In March 2005, Fountain Street Church began its ministry with The Rev. Dr. Frederick Wooden. Each Sunday in March, our Order of Service contained space dedicated to celebrating the life and ministries that our Senior Minister has served to inspire and guide.
On March 22, our Social Hall was filled with flowers, cakes, and fun.
Shown at right, a mayoral proclamation from George Heartwell, and a specialty treat from The Cakabakery.
Below, Stephen Wooden introduces State Rep. Brandon Dillon, who brought a legislative tribute from the governor.
March 1, 2015
We call our attention not only to Fred's great musical knowledge, but also to the great muse of his life, Wendy Wooden, who has contributed invaluably to many FSC ministries. A special choir selection, “Lift Thine Eyes” from Mendelssohn's Elijah, was offered in gratitude and appreciation for their life and work among us.
"One of the most surprising things that my wife and I agree upon is Fred! Let me explain: growing up, my church involvement revolved around making music, and my wife's revolved around avoiding church at all costs -- so it is a mild shock to both of us that we are even able to be in church at the same time. What keeps us coming back, and what constantly inspires us, are Fred's homilies. In them we find a reflection of our desire for humanistic logic, mission and passion. On and off the podium Fred is erudite and compassionate, and we have felt deep love and support from him during extremely rough times, for which we will always be grateful.”
--David Lockington, Music Director, Grand Rapids Symphony
March 8, 2015
FSC has a proud history of supporting vital, and sometimes controversial, social justice causes and organizations. Our senior minister has proved to be an inspiring and vocal advocate for social justice, extending our justice ministry into new territories demanded by our times. One of Rev. Wooden’s most visible legacies is our Social Action Grant program, which directs 100% of undesignated Sunday offerings toward social justice work. Since inspired by Fred, the FSC SAC Grant Program has directed more than $200,000 toward justice work that often cannot secure traditional financial support. One example is the Red Project, the only needle exchange program available in all of West Michigan. Fred has also served as chairman of the Grand Rapids Urban League, created the partnership that hosts the Diversity Lecture Series, served on the Advisory Board of the West Michigan ACLU, and created our monthly Marital Justice rally at Rosa Parks Circle.
Thank you, Fred, for honoring our legacy, and inspiring us to realize an even more just and vital future.
"Fred is a leader in the truest of spirits: generous, wise, kind, thoughtful, and inspiring. It has been an honor to work in partnership to advance our common ideals of social justice.”
--Kary L. Moss, Executive Director, ACLU of Michigan
March 15, 2015
Preaching is one of Fred Wooden’s great gifts. Preaching however, is not a one-way enterprise. It takes a congregation willing to hear a word and then live into it in order for a church to truly thrive.
Fred has brought us a vision and praxis through his preaching, now so deeply a part of what it means to be a Fountain Streeter, that often people believe we have always used his words to tell the world who we are. Three maxims of spiritual-religious life are Rev. Wooden’s great gift to us. They are now our great gift to the community and world. Thank you Fred for helping us to know our deep calling: “Free the Mind, Grow the Soul, Change the World.”
"Fred, your religion is vibrant and on the move, constantly revealing; it yields concepts to probe, to milk for all the understanding one can get from them. It is not so much for judgment as it is a vast field where nourishment for the spirit can be harvested. As you examine and share we gain insight. Often, at the conclusion of your sermon, I think 'that's what I believe or that’s a great idea for me to ponder.' Now that is cause for gratitude."
March 22, 2015
Pilgrim & Prophet
We are gifted by the prophetic voice of Fred Wooden, whose practice of walking and pilgrimage across our city and world informs the challenging truths he preaches. For Fred, walking miles each day on the streets of Grand Rapids is a spiritual practice. He has also made pilgrimage to places like Hadrian’s Wall, the Camino de Santiago, Japan, and next China. Fred’s pilgriming-prophet way is never only for himself. He greets the struggling street neighbor with the same intention he greets a Shinto priest, asking on behalf of us all, “show me friend, so that I might share such wisdom with others.”
Thank you, Fred, for sharing your daily walk with us and for bringing your prophetic voice home for all “who have ears to hear.”
“Rev. Fred Wooden has given hundreds of hours of his time to speak on the four radio frequencies of Public Reality Radio. He engages and encourages listeners, who are usually never in Fountain Street Church's pews, to think about a liberal way to personally enjoy a good life.”
--Bob Goodrich, station owner of Public Reality Radio
March 29, 2015
As an ordained Unitarian Universalist, Fred holds a natural respect for the world’s many religious, philosophical, and learning traditions. His ministry with us has actively invited the world’s faiths and philosophies to create a house of prayer and learning for all people within our walls.
Over the years, Fred has been a catalyst for our Hindu neighbors to celebrate Diwali at FSC. Fred’s relationships with local Buddhist and Muslim communities has made it possible for our chapel to serve a diversity of ritual and fellowship that is a model for pluralism in our times.
Fred has also championed diversity by developing our flourishing relationship with GRCC and the Diversity Lecture series that welcomes voices from nationally known thinkers, activists, and leaders to free the mind, grow the soul, and change the world.
From Steven C. Ender, President of GRCC:
“Rev. Wooden has chosen to embrace GRCC. We at GRCC have always found the warmest welcome here...Screenwriter Howard Koch said, “You can be a good neighbor only if you have good neighbors.” In Rev. Wooden, GRCC has the best of neighbors. We are honored that all of you in his congregation have invited us to celebrate his 10 years of service with you."
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