Women’s small groups this winter: Be the Bridge

Hello, dear women!

After much prayerful discussion and discernment, we are excited to announce that our Women’s Ministry 2021 spring study will be Latasha’s Morrison’s Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial ReconciliationThis book won Christianity Today’s 2020 award for Christian Living and Discipleship and invites us to the work of racial justice, reconciliation, and personal transformation. Rich themes of confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation shape the book along with engagement with Scripture and prayer. This book is an invitation to personal and communal responsibility, while it also affirms that it is the work of Christ who enables us to engage in work of racial reconciliation and justice. While we anticipate several more months of social distancing in this pandemic, our work as the diverse, multigenerational women of the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church is to continue to answer God’s invitation to discipleship—and this call is both challenging and deeply hopeful as those called by Christ.

Small group next steps

First, you’ll want to get a book! You can purchase your book here: Be the Bridge (on Amazon) or perhaps consider purchasing it from your local bookstore. If you need assistance in obtaining a book, please reach out to one of our Women’s Leadership Team members – we are happy to help!

Second, here is the  AACRC Be the Bridge Study Guide

Third, mark your calendars! The meeting dates for this winter/spring are as follows:

  • 1st/3rd Wed (AM and PM): 1/20, 2/3, 2/17, 3/3, 3/17, 4/7, 4/21, 5/5
  • 2nd/4th Mon (PM): 1/25, 2/8, 2/22, 3/8, 3/22, 4/12, 4/26, 5/10
  • Every Wed (AM) group: Tentatively beginning 1/13

There is always space for new members! If there is someone you’d like to invite to join us this winter, please let us know.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions.  The Women’s Leadership Team would like to give special acknowledgement and a word of thanks to Pastor Kristen for her guidance in assisting the team with the selection of our spring study and also for her efforts in preparing a discussion guide for our small groups.  Pastor Kristen, we are grateful for you.

And we also give thanks for each one of you, dear women.  May you all know the Lord’s deep love for and delight in you in this Christmas season. We look forward to reconnecting within small groups in 2021.

In Christ,
The AACRC Women’s Leadership Team
Kellie Steen
Deb Weener
Kaitlyn Lubbers
Rita Aagenas


When we begin to intentionally engage the work of racial justice and reconciliation, this work can be overwhelming. This is why we are doing this in community with one another.


Small discussion groups gathered the summer of 2020 at AACRC around three books—The New Jim Crow, Waking Up White, and The Hate You Give. Below are a few other recommendations for some good places to engage. This is by no means an exhaustive list—and we encourage us all to share what your reading list might be in your groups as well.

  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
  • Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope by Esau McCaulley
  • The Color of Compromise: the Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
  • How to Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby
  • The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper

Social Media Resources:

  •  Be the Bridge is a very active Facebook Group—you can ask to be added (it’s a closed group) and then read the protocols and expectations to engagement. If you’re active on social media, this is would be a wonderful group to join in parallel with our reading.
  • Black Liturgies written by Cole Arthur Riley who is an exceptional writer of daily prayers and is an important voice to follow. Find her at blackliturgist.com or on instagram @blackliturgies

Racial Justice resources from the Christian Reformed denomination:


More Advent 2020

Jesus is coming. That is what the celebration of Christmas is all about. Christmas is about celebrating that Jesus has come into the world to be with us, near us, one of us. Jesus is coming again. He will return to bring the fullness of the kingdom of God. Christmas is about Jesus being with us.

But, before Christmas, we have to wait. That is what Advent is all about. In Advent we wait for Jesus in remembrance and hope. This year our Advent theme is “Almost.” .  All of our waiting and yearning in this season for God to be near us when we are experiencing loss, loneliness and isolation is wrapped up in God’s promise to never leave nor forsake us. So, this Advent we wait together, like our sisters and brothers from long ago, and we wait with confidence that not only has Christ come to be with us, but that he will come again and make all things new.

As you mark the season this year—something that seems more important now than ever—we wanted to offer some thoughts on ways you could mark this season.

Wallpaper for your phone

Maybe one way you could mark Advent this year is by a reminder on your phone when you open it?  Here are two versions of our Advent theme “Almost”—minimal or with a reminder phrase—that you might enjoy through December.

DOWNLOAD Almost: we wait together with confidence
(these buttons save to your “files” area of your phone, otherwise download images below manually)

Advent Devotional

This Advent, our worship will be guided by the ancient Christian prayers known as the O Antiphons. These prayers are set to music in the familiar Advent carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” To help us enter into these prayers more deeply, we are thrilled to partner with Bellwether Arts to bring our congregation a creative devotional. Email Pastor Noah to receive a digital copy (for copyright reasons) or with any questions.  If you’re interested in a physical copy, Bellwether Arts has them available for $20 on their website along with a suggested accompanying playlist.

There are two suggested reading plans you can follow. Either way, the last day will be December 23.

Plan A: The week leading up to Christmas | Dec 17-23, #1-#7
Plan B: Wednesdays & Sundays | Dec 2,6 #1-2; Dec 9,13 #3-4; Dec 16,20 #5-6; Dec 23 #7

Children’s Coloring Pages

All kids from ages one to middle school should be receiving a purple envelope in the mail with some special coloring pages that link up to each week’s Scripture passages in Advent. If you don’t fall into this age bracket, but would like to color along, check out the first week’s page. (subscribe or watch our weekly  Connections or newsletter for additional pages)

Make Your Own Advent Wreath

As we spend more time at home, there’s more reason than ever to make your own Advent wreath. Advent wreaths don’t need to be fancy! Pastor Kristen shows how you can make one with items from around your house. Watch the video or read about it in her Advent wreath at home blog post.

We Wonder Podcast

We Wonder Podcast is an audio contemplative storytelling resource for kids and adults alike. You might remember that we shared this last Advent, and it was so well-received, we’re encouraging all generations of AACRC to listen in again! The podcast invites children into an immersive, contemplative experience of the words of Scripture. Try beginning a new practice to listen to this around the breakfast table together every morning or during the wind-down space of each day as we step into this season of Advent.

Prepare for and join in worship during Advent & Christmas 2020

Week 1: Nov 29 — Isaiah 64:1-9
Week 2: Dec 6 — Isaiah 40:1-11
Week 3: Dec 13 — Isaiah 61:1-4; 8-11
Week 4: Dec 20 — 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Blue Christmas Service: Thursday, Dec 10, 7pm, Virtual (Zoom)

Please join us as we gather for a virtual Blue Christmas service. This service is a space to hold silence, lament, and longing in the Advent season. Pastor Kristen will guide us in prayer as we together bring our prayers to the God who promises to never leave us or forsake us. A Zoom link will be sent out closer to the date.

Christmas Eve: Dec 24, 4pm, Live & Virtual (live-stream) — Luke 2:1-20
(recorded and available for viewing at your convenience following the service)

a memory from Advent 2018


CAP meal thank you

We were able to gather 133 CAP Thanksgiving Basket meals to send off this past Sunday!  Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible. You rock!

ready to go!

blustery loading

helping hands in all sizes

many hands make for light work

nearly there

Advent at home 2020

Hey Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church this is Pastor Kristen. I am coming to you wanting to share a couple suggestions for how to practice Advent intentionally this season.

Sunday Nov 29th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, will be the first Sunday of Advent. I wanted to give us a heads up about that so that we can begin making room for a sacred space in our homes. As most of us are not going to be worshiping together, perhaps there’s more reason for us to make our own Advent wreath at home.

Advent wreaths have four candles around the outside for the four weeks of Advent; each week we light one more candle. The center candle is the Christ candle that we light on Christmas. Wreaths don’t need to be fancy; you can use your ingenuity to use items from around your house!

So, a few pictures of what I’ve done in my own home over the years. This is what I did last year. I bought special beeswax candles and it was beautiful. I loved it!

But other years I’ve done something that’s a little bit more DIY. So, the second picture that you see here is when I just took votive or tea light holders and I used four candles around the outside and one in the center so we could mark the season together.

One last idea that I had—that was really fun when I had just two toddlers at home—was I took a canning jar (some kind of glass jar) and we made a paper collar and then we taped it around the center of each jar. We glued one pink and then three purple tissue paper squares or maybe construction paper around the jars and then put one in the middle of that was going to be just white.  And, it was a really fun way for us to participate as a family and make this space together.

I wanted to offer these suggestions as it’s going to feel so different as we move to this Advent and Christmas season to not be gathering in the big way that we are used to.  Instead we are invited to make a sacred space, to follow along in the livestream, to light the candles, to be able to wait in this season together.

We would love to see your pictures of anything that you’ve made as a family, as individuals, as a couple!

We would also like to let our kids know that there is a special package coming for each of our kids from pre-K to middle school. This weekend I’m going to be stuffing envelopes to send you something special in the mail. There are going to be some children’s Christmas coloring sheets for every Sunday. And I’m wondering if you might want to put them on the refrigerator, on your wall, or you might want to send one of those finished bulletins to someone in our church. This is a great time for us to reach out to each other as a community to remember that we belong to each other, and to come near as Christ came near to us in the season.

Grace and peace to you and we’ll talk soon,
Pastor Kristen

Advent & Christmas 2020

Week 1: Nov 29 — Isaiah 64:1-9
Week 2: Dec 6 — Isaiah 40:1-11
Week 3: Dec 13 — Isaiah 61:1-4; 8-11
Week 4: Dec 20 — 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Blue Christmas Service: Thursday, Dec 10, 7pm, Virtual (Zoom)
Christmas Eve: Dec 24, 4pm, Virtual (live-stream) — Luke 2:1-20
(recorded and available for viewing at your convenience following the service)

Thanksgiving prayers requested

For our Thanksgiving service this year, we plan to collect the prayers of our congregation for the joys and concerns of our community and the world. Please send these prayer requests — petitions and thanksgivings— to Pastor Kristen by Monday, November 23rd. You can write to her at kristen@aacrc.org.

Thanksgiving worship this year will be prerecorded and shared with the congregation prior to Thanksgiving.
No in-person live-stream service on Thanksgiving morning.

CAP Thanksgiving basket donations needed

The need for CAP Thanksgiving baskets is greater than ever this year.  You have two options (that might look a little different this year) for supporting the hungry in Wayne County this holiday season.  Meals will be delivered to the Community Assistance Program on Sunday afternoon, November 22.

  • Option 1 (Due by Sunday, November 15):  Let someone else do the shopping for you!
    Simply provide a donation of $55 ($30 for items plus $25 for a turkey) for each basket you wish to donate.  The check should be made out to CAP and “CAP Thanksgiving Basket” should be in the memo line OR you can make this donation by selecting “CAP (Community Assistance Program)” when using our online giving platform.
  • Option 2 (Due by noon on Sunday, November 22): Purchase food items and donate money for a turkey
    You can purchase all of the food items on the SHOPPING LIST (or see below) along with writing a $25 check to CAP for a turkey with “CAP Thanksgiving Basket” in the memo line. Please place your check in an envelope and deposit it in the designated box, near the tables in the narthex (note different location).  Meal donations may be brought to the narthex from Sunday, November 15 through noon on Sunday, November 22.

Help us reach our goal of 150 Thanksgiving Baskets for CAP!

Baskets are beginning to fill the narthex for our 2020 collection

CAP Thanksgiving Basket Shopping List

Please use a re-usable grocery tote bag for your items.
The Jiffy pie crust mix has been purposefully removed from the list because this item will be donated for all the baskets (provided by option 1 or 2) and will be added separately.

  • 2 (7.25 oz.) package of macaroni and cheese (or 2 smaller boxes)
  • 1 (5 lb.) package Aunt Jemima self-rising corn meal mix or similar
  • 2 (14 to 15 oz.) cans of one or more vegetables (peas, corn, green beans, please no carrots)
  • 1 (40 oz.) can of yams
  • 2 (6 oz.) package of Stove Top Stuffing for Turkey
  • 1 (14 or 16 oz.) can of jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 (box, any size) yellow or white cake mix
  • 1 (12 or 16 oz.) can ready mix frosting
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans of pie filling of the same flavor (peach, cherry etc..)
  • 1 (10.5 or 12 oz.) can or jar of turkey gravy

What shopping looked like in 2019!

Support the Rotating Shelter this November

Dear Members & Friends–

Our church is taking a step of faith that we ask for your help in supporting–we’re hosting the Rotating Shelter for the whole month of November! Buoyed by our experience in the spring and feeling the clear need expressed by the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, we’ve agreed to be one of the five, month-long hosts.

And not only that! We’ve also agreed to provide daytime shelter for any of the men who do not want to increase their exposure risk to Covid-19 or traverse Ann Arbor, with many of the homeless-friendly buildings closed.

So there is a lot to do, and many different ways to volunteer and support this ministry. We will also have the partnership of two other churches, supporting us in our hosting month–so you will likely run into people from Northside Association Ministries (just a few hundred yards down Broadway) and St. Mary Student Parish.

Below are the descriptions for the open volunteer spots:

  • Day Shelter Host: We need two people each day to be a welcoming presence for the men who stay in our building. This would include putting out the provided meals and being visible during your shift to assist with any issues or questions. (A perfect opportunity for someone working remotely)
  • Overnight Host: We are looking for one person to stay the night (required), and take the first watch from 8:30-midnight-ish. Delonis is providing a supporting staff person for the rest of the night.
  • Snacks: A pre-packaged snack for each evening.
  • Meals: Providing dinner (and possibly serving) a meal to the 25 men staying here.

You can access the Food Signup HERE.

Our team understands that in these Covid times, not all of us can support this service opportunity the same way we’ve been able to in the past. So we are also collecting funds to provide food and basic needs (socks, undershirts, and toiletries) to our guests. You can give online (select Rotating Shelter) or mail a check to church with Rotating Shelter in the memo.

We’re thankful to partner with you in this vital mission to the homeless in Washtenaw County. We ask for your prayers and tangible support in helping us fill our available volunteer spots and ask that God might use our hands and feet to show love, mercy, and grace within the walls of 1717 Broadway in November!

Serving Together,
The Rotating Shelter Team

Deacons & Mission Action Team: Mike Waldyke, Allyson Wever, Andrew Wiersma, Bill Zinsser, Chris Adams, Eric Wright, Barb Fichtenberg, Jim Steenstra, Matt Admiraal
Rotating Shelter Coordinators: Todd Redder, Scott Stephenson, and John & Rachel Bush
The AACRC Staff























Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Contact Rachel Redder







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Reach out this fall!

Ann Arbor CROP Hunger Walk

The Ann Arbor CROP Hunger Walk happened on Sunday, October 11! Our AACRC team was very small, but we reached our goal! We had a virtual send-off, and walking was independently done, but we raised over $2000 to help those in need in our community and around the world. Still like to donate? Every bit helps fight hunger. Click HERE to donate. Checks payable to CWS/CROP may be mailed to the church office by October 29.

Thank you so much!

Habitat for Humanity

There is one more upcoming volunteer opportunity with Habitat for Humanity. Please consider supporting our current “House of Faith” project by serving on:

  • Saturday, October 17 (9am – 4pm)

For more information contact Andrew Wiersma or sign up here.

Post-High School Packages

We would love to send love and encouragement to our post-high young people. Some of them are taking courses online, classes in person, a gap season so they can take courses in person, or some sort of hybrid situation. Regardless of their current path, we know that it is challenging and perhaps not as they had hoped it would be. Living in community, we invite you to join us in sending a note to all or some of the following young people. In the past we have sent care packages, but in light of our current situation, we will be sending cards and notes with a gift card.

Our post-high youth: Helen Brush, Eva Doorlag, Gannon Henke, Will Henke, Dane Hubers, Darian Karr, Christopher Lloyd, Kate Van Ee

Please read the following options for ways you can participate:

  • You can write your messages/cards and bring them to the church office or drop them off in the box on Hubers’ front porch. 2340 Nixon Road, Ann Arbor 48105
  • You can email your messages to Kimberly9198@gmail.com, and your message will be printed off and included in the envelopes sent.
  • If you would like to contribute a small monetary donation, please contact Kim Hubers at 734-657-3397 or Rachel in the church office. Checks can be written out to AACRC with “Care Packages” in the memo line.

Please drop off your items by Friday, October 16. (That is this week!)

Thanks for sharing your life. Know that a card, a picture drawn by a little one, a funny story, small joke, or a word of encouragement may just be what brightens the day for one of our young people.

Service Opportunity – Hesed Community Church

Saturday, October 31, 3-6pm

We have a service opportunity for 10-12 people interested in heading out to Hesed Community Church in Detroit for a few hours on Saturday, October 31. From 3-6pm that afternoon, we will be serving hot dogs, chips, and candy to the neighbors in that area. There may also be some tasks around the Brightmoor ministry house that they could use some help with, such as gardening, painting, etc. Masks will be required.

Not able to attend in person? We are also looking for donations of food items and candy. To sign up as a volunteer or to check out the list of items needed, click HERE.

Any donated items should be brought to church by Wednesday, October 28. Please label for “Hesed” and put in the kitchen or outside the church office door.

Questions? Contact Matt Admiraal


Rotating Shelter

month of November 2020

We will be hosting the rotating shelter of Washtenaw County for the entire month of November 2020, in partnership with other faith communities. Our site will also include a day-time warming shelter.  Stay tuned to find out the different ways you can help make this happen.


Worship re-opening logistics

Hey Friends,

The Shepherding elders are happy to report that, beginning October 4th, we will begin to welcome a limited number of people back to 1717 Broadway for in-person worship. This will be our practice as long as we can continue it. The AACRC Council and pastors are continuing to put the safety of our people first and gain wisdom from our medical professionals. Whether streaming or a return to 1717 Broadway remains your best option, we are committed to living as one body. There is no expectation that you return to in-person worship until your situation allows it. Wherever you find yourself, we are bound together by the Triune God. We know that God covers us all with grace as we work to figure this out, and we appreciate your prayers and patience as we walk this road together.

For Sunday, October 4, we will have a limited SIGN UP for those who wish to be present for in-person worship. That number will be capped at 30. The sign up will close at 8pm on Saturday, October 3. If there is a waiting list, those who are on the list will have first priority for the next available Sunday morning worship opportunity. As we begin to welcome people back into the building on Sunday mornings for in-person worship, here are a few policies and procedures you should know:

Before You Arrive: 

  • We encourage those who are in vulnerable populations (elderly, immuno-compromised, those that have traveled in the last two weeks) to stay home. We will see you on the live stream!
  • Check your temperature. If you are running a fever (Temperature 100.4 or greater) or are feeling ill in any way, please stay home and help protect one another. THESE are the symptoms of COVID-19 provided by the CDC.  Please also stay home if you have had close or household contact in the last 14 days with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19  (Close contact is being within 6 feet for >15 minutes, excluding those in a healthcare setting wearing proper PPE.)
  • Bring your mask. Masks are required in the building. If you do not have one, we have disposable masks at the site entrance for you. Per CDC guidelines, children under 2 years of age are not required to wear a mask.

When You Arrive: 

  • Please enter the building through the Narthex entrance only, right off the upper parking lot. We will have the doors open for you. Please leave the upper parking lot available for those who may need to navigate our building without the use of stairs.
  • There will be no printed bulletin for the time being. The order of worship will be projected and you are welcome to download the liturgy from the website or print it at home and bring your own copy.
  • We will be color coding the pews in order to make sure that we can maintain social distancing. We will be filling our sanctuary from the center aisle by using the pews marked with green paper. We will have people on hand to make sure you can find a seat.
  • We will removing everything from the pews, including bibles and hymnals. So, if you desire to follow along the sermon with a bible, plan to bring yours from home.

During the Service:

  • Wear your mask.
  • Offering will be taken during our coming forward for communion. There will be a plate at the front of the sanctuary by the communion table.
  • Communion-We will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion by coming forward as a family or individuals. We will make sure we keep distance from one another as we come forward with the help of an usher. Each person or family will receive a piece of bread from a pastor or elder and take that bread and individual cup and eat, and drink. They will place their cup in a receptacle. Hand sanitizer will be made available by the receptacle.

Other helpful reminders:

  • In order to help our custodian with sanitation processes, we ask that you please limit your movements to the sanctuary and, if necessary, the upstairs restrooms.
  • There will be no nursery or Children & Worship ministry during this time.
  • There will be no coffee hour during this time.
  • We will have multiple hand sanitizing stations throughout the building.

When you Leave:

  • We will dismiss you from the back of the sanctuary to the front of the sanctuary by row. Please exit the building through the doors in the narthex only.

Please don’t linger for fellowship in the building. If you desire to connect with others, please do so outside, while practicing social distance.

Cleanup Day 2 Sep 26!

We had a great turnout on Labor Day for a workday to spruce up the church grounds. There is still a lot to do so how about getting together again this Saturday, September 26th at 8:30 am?

Bring any garden/pruning tools you have as well as chain saws for the big jobs.


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