Contemporary Christian Life Issues (CCLI)


Sunday mornings, 10:50–11:50am
Meets weekly through April 30 in the chapel

​​The Contemporary Christian Life Issues class explores current and relevant faith and justice issues affecting our community, nation, and world.  For more information contact Lori  at 796-3361 or

This class is available both in person and virtually via a YouTube Simulcast Link.  To receive the class link (specific to each session) contact Lori by Thursday afternoon prior to the session you would like to virtually attend.  Only one contact is needed to be added to the Simulcast Link List.

January 15:  What Lies Ahead for Ukraine and for Russia?
Dr. John A. Bernbaum, President of BEAM (Business and Education as Mission), Inc., a private foundation that supports educational programs in Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia

After a brief update on the Russian-Ukrainian War of 2022, this class will focus on what life is like after almost a year of painful conflict following the Russian invasion. We will discuss the impact of the war on the Christian community and Christian educational institutions in particular, and how God is using this conflict in ways most of us never anticipated.

January 22:  Hope Homes – Transitioning Families into Homes
Scott Sterenberg, Housing Coordinator / Life Skills Coach, City on a Hill – Doors of Hope

Hope Homes are transitional rental housing for Doors of Hope clients. The goal is to create sustainability after a 12 to 18 month stay in Hope Homes. While living in a Hope Home, clients continue to meet with their Life Skills coach for support, budgeting, future planning, and life skills building. Success doesn’t hinge strictly on being able to afford rent but also the emotional healing that can happen along the way.

February 5:  Mentoring with Meaning
Jane Anderson, Director of Human Services, Mosaic Counseling

Mentoring is a unique and rewarding approach to building authentic relationships. Mentors who share their stories discover that their personal testimonials help mentees navigate similar life challenges. Being an expert is not the driving force behind being a mentor. The qualities of a mentor only require a heart to help and a willingness to extend an open hand to those reaching out. In this session we’ll explore the basic steps of effectively establishing a respectful and trusted relationship while bridging gaps that often hold us back in offering help. All that is required is the desire to positively impact the life of another!

February 12:  Strengthening Relationship and Community Through . . .Conflict?
Ann McKnight, Clinical Social Work / Therapist, LMSW, ACSW

Might conflict actually be a key to building dynamic, robust, flourishing communities? What if there was a method and a path to help us transform isolation and brokenness to grace-filled relationship? In this session, we’ll explore the practice of Restorative Circles (RC). We will bring to light the many ways we currently approach conflict. And we will learn a specific discipline for living out Christ’s command in Matthew 5:23 to be reconciled with our brothers and sisters. Join us and learn how to create the conditions in which restoration and reconciliation are possible.

February 19:  Child Care: Understanding the Challenges and Celebrating the Success
Colleen Walters, Executive Director, Lakeshore Little People’s Place

We see and hear reports about the lack of child care options available to families. Why is that? What happened that created this problem? We’ll explore not only the ins and outs of childcare, but also examine what it means to provide quality care and education to children. Understanding the demands and challenges of this profession will shed light on how extraordinary child care providers are and how critical this service is to the parents and families of our community.

February 26:  Trafficking and Exploitation Awareness
Michael Glennon, Supervisory Special Agent ,Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Detroit, MI

Everyday within the U.S. thousands of children are lured into exploitation. These children are not kidnapped on the streets in front of their homes nor are they taken from local shopping malls. Rather, they fall victim to online predators disguised as fellow teens. This presentation will look at the world of online child enticement and sextortion. It will illustrate how criminals use common social media outlets to trick and enslave children into producing compromising illicit images of themselves. We’ll also discuss how online enticement is often the foundation for ensnaring victims into human trafficking. A general overview of human trafficking will be provided as well as risk factors, victim characteristics, trafficking indicators and investigative examples. Come learn how to identify and understand victims of all types of exploitation and to respond appropriately.

March 5:  Winning at Home – Trauma Training and Our Daughters International (Nepal)
Helen Boeve, a former business owner in Zeeland

Recently Helen Boeve and a team from Winning at Home traveled to Chitwan, Nepal to lead an in-person training on trauma-focused therapy for the counseling team at Our Daughters International. Our Daughter’s International works to help prevent sex trafficking, provides safe houses for the girls they rescue, and helps them find jobs, or start a business. The training skills shared with the ODI counselors will help them better serve the survivors of human trafficking that they interact with daily. Helen will speak with us about this trip to Nepal and the important work being done there.

March 12:  Trauma and Toxic Stress
Krista Brower, Behavior Systems Consultant, Ottawa Area ISD

The rates of trauma and toxic stress are increasing among children and adults. This has significant impact on individuals’ brains, behaviors, and relationships. This session will give a brief description of those impacts and discuss how a different mindset can positively change how we support and love these individuals.

March 19:  Near and Far: How Words of Hope Shares Christ from Here to There and Back Again
Rev. Jon Opgenorth, President, Words of Hope

Some know Words of Hope as “That little book at Russ’.” Others because of Dr. Bill Brownson’s amazing ministry. Still others because of our work in hard places. This session tells the transformation story of Words of Hope from a North American radio ministry to a global community that shares the hope of Jesus in over 70 heart languages.

March 26:  Where Do You Belong? The Impact of Faith and Culture on Personal Identity
Brianne Roux, Bilingual Family Therapist, Bethany Christian Services

Today’s session will consider how personal identity and belonging have been important from ancient times to present day, and how that can help us to understand society’s identity crisis within a biblical context.

April 2 and 9:  No Class – (Spring Break / Palm Sunday) and (Easter)

April 16:  To Be Determined

April 23:  Faith-Based Community Organizing: How Churches Create Social Change
Matt R. Jantzen, Th.D., Assistant Professor of American Ethnic Studies, Hope College

How might congregations carry out the prophet Jeremiah’s admonition to “seek the welfare of the city”? This presentation will introduce the model of broad-based community organizing as a way for congregations to address economic inequality and racial injustice in their local communities.

April 30:  Ottawa Food – Eliminating Hunger, Encouraging Healthy Eating, and Supporting Local Farmers
Sierra Schuetz, Health Educator, Coordinator of Ottawa Food, Ottawa County Department of Public Health

Ottawa Food is a county driven initiative that collaboratively strives to eliminate hunger, encourage healthy eating, create an equitable local food system, and meaningfully support local farmers. Come learn what Ottawa Food is currently doing to address food insecurity and poor nutrition locally. There are numerous ways to get involved! Attend this presentation to learn more about exciting local work being done and about the level and complexities of need in Ottawa County.

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