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Calvin-Parents E-Newsletter: December 8, 2009

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Prayers requested for Calvin students

The Calvin community is requesting prayers for two students who are in the hospital.

Brenna Hannan, a first-year student from Ohio, remains in critical care in Grand Rapids' Spectrum Health hospital after an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) burst in her head early on November 17. Currently, the doctors remain very concerned about the extent of brain stem injury from the initial bleed, and she remains in a coma.  Her mother is staying in town and her father has been driving back and forth from their home on weekends.

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Steve Okeyo, a second-year student from Kenya, is recovering from open heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic.  This is the third such surgery he has had in less than a year, and the doctors are still unclear about what is causing the problem.  Steve's brother has been able to visit, but most of his family is in Kenya.

To read more about their conditions, inform your prayers, or to know where to send a note of encouragement, please sign up to receive the CarePage updates for them. You can find those by going to, creating a user name/password, and searching for BrennaHannan and SteveO (both are one word).

ReCommend Calvin

ReCommend Calvin!

Have you heard?  Any Calvin parent who encourages a prospective student and/or parent of a prospective student to consider Calvin and records that conversation on the site will receive a Calvin coffee card, good for a free cup at either Johnny's, the Fish House, or the Spoelhof Cafe on campus.

In addition, parents who participate will also be enrolled in a drawing to win free textbooks for their son or daughter for the next semester (2 sets @ up to $450 each)!  We hope this inspires you to "tell your Calvin story" and encourage other families to carefully consider Calvin this winter and spring.

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Final flu clinic

Health Services is holding a final flu clinic on Wednesday, December 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Lobby. We will have both seasonal influenza vaccine and H1N1 influenza vaccine. The cost for the seasonal flu vaccine is $20. The H1N1 vaccine is free.

Previous restrictions on the H1N1 vaccine have been lifted, so both vaccines are available for ALL Calvin College students, faculty and staff. Spouses, emeriti, and all other Calvin friends and family should contact the Kent County Health Department to receive their vaccination.

A few facts:

  • *Seasonal flu vaccination should be given throughout the flu season, into December, January, and beyond. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time, influenza activity peaks in January or later.
  • *It’s possible that there may be waves of 2009 H1N1 activity during the 2009-2010 flu season that hit communities more than once over the course of the influenza season, which typically peaks in January or February but can last as late as May.
  • *We encourage all students who are traveling to receive the flu vaccines. Many countries are screening arriving passengers for symptoms of the flu and some may require proof of influenza vaccines for entry.

Flu vaccines will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please see the health services site for more information regarding flu.

Calvin health services: 616-526-6187; 616-526-6548 (fax).

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Suggestions from the chaplain for faith conversations; chapel videos

Christian Smith, a sociologist who studies emerging adults and their faith lives, states that parents are still the most important influence on a child's faith even well into the child's adulthood.  But some parents aren't sure how to raise matters of faith with their children.  They want to encourage, but don't want to be seen as judging or following up.  They are curious, but also want their children to own the faith for themselves. Sometimes a good question can allow for good conversation.  Here are a few ideas that you may want to use over Christmas break to encourage your child to talk about her or his faith.

Conversation starters on the matter of faith:

  • I heard a great sermon recently on _____.   What sermon or chapel talk really resonated with you this fall?
  • I really appreciate [this] about our church.  What do you appreciate about the church where you're worshiping?
  • I'm coming to understand [this] more and more in my faith life.  What are you learning about God right now?
  • I've seen God very clearly [here].  Where have you seen God show up in your life this fall?
  • I find that my prayers often turn toward [this subject].  What are you praying about?
  • I'm currently reading [this scripture text or devotional books].  What book or Bible studies are happening at Calvin?

All of these questions invite your child into the conversation as an adult partner, and can launch both of you into a new season of conversations on matters of faith.  We hope that they make your Christmas break a great time to speak honestly and openly about matters of faith.
-Pastor Mary Hulst

Chaplain Hulst was installed as the third chaplain of Calvin College on November 18, 2009.  You can watch a video from the installation service and view archived services from chapel services on the Faith site.  What a great way to start a conversation when your student is home---by discussing some of the chapel services you were able to watch, keeping current with the chapel activity/announcements this fall.

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Final exams, housing

Final exams for the fall semester begin December 14 and run through December 18, when Christmas break begins.  Please remember to pray for our students and professors during this important and stressful time.  Please note that the residence halls are closed from December 19 until January 5.  Christmas break concludes when Interim begins on January 6, 2010.

Speaking of housing, juniors and seniors have many good options to consider, including intentional opportunities on or off campus. The housing office has just added a new one: living in a residence hall.  Read more about the residence hall incentive program for juniors and seniors.

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Interim 2010

Interim 2010 is about to begin, and many students are packing their bags and planning their trips off-campus.  While a large number of students travel, most students will be studying and learning on and around campus for a variety of Interim offerings.

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Did you know that "Joy to the World" is one of twenty hymns that are in the list of most-published Christmas hymns? is an online hymn and worship music database for Worship leaders, hymnologists, and amateur hymn lovers alike looking for hymns and worship music. It's a collaboration between the Christian Classics Ethereal Library and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. At the Hymnary you can search or browse hymns by title, tune, meter, key, scripture reference, and more. is a project of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, both located at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Harry Plantinga and Greg Scheer laid the foundation for the Hymnary in 2007. Currently, there are two programmers, an editor, and an administrator spending time on the project in addition to Harry and Greg. An advisory committee works to set editorial policy. Finally, volunteers play a pivotal role. If you'd like to adopt a hymnal, proofread existing information, or provide feedback on user interface, we encourage you to contact us.

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Men's soccer second in nation;
Women's basketball excitement

The men’s soccer team’s quest for a national title came up one game short as the Knights were defeated by defending national champion Messiah (PA) 2-0 Saturday night in the NCAA III Championship final. Messiah scored in the 16th minute of play on a long throw-in into the box that was headed in by Messiah’s Danny Thompson. Calvin nearly tied the game in the opening moments of the second half with a quick flurry of shots that were turned away by the Messiah defense.  Read more and watch the video highlights from the sports Web site.

Calvin freshman Carissa Verkaik put together one of the finest single-game performances in women’s basketball history Saturday evening in leading the Knights to an 81-73 victory at Purdue Calumet University. The Holland Christian High School graduate poured in 39 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked five shots. Read more about this exciting game on the sports Web site.

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Events for alumni, friends and families

Bookmark the alumni events calendar to keep track of important dates throughout the year, to which you are warmly invited, as a parent, alumni and/or friend of the college.  More information is found there for each of the following events:

December 10: Judy Collins concert on campus
December 19: River City Improv
January 15 & 16: Alumni Choir concerts in West Michigan
January 20: MBA@Calvin
January 30: The Rivalry - Calvin vs. Hope at a viewing location near you!

Check the Parent Calendar for important dates

Bookmark the Parent Calendar page to keep track of important dates throughout the year, including:

Dec. 11: Classes end 10 p.m.
Dec. 12: Reading Recess
Dec. 14: Exams begin 9 a.m.
Dec. 18: Exams end & Christmas break begins 10 p.m.
Dec. 19: On-campus housing closes at 10 a.m.
Jan. 1: Miscellaneous charges payment due (1st of each month)
Jan. 5: Tuition, room and board payment due; on-campus housing opens 10 a.m.
Jan. 6: Interim term begins 8 a.m.
Jan. 18: Last day to drop interim courses; last day to change interim courses from credit to audit
Jan 26: Interim ends 5 p.m. (Travel Advice)

News & Stories from campus

Check out a wealth of great stories on the News & Stories site, including Calvin's ROTC program that is gaining popularity, five Calvin representatives earning “Outstanding Delegation Awards" at a recent Model United Nations Conference, and students getting involved at Dégagé ministries as part of a Hunger Campaign.


Campus Events:
Calvin Sports: This week's athletic events

Calvin KnightsFor information about athletic events visit the redesigned Sports Information Web site. Need Calvin sports results fast? Call the Calvin sports hotline at 616-526-6522 for current sports updates. You can also sign up for the Calvin Sports-Report, a free e-mail bulletin notifying Calvin sports fans of current sports news.

Other Helpful Links:
Parent & Family Resources
Parent Calendar
Worship & Discipleship
Campus News
Daily Sports Update
Roving WebCam Click for the weather forecast at Calvin