Worship Service - 10:30am
Education Hour - 9:15am

Adult Education


You are cordially invited to join us on Sunday mornings at 9:15 for stimulating presentations and discussion of topics that matter to adult Christians. We are looking forward to seeing you! Coffee and child-care provided.  Note: No class on April 1 and 8.

January 7:  Art Is Worship –the Journey of a Visual Artist

Bob deJonge has been creating images with his camera for over 40 years and has embraced all the possibilities of camera and computer. His inspiration is often the beauty of the Michigan shoreline, as shown by his new book The Best of Sleeping Bear.  Bob says, “The process of building images acknowledges that I believe I am a child of the Creator. To state it another way, art is worship.”

January 14: Helping the Hurt Find Healing in Our Community

“Spiritual Care Consultants” is a ministry offering free care to hurting individuals, assisting their physical/emotional recovery by connecting them to faith and strengthening existing ties to the church community. We’ll also learn about a second ministry called “Empowered Kids,” which offers care for K-12 students. Led by Deb Yonkers, pastor and regional director for both ministries. (Please note the schedule change for this date).

January 21Why Do International Students Come to the United States?

FCC member Kyle Kempster is director of Western Michigan Christian School’s International Student Program. Kyle, along with students, will discuss all elements of the program, including academic, spiritual, emotional, cultural, and homestay issues.

January 28:  Work, Calling, and the Rest of Life

Do we all have the same calling? Or is each person’s calling unique? Can you have a calling even if you’re unemployed or retired? Does a person’s calling change over time? Can you have more than one calling?  Led by Lee Hardy, professor of Philosophy and Urban Studies, Calvin College. (Please note the schedule change for this date).

February 4:   The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities

In this session we’ll view a short and lively video on how to communicate respectfully and sensitively with people who have a wide range of disabilities. Discussion to follow the video, led by Mark Stephenson, Director of Disability Concerns with the CRC.

February 11:   Dealing with Death and Dying

Your loved one suddenly passes away.  What should you do first when that time comes?  We’ll talk about acknowledging the loss with family and friends, and what options are available to celebrate the life of the deceased.  Find out how to protect your family from unnecessary pain by handling funeral details now.  Led by FCC member Tim Plaisier, funeral director/owner of Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford.

February 18:  From Haiti to Resonate Global Mission

Our congregation has been privileged to help support the mission work of Zachary and Sharon Segaar-King in Haiti.  Today, the King family is back in Grand Rapids, where Zachary was chosen by Synod of 2017 to be the director of a brand new CRC agency, Resonate Global Mission. In today’s session Zachary will describe his transition to the new position and what Resonate is all about.

February 25:   War and Peace:  Can We Still Tell Them Apart?

The church’s teaching on whether war is ever a proper means to peace is difficult to apply in a world where armies seldom clash but internal conflict, ethnic cleansing, terrorist attacks, and proxy wars seem to erupt somewhere.  How can Christians apply the values of the kingdom to questions about violence and nonviolence?  What can Reformed Christians learn from other traditions?  Led by David Hoekema, professor of Philosophy at Calvin College and a member of Second CRC in Grand Haven.

March 4: Journey to Israel (part 2)

Join the DeYoungs and the VerHeuls as they continue to share their experience in the land of the text. Walk in the footprints of Jesus and his disciples in Galilee and Jerusalem.  See modern Jerusalem with the eyes of our hearts looking back to Jesus where he began and ended his ministry and forever changed the world. (Please note changed schedule.)

March 11:  Journey to Healing

This presentation will chronicle John Mulder’s illness and lung transplant journey, and how it has defined his life trajectory and faith journey. John will talk about waiting for a call for surgery, the surgery itself, and the emotional rollercoaster of recovery—how in the midst of it all, God’s grace is ever-present, and how the power of a faithful community of believers provides an amazing sense of peace.

March 18: Commonly Misunderstood Verses of the Bible: What They Really Mean (part 1)

Bob VanVoorst is professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary and the author of many articles and books, including a new book with the same title as that of this session. In today’s session, we’ll look at why and how some Bible verses are commonly misunderstood and/or misapplied.

March 25: Commonly Misunderstood Verses of the Bible: What They Really Mean (part 2)

This session will focus on several New Testament verses, selected by the class last week, that we will discuss as examples of Bible verses that can be misunderstood or misapplied. Led by Bob VanVoorst, professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary.

April 15:  Safe Church Basics

Why do we have a Safe Church Team at FCC and how does it fit into our overall mission to be a church for all kinds of people?  We’ll talk about our goals as a Safe Church Team and present interesting (and sticky) situations for us to discuss.  With hot topics such as sexual harassment and abuse prevalent in the news, we as a church need to educate and protect vulnerable persons of all ages.  Team members Lori Houskamp and Barb Mengebier will lead the discussion.  

April 22: January Series Video (to be announced)

Today’s session will feature a video from the 2018 Calvin College January Series.

April 29:  Teens, Faith, and Growing up in a Secular World

As parents, are you concerned that the next generation often lacks a faith that will last a life-time? That to this generation, faith is often regarded as unimportant, merely a do-good and feel-good spirituality that has little to do with the historic Christian faith? Robert Keeley, professor of Education at Calvin College, will address the data, current trends, and how to help give youth a more robust and lasting faith.

May 6:   Mission India

India is the most unreached nation in the world with one third of the world’s unreached people groups and 400,000,000 people who have never heard the name of Jesus.  Join the Mission India team in today’s session for a unique and powerful virtual reality tour of India. Learn how almost 12,000 new worshipping groups and churches were planted with over 2,097,000 new believers during 2016.

May 13:  The Knowledge Economy

The knowledge economy is attacking and dismantling our traditional economic and civil institutions at an alarming rate.  We are subconsciously manipulated as information and products are aligned to our personal intimate needs and desires. Is this producing a society misaligned with our faith and morality? How far should we trust technology companies? How are they doing this? Why are we allowing this, and how do we protect ourselves? Led by FCC member Gert Wallis.

May 20:  Topic and Speaker To Be Announced




You are cordially invited to join us Sunday mornings at 9:15 for stimulating presentations and discussion of topics that will inform and nurture your faith.  We are looking forward to seeing you!  Coffee and child-care provided.  Note: No class on November 26, December 24, 31.

September 10: Walking the Camino de Santiago

Catholic Christians have been traveling to the shrine of the apostle St. James in Santiago, Spain, for over a thousand years in search of moral and spiritual guidance.  Last year FCC member Gert Wallis completed the 500 mile journey of the Camino from Pied de Port in France to Santiago.  He will share his experience and perspective illustrated by photos taken along the way.

September 17: The Next Chapter in Student Ministry at FCC

This spring FCC welcomed Samantha Francart as our new youth director.  In this session Nate Visker will share some of the story of how Samantha came to be our youth director.  Samantha will tell her story, how it’s prepared her to lead our youth, and what the focus of student ministries will be going forward.

September 24: Video: Until All Are Free: A Look at Slavery Today and the Church’s Invitation to End It

On this nationally-designated “Freedom Sunday,” come view this 2017 Calvin January Series video. It features Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission and recipient of the highest honor given by the US government for anti-slavery leadership.  His heart-touching presentation describes the nature and appalling extent of human slavery today and what the church can do to help.

October 1:    Biblical Covenants:  How God Relates to His People

The term “covenant” first appears in Genesis 6; for the remainder of the Bible, “covenant” dominates in expressing how God relates to Israel and others. In this session we’ll look at major biblical covenants in their context and in their relation to each other. Following the footprints of covenants, we’ll trace God’s plan for you and the world.  Led by Won Lee, professor of religion at Calvin College.

October 8:     Getting to Know Your Muslim Neighbors

Shannon Jammal-Hollemans is a CRC pastor and the daughter of a Muslim.  She serves in the denominational offices. She will outline the basic beliefs of Islam, dispel some myths about Islam and Muslims, and discuss ways to connect with Muslims using the Bible.  Your questions are welcome.

October 15:   Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God (1)

In the first part of his Gospel (chapters 1-16) Matthew presents his claim that Jesus is the Messiah who has come to proclaim the kingdom of God.  For this purpose Jesus was born and anointed by the Spirit of God.  Jesus explains the nature of that kingdom and demonstrates its purpose and its power.  We need to hear Matthew’s claim, so that we do not think of his Gospel as just a brief story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, but hear God’s claim on our lives in the very proclamation of the kingdom. Led by Gerrit Koedoot, pastor, FCC member, and retired missionary.

October 22: Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God (2) 

In the second part of his Gospel (chapters 17-28) Matthew reveals Jesus as the Messiah who fulfils his mission to destroy the power of the kingdom of darkness.  The Messiah has come to rescue his people from all the powers of evil by defeating all that opposes the kingdom of God.  The amazing part of that story is the way in which the Messiah accomplishes his mission: it is the way of the cross and the grave.  But as the risen Lord he then sends his followers into the whole world with the good news of his victory. Led by Gerrit Koedoot, pastor, FCC member, and retired missionary.

October 29:  Does Prayer Really Make a Difference? 

The Heidelberg Catechism states that prayer is “the most important part of the gratitude God requires of us.” In other words, prayer is central to the life of those who are in Christ. But what is prayer? What are we doing when we pray? How should we pray? Does prayer really make any difference? We’ll discuss these and other questions as we consider the theology and practice of prayer. Led by Mary L. VandenBerg, professor of Systematic Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary.

November 5:  Worship: Who It’s for and What It Does

Some expect worship and worship music to transport them into the heavenly realm, while others see it as a mere warm up for the sermon. Good worship begins with an understanding of worship’s focus. It also requires a realistic expectation of what worship can accomplish. Healthy worship will, in the long run, contribute to a healthy faith. Led by Greg Scheer, composer of many songs, author of The Essence of Worship (2016), and a music associate at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

November 12: Video: Tinkering in Today’s Healthcare Factories

This 2017 Calvin January Series video features Abraham Nussbaum, a physician serving as chief education officer at Denver Health. Nussbaum explores—with stories and examples—how healthcare reform can change the way medicine is practiced, turning physicians into technicians and hospitals into factories. He also offers some suggestions as to where we might be going.  NOTE: November 12 is available to listen to at calvin.edu/january-series.

November 19:  FCC Physician Panel Discussion

Several physician members of FCC will discuss key ideas from the previous week’s video (“Tinkering in Today’s Healthcare Factories”) and offer their own perspectives on healthcare in America. Your questions and comments are welcome.

December 3:  Caring for the Divorced

Four marriages out of ten in America end in divorce. Sarah Lewakowski, executive director of Tri-Cities Counseling, discusses various aspects of divorce and shares some of the ways we can “be there” for persons and families who have experienced the trauma of divorce.

December 10:  Technology and Our Kids

Maybe you’ve seen families in restaurants, each person busy using their own smart phone rather than talking with each other.  So how do we as parents help our kids use technology—smart phones, social media, video games– in a way that’s effective and responsible? How can we teach our kids good digital manners?  How much tech freedom should we give them?  And how does all this relate to our relationship with God and each other? Led by Brian Telzerow, professor of youth ministry at Kuyper College.

December 17:  A Visit to the Land of Christ’s Birth

FCC members Al and Lynn DeYoung and Don and Rosemary VerHeul will share impressions and photos of their recent trip to Israel. Their trip combined historical, geographical, cultural, and spiritual aspects that helped the Bible come alive. They visited places where Abraham, David, and other Old Testament characters served God. They walked in the footsteps of Jesus and his disciples in Galilee and Jerusalem, and stood where the church was born on Pentecost.  Join us as they share “the land of the text.” 



Thank you for your support of adult education. Please join us on Sunday mornings at 9:15 for stimulating presentations and discussion of topics that matter to adult Christians.  Note: No class on April 2, 9, and 16.

January 8: How to Connect with Others

Pastor Jeff Boersma will share what he’s learned about connecting well—from a mission standpoint–with others, based on his experiences as a coach as well as a church planter.

January 15: What’s New at Love in Action?

Our church is closely involved with Love in Action through volunteers and our food pantry. We’ll hear an update on ministries and current service opportunities from operations director Josh Bytwerk and volunteer coordinator Laura Liu.

January 22: Brooks’ Story

Brooks, age 13, is the youngest child of Tami and John Kingma, former members of FCC. On December 1, 2015, Brooks was diagnosed with a germinoma brain tumor. In this session, Tami tells Brooks’ story and the impact it has on their lives and faith.

January 29: Race, Trauma, and the Doctrine of Discovery

In this 2017 Calvin January Series video, Mark Charles explains the “doctrine of discovery” and its impact throughout history but especially on the native tribes of North America.  The 2016 CRC synod discussed the doctrine of discovery and how it  applied to the church-run boarding school at Rehoboth.  Charles is a thought-provoking speaker and writer on issues of race, culture, and faith.  His objective is to help forge a path of healing. (Note Schedule Change)

February 5: Overrated: Are We More In Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World?

In this 2017 Calvin January series video, Eugene Cho challenges us to move beyond words and put our faith into action. Cho is the pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington. He is also the founder of One Day’s Wages, a popular grassroots movement to alleviate global poverty.  NOTE: January 29 and February 5 are available to listen to at calvin.edu/january-series

February 12: Holy Terror: Can We Trust the God of Violence?

The Bible often portrays God being angry, responding to violence with violence, praising and sometimes even commanding human violence. How shall we understand divine violence? Rather than relying on an interpretation of blind trust or persistent suspicion, we’ll focus on what the Bible says in its own terms.  Led by Won Lee, professor of religion at Calvin College.

February 19: Being There for Persons with Mental Illness

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some form of mental illness each year. Sarah Lewakowski, director of Tri-Cities Counseling, will discuss how we can best help and support these individuals.

February 26: Enriching our Lives with the Psalms

John Calvin described the Psalms as “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” Today we’ll explore our rich Protestant heritage with the Psalms, beginning with Reformation enthusiasm for these ancient prayers and ending with the Psalms renewal now blessing the global church. We’ll also allow time for sharing our own experiences with our favorite Psalms. Led by Debra Rienstra, professor of English, Calvin College.

March 5: How our Immigration System Works

Have you ever wondered why undocumented immigrants don’t just “get in line” and enter our country legally? Or how a refugee gets screened to ensure he or she is safe to enter the U.S.? Through a simulation exercise, we’ll learn how our immigration system works – and how Christians can engage in a faith-filled conversation about immigration and hospitality. Led by Kate Kooyman, an RCA pastor who serves in the CRC’s Office of Social Justice.

March 12: How our Immigration System Works (continued)

Kate Kooyman, an RCA pastor who serves in the CRC’s Office of Social Justice, returns to continue her talk on the urgent issue of immigration and refugees. In this session we’ll develop a timeline showing the history of immigration in the United States, and how we got to where we are today on this issue.

March 19: What Makes a Congregation Strong and Resilient?

Life as a congregation can be vital, rich, and life-giving. But congregations can also become places of difficulty and tension. What factors contribute to congregational resilience? What factors place a community of faith at risk? What strategic “lenses” can we use to look at ourselves and our congregation? Led by pastor Norm Thomasma, director of pastor-church resources for the CRC.

March 26: FCC Members on a Mission

Our congregation is blessed with many volunteers who help FCC reach into the world beyond our immediate community. In this session, Rosemary VerHeul will describe her and Don’s service at the Haggai Institute in Hawaii, and Don and Merrily Groenveld will highlight some of their disaster relief deployment for the American Red Cross.

April 23: FCC Members on a Mission (continued)

Today we’ll continue our series on FCC members who volunteer for disaster relief and other services throughout the world. Don Turnbull will share his recent experience in Saipan, and pastor Howard Vugteveen will describe his recent work in San Marcos, Texas. We’ll also learn about the variety of services offered by World Renew.

April 30: What Does It Mean to Be Reformed?

Why do we call ourselves not only Christian but Christian Reformed? In this session we will look at some “Reformed accents” in the theology, worship, and worldview of our tradition. Led by Lyle Bierma, Zondervan Professor of the History of Christianity at Calvin Seminary.

May 7: Christians and Cultural Differences: Extending Hospitality and Becoming Peace-makers

Encountering cultural differences in the classroom, in the workplace, in the church, and in the public square is an everyday part of contemporary life. Understanding these differences—and how they affect the way we relate to each other and live well together—has become a basic life skill. In this session we will look at how cultural difference works and how it relates to our faith. Led by David Smith, director of graduate studies in education at Calvin College.

May 14: How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens

Michael Williams, professor of Old Testament at Calvin College and NIV translator, returns to help us interpret the whole Bible from the perspective of Jesus Christ, the focus point of Scripture.

May 21: Shiny, Happy People: the Vice of Vainglory, the Church, and You

All of us face struggles with maintaining appearances, reputation, self-presentation, and audiencepleasing.  The ancient Christian tradition addressed these concerns with wisdom about the vice of vainglory. Vainglory’s forms include everything from showing off to being preoccupied with social approval because of fear. In a world captivated with selfies and social media, virtuous practices can help Christians handle the limelight well and show appreciation for each other in ways that glorify God. Led by Rebecca DeYoung, a professor of philosophy at Calvin College and author of Glittering Vices: a New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and their Remedies and Vainglory: The Forgotten Vice.



Thank you once again for your enthusiastic support of adult education at FCC. Please look over the topics and speakers (below), then join us when you can on Sunday mornings at 9:15. We are looking forward to seeing you!  Coffee and child-care provided.  Note: No class on November 27, December 25.

September 11: The CRC and Same Sex Marriage

At CRC Synod 2016, the headline topic was same-sex marriage. Synod not only had a study committee report to consider but also some 25 objections to some parts of that report.  Today’s speaker, Fred Bultman, was Classis Muskegon’s elder delegate to Synod, and was assigned to the advisory committee that would recommend how Synod should deal with all this.  He will explain Synod’s actions and what these imply for CRC congregations; he’ll also attempt to answer your questions.

September 18:   Gender Discrimination in the Arab World

Imagine living in a society where you cannot drive, vote, leave home without a guardian’s permission, or act on the most basic self-preservation instincts, because to do so would endanger yourself or your family. This life is a reality for millions of women living in some societies in the Arab world. And it needs to stop, says Adel Abadeer, Calvin Economics professor (from CRC.org/news).  In today’s session Professor Abadeer, who is from Egypt, will discuss his new book Norms and Gender Discrimination in the Arab World, which he wrote to “give a voice–especially a Christian voice– to the voiceless.”

September 25:  Russia: Past, Present, and Future 

In this 2016 Calvin January Series video, Jill Dougherty, a widely respected expert on Russia, gives a compelling and very human look at Putin and what Russia wants and values as a nation. Dougherty has served as CNN’s White House correspondent and Moscow bureau chief.

October 2:   Helping Hurting Teens and Their Families

Michelle Bechler, a missionary at Barnabas Ministries (www.barnabasmin.org), will discuss what it’s like to help hopeless and hurting teens and families find the light of Christ in deep darkness in our own community. Learn how you can be someone who matters to someone who matters to the heart of God.

October 9:     Pathology and Cancer

Everyone knows someone who has either had cancer or has died from it.  What is cancer?  What causes it?  What is pathology?  What does a pathologist do?  How is cancer diagnosed?  These questions and others will be covered in today’s session. Led by Jim Niewenhuis, FCC member and pathologist.

October 16:  Learning from Job: When God Remains Silent

We believe God loves his people and provides for them; however, sometimes the realities of life defy our faith in a loving God. Very bad things happen to good people.  Like Job, we may wonder about the ways of God with us.  Does God simply forget us? Does God box us in so we can no longer see any light or hope at all? How can our faith survive these dark days or even years?  Is it possible to gain spiritual insight and wisdom from the book of Job, as we see Job struggle with the problem of God’s silence in the time of his deepest needs? Led by Gerrit Koedoot, FCC member and retired missionary.

October 23:  Learning from Job: When God’s Answer Seems Too Much

Job could not find any answer to all the questions surrounding his terrible suffering.  There was no comfort, no relief, no peace, and no solution for him.  In the awesome silence God seemed too far away and too close for comfort at the same time. And when God finally did speak to Job, the answer Job wanted never came.  Yet, somehow, the majestic voice that came out of the whirlwind is more than enough to satisfy the deepest longings of Job’s heart.  By listening carefully to what God speaks out of the whirlwind, we may also understand how to find the way back to hope and joy. Led by Gerrit Koedoot, FCC member and retired missionary.

October 30:  The Prodigal Son and the Art of Forgiveness

Just as “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so “a parable is worth a thousand pictures.” This is especially true of the parable of the Prodigal Son, which has been the inspiration for countless

works of art over the centuries. Come reflect on this parable of forgiveness as we view artwork collected and explained by Larry Gerbens, a retired ophthalmologist with a strong interest in the visual arts.

November 6:  Alzheimer’s Disease: More Than Memory Loss

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. But it does touch many of our families; in fact, it is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. We’ll begin with a brief overview of Alzheimer’s disease, examine the many ways it affects the individual, and conclude with strategies for caregivers and loved ones that promote effective communication with persons suffering from this disease.  Led by Sue Wilson, Resident Coordinator, Christian Haven Home.

November 13: Huddle Up! Approaches to Discipleship

Maybe you’ve heard of “huddles” meeting at FCC.  Pastor Nate will explain what a huddle is, describe how it works, and talk about other ways we are working to help people grow closer to God.

November 20:  A Fresh Perspective on the CRC

“We are in a tough period for the church in general and in our denomination in particular. We are trying to be the church of Jesus Christ in a culture that is trying to move away from the church,” says Colin Watson, the new (2015) director of ministries and administration for the CRC.   He’ll describe how God led him as a 10-year old to a crusade in British Guiana, then through many twists and turns to his current position.  He’ll also discuss some of the challenges and opportunities he sees the CRC facing today.

December 4:   Diversity of Worship and Worship Styles

Visit another church’s worship service and you may well find it has a somewhat different approach to worship and style of worship than that of our own congregation. What are some examples of diversity in the way churches worship today? What accounts for these differences? Led by Samuel Greer, pastor and Western Christian dean of students.

December 11:  Restoring Hope: Mind, Body, and Spirit

Most of us at one time or another experience a decline of hope in our daily lives.  Bogged down by grim world events or by personal suffering and struggle, we may feel alone, frustrated, and depressed.  In today’s session, Jill VanderBent, counseling program manager at Bethany Christian Services, points the way back to living in hope.  Due to inclement weather, Jill was not able to join us December 11.

December 18:  Oneness: The Key to a Happy Marriage

Don and Becky Smith run a unique ministry: Bridge to Life is designed to help couples examine and strengthen their marriages. Don counsels, leads marriage seminars, and trains couples to start marriage ministries. In today’s session we’ll look at the importance of oneness in marriage.  Why do we often take “oneness” for granted?  What hinders this crucial trait of happy marriages? What are some practical ways to experience oneness more deeply?



Thank you for your support of adult education. Please join us on Sunday mornings at 9:15 for stimulating presentations and discussion of topics that matter to adult Christians. Note: No class on March 27 and April 3.

January 10: The Pursuit of Holiness

Bill Johnson from the American Decency Association (Fremont, MI) will talk about how the ADA believes God calls us to pursue holiness in all aspects of our lives and to be light in a dark world.  Learn how the ADA equips people to be that light, especially in combating pornography and offensive media.

January 17: The Catholic Church Down the Street 

Jeff Andrini, director of faith formation at St. Patrick & St Anthony Parish, will introduce us to the church that plays such an important role in our community.  He’ll describe how the church began, as well as some of its key ministries and challenges today. He’ll also take a look at the wider world of Catholicism.  He especially invites you to come with your questions about the Roman Catholic faith.

January 24: Youth Ministry at FCC

Get acquainted with our new youth director, Sam Vos.  He’ll fill us in on who he is and why he came to FCC, describe his daily work with kids, share his vision for youth ministry, and answer our questions.

January 31: The African-American Way of Worship 

Samuel Greer, Western Michigan Christian dean of students and pastor, will speak about some of the differences between African-American worship and worship in predominantly white congregations.

February 7: Helping Your Child Develop Resilience in Today’s World

Brett Van Tol, psychologist at Pine Rest Mental Health Services, will discuss some practical ways to help kids deal with peer pressure, bullying, and the challenges of building a healthy self.  Parents, don’t miss this presentation.

February 14: Medical Mission to Kenya

FCC member and physician Jim Niewenhuis spent the month of October, 2015 working as a pathologist at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya.  He will talk about his experiences in the lab, about the hospital in Kijabe, and about the country of Kenya.

February 21: Bethany Christian Services and Foster-Care Muskegon

April A. Akiekintveld serves as Recruitment and Retention Supervisor for Bethany Christian Services.  That organization has been asked to help children from Muskegon County who have been in detention and are not able to return to their biological families.  April—along with a caseworker and young person—will describe this opportunity to provide help to these children.

February 28: ISIS: The Caliphate and Its Threat to America

Who is ISIS? What is its history? Who is its leader? How is it structured?  How does ISIS recruit and who are they targeting?  Is ISIS a threat to the United States? These are just some of the questions many of us ask as the media is saturated with talk about ISIS/ISIL. Discussion led by John Beutlich, retired senior executive with the Department of Homeland Security.

March 6: To a Better Life  

Why bother to help prisoners?  Besides the fact that the Bible demands it, there is a very practical reason.  That’s the theme of a new video documentary about the work of Humanity for Prisoners entitled  To a Better LifeHFP President Doug Tjapkes will show the video, then lead a Q&A time.

March 13: Food Choices and Climate Change

Christians generally agree that we are called to care for God’s creation, but when it comes to climate change – its causes, effects, and potential solutions – our Christian witness is typically marked more by confused conversations than by concerted action.  David Koetje, a biology professor at Calvin College, will lead us in exploring how the daily decision of what to eat affects not only our own physical health, but also the health of Earth’s life support systems.  To view slides from this presentation click here.

March 20: Capturing Memories: a Personal Photography Journey

If you’ve admired the photos by Gert Wallis in the church foyer, join us for more pictures and comments.

April 17:  God’s Grace, the CRC, the NIV, and Me

The New International Version of the Bible (NIV) is now 50 years old. From the NIV’s birth, the CRC has been involved in producing this popular version of the Bible. Michael Williams, professor of Old Testament at Calvin Seminary, serves on the translation team which regularly updates the NIV. In today’s session, he’ll talk about the origin of the NIV, the translating process, and his role in that process.

April 24:  The Church and Christians in Nazi Germany: a Troubling Puzzle

Virtually all citizens of Germany during the rise of Hitler and his Third Reich were members of either the Roman Catholic or Lutheran/Evangelical Church.  Why is it that the country nonetheless fell into Nazi hands with its naturalistic, anti-Christian ideology?  And why did the Church remain largely silent while the Nazis killed millions of Jews? What might we learn from this tragic history?  Led by Wally Bratt, emeritus professor of German at Calvin College.

May 1:  Business Matters

Hardly a day passes when we don’t interact with a business. Yet an unfavorable attitude toward business persists, as if business is somehow “secular” and doesn’t contribute to kingdom growth. We’ll explore reasons for negative perceptions about business, what Scripture says, and how business can promote human flourishing and restore shalom. Led by Jill Risner, assistant professor of business at Calvin.

May 8: The Rational Unfattening of America’s Children

This 2015 Calvin January Series video features David Katz, one of America’s top physicians in preventative medicine and nutrition.  In this video, Dr. Katz engagingly addresses the challenges in our “obesigenic” environment, and describes what’s needed to take us toward a healthier future.

May 15: Christians and the 2016 Election

Corwin Smidt is emeritus professor of political science at Calvin College and the author of numerous books and articles about religion and politics. He’ll take a non-partisan look at the 2016 presidential election process and how Christians may respond to some of the major issues involved.

May 22: Conversations with Aging Parents

Waiting for a crisis before talking with your aging parents about their future is not a good game plan!  We’ll discuss how to approach age-related subjects with them. We’ll also look at issues such as asking them to give up car keys, picking up signs they’re no longer safe at home alone, and ensuring that their intentions for the future are honored. Led by Sue Wilson, resident care coordinator, Christian Haven Home.

                                                ADULT EDUCATION SCHEDULE: FALL, 2015

Thank you for your support of adult education. Please join us on Sunday mornings at 9:15 for stimulating presentations and discussions of topics that matter to adult Christians.  Coffee and child-care provided.  Note: No classes on November 29, December 20, December 27.

September 13: Life on the Spectrum: Raising an Autistic Child

In 2013, the Center for Disease Control found that 1 in 68 children are affected by autism, a huge and stunning increase in the rate of diagnosis of the disorder.  This—along with a broader definition of Asperger’s syndrome (now called Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD) means that children with autism will be part of many congregations. We’ll discuss how the church can best accommodate, nurture, and challenge children with ASD. We’ll also look at the unique stresses faced by parents of autistic children. Led by Rob and Lisa Rozema, parents of an ASD child. Lisa teaches at Grand Rapids Christian High and Rob at Grand Valley State University.

 September 20:  Sport and the Christian Life (continued)

Brian Bolt, Calvin professor of Kinesetics and golf coach, returns to FCC to continue his talk on how a Christian perspective on sports can help schools and families deal with demanding programs and coaches, sports injuries, and similar issues.

September 27:   Disappointment, Despair, and God

Most of us experience despair at some point in our lives, often because of a major disappointment. These disappointments can be accompanied by disappointment with God.  How should Christians respond when faced with despair and disappointment with God? What practical steps can we take toward regaining hope in the midst of despair?  Led by Mary L. VandenBerg, Professor of Systematic Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary.

October 4: The Story of You

One way to think of self-concept is that it is the story of “you” as written and carried around by your brain. So how does what goes on around you—especially technology via smart phones, video games, and social media—affect the story you write about yourself and how you carry it in your brain? How do conditions within the brain—such as ADHD, depression, or Alzheimer’s—affect your story?  Led by Brett VanTol, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.

October 11:  Got Stress?

Stress is a natural part of life, but stress can become a burden or even debilitating if not dealt with in healthy ways.  We will look at sources of stress and how stress affects our bodies and minds.  Most importantly, how can we combat stress on a daily basis and make life feel more manageable?  Led by Betsy Pyle, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.

October 18:  Bible Study: Numbers–With God on a Wilderness Journey

It seemed so close.  It shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to get from Mount Sinai to the Promised Land.  But it took Israel almost 40 years!  The people needed to learn how to follow the Lord and get ready for life in the Promised Land.  On this long and hard journey they would be in the presence of their holy and sometimes quite dangerous God.  Only by his grace and holy purposes for them will the journey lead them all the way to Canaan.  God also leads us into the freedom of his kingdom.  Led by pastor Gerrit Koedoot, FCC member and retired missionary.

October 25:  Bible Study: Wilderness–Preparation for Life in the Shalom of God

On their wilderness journey Israel encounters many obstacles. Problems concerning leadership, instructions about holiness, support for the tabernacle, the presence of enemies and the temptation of idolatry all threaten to deny them entrance into the Promised Land. Through it all, God’s faithfulness shines brightly, as he leads his people into the shalom of the promises he has made. Our God is not only able but also lovingly determined to lead us into the shalom he has promised in Christ.  Led by pastor Gerrit Koedoot, FCC member and retired missionary.

November 1:  Kids and Money

How can parents teach their kids to use money responsibly, in ways that reflect our Christian values? And, if older children stand to inherit their parent’s money, what should guide their use of that money?  Led by the FCC Stewardship Committee.

 November 8:  Small Discipleship

The family of God exists in various numeric groupings–worship services, church education classes, and small groups.  Each level offers something important and unique to the discipleship experience.  A number of people from FCC have discovered the benefits of an even smaller discipleship group called a triad.  In this session pastor Nate Visker will share the principles behind a triad.  We will also hear from several people who participate in triads.

November 15: Islamic Extremism: The Special Case of ISIS

What accounts for the surprisingly rapid rise and success of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)?  How Islamic is ISIS?  How is ISIS different from other Islamic extremist groups?  How serious a threat is ISIS to the West and the U.S. in particular?  What can and should the U.S. do, and not do, in response to ISIS?   Led by Bob DeVries, retired Calvin Political Science professor.

November 22:  Gay Christians and the Church

Do I stay “in the closet?”  Is it safe to “come out” in this church family?  What are the possibilities for intimacy in my life?  How do gay Christians navigate the tensions of these questions and chart a course?  Today’s session will look closely at the complex realities of the lives of our brothers and sisters in the church. Led by Julia Smith, program director, Calvin College student life.

December 6:   The Church and Religious Persecution

We live in a time of increasing religion-based conflict… and the Christian church bears a large brunt of it,” says Kevin den Dulk, Paul B. Henry Chair in Political Science at Calvin College, and co-author of a new book The Church and Religious Persecution. This session will explore where the church is being persecuted today and what can be done to move church leaders and members from a stunned silence to actually taking a stand for religious freedom and building a faith-based movement against persecution.

December 13: Contemporary Perspectives on Vaccination

During this session we will review a brief history of vaccinations and their impact on modern culture and society.  We’ll also discuss ethical and moral implications of choosing to opt out of vaccinations. Led by David Van Winkle, FCC member and physician.

December 20:  70 x 7 Life Recovery

70 x 7 is a non-profit organization that assists those who have felony backgrounds with finding long-term employment. Our goal is to connect participants with a mentor who will walk alongside them, form a relationship with them, and integrate them into a church community or at least help them see a different way of living. We have our own internal staffing company that procures employment, so we are looking for mentors and businesses as well. Led by 70 x 7 staff.




Join us Sunday mornings at 9:15 for stimulating presentations and discussions of topics that matter to adult Christians.  Coffee and child-care provided.  Note: No classes on April 5 and 12.


January 4: African Adventure

Jake Kempster needed to complete a Senior Service Project for high school graduation. He decided to go to Tanzania, Africa, and his dad went along for the ride. Sort of. Come hear the story of beauty and brokenness in Tanzania as experienced by Jake and Kyle.


January 11:  Hope House

Love INC runs two area homeless shelters: Hope House for women and Harbor Hall for men (FCC’s Well ministry is currently involved at Hope House).  In today’s session the Sheltered Housing Program staff from Love INC will share recent challenges and victories in the lives of shelter residents. They’ll also introduce “Idols of The Heart,” a required class for each resident.


January 18:  What’s Happening in Haiti?  

Haiti has suffered through natural disasters, material poverty, inadequate medical care, Voodooism, and corruption. Our missionaries Zachary and Sharon Segaar-King have been working in Haiti since 2005, equipping and empowering Haitian Christian leaders. Learn how God is blessing their efforts.


January 25:  Behind the Scenes in Moran Park Church

Bob Herman, associate pastor of Moran Park Church in Holland, Michigan returns to further explore how we go about listening as God speaks. Learn how God has led Moran Park to face the challenges of its vibrant and diverse community.


February 1:  The Invasive Reality of Porn

None of us, whether in our own lives or in the lives or people we care about, can avoid the invasive reality of pornography. Sarah Young – an experienced, licensed therapist – returns to walk us through some realities – and the hope for God’s redemption – within this poisoned arena of broken sexual interaction.


February 8:  The Internet: What’s Next?

The internet and advances in personal computing have had a significant effect on our lives. In this session, we’ll look at what has changed and what might be next. We will also consider how technology can be used to glorify God. Led by FCC member Paul Tjapkes.


February 15:  Homegrown Parenting: Home Is Where the Heart Is

If you’re looking for practical, real-world help in your tasks as Christian parents, you’ll want to attend the next two sessions. The sessions are based on the new handbook Home Grown: Handbook  for Christian Parenting by Karen DeBoer. This week features a panel discussion by several FCC parents (names to be announced) on practical ways to nurture the faith of young children (chapters 1-2).


February 22:  Homegrown Parenting: Setting Boundaries, Showing Grace

This week a panel of  FCC parents (names to be announced) will explore some very challenging questions that all parents face, including such issues as: dealing with anger, teaching forgiveness, fostering mutual respect, choosing friends, spanking, dealing with swearing, keeping kids safe from abuse and more. Based on chapter 3 of Home Grown: Handbook for Christian Parenting by Karen DeBoer.


March 1:   Sport and the Christian Life

Sport enriches life. The urge to play sport is a divine gift, but without purposeful stewardship it can be separated from its divine intent.  The call for Christians to be a faithful presence in sport has never been more urgent. In response, a small group of coaches, theologians, and academics wrote a “Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life.” Learn how a Christian perspective on sport can help schools and families deal with demanding programs and coaches, sport injuries, and similar issues. Led by Brian Bolt, Calvin professor of Kinesetics and golf coach.


March 8:   Mission to Nicaragua

The Houskamp family and Judy Ponstine will report on a mission trip that they—and a number of other individuals from area CRC’s–recently made to the Nehemiah Center in Managua, Nicaragua. The purpose of the trip was to learn about the work of the Center and to serve.  They will have many stories to share!


March 15:    Paul in Macedonia: An Archeological Look at Philippi and Thessaloniki           

Paul’s first ministry in Europe (Acts 16-17) and his letters to the churches in Philippi and Thessalonica illustrate his missionary strategy and record the foundation of Christian communities that have endured to this day. This session will explore the results of excavations in these cities and look at factors leading to the success of Paul’s work in Macedonia. Led by Ken Bratt, a retired professor of the classics at Calvin and an enthusiastic researcher of early Christian archaeology.


March 22:  The Church—Fast Forward

The church is often criticized as being a stodgy, old institution. However, she has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. It leads one to wonder what changes the church will need to make in the next 20 years.  Pastor Nate will share his thoughts and speculations as to what the future church might look like and what changes will be needed to keep her relevant and effective.


March 29: Adversity and Spiritual Formation

In this 2015 Calvin January Series video, Jerry Sittser will weave in some of his own personal story of loss as he focuses on how adversity in general and suffering in particular can be formative in the Christian life. Sittser is chair of the theology department at Whitworth College and has won numerous awards for his teaching and writing.  Don’t miss this helpful presentation.


April 19:   Dying Well

Facing death is one of life’s most poignant and painful seasons, yet there is no escape. But it is possible to manage pain, conclude relationships, and transition with courage. Led by FCC member John Mulder, medical director of the newly formed Trillium Institute, which trains medical practitioners in palliative care and offers support to patients facing life-defining illness.


April 26:  Grieving Well

Grief is a normal emotional process associated with loss. Despite the pain, it is essential for adjusting to the next chapter of life. Facing it well can result in wisdom and healing, enabling relationships to move forward and yielding new insights for living well. Led by Ken Hekman, executive director of the Trillium Institute. Ken has nearly 40 years of healthcare leadership experience in more than 30 countries.


May 3:  Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

In this 2012 January series video, Jennifer Davis describes how, fresh out of college, she set out alone to hike the 2181 mile Appalachian Trail. It took over four months. Along the way she found adventure, kindness, tragedy, and humor. Then, years later, she hiked the trail in a record-setting 46 days, averaging over 47 miles a day. You don’t need to be a hiker to enjoy this video!


May 10:   The Scandal of the Old Testament God

Who among us hasn’t struggled with the image of God shown in the Old Testament? Amanda Benckhuysen, associate professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Seminary, joins us to share her views. To quote her, “In the end, while violent portrayals of God do scandalize us, the real scandal of the Old Testament is not these troubling images but rather God’s long-suffering and steadfast love for us.”


May 17:   Planning for the Inevitable

FCC member Rachel Terpstra and her colleague at GGTM Law, Sueann Mitchell, are experienced professionals in the areas of estate planning, elder law, family law, probate, and more. They will discuss how to plan for end-of-life health care decisions, financial issues and legal matters that are important for all adults—not just seniors.