Church School and Catechism
The third through twelfth grade students meet following the morning worship service from 11:15 to 12:15 PM September through April.
The third through eighth graders are studying the DWELL curriculum by Faith Alive Publications.
The ninth through twelfth graders, taught by Pastor Doug and Cathy MacLeod, and Karl Van Harn, are studying the Heidelberg Catechism using the books titled HC and Me published by Faith Alive.
On Sundays following the morning worship service during the school year, you are cordially invited to join us for these thought-provoking and inspirational presentations, geared to help us grow together in our understanding of what it means to live as servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. We meet in Room 1 which is on the lower level, just north of the elevator door. Sessions begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. and adjourn at 12:15 p.m. Light refreshments are provided.
Hold onto instruction, do not let it go; Guard it well, for it is your life. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet And be steadfast in all your ways. Proverbs 4:13 & 26
Topic: The Origins and Growth of the Syrian War and the ISIS Threat
Presenter: Bob De Vries
We have all been shocked and saddened by the devastating war in Syria and the terrorist attacks and brutality of ISIS. How could such destructive developments have come about? This session will focus on how the war in Syria and the ISIS each got started, how each persists, and how each grew to disastrous proportions. Furthermore, we will see how the conflicts have helped fuel each other. This negative connection between the two conflicts, however, also gives some clues about how they could be brought to an end or thwarted. This will be touched on in this session but explained in greater detail in the next session.
Topic: What Should Be Done about the War in Syria and the ISIS Threat?
Presenter: Bob De Vries
In this session we will first consider the kinds of threats that the Syrian War and ISIS pose for the West and for the US in particular. For example, how should we respond to the refugee crisis? How should the good of taking in desperate refugees be weighed against the risks? In particular, what position should Christians take on this matter? What trade-offs are we willing to accept between freedom and security? The second main issue we will consider is what the US should do to end the Syrian war and shut down ISIS—diplomatically, militarily, in cyberspace, and at home.
Topic: So What’s Up at the Baxter Community Center? A Physician’s Story
Presenter: Dr. Ron Hofman
Baxter Community Center has been situated between Bemis and Baxter Streets, between Fuller and Eastern Avenue, since the late sixties. How did this center for Christian education (which began in 1884) that trained many of our grandparents and great grandparents become the epicenter of care for a community in need? Dr. Hofman will present the current state of ministry in the city at Baxter, as it fulfills a different vision of the building’s intended purpose. The Kingdom vision remains the same. Find out what great things are currently happening there.
Topic: Creation Care through the Eyes of Big History
Presenter: Jim Muller
God created the heavens and the earth, and then God created us to care for that part of the creation where we live. It is located between the atmosphere and the ground. It’s called the ecosphere and it is made up of water, land, air, and living things. With relevant references to the Grand River Water Shed and to Plaster Creek, our presenter will challenge us to explore ways to be more effective stewards of this slice of God’s great creation.
Topic: Book Review of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal
Presenter: Mary Ann Walters
In his latest book, Being Mortal, Atul Gawande, a practicing surgeon, argues that medical professionals, himself included, have been wrong about their priorities, especially when caring for the frail, the elderly, and those approaching the end of life. Their goals for their patients are often not the goals of the patients themselves. This book is Gawande’s personal search for alternative ways of thinking, and along the way he tells the stories of his patients, colleagues, and relatives. Being Mortal is wise, honest, humane and, for some of us at least, utterly relevant.
Topic: Henry Gerecke: U.S. Army Chaplain Extraordinaire
Presenter: Donna Kamerman- Houskamp
Using the book Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis, by Tim Townsend, we will learn about the remarkable life of a simple, unassuming child of German immigrants, before his work for the US Army, during the war, and at the 1946 war trials in Nuremberg. Gerecke’s story and experience call us to examine our attitudes and judgments of heinous criminals and reminds us that Jesus’ atonement and the work of the Holy Spirit extend to even the darkest hearts.
Topic: Visit the Prisoner: Reflections on Teaching at Handlon Correctional Facility
Presenter: Kyle Heys
Growing out of the transformational success of educational programs in prisons around the country (for example, Angola Prison and Burl Cain) and Calvin Seminary non-credit classes offered at Handlon, Calvin College started offering for-credit classes in the Fall of 2015 with the idea of giving inmates a chance to earn a college degree. In this presentation Kyle will review the history of such programs across the US and at Handlon, give an overview of the program Calvin College is launching, and tell stories and reflect on the class he is teaching at Handlon.
Topic: Climate Change and the CRC
Presenter: Steve Mulder
In 2012, our Synod said that Climate Change is real, largely human-caused, a serious threat to our planet, and an ethical, justice, and religious issue. They called on congregations and individual members to speak out, model ethical behavior, advocate for public strategies, and respond with compassion and generosity to those impacted. In 2015, the denomination launched the Climate Witness Project. Nearly 200 denomination members across North America (including 9 from Calvin Church) agreed to support the CRC’s delegation to the recent COP-21 conference in Paris. We have learned a lot through this process. We are now entering the second phase of the project. At this meeting, we will review where the denomination has been on Climate Change and seek your input on where we should go next.