this fund is to provide assistance, support, and resources to individuals or families facing financial hardships. Calvin Church is committed to sharing God’s love by taking care of each other.
If you have a need or know of someone that could use financial support, please complete a Benevolence Request Form located at the Info Center. Each request will be managed in a confidential manner.
~ Barb Hoffman, Deacon Chair
Save the Date…
For parents with kids aged newborn through 5th grade, the Deacons (and any others that would like to help) are holding a “Parents Night Out”, offering free babysitting on January 13, 2024, from 5 – 8 PM at Calvin Church. In December, sign-up sheets and more details will follow. If you are interested in volunteering to help to make it a fun and successful night for all, please see any Deacon. Thank you!
~ Barb Hoffman, Deacon Chair
It’s almost that time of the year again!
The annual Calvin Christmas Cookie Exchange will be held in the Family Life Center on Sunday, December 17th from 1:30 – 3:00. Please bring three dozen homemade cookies in one container and an additional container for the purpose of collecting your three dozen assorted cookies.
There will also be snacks/punch/games/prizes.
~ Carol Mogdis & Ruth Zylstra
The 2023-2024 season of Friendship is under way with the focus on studying the Fruit of the Spirit. Pastor Mark referenced in his sermon on Sunday, Oct 15, the Tree of Life that stood on each side of the river that flowed down from the throne of God. This tree produced 12 types of fruit…a different type monthly! One tree, twelve types of fruit! Just like God to provide miraculous variety.
This reminds me of the Fruit of the Spirit. Ephesians 5:22-23 calls it one fruit, but it has many manifestations. (Maybe a new one each month, if we use our imaginations, although only nine are mentioned). Many of us are familiar with this fruit and as I told our Friendship participants it doesn’t matter how often we’ve studied it; we can learn something new and be reminded of concepts we might have let slip from our daily lives. Just think: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. Aren’t these all attributes we want first and foremost in our lives? Aren’t these attributes we want others to treat us with? God, in His great plan, has made it possible for us to live with this fruit when we accept Him as our Savior and have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us! It just doesn’t get any better than this!
We’d love to have you visit us on Thursday evenings and see how the Spirit moves among the participants and volunteers! The meetings for Nov 2, 9, 16 will be held from 7:00 – 8:00 PM and will cover Joy, Peace and Patience. On Nov 30, we will be making a Christmas Craft and Christmas Cards for our shut-ins. On Dec 7, the Christmas Party will be from 6:30 – 8:00 PM including games, carols, and a meal. The Christmas story will be shared on Dec 14, again at the regular time of 7:00 – 8:00 PM.
Currently we have 30 participants and 27 volunteers. There’s room for you to join us!
Praising God from whom all blessings flow!
~ Jan Weiden, Friendship Ministry Chair
Mark your calendar…
There will be a presentation from the Sanctuary/Narthex Remodel Team on Sunday, November 12th at 11:30 AM. At this meeting our team will be sharing the work we have done up to this point. This will be an informational meeting. The weeks following will be a time when we will be welcoming the church’s feedback and ideas. We hope you can make this important meeting.
~ Pastor Mark
Changes to the Calvin Caller are coming in 2024…
We are coming up to our 57th year of the Calvin Caller Newsletter. That’s a lot of issues (I didn’t do the math). I would like to personally thank all those who have taken time to get us ALL THIS INFORMATION over the years. Over those 57 years there have been changes, some small, some larger, but all seem relevant and necessary. It’s time again to make an adjustment. We have decided to publish the Calvin Caller on a quarterly (seasonal) basis beginning in January. Along with this change, we will no longer be including the calendar in the Caller. But don’t fear, it’s available many other places… our website (www.calvin-crc.org), just inside my office, I can even post a copy at the Info Center, there is a weekly calendar in the bulletin too. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
The Winter Calvin Caller – January, February (will also include December next year) will be available by January 14th. The Caller News for this edition will be due on January 4th by 2:00 PM. If you have info to publish for these months, please leave it on my desk or email it to email@example.com.
~ Vickie Curtis, Administrative Assistant
Thank you for your ongoing support of MCS! We wanted to give you a quick update of all the wonderful things happening here at Muskegon Christian School.
Our newest venture – outdoor education – has made significant growth in the past months. We now have a chicken coop on school grounds stocked with 12 chickens.
In September, community and parent volunteers helped plant 20 trees around our property and this past spring we created a mini orchard where we are growing apples, pears, and plums.
All classes are planting in our greenhouse and our lunch program is supported by a hydroponics system where lettuce is planted.
The Spanish immersion program continues to prosper with new families heavily invested in creating bilingual learners. We now have teachers from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and Ecuador.
“The HIVE” is our social-emotional area fit with two full-time staff members available for small group sessions and learning strategies to help our students navigate life’s big emotions.
Finally, the construction of our daycare addition is well underway with concrete poured, plumbing fitted, and steel supports and rafters currently being installed. The daycare will be open in the fall of 2024 and be available to babies, toddlers, and children in our preschool programs for ages 3 and 4.
I’d love to set up a tour for people interested in checking it out in person. Please see Paul Wilson or Vickie Curtis if you are interested.
~ Nate Schout, MCS Principal
Thrive Faith Formation Tip…
During this time of year where being thankful is at the forefront of our minds, keep track of God’s good gifts using a format that works for you.
Here are some ideas: keep a gratitude journal; express your thankfulness on paper strips placed inside a Gratitude Jar; write or draw things for which you are grateful on a paper tablecloth during mealtimes. Save your lists and drawings and revisit them when you need a reminder of God’s provision.
Learn more at crcna.org/FaithPracticesProject.
- Have you updated your family photo recently? If your answer is yes, we would like to include it in our Online Directory! Please take a moment to email it to Vickie in the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Or… you will have an opportunity in November to get a family pic taken for our directory. More details coming soon.
- The Online Church Directory is very user friendly! Call, text or send an email right from the app on your smartphone. All info is updated regularly. Download the app and get started today! Call the office or stop in if you need instructions.