New Year's Eve at Revival Center
CADILLAC — The community is invited to an end-of-year chili/soup cookoff and sledding party at Revival Center Church.
Activities on Saturday, Dec. 31, will start with sledding at 4 p.m. down Cross Hill, followed by the cook-off at 6 p.m. at the church, 984 Plett Road. There also will be a snowman-building contest and more. First and second place prizes will be awarded for the best chili and the best soup.
For more information, call 775-2662.
Evening of Sacred Chant rescheduled
TRAVERSE CITY — An Evening of Sacred Chant with Rabbi Chava Bahle has been rescheduled.
The event, originally set for Dec. 21, will now be held at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4, at Yen Yoga, 332 E. Front St. For details or reservations, call 421-5496.
Groups help sexually abused to heal
Cadillac — The United Methodist Church of Cadillac will offer sexual abuse recovery groups for men, women, children ages 10-12, and teens.
The groups will meet for 12 Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. starting Jan. 6 at the church. All groups are confidential and free and are facilitated by trained survivors and licensed counselors. They are sponsored by Healing Private Wounds.
To register children and teens, call 429-0009. To register men or women, call 743-6213 or 775-6804. For more information, visit www.healingprivatewounds.org.
Women's Ministry sponsors seminar
KALKASKA — The Women's Refresh Ministry at Bear Lake Christian Church will sponsor a half-day seminar.
The seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at the church on M-72. It will feature a lecture by Beth Moore, founder of Living Proof Ministries. Free brunch will be provided.
To learn more, call 384-2489 or visit www.bearlakechristianchurch.org.
Tornado inspires changes in giving
TOLEDO, Ohio — The season of giving began early this year for Mainstreet Church in Walbridge, Ohio.
It started just after a tornado ripped through the church and neighboring communities the night of June 5, tearing down walls, roofs and buildings and killing six people, including three members of Mainstreet Church.
Now, more than six months later, it continues in the hearts and actions of church leaders and their congregation. Still recovering emotionally from the storms' aftermath, they have taken this summer's dramatic events and the outpouring of help that accompanied them as a lesson on the power of generosity and a call to reassess priorities in their lives.
Some have forgone presents and focused instead on donating to charity or spending quality time with family and friends. Others have committed themselves to being joyful for what they have, despite material losses they may have suffered in the tornado.
"I think anybody that went through it can't say it didn't change them," said the Rev. Marty Pennington, lead pastor for Mainstreet Church. "You certainly appreciate little things more, take less things for granted. I think it's made the community more giving."
To mark the Christmas season, Pastor Pennington is encouraging his congregation to buy at least one less present and instead give the money to one of six local or international charities, including one to help build homes for area tornado victims. He said the campaign feeds into both the holiday spirit and a new consciousness in the community about the power of giving.
Although Mainstreet suffered severe damage and losses of its own in the tornado, the church is perhaps best remembered as a center point for assistance to volunteers, non-profit agencies, and storm victims in the days after June 5. Within hours of the storm, church pastors opened up their campus on North Main Street in Walbridge as a relief ministry and redirected congregation members from cleaning up the church's damaged site on Moline-Martin Road to helping those in the wider community.
Their efforts, along with those of hundreds of other volunteers and relief providers from throughout northwest Ohio and beyond, turned what at first seemed an insurmountable tragedy into an example of community togetherness and a cause for hope. It is that memory that has stayed with church members and others in the area, and is spurring them to see the holidays differently.