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West Michigan Church Studies the Cosmos

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Calvin College physics and astronomy professor Steven Steenwyk enjoys explaining the wonders of the stars, planets, and galaxies to audiences throughout western Michigan.

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Louisa Schut helps children with a space-themed craft.

So when Twelfth Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Mich., wanted to use a cosmic theme for one of its summer neighborhood block parties, organizers called Steenwyk.

“We talk about everything, from the big to the small, in the universe,” Steenwyk said, who marvels at the handiwork of God when he observes the stars. Steenwyk uses models to compare the relative size of planets in his presentations.

The “Dusk to Dawn” theme night included space-themed crafts, face painting, and miniature golf. Every year organizers pick a new theme for its neighborhood outreach block parties.

The church holds several gatherings for the surrounding neighborhood during the summer as part of its community outreach, including an August car show.

Denise Rieg brought her 13-year-old son, Daniel, to the party. She lives near the church and has been coming to the parties for several years. “This is great, especially the way the economy is right now. It’s nice to have something that’s fun and free for the kids,” Rieg said.

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