Here Come the Pumpkins by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS North Kent Presbyterian Church If you have driven or walked on Kuttshill past North Kent Presbyterian Church in the last few months, you have probably noticed that we turned some of the land around our church into quite a pumpkin patch. Odd thing for a church to do, I suppose, but we had very good reasons. There’s also a big pumpkin sign that says, “Come Grow with Us.” The pumpkin drawing is courtesy of one of our church preschool kids. So, we’re growing pumpkins as a fundraiser, and we hope we’re attracting some attention so that people will know we’re here and that anyone and everyone is welcome to join us. But here’s the thing about pumpkins: Better than any of the other fruits and vegetables God gave us, the pumpkin reveals some wonderful truths about our relationship with God. The best and most common use for pumpkins is for making Jack o’lanterns. (They make great pie too, but that’s another story.) You start by cleaning off the pumpkin, getting rid of any of the garden dirt. Then you cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and clean out the inside. It can be a messy thing to reach in there and pull out all the yucky, slimy stuff and the seeds, but you have to do it so that you can carve a face. When I did that as a child, I always wanted to give my pumpkin a smile to start with, then a nose which usually ended up looking like a triangle, and finally some eyes. We would put our pumpkins in the living room window so they faced the street, and mom would let us put a candle inside so that people could really see the face lit up as they went by. Several years ago a piece ran around the e-mail circuit with the story of the pumpkin and how it demonstrates what God does with us when we give our lives to Him. First, Jesus picks us up and cleanses our life from sin. He removes all the yucky thoughts and the seeds of doubt, hate and selfishness that we have inside. Then he puts a smile on […]
August 9 2012
The past 12 months has been an exciting year for one local band. Vertical Bridge is set to release their debut album “Never Too Late” August 10. The 11-song album features nine originals and two covers including “Shine” by Collective Soul and “She Talks to Angels” by The Black Crowes. Brad Thomas of Rockford is the band’s guitarist. Jamie Sorsen of Greenville plays drums, and Jim Douglas, also of Greenville, is the lead singer. The three members have been playing together for over 12 years. The recording process started a year ago in June, when the band made a trip to Nashville for an indie music conference. They went with a demo CD in hand—not knowing what to expect. While at the conference, they met producer Billy Smiley, founding member of the Christian rock band Whiteheart. He was speaking at the conference. The band talked with him and gave him a copy of their demo CD. A couple days later, Smiley phoned them and said he liked what he heard and wanted to meet again with them and discuss making an album. A month later, Smiley flew to Rockford from Nashville and met with the band. They quickly hit it off and scheduled another visit from Smiley to work on pre-production of five songs. Smiley came back to Michigan in September to complete pre-production and the band was in Nashville in October, recording five songs. The guys in the band didn’t realize what they were in for. In Nashville, they were introduced and worked with some of the music industry’s great pros, including mix engineer Billy Whittington, who has worked with Carmen, Michael W. Smith, Vanessa Williams and many other artists. Also mixing part of the album was mix engineer Richie Biggs, who has worked with many artists and bands including Switchfoot, Newsboys, Michael W. Smith and most recently won two Grammy awards for his work on the Civil Wars Album Barton Hollow. The band was between bass players during recording. Smiley, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., but works in Nashville, is friends and neighbors with Megadeth bass player David Ellefson. Smiley sent the material to Ellefson to see if he was interested in providing the bass tracks for the band. Ellefson liked the music and […]
This year’s Reading Rocks in Rockford is sure to be a hit for everyone in the family. The literacy festival enters its fourth year and has matured into a blockbuster event that highlights what building blocks reading provides toward every child’s future. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 11, is sponsored by the Rockford Rotary Club and Rockford Public Schools, and takes place at a variety of venues throughout downtown Rockford. It includes an author’s showcase, Rockin’ Reader Awards, book publishing, a parade, children’s activities, Paws with a Cause, and even a digital petting zoo. Reading Rocks has even garnered national recognition in 2012, earning a $2,500 award from the Pearson Foundation and 1,000 books from We Give Books for this wonderful event that promotes literacy. Representatives of Reading Rocks in Rockford and the Rockford Rotary Club will be receiving the award September 7 in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress for National Literacy Day. The award-winning festival starts on August 11 with a crowd favorite, the Storybook Parade, at 10 a.m. in front of Krause Memorial Library. Parents and children are invited to don a costume of their favorite storybook character, or carry their favorite book and join in the fun. The parade will wind down East Bridge Street to Garden Club Park, where Author’s Row features more than 20 published authors autographing their books and answering questions. There are also plenty of activities for children in the Rotary Pavilion to help them discover the magic of reading and writing. The “Story Within You” Publishing Center will be housed at the pavilion so future writers can hone their skills. An Out of the World Party is planned from 10 a.m. until noon and features Galactic Games and invites kids to “Imagine! Explore! and Dream Big!” From noon until 2 p.m. the pavilion will feature a Birthday Bash where Mad Libs, Book Bingo, Family Scrabble and face painting add to the fun. Are you looking for entertainment? The Garden Park Stage is lined up with music and entertainment from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Enjoy the Rockford High School Drumline at 10 a.m. and the Rockford Community Children’s Choir at 11 a.m. A sneak peak at “Into the Woods” Fairy Tale Musical is […]
‘We are blessed by support and generosity’ When Sandy and Steve Peterson’s son Mitchell was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in 1999, they wondered where they could turn for support. They reached out to another family who also had a son diagnosed with DMD and through them made a connection with Parent Project MD (PPMD). “Sandy and I were introduced to PPMD in the very earliest stage of Mitchell’s diagnosis. During those early stages we were very confused and had little information on what we should do, what specialists we needed to see, and knowing the best care we could provide for Mitchell,” recalled Mitchell’s dad Steve. “Parent Project MD offered to us a complete education and a road map to follow in caring for our son. They are an amazing recourse for parents and families of boys with Duchenne MD.” “Our ultimate objective of Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford [MRTR] is to find a cure for Duchenne MD,” added Steve. “MRTR is working to raise funding and raise awareness of DMD. When celebrities like the Green Bay Packers’ Clay Mathews, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, and the NCAA Coaches for a Cure become involved, it’s amazing how the level of awareness increases. Awareness increases 10 fold. At a local level, MRTR has created a high of awareness of DMD in West Michigan. I believe awareness creates personal and community interest, community interest creates funding, funding will ultimately lead to a cure.” Those within the Rockford community are becoming more familiar with PPMD from the efforts of the Peterson family and their 5K race named Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford 5K Run/Walk and Kids for Kids K. All proceeds from this race are donated to PPMD in Mitchell’s name. This year’s event is set for Saturday, August 18, at 8:30a.m. “This will be our 14th year,” said Sandy. “The truth is, our family and all the families affected by DMD are blessed with the amazing generosity of all of the people who have participated, volunteered and supported Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford over the years.” To register or volunteer for the event, visit their website at mitchellsrun.org.
Why I love my town Reason #129: Most of us, we see the flashing lights go by with mild curiosity. Last week I had occasion to dial 9-1-1. All day I’d had a little trouble breathing, and at bedtime I didn’t want to bother anybody, but I was nervous. Within minutes, Officer Dave Jehnzen was at my door with oxygen and EMS supplies. Minutes later the Rockford Ambulance arrived with more equipment. My neighbors, Ken and Nancy Platt, came in. They all convinced me to go to St. Mary’s Emergency Room. So I took the bumpy ride in and got immediate and effective treatment. After a couple of hours they let me go. Ken had come to the hospital and he drove me home. This was my first experience with emergency service and I was impressed. Rockford police are cross-trained, as is the fire department in Cedar Springs (which did almost 700 medical calls last year.) The ambulance service is near all of us. I’m glad I live in an area where prompt emergency help is available even when we don’t think we’ll need it. Wonderful neighbors are frosting on the cake. Trouble brewing A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said, “You should do it because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.” The husband said, “You’re in charge of the cooking around here and you should do it because that’s your job. I can just wait for my coffee.” Wife replied, “No, you should do it. It’s in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.” Husband replied, “I can’t believe that, show me.” So she fetched the Bible, opened to the New Testament and showed him the words at the top of several page that, indeed, said: “HEBREWS.” Skill Sandra was holidaying in Thailand when she saw a native wearing a beautiful white necklace. Admiring it, she asked the Thai, “What is it made of?” “Crocodile’s teeth,” the Thai replied. With an air of superiority, Sandra observed, “I suppose they mean as much to you as pearls do to us in the West.” “Oh, no,” the native objected. “Anybody […]