Colossian Blog

Displaying all posts tagged "Staff".
Reflections on Unity
May 24, 2017 | Josh Webb
Reflections on Unity
As a soon-to-be college graduate who is looking forward to heading out into the world, I’ve realized that I’m inheriting an American society that is more polarized than ever. Republicans hate Democrats, Democrats hate Republicans, and all of us are suspicious of those Independents. As I think about where I may find my next church home, I often read the statements of faith that many churches now publish on their websites. I ask myself if it’s a liberal church or a conservative church. I wonder what position their members and leadership take on gay marriage or evolution. Sometimes, from just a simple glance at a church web page, I uncharitably conclude that, “These aren’t the type of Christians I want to worship with”. I assume that I am not alone in this. Yet are we not one church? Do we not eat at one table, kneel at one cross, praise but one name? Across political, socioeconomic, and geographic divides, all Christians claim the same good news: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and was resurrected. How, then, do we account for the incredible differences in opinion among Christians today and what exactly do we do about it? The Apostle Paul compares the church to a human body. Like a human body, the body of Christ is made up of many parts. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul writes, “Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit”. Each part of the body brings a different perspective, a different understanding, and has a different role to play. But no part can function on its own and all must work together to survive. Even in the tremendous diversity of the body, by God's power there is unity. This unity in Christ has been hard to see in recent times. Christians of differing theological understandings have resorted to schism and isolation rather than attempting the hard work of confronting conflict. And while it may seem easier for rival factions to simply go their separate ways, where is the Christian witness in running from difficult situations? Is our belief in God's power so small that we cannot fathom the bridging of our differences? Is our commitment to Jesus' command to love one another really so weak? Paul's words admonish our actions: "The eye can never say to the hand, 'I don’t need you.' The head can’t say to the feet, 'I don’t need you.'" Our Christian witness is not found in our ability to agree on all things. We are not called to be a church of mindless clones. That is the witness of human culture, which forces individuals to choose between agreement or exclusion. Instead, our Christian witness is found in the fact that we are one body of many disagreeing parts. Our witness is found in our diversity, in our humility, in our graciousness, in our love for God, and in our love for one another. This is something the world cannot offer, for only God can hold together such a messy, marvelous body. As it is written in Colossians 1:17-18 (TCF’s namesake verse), “in Christ all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church ….” Even with Christ as the head, disagreements will still exist among believers. But Christians have a choice when it comes to conflict in their churches. And when we choose to let Christ hold us together, we choose to receive the blessing of his saving grace and the power of his resurrection. The spiritual death that is enmity, division, and suspicion can be turned into a renewed life of love, unity, and understanding. I've seen it happen in my own life. I work at a church whose theological and political leanings differ from mine. Over the years, I've found myself becoming more critical and less gracious in my thoughts toward my church. But God has been working on my heart, and while I still don't agree with some of my church family, I've started loving them in a new way. Instead of loving my church family despite our disagreements, I've somehow come to love them because of those disagreements. I'm beginning to realize that my brothers and sisters who disagree with me are not some sort of trial or hardship, but an example of God's grace in my life. How else are we to experience God's grace and power if not through his ability to renew our lives in the midst of conflict and disagreement? I have been blessed with the time I've had as an intern at The Colossian Forum. My experience here has helped me come to a new understanding of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. As I move forward into this next chapter of my life, I pray for opportunities to put this new perspective into practice, trusting that all things truly will hold together in Christ.
TCF Welcomes Jan Stump as our new Director of Development
April 19, 2017 | Jennifer Vander Molen
TCF Welcomes Jan Stump as our new Director of Development
The Colossian Forum is thrilled to welcome Jan Stump to our staff as our new Director of Development. Jan is continuing a 30-year vocation of advancing the missions of nonprofit organizations through fund development. Most recently she served as Executive Director of the ACSI Education Foundation, a supporting organization for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), Colorado Springs, CO. Prior to that she served for ten years as ACSI’s Director of Development and Public Relations and for twelve years as Director of Development at Grace Christian School in Anchorage, AK. Over the years, she has had the privilege of training and mentoring hundreds of school leaders worldwide in fund development and student enrollment. Fueling her work is a passion to better understand what it means to educate students with the mind of Christ, embodying the love of Christ within their classroom experience and beyond. The mission of The Colossian Forum resonated deeply with her desire to see Christian schools increasingly adopt a winsome posture in the world—a posture of generosity, curiosity, and grace. In 2016 Jan joined TCF’s Board of Directors and was soon drawn to this exciting opportunity of partnering with the team in furthering TCF’s transformative vision. Jan received her bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University before moving to a remote Indian village in Alaska where her husband, Don, taught all elementary grades in a one-room school. She earned a master’s degree in literature from the University of Alaska Anchorage, focusing on postmodern contemporary fiction. She has maintained continuous recognition as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) since 2001. Don and Jan have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. She reads widely, enjoys long walks and treasures the blessed and beautiful monotony of hand quilting. Jan will be based in Colorado Springs, with significant time spent with TCF staff both virtually and in person. You can reach her at jstump@colossianforum.org. Welcome, Jan!
TCF Welcomes Student Intern Josh Webb
January 18, 2017 | Jennifer Vander Molen
TCF Welcomes Student Intern Josh Webb
Last week, The Colossian Forum welcomed Josh Webb as our new student intern in the Operations and Communications department. Josh is an undergraduate student at Calvin College, where he studies in the religion and music departments. He will be working with us during the spring semester as he completes his degree. Along with his studies and internship, Josh works part-time as the Director of Music Ministries at Leighton United Methodist Church in Caledonia. He and his wife, Kate, married in June of 2015 and currently live in Jenison. Together they enjoy hiking, traveling, and movie marathons! Josh was drawn to The Colossian Forum by a shared passion for seeking grace and discipleship through conflict in the church. He is also looking to gain new work experience before graduating. He will be assisting TCF in several areas including weekly marketing and communications tasks, compiling and editing an e-book, and a market research project. Welcome to the team, Josh!
The Colossian Forum's New Look
August 31, 2016 | Jennifer Vander Molen
The Colossian Forum's New Look
The Colossian Forum is in the middle of a rebranding process, and today we're excited to debut our new logo! As we've expanded our focus from the intersection of faith and science, a new look to reflect that focus became a priority. We're moving from a science-centered look to one that reflects the broader facets of our mission and ministry at The Colossian Forum. If you've been receiving our publications and emails over the past few months, you've seen these new colors integrated into our look. Our new tagline, Hope in Practice, reflects The Colossian Forum's mission to give glimpses of hope within messy situations and provide tools to engage these situations through our shared Christian virtues and practices. We're also working on a new website that will launch later this month (by the grace of God) where you'll be able to peruse our mission and vision, what we're working on, and find ways to connect with us. In addition, The Colossian Forum will relocate later this year to the Widdicomb building in downtown Grand Rapids (601 Fifth St. NW, Suite 101, Grand Rapids, MI 49504). The new space will provide more room for our staff, additional meeting space, and collaborative work areas. While the move-in date isn’t finalized yet, you can stay updated by checking back here on the blog. We anticipate moving in late November. There are a lot of changes here at The Colossian Forum! We're excited for the journey as we bring people together in messy situations to participate in the truth of the gospel.
Welcome Kim Bosko to the TCF Team
August 10, 2016 | Jennifer Vander Molen
Welcome Kim Bosko to the TCF Team
Last week, The Colossian Forum welcomed Kim Bosko as our new Administrative Assistant. Kim previously served as the database coordinator for the Van Andel Institute’s development department. She has also worked at Kids Hope USA supporting local programs in Michigan and Ohio, and led a middle school mentoring program. Kim earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Saginaw Valley State University. She also received a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan. At The Colossian Forum, Kim will work to support staff in our programming and operations departments as well as oversee event planning and our intern program. Kim's deep desire to serve God’s people also spills over into her life outside of work where she mentors in a local elementary school. Kim and her husband James enjoy tackling projects around the house, playing with their dog Lilly (a golden retriever), and cooking together. Welcome, Kim!
Grace and Gratitude--A New Adventure
April 27, 2016 | Jennifer Vander Molen
Grace and Gratitude--A New Adventure
My time at The Colossian Forum is coming to an end, and I invite you to pause with me, grieve what no longer is, celebrate what God has done over the past few years, and look expectantly to the future. For me, working at The Colossian Forum has been an incubation space where I have been graced with a freedom to try new things, learn, and experience vulnerable community. Catching our vision for a transformed and renewed Church has provided me a new perspective that I will continue to carry with me: where conflict is opportunity, disciples are made in community, and the importance of spiritual disciplines in the path toward reconciliation. The practice of praying with my co-workers each morning is one way I have experienced grace and gratitude--gifts that have formed me into the kind of co-worker and wife that is more patient and less fearful. TCF, thank you for all the ways you’ve poured into me and given me new ways to use my gifts to serve others. Leaving this family is like being in a space between stories, as most seasons of change are. Despite the discomfort of this current space in my life, I’m hopeful that the Lord’s plans for myself and The Colossian Forum’s future will unfold with a sense of joy and awe at His incomprehensible love. I leave you with these two quotes: “So please, if you are in the sacred space between stories, allow yourself to be there. It is frightening to lose the old structures of security, but you will find that even as you might lose things that were unthinkable to lose, you will be okay. There is a kind of grace that protects us in the space between stories.” --Charles Eisenstein “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” --Isaiah 43:19 Jeanna Boase served as our administrative assistant here at The Colossian Forum for over three years. She is finishing her MA counseling degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and will be taking a full-time course load this summer. We look forward to seeing what doors open this fall as she wraps up her final class. God's blessing to you in this new adventure, Jeanna; you will be missed!