Back to the Building

It will have been 78 weeks since we last worshipped in the building! As we look back on that time, we have much to celebrate and be grateful for: watch parties, technology, innovation, flexibility, Garfield Park and on and on.

That said, we’re looking forward to being back in a familiar and meaningful space together.

Our first Sunday back will be September 12. Here are some things you need to know:

  1. We will be meeting at 9:30am!
  2. As we have throughout the pandemic, we will be following the Kent County Health Department’s and CDC’s recommendations. Currently, this means that everyone, regardless of vaccination status or age, will wear a mask whenever in the building. Of course, those under 2 and with medical exemptions are not required to wear a mask.
  3. If you are not comfortable wearing a mask, or are not ready to be back indoors, we invite you to join our livestream on Facebook.
  4. BranchKids PreK-4th grade will resume on 9/12. Kids will start in worship with their families and then be dismissed about mid-way through our time together. Learn more here.
  5. Toddler and Nursery rooms will not be available; however, the balcony has been reconfigured and has space for parents with babies or toddlers to roam, rest and participate in worship.

Summer at the Branch

We’ve got a great summer planned! There are chances to (re)connect, serve and grow for all ages! Click on the link below for the flyer!

2021 Summer Handout

The Journey of Advent

The stories leading up to and immediately after Jesus’ birth involve a lot of coming and going. Relatives make the trek to share joy about their shocking pregnancies. About-to-be parents travel to ancestral homes and then flee as refugees. Unexpected visitors arrive from a unknown land.
In the midst of all of these journeys we make one of our own. Yes, Advent involves retracing our steps through familiar stories and images, but it also holds the possibility of discovering new things. Things about ourselves, the world, even the about the Christ who we might be tempted to think we know all too well.
Join us as we embark on a journey through the stories that lead to the one story that shifted the course of history.

December 2 – Mary to Elizabeth

December 9 – Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem

December 16 – Angels to Shepherds

December 23 – Shepherds to Bethlehem
Christmas Eve – The Word to Us
December 30 – The family to Egypt

The Psalms: The Whole Earth is Full of Your Glory (7.8.18)

Psalm 104 and Psalm 8 remind of that God’s glory can be seen in all of creation. We are reflections of God’s glory, a picture of God’s creativity!

Summer at The Branch

Summer. There’s no better time to put your feet up and enjoy time with friends, new and old. Join us as we connect over good food and conversation at some pretty amazing places. Bring a friend. Everyone’s invited.

Every Tuesday, 6:30p: StoryTime in the Park
Join us for FREE BOOKS for all children 15 years old and younger and FREE ICE CREAM for all family members on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Storytime in the Park in located at 334 Burton St SE at Garfield Park. Children can also listen to captivating read alouds from 7:15-7:45 p.m.

Every Tuesday: 8p: Mountain Biking and Brass Ring
Meet in the parking lot of Brass Ring in Alger Heights at 8pm for an hour of mountain biking on local trails. Afterwards, join us for a drink at the Brass Ring.

June 15-17: Camping @ Fort Custer
Join us for a weekend of camping! We had a great time at Fort Custer last year, so we’re going back! They have mountain biking, swimming, fishing, etc. We’ll share the responsibilities of cooking breakfast and dinner. Lunch will be on your own.

June 22, 6:30p: CREATE Gallery Night!
Whether you’ve volunteered at or sent kids to CREATE or had nothing to do with it at all, come celebrate creativity at our Gallery Night! The art will be on display as well as 2 performances this year. There will also be a silent auction that benefits scholarships for next year’s CREATE. Oh, and there will be ice cream.

July 1: an Afternoon at the Beach
Join us at Painted Sky as Kevin & Mindy Freng host a BBQ at their cottage, which is conveniently located 200 yards from Buchanan Beach on Lake Michigan. We’ll have lunch together then enjoy an afternoon at the beach.

July 15: Pool Party
Nate and Liz Winkelman have kindly volunteered to host an afternoon of food and fun in the pool at their home.

August 24: End of Summer BBQ
To top off the summer fun, Jason & Mindy Law have invited us to their house for a Friday night bbq.

Check out our Facebook page to RSVP for camping or any of our summer bbq’s. For the other events, just show up! We’d love to see you.

Inhabit: Stories (6.3.18)

To wrap up our Inhabit series, we invited 2 couples to share stories about life in their neighborhoods, how they’ve built relationships, and how they’ve influenced the flavor of their neighborhood.

Recycling Needed!!!

We need your recycling! Two of the classes at CREATE will take your garbage and turn them into priceless masterpieces. Some call it upcycling, we call it art. Here’s the list of specific things that our two classes need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Plastic bottle caps (all sizes)
  • Metal jar lids of all sizes (like from salsa or jam jars)
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Number junk (any and all things that have numbers 1-12)
  • Cassette tapes
  • Old toothbrushes (we’ll bleach them before letting kids touch them!)
  • Clean milk jugs
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Shallow boxes & lids
  • Paint of any color

You can bring any of these items on Sunday mornings by June 17, or email teresa@thebranchonline.org to make other arrangements. Thank you!!!

 

Inhabit: Beauty and Awe (5.13.18)

It’s not enough to just see beauty around us. We are also invited to experience that beauty by entering in to the places where God is already at work. Where is their beauty in my neighborhood? What would it look like for me to enter into and experience that beauty? How might God want to re-ignite my imagination?

Inhabit: Regaining our Sight (5.6.18)

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau

What do we see? How easy is it for us to see the less important things? How common, in our context, to become hyper-fixed on what is wrong, broken, dysfunctional? (is this easier? easier to keep our distance through complaint and hopelessness). AND, how easy it is to be distracted or anesthetized? What if we regained our sight for those things that are already beautiful? What if we had eyes to see the mundane, even the broken, as aspects of God’s work among us?

When we regain our sight, it leads to remembering that God is good, which leads to trust, hope and truth.

Navigating Conflict: Our Key (4.22.18)

We learned some Greek this week during the sermon! Sounds a little intimidating, but it’s actually very helpful to understand what Paul was trying to say in Romans 14. What are we doing when we judge someone else? Does that lead to building each other up or to division?

Navigating Conflict: Our Posture (4.15.18)

We continue our study of Romans 14, learning how God calls us to navigate conflict. What is our posture? Do we value being right over being in relationship? Is everything we do out of a desire to honor God? Listen here for a sermon that challenges us to think differently about our posture as we find ourselves in places of conflict.

Navigating Conflict: Our Aim (4.8.18)

This week we started a new series, using Romans 14 to learn how we can best navigate conflict in our lives. It’s all around us and, if handled poorly, leads to destruction and division. But there is a way to navigate conflict so that it brings people together and builds relationships up. In this first week, we ask the question “In times of conflict, what is our aim?” Is our aim to win and defend ourselves or is our aim resurrection: for harmony and building each other up?

Easter: A Surprising Journey (4.1.18)

This Easter, we are reminded that hope and new life can come from pain and loss. The journey isn’t pretty or easy, but the resurrection reminds us of our hope. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Navigating Conflict

Series: April 8, 15 and 22.

Training: Saturday, April 28

Our world is in desperate need of resurrection. Perhaps this is especially true as we consider the destructive ways we are treating each other when we have varying viewpoints (be they political, theological, etc.).
From dinner tables to debate stages we witness a growing inability to navigate conflict in a way that leads to a diverse unity (not uniformity). Rarely is a divergence of viewpoint viewed as an opportunity for growth. Yet the resurrection of Christ points us to a world in which disagreements do not destroy relationships, but strengthen them. A world where conflict is met by  love, not hate.
Join us as we consider Romans 14 together and the ways in which it instructs us to navigate conflict. As we do, may the power of the resurrection be at work in our lives and in the world.
April 8: Our Aim

April 15: Our Posture

April 22: Our Key

April 28 (Saturday afternoon)
Join us as we invite Colossian Forum to provide a few hours of specific training and practice in the area of conflict. Click here for more details and to register for this training.

A Journey Through the Wilderness: A Journey to the True Self (3.18.18)

This is our last sermon in the series about the wilderness. Our journey took us through simplicity and lament, and showed us lies that we are tempted to believe about our identity. This week, we turn to find our true self. What can we learn about our own identity from Jesus’s responses to the tempter in the wilderness?

A Journey into the Wilderness: A Simple Journey (3.11.18)

When Jesus was in the wilderness, the devil tempted him with things like power, prestige, possessions and control, all in an effort to make Jesus act in a way that was not true to his identity. We are tempted in the same way. What false things are we being tempted to believe? And what do we need from God to remember our true identity?

A Journey into the Wilderness: A Sorrowful Journey (3.4.18)

As a culture, we too often skip over lament. We like to ‘roll up our sleeves’ and get to work fixing whatever is broken. While there is good in doing that, we miss the opportunity for growth and transformation if we skip the step of lament. It is modeled for us in the Bible over and over again. There’s even a whole book devoted to it! Listen as we learn about and practice lament and in so doing, we find hope.

The first ten minutes of this week’s podcast is an overview of our local and global mission partners. The sermon on lament begins after that (at minute 10).

A Journey into the Wilderness: A Simple Journey (2.25.18)

The wilderness is a place to wrestle with our identity. It’s a place where we must face and respond to our temptations. And it’s also a place where we experience God’s provision.

A Journey Into the Wilderness: The Spirit-Led Journey (2.18.18)

We know the wilderness to be a place that is harsh yet stunning, barren yet beautiful. It is an in-between place, to be sure. And when we willingly enter its vastness, there are things we discover about ourselves, our world and our God. Perhaps that’s why the wilderness shows up time and time again in the biblical story. From Abraham to David to Ruth, God’s people are led into those places where they must wrestle with who they are and who they trust.

Listen here as we begin our Lenten journey through the wilderness.