On Wednesdays in Advent we gather to worship, singing the “Holden Evening Prayer” by Marty Haugen. It is a special, short, contemplative service that helps prepare our hearts to welcome the new-born Christ. This year, our overall theme is “He Became One of Us for All of Us” using the text from Galatians 3:23-28, where Paul declares that we are neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, and male nor female. We’ll be thinking about who we include and who we exclude in our Christian communities. The service will be followed by a fellowship time with refreshments and a chance to interact with our guest.

On Wednesday December 6, the Rev. Mike Wernick will speak on the topic of gender.  Pastor Wernick serves two congregations: Ascension Lutheran Church and Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Kentwood.  He grew up in a Jewish home and converted to Christianity in 1990.  Following the discernment process, Pastor Wernick graduated from Bexley Hall (Episcopal) Seminary and was ordained into Sacred Order of Priests in June 2010. He was married to his partner in a civil ceremony in November 2013 and their marriage was blessed at a ceremony officiated by Bishop Whayne Hougland in April 2014.

On Wednesday December 13, the Rev. Jay Schrimpf will speak on the topic of class. Pastor Schrimpf serves Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids.  The congregation is located in the Heartside District.  Bethlehem also is home to the Hill Child Development Center which provides for children from many socio-economic groups.  Bethlehem recently opened the Intergenerational Center providing adult day care.  Bethlehem is actively engaged in reaching out to the homeless and those living in poverty situations.

On Wednesday December 20, the Rev. Joan Cornelison will speak on the topic of race. Pastor Cornelison is founder and executive director of Esther’s Hope Ministries a ministry that provides Bible camps, education scholarships, life skills training, health care and clean water for underprivileged young women in Africa.  She is a native of Kenya, East Africa.  She is a college professor, a visionary non profit administrator and ordained minister.  She received her Master of Divinity degree at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in 2000.