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Michigan Church Laments Pastor's Disappearance

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Last week Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Mich., held a service of prayer for the family of George Vander Weit, the retired pastor who had served that congregation and went missing from his Rochester, Mich., home on July 5 this year.

Cathy Winterhalter, the worship assistant at Fuller Ave., had worked for many years alongside Vander Weit. She suggested the service for the family and community because “It seemed like a healthy thing to do for all of us.”

About 100 people gathered at the church on a Wednesday evening to lament Vander Weit’s absence. A service of Scripture, song, and prayer was interspersed with members sharing remembrances of his ministry.

“We sang songs that were special to George during his ministry and during his time of struggle,” said Winterhalter. The service closed with words of hope for the future.

Vander Weit’s son Randy attended the service. Afterward he said, “I felt it was a God-honoring service and a good time to hear how my dad affected the Fuller Ave. family, individuals, the Fuller community, and the CRC as a whole.”

Updates from the family have been posted periodically on the Facebook group “Help Find George Vander Weit in Rochester, MI.”

Vander Weit also served Christian Reformed churches in Wayland, Mich.; Cleveland, Ohio; Troy, Mich.; and, most recently, Han-Bit Korean CRC in Rochester Hills, Mich. He has also been a prolific writer for The Banner.

The family has been working with the Rochester chief of police to organize a volunteer search party on Saturday, November 9 at 9:00 a.m., meeting at the Rochester Fire Department. It is hoped that the falling of leaves and change of seasons may make visible areas that were previously obscured.

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