Fun Gifts for Northeastern Elementary

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NE playground 2013-10


A carload full of balls, bats, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk were collected by the Calvary Bible Church East church family and delivered to Kalamazoo’s Northeastern Elementary School last week. The church, located just a mile and a half east of the school, launched the playground equipment drive as a simple way to encourage and support the community. The church has previously done similar drives to collect playground equipment and winter clothing for Comstock North Elementary. In addition, the church also partners with RBM Ministries to host monthly release time Bible classes for students from both schools.

In an email to Calvary East, Dr. Vanessa Carter, principal at Northeastern, said, “The children will have so much fun with the items. In this day in age it definitely ‘Takes a Village to Raise Children’ and your support has made our jobs that much easier. I am looking forward to future collaboration.”


Bible Classes for Local Elementary Schools

Sunday, September 17, 2013

Paul Spotts, RBM Ministries

Paul Spotts, RBM Ministries

In October, release-time Bible classes will begin for our local public elementary schools throughout the Kalamazoo area. These classes are taught by Paul Spotts of RBM Ministries. With permission from students’ parents, Paul is able to bus children to a nearby church once a month during the school day for a one hour class that includes singing, games, a Bible lesson, and Scripture memory. Home school children are also welcome to attend.

This year Calvary East will host classes for  Comstock North Elementary and Northeastern Elementary in Kalamazoo’s Eastwood neighborhood. Volunteers are needed to listen to children recite memory verses, interact with those who ask for prayer, and help maintain discipline while on the bus and in class. These two classes will be held at 11:35 a.m. (Comstock North) and 1:15 p.m. (Northeastern) on the first Tuesday of every month.

Please encourage any children you know to attend and pray for God’s blessing. Contact us here if you are interested in volunteering or would like to receive more information about this unique ministry.


Thank you, Calvary East!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dear Calvary East Church Family,

Jared Ransom and I had the great privilege of representing all of you this afternoon. We delivered to Comstock North Elementary all of your donations to our last minute playground supplies drive for Easter Sunday. The principal was thrilled. You donated 8 basketballs, 11 bounce balls, 6 soccer balls, 1 football, 6 plastic bats, 22 plastic baseballs, 3 double jump ropes, 29 single jump ropes, 4 frisbees, 18 boxes of sidewalk chalk, and an 8 pack of bubble solution. Great job! I praise God for your generosity and concern for our community. Simple projects like this are one way to let our light shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matt 5:16).

Bryan Craddock


An Easter Surprise

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sometimes you have to take hold of unexpected opportunities.

For the past few years, we’ve been looking for meaningful ways for Calvary East to serve the Comstock community.

  • We’ve helped out at Comstock Daze, a community fundraiser for the Great Lakes Burn Camp.
  • We’ve hosted a monthly release time Bible class for children from Comstock North Elementary.
  • We’ve filled backpacks with supplies for Comstock Kindergarteners.
  • We’ve collected cleaning supplies for Comstock seniors in need.
  • We’ve provided Christmas gifts for a few local families who were financially struggling.
  • A few of our members have started helping tutor Comstock kids in reading.

This Wednesday I heard of another opportunity: playground supplies. With tight school budgets, Comstock North Elementary, just around the corner from our building, is in need of some basic playground supplies: kickballs, basketballs, soccer balls, waffle balls and bats, jump ropes, double dutch jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk.

My first thought was that this was a simple, tangible way for all of us at Calvary East to show our interest in serving our community. But then it struck me. Wouldn’t it be great if we could provide these playground supplies as an Easter present?

Let’s see what we can do this weekend to provide an Easter surprise for Comstock North on Monday morning.

 – Bryan Craddock

Cleaning Supplies Drive

There are many low income Senior Citizens connected with the Comstock Community Center. The Center would like to make laundry soap and other cleaning items available, and we have the opportunity to help meet this need. If you would like to help, bring in laundry soap, dryer sheets, and dish soap or other cleaning supplies by October 30.


Bible Classes for Public Schools

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Calvary East has the privilege of partnering with RBM Ministries again this year in hosting a Released Time Bible Class for children from Comstock North Elementary. We will also host a new class for Kalamazoo’s Northeastern Elementary.

These hour-long classes take place once a month during the school day. Children with written permission from a parent are transported from school to a nearby church for the class. RBM Ministries also has classes planned for Gull Lake, Galesburg-Augusta, Scotts-Climax, Vicksburg, Parchment, and Kalamazoo. Sign-up your kids and encourage them to invite a friend!

The classes are taught by RBM Missionary Paul Spotts. But volunteers are needed to help set-up and provide supervision for the children who come. If you would like to volunteer, contact us here.

This ministry is made possible in part through our Calvary East Missions Fund. Let’s pray that God will use this ministry to help many children come to know the sacred writings which are able to give the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 3:15).


Serving Our Community

August 14, 2011

Currently about 1 in 4 families in our congregation lives in Comstock township. That’s not a particularly high percentage. But having our building located adjacent to Comstock High School gives our congregation a certain level of visibility in Comstock. With that visibility comes a responsibility to, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16 NASB).

During 2011 we have been looking for ways to serve people in Comstock. Here are some of the things we’ve done thus far.

  • In February, we worked with RBM Ministries to host a monthly “release time” Bible class for children who attend Comstock North Elementary school. We plan to resume this ministry again this fall.
  • In May, we offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University for people throughout the township. The Comstock Community Center promoted the class through their newsletter mailed out to every home in the township.
  • In June, we ran the children’s game area at  the Comstock Daze Family Festival. The festival is a community effort to raise funds for the Great Lakes Burn Camp.

This month we have a new opportunity to serve our neighbors in Comstock. The Comstock Community Center would like to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to “high-risk” children who are starting school this fall. These are kids who live at or below the poverty level. Many are from single parent households. Some have a parent incarcerated.

At this time of year local stores sell school supplies at very low prices, so we would like to see how many filled backpacks we can gather as a church family by the end of August.

Here’s what the Community Center would like to provide to children:

  1. A small backpack for 4-5 year old (big enough for a set of clothes in case of accidents/getting dirty)
  2. Tissue packets
  3. Pencils
  4. A folder for carrying papers to and from school
  5. Glue stick(s)
  6. Crayons
  7. A large eraser
  8. Spiral notebook
  9. Washable markers
  10. A ruler

 – Bryan Craddock


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thank you for letting God work through all of you to provide 52 backpacks full of school supplies for at-risk children starting school in Comstock this year! Pray that some of the families might join us for our Kids’ Day event next Sunday.



The Competition?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A few weeks ago, in our first ministry teams meeting, we discussed the implications of viewing the church as a business versus viewing it as a family. Though the church must carryout some business tasks, several New Testament passages teach us to think of one another as family (e.g., Matt 12:46-50; Matt 23:8; Rom 12:10; 1 Tim 5:1-2; 1 Jn 3:10).

This week I thought of another implication of viewing the church as a family. It has a dramatic effect on who you identify as the competition.

If you view the church as a business, you see other churches as the competition. The religious “market” isn’t infinite. Building a successful church business is all about getting a bigger share of the market by offering a better product to religious consumers. Nothing could be farther from a biblical view of the church! But if we’re honest, we have to confess that though we may not use those words, we still fall into thinking this way.

When you view the church as a family, however, you can’t view other churches as competitors. They’re fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. They may have a different personality and values. They may differ on some theological convictions. But if they teach a biblical gospel, they are our extended family.

Of course, calling other churches family is a lot easier than actually relating to them that way. However, it seems like I’m not the only pastor who felt the conviction that we need to relate to one another in a more brotherly way.

Last fall, Ben Hulst, the pastor of Comstock Christian Reformed Church invited pastors from Comstock area churches to meet for lunch.  Initially, we  discussed the possibility of our churches working together with Youth for Christ to develop an outreach ministry for Comstock High School. (We’ll say more about this soon.) Through this something powerful is developing.

As I drive by other church buildings in town, I think about those churches differently. I know the pastors. I have a sense of their heart for ministry. I find myself praying for them and for their churches to be faithful to God and His Word. This week as we met again these men shared ways God was at work—answers to prayer. They encouraged me. They prayed for me and for all of you. We’re relating as family.

So if it’s not other churches, then who is the competition? In Ephesians 6:12, Paul said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Christians are a family locked in a battle against Satan and his influence and control over the lives of people all around us.  In Ephesians 6:13-20 Paul responded to this struggle with Satan by calling us to take up the full armor of God. This was his picturesque way of describing the life of the person who believes, lives, and communicates the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray that we and our fellow brothers and sisters in other church families would stand firm in our faith inviting people throughout our community to be rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13).

- Bryan Craddock

Angel Tree

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas is fast approaching. For most kids it’s an exciting time, but others will be missing a parent who has been incarcerated.

We have the opportunity to bring a message of love from parents that are in prison and a message of hope from a God that loves us all.

Through Angel Tree prisoners sign up to send a gift and message to their children, and churches pick up these gift ideas and messages and deliver them to the families.

This year we will host a Christmas party for Angel Tree families. Along with the gifts, we will share the good news of Christ.

You have the chance to be a part of this great program in several ways.  We need families or individuals to purchase gifts on behalf of the prisoners (two gifts per child at around 15 to 20 dollars a gift). We need help hosting the party, setting up food and decorations. We also need volunteers to provide transportation for families that do not have a way to get here.

We will kick off the sign up at our Thanksgiving Celebration next Sunday evening. Prayerfully consider how you can be involved in helping a family hear the gospel and have a happier Christmas.

You can read more about Angel Tree at

- Jared Ransom

Christians in a Political World

Sunday, October 31, 2010

As we begin our new series, Lights in the World, one of the key questions we need to consider is how we as Christians relate to our government. We’ll explore this subject in a few weeks when we study Romans 13, but since Election Day is this week, it seems fitting for me to share a few thoughts about the political world. Like many other areas of Christian belief and practice. This one requires careful balance.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Christians are urged to pray for our rulers so that we can live a tranquil and quiet life. Many believers today and throughout history have faced strong opposition and persecution from their governments. We, however, enjoy great freedom to worship openly as we do. Our nation even allows us to play a part in selecting our leaders. We shouldn’t take these things for granted. Plan to vote. Learn about the issues and the candidates. Pray for wisdom as we go to the polls.

But here’s the balancing point. Some Christians are so passionate about pursuing a moralistic political agenda that they demonize their opponents. That’s how the political world works, but in my view, this creates an unnecessary barrier to our mission. God hasn’t called us to moralize people or societies. Our mission is to preach the gospel and make disciples (Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-47). Think of Jesus’ ministry. His strongest words were directed at the Pharisees, people known for their high moral influence in society (Matt 23). Our Lord, however, was known as a friend of sinners (Luke 7:34). May people say the same of us.

– Bryan Craddock