In This Week's E-Pistle, You Will Find:
In Sunday's gospel reading, Jesus continues to call his first disciples, telling fishermen Simon and Andrew, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." What did Jesus mean by this? Is he really instructing us to go and 'catch' people for God? Maybe he had something much deeper in mind.
Come join us on Sunday at 10 AM (either in-person or streaming live online) as we explore the meaning of this "Surprising Catch" together. Message: Pastor Sal. Music: Peter Black and Jeff Spangler.
Download this Sunday's Online Bulletin:
Last Sunday's Service
In the gospel reading from last Sunday's lectionary, Jesus is driven out of his own hometown and pushed to the edge of a cliff. Many of us have felt "pushed out" and "driven to the edge" because we spoke our truth. Please enjoy last Sunday's service, when we learned what it takes to live life on the edge.
Message: Pastor Sal. Music: Peter Black and Nancy Plantinga.
Click here to read, listen to, watch, and share Pastor Sal's homily.
UCC honors Afghan Family Sponsorship
Our national UCC offices published this lovely article about our congregation working with Holland UCC to sponsor two branches of the same Afghan family here in Southwest Michigan. The families have been so thankful to be reunited here. Here is the UCC's story:
In Memoriam: Wilma Haaksma Silvis
Our hearts go out to church member, acolyte, and Stephen Minister, Shirley Lawson, and her entire family on the passing of her mother, Wilma Haaksma Silvis, on Saturday at the age of 87. Wilma's obituary and funeral information can be found at this link.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Mask Recommendation
Free At-Home Covid Tests from covidtests.gov
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Order your tests now so you have them when you need them!
Order Free At-Home Tests
If you need a COVID-19 test now, please see other testing resources for free testing locations in your area.
Afghan Task Force Update
The Afghan Family continues to be so appreciative of the work we are doing, helping them wade through the many steps for entering the U.S. system. The family met the congregation after last Sunday's service. The Afghan Task force wishes to remind us that their privacy remains a critical concern for their well-being, and for the safety of their family.
Meanwhile, your generosity has been most humbling and most welcome. You can support their needs financially by donating at the link below, or reaching out to Barbara Witt (email@example.com) or Pat Denner (firstname.lastname@example.org). The task force encourages providing the family with gift cards to local stores rather than physical gifts, which will help the family as they learn to shop and budget, and gives them the freedom to choose items they most need, that suit them best.
Donations to the general fund supporting the family can be made online here, or send a check to Douglas UCC, PO Box 519, Douglas, MI 49406. Please write "Afghan Family" on the memo line!
Spring Street House Reminder
We have welcomed our Afghan Family to Spring Street, and we just wanted to remind everyone that the Spring Street house is now closed for meetings, events, and church storage. Our church property has been moved to other locations to make room for our guests. It's important that we give this family their privacy, and preserve, above all, their feeling of safety in this place.
If you wish to welcome them or provide for them, please first reach out to the Afghan Task Force to by emailing Barbara Witt (email@example.com) or Pat Denner (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Birthdays & Anniversaries
February 9- Mason Harvath Gerrans, 10- Elizabeth (Libby) Greene,
11- Kirt Oliver, Lin Wisehart, 12-Demetrhea Terrien
Birthday and Anniversary cards are a great way we can reach out to one another. If you wish to mail a card to one of our church members, addresses can be found in our Church Directory.
Richard and Joanna Weber's grandson Mattox (friends of the Ridls); Shirley Lawson & Family; Jane Grady & Family; Paul Burdick; Paul Murphy; Al Overweg; Beverly Willming (John Willming's mother); Jay North (friend of Dan Pierce); Diane Carr (Debra Carr's sister): Hannah Sherman; Maureen Pierce; Helaine Miedema (David Miedema's mother); Ron Turks (Carol Cunningham's son-in-law); David Abbot; Sarah Johnson Lock; Linda Masten (Mark Reiman's friend); Vicki Latham (Ruth VandenBosch's cousin); Cole Hartman; Mike Sneedon (Peg and Jack Donohue's friend); Tim Reineck, Matt Brazys, Suzanne Cook, and Ken Cassbon (friends of Pete Wehle and Pamela Chappell); Richie Czarnowski (Mark Reiman's friend); Dale Lower; Sherri Kanten (Ruth VandenBosch's friend); Michael (a friend of Dan Mack's); Myron (Wendy Hamlin's grandson, Fred Hamlin's great-grandson); Chris Stuart (Virginia Stuart's sister-in-law); Mary Elizabeth Loudin (friend of Laurie VandenBeldt); Chris Robinson (Peter and Kathleen Mueller's nephew); Daniel Ver Meulen (Susan Fleming's son); Marcia Sullivan (Jo Cooley's friend)
In-Person Attendance, January 31: 50
Livestream Attendance: 70
Total Viewers for January 31 Online Service Videos: 496
Podcast Downloads for January: 10,246
Collection Plate & Mailed Donations: $2,818.00
Online Giving: $2,557.57
Your generous giving allows us to sustain our church community and our mission of service in the world. Please consider giving online, which is easily done by texting your donation amount to
844-931-2849, or sharing through the donate buttons on
Facebook or Instagram, or at our website.