Saturday, February 24, 2007

We're In For A Bumpy Ride

The current NWS alert lists the following:


Urgent - Winter Weather Message National Weather Service Grand Rapids MI 1035 PM EST Sat Feb 24 2007

1145 - /O.Con.Kgrr.Ws.W.0005.070225t0600z - 070226t1200z/ Mason - Lake - Osceola - Clare - Oceana - Newaygo - Mecosta - Isabella - Muskegon - Montcalm - Gratiot - Ottawa - Kent - Ionia - Clinton - Including The Cities Of... Ludington... Baldwin... Reed City... Clare... Hart... Fremont... Big Rapids... Mount Pleasant... Muskegon... Greenville... Alma... Jenison... Grand Rapids... Ionia... St. Johns

... Winter Storm Warning Remains In Effect Until 7 AM EST Monday...

Update Sunday
They were quoting 8 inches of snow overnight, but we only have seen two to three inches of heavy wet snow. The day has alternated between snow and sleet (ice chunks) with the current snowflakes a couple inches across. Now it looks like it will be an interesting night.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Pictures of Gerald R Ford's Crypt

Click here for pictures of President Gerald R Ford's crypt at Find A Grave.

Update 24 Feb 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

So much warmer

We only had a low of -1 overnight and it is already 7 degrees out.

Its going to be a warm day.

Might even get up into the teens (Fahrenheit).

Monday, February 05, 2007

So its been a bit cold lately

Friday saw 8 inches of snow. Followed by another 12 inches on Saturday and 5 or 6 on Sunday.

The snow wasn't too bad as it came at a steady rate and the winds were moderate, so the biggest drifts are under three feet.

Shovelling for a half hour every six hours to remove 4 inches of snow was sufficient to keep ahead of the accumulation.

This morning we awoke to a low of -4 (with no wind chill as there was no wind).

The snow crunches under foot due to the cold. It has that same crunchy sound that sand gets in late summer when it dries out.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Picture from Bishop Abney's Funeral

The Grand Rapids Press has this picture from the funeral.

This photo is courtesy of Michael Shead / Resurrection Life Church.

Abney's love of God was infectious

From The Grand Rapids Press, Saturday, February 3, 2007

Abney's love of God was infectious
By Charles Honey (Press Religion Editor)

If Bishop William Abney could have jumped up and started shouting, he would have.

All around him, glorious mayhem let loose at Bethel Pentecostal Church. The spirit had caught fire at Abney's memorial service Wednesday night and would not be put out.

A gospel band played furiously, people clapped their hands joyously and a woman danced ecstatically around the casket of Bethel's beloved pastor, who lay in peaceful repose through it all.

It was entirely fitting. This was the spirit Abney ignited in his 45 years at Bethel. Now his faith family was sending him home as he would have wanted, with singing, dancing, tears and laughter.

"This is not a funeral. This is a home-going celebration," the packed house proclaimed, and so it was: a celebration of a spiritual father to his congregation and an exemplary faith leader to all of West Michigan.

This past week of events honoring Abney brought into clearer focus what many of us already knew. Here was a good man of God, generous, kind, passionate for justice, a sweet singer for the Lord. We were blessed to have him for so long.

Now, at age 80, he has moved on. And if you are one of his faithful, you will not question he has gone home to glory.

"This is not the end," said Bishop Ronald Young of Philadelphia, who led Wednesday night's service for Bethel members, friends and family. "He just graduated from this earthly life, and he graduated cum laude."

Tissues circulated as with weeping and exultation Abney's church held commencement. The holy presence was palpable as they sang softly, "Lay down the burdens you have carried, for in this sanctuary God is here, God is here ..."

It was an especially moving moment in a night filled with them. And though an outsider, I felt a welcoming warmth I have always felt at Bethel. Whether in worship or in his office, Bishop Abney made me feel that way.

His was a gentle, smiling presence. He made you feel special, like it had been too long since he'd last seen you. His slight frame and soft voice carried surprising spiritual power. When you heard that voice burst forth in song, it knocked you back on your heels.

"I Won't Complain" was his signature song, and he never did through a host of ailments. He felt too blessed to bother. Abney conveyed that grateful spirit to all of us, while firmly pushing for the right and the just.

Every once in awhile someone comes along who speaks the spirit of God with special clarity. Quibble with theological details if you must, but the sense of grace transcends race, class and creed. Bishop Abney was such a man.

Wednesday night, speaker after speaker attested to that. They called him their spiritual father, a pastor who pulled them out of addictions and despair into lives of meaning and hope, often putting them in positions of leadership.

Shellie Cole-Mickens, head of Bethel's media ministry, said she was a "thug from the street" when Abney took her to breakfast and left a $100 tip. She almost stole it, she said to uproarious laughter.

"I would not be the woman I am today were it not for Bishop Abney," she said.

Deacon David Wilson said God sent Abney to him when his life was a wreck.

"He was like an angel in a world of darkness," he said.

Abney's family made touching remarks, his sister Mamie saying, "I wanted to be just like him." His brother Norman: "He was my inspiration to be saved." Son Andre: "Daddy taught me to get on my knees and worship God."

Six of his brothers and sisters rendered "Down by the Riverside" with delightful part singing.

His wife, Lorraine, thanked God for the care her children and grandchildren gave Abney in his final days. At his death, she said, "It was glorious when he went home with the Lord."

And so it was this week. Fare well, Bishop Abney. If you won't complain, we certainly won't either.

Send e-mail to the author:
This is not my work. It is just too good to hide from Google.

Note that as long as MLive keeps the article up, you can access the original by clicking on the link at the top of this entry.

Want to see the rest?

Bishop laid to rest

From The Grand Rapids Press, Saturday, February 3, 2007

More Than 2,000 Attend Funeral For William Abney
By Charles Honey (Press Religion Editor)

WYOMING -- With jubilant songs and anguished tears, Bishop William Abney was sent home Friday to the Lord he loved so well.

Nationally known Bishop T.D. Jakes praised him, gospel artist Marvin Sapp sang his favorite song and his daughter, Janathan, danced for him one last time in a celebratory funeral for one of West Michigan's most beloved pastors.

About 2,200 people gathered to honor Abney as an exemplary preacher, generous friend and devoted family man in a five-hour service at Resurrection Life Church. Abney, pastor for 45 years at Bethel Pentecostal Church Abundant Life Center, died Jan. 23 at age 80.

There was as much praising as weeping at the service, held at the 4,200-seat Resurrection Life to accommodate the large crowd.

"Daddy, this dance is for you!" shouted the Rev. Janathan Abney Austin, one of his three daughters, as she joyfully jumped across the podium to pounding gospel music. "I love you, daddy!"

Sapp, a renowned singer who grew up at Bethel, said Abney taught him to always put family first.

"He is the epitome of what a man should be," Sapp said before launching into a powerful rendition of "I Won't Complain," Abney's signature song. Abney's wife, Lorraine, and his children huddled around his casket and wept.

"This is what he lived his entire life for -- to be absent from the body and present in the Lord," Sapp said later. "So it's actually a victory."

Jakes, a television talk show host and pastor of the 30,000-member Potter's House church in Dallas, said Abney played a key role in his ministry. While Jakes was leading a revival at Bethel, Abney told him he should leave early to accept a sudden invitation to appear on television -- an invite that led to his own show.

"I just loved Bishop Abney," Jakes said. "He was an incredible person."

Jakes was one of about three dozen bishops from across the country who attended the service. Close to 200 ministers also were there, along with Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.

"He was a great citizen of our state and of our community, and certainly was an embodiment of what Jesus would want us to be on Earth," Granholm said.

"Our city has lost a spiritual guide, and yet the spirit of the man, the presence he will have in us even in his dying, will give us strength and courage and warmth in God's spirit," Heartwell said.

Former U.S. ambassador Peter Secchia, Grand Rapids Police Chief Harry Dolan and Grand Rapids District Judge Benjamin Logan were among the dignitaries. Before the service, Logan said Abney took him under his wing when Logan first came to town.

"He was just a wonderful family man, a religious man, a community man," Logan said.

Abney also drew praise from fellow bishops in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World as a devout man of God who would always help a friend.

"He was the kind of friend who gave of himself, and gave sacrificially," said Bishop Clarence Moore of Virginia.

In his eulogy, Bishop Noel Jones of Los Angeles spoke of "Uncle Bill" as a man of wisdom whose influence endured to the end.

"He never faded into oblivion," Jones said. "He was just as viable and significant until he fell asleep."

Great-grandson William Aziz Ellis choked back tears and said he wore Abney's name proudly.

"He always taught us to be different," Ellis said.

"I'm going to try my hardest to do what he told me to do."

Send e-mail to the author:
This is not my work. It is just too good to hide from Google.

Note that as long as MLive keeps the article up, you can access the original by clicking on the link at the top of this entry.

Want to see the rest?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Gerald R. Ford Funeral Flyover

The video can be seen at Youtube.

This video was produced by Storytelling Pictures of 801 Broadway Ave NW; Grand Rapids, MI.

It can be purchased from them on DVD for $3.49 (2.99+S&H)

Some of the story about this video can be found at WOOD-TV, MSNBC, and the Grand Rapids Press.