Hope Church of the Brethren

Continuing the Work of Jesus Peacefully, Simply, Together

Welcome Ike!

Ike Porter begins as interim pastor at Hope in September. His first Sunday with Hope will be September 10. Ike preached at Hope for several months in the beginning of 2017. He is from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is credentialed in both the Mennonite Church and the Church of the Brethren. We look forward to his leadership as we continue to learn what God wants Hope COB to be.

NOAC 2017

Our older adults (age 50+) are returning from NOAC (National Older Adult Conference). If you want to relive events at NOAC or get a sampling of what they experienced, check out the web site. It includes news briefs and videos of worship services.



Phil Installed as New Pastor

On October 26, 2014 Phil Reynolds was installed as the new pastor at Hope Church of the Brethren. Here’s how the day went…img005

Nate Polzin (District Executive) and Joe McRoberts (deacon) accept Phil and Kathy Reynolds as members of Hope COB.


Nate and Joe install Phil as Hope’s new pastor.


Phil delivers his words of wisdom to Hope as their officially installed pastor! (And, of course, a potluck followed!!) For those lucky enough to be in attendance, they had the chance to meet more of Phil and Kathy’s family. We hope to have many more opportunities to worship and celebrate together with Phil, Kathy, and members of their family.

Meet the New Pastor and His Wife

Meet Phil and Kathy Reynolds…

Phil Reynolds has been called to be Hope’s new pastor. He will begin October 1, 2014. He is leaving an interim position at Agape Church of the Brethren in Ft. Wayne, IN to move to Michigan. While his joining us doesn’t guarantee a new birth for Hope, it will hopefully energize us to look for new growth and tenderly work to help it grow into something vital and life giving. In Phil’s own words: “My life has been a fascinating journey toward a more kind and gentle expression of faith. I am excited about journeying together with Hope.”


His wife Kathy will remain in Ohio for a season or two to complete some job training and work at selling their family home. She will hopefully join us for an occasional weekend before she moves permanently to Michigan. In the meantime, we might be able to get to know and support her through letters, emails, facebook, etc. Ask Phil what we might do to help make her a part of our church family.


Especially while Kathy isn’t here, Phil might enjoy an invitation to sup with you (though Kathy requests you do low carb meals for his health). It’s a great way to get to know him and welcome him into our midst. Of course, once Kathy comes, the meals don’t have to stop. Just pull up another chair!

P.S. the baby is their 7th grand child.

 To find out more about Phil, check out his blog here: The Musings.



SHALOM to Mike and Becky

Shalom means peace. It’s used both in greeting one another and as a salutation. The Fletchers said they didn’t want today to be a “goodbye,” but rather a “see you later.” I think shalom also works well in this instance. We wish them peace… peace as Mike finishes his interim with us at Hope… peace in further pursuits they embark upon… peace that will bring them back for visits. Mike and Becky, we wish you peace.


Sending out Young Men to NYC

National Youth Conference was this July. Hope sent three “young men”: Jacob, Roy, and Paul. Jacob rode the Michigan district bus out to Colorado for the event, and thus got to fully immerse himself in the fellowship with district youth. Roy and Paul chose to fly out because of other summer commitments they desired to return to. Sounds like whichever way you chose to get to NYC, once you’re there the fun was the same! Insight sessions, small groups, block party, hiking, service projects, concerts, worship… Plenty of things to keep you busy. Worship on September 14 will be lead by Joe (annual conference wrap up), and our NYC participants to give you a taste of denominational events our movers attended this summer.




History of Hope Church of the Brethren Farm

The Farm is one of the things about Hope that is unique. A small portion of the income from the farm is set aside each year to be used for scholarships to camp, disaster relief, seminars, etc. But most of the income earned from the farm goes to food related charities. How to be good stewards of the land is important to almost everyone you talk to at Hope. Just how to DO this does not have as much consensus, though keeping it as a farm seems to have almost universal support. Lately there has been an emphasis on letting us know the history of the farm: how we got it, who has worked the land, what it has meant to the church, etc. Especially for us non-farm raised folk, knowing as much about the farm as possible can only be a good thing. Case in point: when I went to take the picture of the farm, the greeters at church asked why I was taking photos. I said I wanted to have a photo of the farm on our blog. They noted I hadn’t taken a picture of OUR farm: our land was the other direction. I responded, “it’s a farm” (which had Jigg chuckling). “I mean corn in corn” (at which Jiggs was almost rolling on the ground laughing since the farm was planted with soy beans). While we want to be good stewards of the farm and the dream is to keep it for its purpose, it is evident that for some of us (namely, me), we need to be educated in the basics so we can make good decisions in the future.



The farm was purchased from Orville Deardorff in 1954 for $8,500.00.  It was to be used as a Men’s Work Project. At that time, many of the men of the church were farming and they cooperated in the operation of the farm. Doing this work were Floyd Thompson, Ken Thompson, Orville Deardorff, Ammon Miller, Ammon Miller Jr. (Jiggs), Clare Eash, Dan Kauffman, George Overholt, Ervin Stahl, Glen Stahl, Harold Rairigh and Fred Holsworth. Crops that were raised were wheat, corn and soy beans. Profits were used to pay for the farm, make any necessary improvements and give to outreach.

Over the years, fewer of these men were farming, so it was no longer a Men’s Work Project. It was decided to rent the farm. It was rented to Ken Thompson sometime in the early to mid-1070s. For a period of time it was rented to Ken and Brian Thompson – then later Brian, who is still renting it in 2013.

Some time after the farm was paid for, guidelines were established as to how the profits would be used. Designated amounts of not more than $1,000.00 could be used locally for camperships, seminars, retreats, etc. The balance would be given to outreach agencies meeting human needs.

In 1974-75 a portion of the church farm was set over from Kent County (Lowell School District) in to the adjourning Campbell township (Ionia County) which was in Lakewood School District.

In the early 1980s the township insisted on charging property taxes for land not directly used for church purposes. This resulted in a smaller net income from the farm.

Late in 1989 the farm committee discussed the possibility of selling the farm and using the interest on the capital for the same purposes as the net income money had been used since the purchase of the farm. With proper investment this could result in an income of approximately $4,000.00-$6,000.00 per year. This would have been an increase in funds to help others. The farm committee recommended to sell the farm and use only the interest on capital in accordance with the previous policy. The sale of the farm would exclude the property the church and parsonage sit on and the woods and the ball field. The exact acreage and description was to be determined by the Stewards commission. The farm committee felt that the approval of this recommendation would be a better stewardship of the resources God has put in our care. When this recommendation was taken to the Church Counsel, it was denied.

In late 1989 Amoco Oil Company leased the mineral rights for the church property for $1,200.00. This was calculated at $15.00 per acre for 80 acres for five (5) years.

In 2012 The Bishop Land Services Inc. wanted to lease the farm for exploration of gas and oil. When the committee discussed this, there was some difference of opinion as to whether it should be leased because drilling might be done by means of fracking. The committee decided to take a recommendation to Church Council instead of making the decision. The recommendation was “the Farm Fund Committee recommends to Church Council that the farm be lease to Bishop Land Services Inc. for the purpose of exploring for gas and oil.” At the April Council meeting of 2012 the recommendation was denied.

Ini 2012 The Bishop Land Services Inc. wanted to lease the farm for exploration of gas and oil. When the committee discussed this, there was some difference of opinion as to whether it should be leased because drilling might be done by means of fracking. The committee decided to take a recommendation to Church Council instead of making the decision. The recommendation was “the Farm Fund Committee recommends to Church Council that the farm be lease to Bishop Land Services Inc. for the purpose of exploring for gas and oil.” At the April Council meeting of 2012 the recommendation was denied.

From 1995-2012 $47,836.64 was given to charities in the local communities and beyond, such as Church World Services, God’s Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity. This dollar amount doesn’t include what was given for disaster travel expenses, camperships, seminars and workshops.

Compiled by Ken & Charlene Thompson, Duane Deardorff, and Keith & Jean Bergy

Hope Men Work to Earn Money for NYC

The men at Hope are strong supporters of National Youth Conference. For the past several summers they have cut and split wood to sell as firewood. Just drive by the church and you should find a neatly stacked pile, for sale by donation. Profits are being given to the National Youth Conference fund. The church hopes to send at least three youth and a counselor to Colorado next summer for the conference. (If you wonder why the men often pick Wednesdays to work on the wood, it’s because the quilters meet Wednesdays and the men have been invited to join the quilters for their “little” snack mid-morning… and discovered its anything but little).



For Everything There is a Season

The season of the Bradley’s being at Hope has come to an end. While they have been with us they have taught us a lot about faith, fellowship, life, love and loss. We wish them the best as they move to Goshen, Indiana and become part of the Goshen College community. Eric promises to give us an address soon so we can send mail and visit.

Eric and Neil standing by their U-Haul truck. Many from Hope helped them on moving day: Jiggs & Violet Miller, Dorothy & Mike Wolf, Mike & Becky Fletcher, and the master-mind of spatial relations for van packing…. Paul Crumback. Tristen & Roy Spencer (and their parents) helped take care of Neil.


They had the easiest job…


… but the hardest good-bye.


Welcome Mike Fletcher

Mike Fletcher is our new interim pastor. He began July 1, 2013 and will help us as we try to discern what direction Hope Church of the Brethren would like to move in. Here is an except from one of his weekly emails to those on the email mailing list:

“Since I’ve only been serving as your Interim Pastor for three weeks I’ll focus this report on what some of my goals are for my ministry among you over the next year. While many of my responsibilities are the same as what they would be for a permanent pastor, a few are different. One difference is that I will be helping you to cast your vision for the future, a future that I will not be a part of (other than an occasional visit). Often that means affirming your gifts and making suggestions how to best utilize those gifts, but sometimes it may mean needing to tell you things you may not like hearing. If those times occur, please know that I would only do this if I felt it was necessary for you to know in order for the church to more fully fulfill God’s call.

As part of that visioning process the church board and I will be planning five all church retreats over the next year, the first of these will be held on Sunday, September 22 with a carry-in meal following worship as we begin considering the future by examining what some of the challenges are. The second session will be Sunday, November 3 to consider the gifts that the members of Hope COB bring to the challenges. Future sessions will look at how to carry the principles of Hope’s heritage into the future, setting a plan and dealing with the difficulties of change. I know that it can be challenging to continue to set time aside for church meeting, especially when there are so many other activities at the church, but everyone’s attendance and participation will be vital to make this effort successful.

Another difference is that as an interim pastor I will be freer to experiment. If we try something and the congregation doesn’t like it, it can go away with me when I leave. If it turns out to be meaningful or helpful, you can keep it. Along those lines look for upcoming Bible studies, book studies, prayer breakfasts and other activities designed to deepen the spirituality of the congregation.

Although I don’t want to make too many suggestions before I have a better opportunity to get to know everyone better, I do believe that the church needs to make a commitment to upgrading the technology for the church. This will include some investment in hardware such as computers, internet access and screens and how the church makes itself available to members and others, such as a website and more use of e-mail.

If you have any questions about this report, I will be available to answer them on Sunday. Or, as always I am available at: Michael Fletcher, 26527 Cathedral, Redford, MI 48239, phone 313-303-1227 and email mfletch21625@aol.com.”