Thanksgiving prayers include heirloom school project When Dave Wiltse was given the project as a second-grade student at the brand-new Parkside Elementary School in 1954 to create a Thanksgiving grace (prayer) out of construction paper and glue, he did a good job of it. Now, 55 years later, the four graces he made as a youngster have become a family tradition and are still in use at the family Thanksgiving table. The battered grace Wiltse showed off prior to Thanksgiving 2009 was still perfectly legible, although he admits it is in the best shape of the four he made. He said he brought the four prayers home and his parents began using them every Thanksgiving. The senior Wiltse was the pastor of Rockford Methodist Church from 1951 to 1958. The Wiltse family kept the graces after they moved from Rockford to Grand Haven, then Alma, Mount Pleasant, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. When they moved into a retirement home in the 1990s, the graces returned to Dave, who had by then grown up and had a family of his own. The graces have become a tradition for the fourth generation of the family. Now the graces are used in prayer prior to the Thanksgiving meal by Wiltse and wife Marjorie and also by their children Rick and daughter Lyn and her husband Dan. Their child, four-year-old Ronan, is now learning the familiar prayer repeated at the family table for over five decades. Now the extended family meets at the home of Dave Wiltse’s brother Ric and his wife Stephanie, along with that couple’s sons Jacob and Joseph. Although the graces are known by heart, they are carefully handed out and read before the meal. The oldest brother of Dave and Ric Wiltse, Carl, lives in Scotland now with wife Pamela, and he almost always calls to share the now-familiar prayers of thanks. From an elementary project made by little hands and treasured through years of use, the Wiltse family wants to share this simple prayer of thanks with others in Rockford. We thank Thee, Lord, for happy hearts, for rain and sunny weather. We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food, and that we are together. Amen
Seventh annual event scheduled for Dec. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. On Thursday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Rockford Christian School (RCS), 6060 Belding Road, Rockford, allow your family to be transported back in time to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus Christ. RCS will be performing their seventh annual live nativity, including a live donkey, camel, cow, sheep, and even a real baby portraying our Lord. Each year, hundreds of people experience the joy of the Christmas story as the students and families of RCS make a public statement about the true meaning of Christmas. The school invites all who attend this free event to wander inside the school for hot chocolate and cookies. More than 50 students and parent volunteers give their time to make this outreach program meaningful for visitors. In order to help promote RCS values of academic, spiritual, environmental and service, nearly 30 students work on this program in various capacities. It is a school-family effort that is enjoyed by all. If you have any questions about the live nativity, please contact Principal Jan VanderWerp at (616) 574-6402, or email@example.com, or visit www.grcs.org/rockford.
The ensemble MacNaughton Boulevard, led by Bostwick Lake Church music director Roger MacNaughton, adds a musical twist to the holidays by performing jazz-inspired carols at Grand Rapids’ First United Methodist Church Jazz Vespers on December 19. Musical selections at the 6:00 p.m. service include traditional favorites such as “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Away in a Manger,” and “The Holly and the Ivy.” Joining pianist MacNaughton are Charlie Hoats (bass), Mike Hyde (guitar) and Steve Anzivino (drums). Additionally, Grand Rapids Symphony cellist Steve VanRavenswaay joins MacNaughton as the piano/cello duo MacRaven performs “Christmas Eve” from their first CD release Winter Canvas. First United Methodist Church is located at 227 Fulton Street, Grand Rapids. Parking is free in two church lots located off Barclay Avenue NE at the corner of Fulton. A free-will offering will be taken.
Basic Communications opens at Rockford Ridge development “People don’t understand an agent like us has the ability to do the same things as a corporate store can,” said Bill Pellerito, Rockford resident and general manager of sales in the new Basic Communications store that opened its doors for business on Tuesday, Nov. 17. “A lot of people have learned that shopping online is not the best way to go. The problem is: where do you go to get help? We’re here for them.” Pellerito is excited to offer the services of Basic Communications to Rockford and the surrounding communities. The business is one of a half dozen opening in the new mall in front of the Rockford Meijer on Ten Mile Road. Pellerito points out that it is a convenience to be able to buy a “Basic Bundle” of home phone and/or cell phone, Internet and television programming all from one source. By doing business through a physical store close to home, shoppers can rest assured they can have real-life, on-staff technicians should they have questions or encounter any problems with services. “We are excited to serve the northern part of our Grand Rapids community,” said Pellerito. “There is nobody else here. The next closest is our Plainfield Avenue location. Rockford is a great community and we are excited to be here.” Pellerito believes in being a partner with the community where he lives and works, and said Basic has a plan to do their part in the school-funding crisis. All new activations of service by parents, school staff or family members of a Rockford Public Schools student at the Ten Mile Store will result in a $25 donation to a Rockford school of their choice. “We hope to raise tens of thousands with this,” Pellerito said, pointing out that he is a parent with three kids in Rockford Public Schools. “Most of us parents are sick and tired of cookie dough, subs, magazines and other products we don’t want or need that we buy to support our schools. I think this is a real strong commitment to the community.” The company’s motto is “Keep It Simple, Keep It Basic,” and founders, brothers Rod and Greg Kirby, began the business with customers’ needs in mind. […]
Crystal Quillan of Rockford has been awarded a scholarship by the Two Ten Footwear Foundation. She was chosen from more than 500 applicants to this year’s program, and has decided to use the award to attend Central Michigan University. The Two Ten Footwear Foundation Scholarship Program was established in 1969 to provide need-based scholarships to people in the footwear, leather and allied industries. The program helps students meet the costs of higher education at colleges, vocational/technical schools, and nursing programs. Annual awards range from $200 to $3,000 and may be renewed. Two Ten grants scholarships on the basis of academic achievement, community involvement, personal promise, and financial need. Since the program began, $14 million has been awarded in scholarships to 6,000 students. For more information about the Two Ten scholarship program, contact the Scholarship Department at 1466 Main St., Waltham, MA 02451. Applications will soon be available for the 2009-2010 academic year.