Author: steens

Council Leadership Team Update May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

Last week there was a post on the AACRC blog pointing us to a number of prayer resources that you might find helpful as we live amidst these unusual circumstances. One of the prayers, an evening prayer from the Northumbria Community, echoes familiar sentiments:

Lord, You have always given
strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak,
today I believe.


Lord, You have always given
peace for the coming day;
and though of anxious heart,
today I believe.


While we may not know what the coming days will bring, we continue to trust that our Lord will give us strength and peace for each day. Continue reading

Sheltering in AACRC: thank you’s

Enjoy this video of our currently sheltering guests and volunteer coordinator Rachel as they say thank you.

AACRC – Unexpected Opportunities for Ministry on Vimeo.

The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in Michigan was put in place just as AACRC began to host our second week of the Rotating Shelter for the Shelter Organization of Washtenaw County. This presented us with an unexpected opportunity. We agreed to host the men in our facility, not only overnight but also during the day, since most of their daytime spaces such as libraries and restaurants are currently closed. We are committed to continuing this through the duration of the “shelter in place” order.

In order to reduce crowding at the Delonis Center, the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County currently has men housed at a local hotel. In addition, this past week, two additional local churches have agreed to host men in their buildings.

The gentlemen are truly grateful for this space to shelter, and we are thankful with them for the ways God has been working:

  • Lonnie is moving into an apartment this week after an 18 month wait. We’ve been able to help furnish his entire apartment and even stock it up all the way down to ziplock bags, oven mitts, toilet paper and a full fridge and pantry (AACRC, AACS, and the larger community thru the power of social media and working with Truly an emotional and joyful time.
  • We have a new 19-year-old who has come from the River Rouge area that Darren is setting up with a laptop so that he can finish out his senior year of high school. He has applied to U of M for next year.
  • Paul has just been hired at the Kroger on Plymouth Road. A church member donated a bike for him to use to commute to and from work. If you see him at Kroger, say hi! He’d love to say thank you.

The men sheltering at the AACRC are giving back to their community by organizing, packaging and delivering the snack bags to the men being housed at the hotel. These snack donations have been made possible by families of AACS and members of our congregation.

#GraceWhereWeAre looks like #GraceWhereWeCantBe in this moment! Hope you are finding moments of grace wherever you are today. Thanks for helping make this one happen.

PS With the extension of the governor’s order, volunteers are needed to donate snack items for the men in the hotel (sign up here). In addition, money for food, donating men’s used clothing and shoes, cooking meals or desserts from home, or lending movies (comedy or action, labeled, DVDs only) are still needed. Please contact Rachel if you can help out.

A Letter From The Parish Nurse/Health Ministry

Dear AACRC congregation,

A note from your parish nurse/health ministry…

In this time of a new normal where we are all struggling to find a different footing I have been blessed to read and hear about the many ways God’s people are being a blessing in safe and creative ways.

For most of us this time has forced us to change our pace as we try to figure out new routines…with family, with God, with others.

Thank you for doing your part to keep yourselves, your families, your friends, neighbors, and co-workers safe.

I’m sure many, if not most of us listen to the news and see the number of people affected by Covid-19…it can be quite anxiety producing, especially as we see the number of people hospitalized and who have died. These are sobering numbers and give us pause for thought I would imagine.

I’m sure you are also aware that the ever increasing number has, at least for the time being, put an extraordinary strain on our health care system and the resources needed to meet the needs of those hospitalized.

The way this virus spreads has also necessitated that those hospitalized have no visitors. They must navigate their hospitalization and treatment decisions alone, apart from family and friends. Because of this we would encourage all of you, regardless of age, to begin to have a conversation with your loved ones, your family about your wishes if you were to contract this virus and require hospitalization. We realize this may not be easy or comfortable but it is wiser to think and talk about the “what if’s” before a crisis were to occur rather than in the midst of one.

Can I share with you a verse from John that is helping me to guard my heart and mind as I think about and live through these times? (John 14:27) Jesus says, “I am leaving you a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid”.

The peace of God be with each one of you,

Barb Okonkwo PN

AACRC Worship and Programming Update – Week of March 16

Hey Friends,

As things continue to change as we respond to our deepening health crisis, we want to share a few things with you as the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church. This is a LONG email. Please take the time to read it because there is a lot here.

First. All church ministries, programs, and building use–including worship, are cancelled until further notice.

Second. There will be a weekly communication that goes out that will keep us all up-to-date on the latest information pertaining to all things AACRC, including one later this week.

Lastly, while we are not able to regularly be together here at 1717 Broadway, we are still committed to answering the call of Christ on our lives by worshiping together, growing together, and serving together. See information below.

We also know that our Christian witness can be practiced in our neighborhoods and with the people that God puts us in close proximity to.

Grace and peace to you!
May the Lord be with you until we meet again!

Worship With Us

Christian worship begins with gathering; so what does it mean to worship when—for the sake of loving our neighbor—we need to practice social distancing? This was the question that we faced last week.

Our goal is to provide flexible, participatory, in-home services that will center us around Christ. We want a service that can be enacted in the home and not merely watched. If engaged, such a service should encourage, disciple, and provide space to praise, lament and intercede. This Sunday, we will follow a similar pattern: some songs, a simple liturgy, and a video reflection. The link to this material will be shared in our weekly email, coming later this week.

Grow With Us

A life lived as a disciple of Christ is a life dedicating to be a forever learner. We are called into a life where we are shaped more and more into the kingdom people God has called us to be. Here are a couple ways we can continue to grow together even while we keep a safe distance from one another.
House Groups: Have some time on your hands and want to join a House Group? We’re happy to add you right now! Contact Ross Weener. We’ll be reaching out to our House Group facilitators this week and see what electronic options there are to finish our three sessions of reading and learning together.
We Wonder podcast: This podcast has daily prayers, and a weekly bible lesson through lent. It is good for people of all ages to engage. You can find the podcast HERE.
Read: Find a favorite author or theologian that helps you grow in your faith. Reread that favorite book, or venture into new territory. If you don’t know where to start give one of your pastors an email, they’d love to give you a recommendation!

Serve With Us

As we continue to worship and grow in our faith we are reminded, as Pastor Noah shared with us in his homily (you can watch it HERE), that we are the body of Christ! As Christ’s body, it is our call to move close to those in need as the threat of sickness or danger comes near. So, the deacons have prepared a list of ways we can serve in this time and challenge us to work tougher for the kingdom in the following ways:
Continue our tithes and offerings: The AACRC supports many organizations and missionaries that are being directly affected by this pandemic and it is through our offerings and tithes that we can continue to support ourselves and the ministries we are in partnership with. As our church office hours will be variable, we encourage you to mail a check or you can use the My Well Giving app. Thank you for continuing to support the good work of God through the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church.
Care for one another: COVID-19 affects those over 60 and those with health concerns most critically. Therefore, some have needed to distance themselves from others in this time. We’re looking for people willing to make a grocery run, pick up a prescription, or run an essential errand for those who are most at risk. You can sign up to be a helper by adding your name to THIS LIST. If you have a need you would like assistance with, please contact a pastor or your elder.
Rotating Shelter: While we have cancelled all other programming, the need for Rotating Shelter assistance continues to be significant. Many of our current volunteers are over 60 and may need to remove themselves from consideration as volunteers. Therefore, we are asking that those who are able to serve step forward and fill this significant need. We have been in contact with the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County and they are providing safety measures for their host sites as well as COVID-19 screening for their guests. Please consider signing up HERE!
Hope Clinic: Hope Clinic is committed to staying open during this time. Please consider their requests HERE. (Hope has two immediate needs: masks for the Dental Clinic and hand sanitizer for entrances, waiting rooms and the food program.) and drop off the items or volunteer your time to help those most affected by stoppages of school and work. If you are unable to personally get out but would like to make a cash donation, that is also welcome at this time!
Finally, the Red Cross is in need of blood as many blood drives have been cancelled. If you feel up to it, please contact the Red Cross and please consider donating blood to help with the shortage.

Sunday Worship Canceled for March 15, 2020

Good Evening Friends,

We are writing to let you know that there will be no Sunday service here at the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church on Sunday, March 15. Faith formation hour, the women’s brunch, and the Dordt Choir concert will also all be canceled.

We have reached this decision after heeding the advice from state and local officials who have encouraged houses of worship to not gather in groups of over 100 and for those who are most vulnerable to take extra care.

Even though we may not be all in one place on Sunday, we are encouraging you to still gather as an individual, family, a neighborhood, or a small group, and use the attached liturgy and video link of songs prepared by the pastors as a way to mark this third Sunday of lent as sacred. The liturgy has prayers, songs, and scripture for you to reflect on the ideas of kingdom and cross as we continue our journey toward Easter.

This is a decision that brings some sadness to us since we love being together, but it is out of love that we make this decision, not out of fear. It is love and care for one another and for those who may feel the effects and dangers of this virus most acutely, that we are choosing to lean into the advice offered by our state officials, the Washtenaw County Health Department, and the CDC, to limit exposure to large gatherings.

We will have another communication early next week that will let you know about programming and worship next Sunday. In the meantime, as part of your weekly worship rhythm, please remember that you are still able to give online using the My Well app.

The CRC Network also has provided a great resource with helpful information on Epidemic Preparedness and Guidance for Churches.

Grace and Peace to you.

A note and some resources for families

As Youth Ministry Coordinators, we have been blessed with a rich abundance of resources to draw from in planning and thinking about our programs for our children and youth here at AACRC. We have benefited from these articles and books not only as coordinators but also as parents. We wanted to share these blessings with you! The beautiful thing is that the CRC Network, CRC Communications, and the CRC Website are all accessible to anyone. You can sign up to receive these articles right in your email inbox.

Below is just a sampling of what is available to you as you think about how to intentionally guide your child’s faith formation. We hope you find these resources beneficial.

Blessings to you as you raise up your children in the faith,
Andrea Bennink – Teen Ministry Coordinator
Mary Admiraal – Children’s Ministry Coordinator

From the CRC Network

Dear Parent: A Guide for Family Faith Formation

5 Ways Your Church Can Help Launch College Students Well (Part 2)

Twelve Ways Your Church Can Support Young Parents

From the CRC website,

Christ Formed in Us to Bless His World

Link to Books

Sticky Faith: Teen Curriculum

The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family

Growing With: Every Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family, and Future