Inmates at a western Michigan jail have a new sanctuary for prayer and quiet reflection through the generosity of community members.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that the Muskegon County jail has opened a non-denominational chapel where men and women can seek out space for contemplation.

Muskegon County Sheriff Michael Poulin says local businesses donated items for the chapel, including carpeting, pews and a lectern. He says the new chapel is located in a former activities room, which was rarely used by the jail.

A full federal appeals court will consider whether a Michigan county's tradition of Christian-only prayers at public meetings violates the U.S. Constitution. The order on Monday by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacates a ruling earlier this month by a three-judge panel of the court that said prayers by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners were unconstitutional.

The Global Summit 2016 convenes in Grand Rapids, bringing in African American Church leaders from around the state to network and attend praise/worship sessions. Clarkston Morgan joins us to gives the details.

Authorities say three young people are suspected of vandalizing two churches in western Michigan.

The Ottawa County sheriff's department says information from the public led investigators to the teens, ages 13, 15 and 16.

Authorities say the front door was pried open about 3 a.m. Sunday at Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church in Georgetown Township.

Bibles, books and other church literature were found thrown around the lobby.

Fire extinguishers were discharged.

Damage to the church was estimated about $2,500.

Kent Dobson

Jan 25, 2016 / Mars Hill Bible Church

We welcome Kent Dobson to Common Threads.  Kent Dobson has been the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville since 2012, a role he is stepping down from.  Kent has taught religion in schools, led tours to Israel and was featured on programs for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.

A series of upcoming Ottawa County workshops help churches and places of worship create proactive safety plans.

"I think the biggest thing – the reason, is to be prepared."

That’s Sergeant Mike Bagladi of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. The department is offering a free, two-phase safety and security workshop for local churches and places of worship.

"Churches around the area and now all over the United States are coming up with their own security teams," he says. "It’s a real growing interest in all congregations." 

Church leader in Michigan wants to curb Sunday shopping

Nov 30, 2015
Marsupilami | Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

The leader of a church in southwestern Michigan says he wants Christians to stop shopping on Sundays.

Willie Lark tells The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph that he and some of his congregation members have been talking to people after services at area churches for the past two months.

Lark has led The House of Prayer in Benton Township since 2004.

He's also the owner of Lark's Bar-B-Que in Benton Harbor.

Lark says people often tell him they can't go to church on Sundays because they have to work.

A local church is celebrating 175 years. Ministers from Central Reformed Church begin a special series, “A Firm Foundation. A Faithful Future.”  Pastors join us to tell us more.

Jane Griffioen

Sep 8, 2015

We speak with local writer Jane Griffioen. Jane has written an account of attending the baptism of her grandchild in Charleston, South Carolina not long after the massacre at Mother Emanuel Church.  The name of her yet unpublished essay is “I Saw the Holy City.”