What’s going on at Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor

Check back often to learn about upcoming events—on Sundays and throughout the week—and get connected with folks at Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor. Looking for more information? Check out our updated Resources section.

Upcoming events

Helping Resettle Refugees in Washtenaw County  Starting in August we’re receiving supplies for Syrian refugee families through Jewish Family Servicesone of only 22 organizations in Michigan that resettles refugees in our state. Diane Sonda, our representative for this effort, has lists of items you can donate available on the welcome table. This is a practical way to honor the command to welcome the refugee.

Jackson Michigan Pride Festival   Saturday, August 5  This is Jackson Michigan’s inaugural Pride Festival. The community worked hard to get city council approval for the event. Join if you can!

OUTFest Pride Picnic   Sunday, August 6 from noon–4 p.m.  Once again Blue Ocean will have a booth at OUTfest in Ann Arbor, a Pride picnic put on by the Jim Toy Center. It even looks like some of our very own band members might provide some of the music. Come hang out at the booth to promote Blue Ocean and enjoy the picnic while you’re there! We’ll head out to Wheeler Park immediately after service on Sunday, August 7. For more info on OUTFest visit

All-Church Picnic   Sunday, August 13  Mark your calendars! The Blue Ocean Summer Party will be Sunday, August 13, at Kirk Donaldson and Kirstin Guenther’s house on Whitmore Lake. There will be delicious food, lawn games, kayaking, swimming (if you want!), and lovely company. Sign up here to rsvp and let us know what you want to bring!

Blue Ocean Bowling   We will soon be forming our very own bowling team. Stayed tuned for details!

Grief Small Group  Last Wednesday of the month, 6-8pm  Sue Brokaw and Penny Johnson have started a new Grief group. They have met twice, but the group is open to anyone grieving the loss of someone. The group meets the last Wednesday of every month, 6:00-8:00pm,  at Sue Brokaw’s house. They share a meal and discussion.

Children’s Ministry Helpers Needed   Sundays, every third month  As we recently announced, we’ve added an additional Sunday School classroom to accommodate the growing number of kids. We have lead teachers for the new class, but are in need of some helpers. Helpers assist the lead teachers, mainly with classroom management, and serve one month out of every three. If, for example, you helped out in February, you wouldn’t help again until May. Let Emily or Diane Sonda know if you’d be willing to serve in this way. We’re in need of one helper for our K–1 class, one helper for our 2nd–3rd grade class, and one helper for our 4th–5th grade class.

Ongoing opportunities

Faith in Action   Tuesdays from 6–7:30pm  For those of you looking for support in making calls to your Members of Congress, writing letters, etc., our friends at Church of the Good Shepherd are hosting a weekly Tuesday Faith in Action from 6–7:30pm. Each week will feature a different practical action that you can do right there. Please contact the church office for location and details.

Past events
July 2017

Ice Cream Sunday   Sunday, July 16  Yep, you guessed it: ice cream after church. You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. (Except the Lactose Intolerant.)

Blue Ocean Sharks Softball Games  Monday Evenings  The Blue Ocean Sharks softball team plays at at Community Central Park in Ypsi on Monday evenings. The last game will be on July 24th at 6:45pm. Come see our board chair, Tim Kowaleski, in his scary shark suit if nothing else!

June 2017

African American Festival   Saturday, June 3 from 9am–8pm  Blue Ocean Faith will have a booth at the African American Festival in downtown A2. If you’d be willing to volunteer for any part of the day to help staff the booth and talk about the church, let one of the pastors or staff know.

Vacation Bible School   Tuesday–Thursday, June 20–22 from 9:30am–12:15pm  Once again we’re partnering with First Presbyterian Church, St. Clare’s Episcopal Church, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church for a FREE three-day VBS program for kids from kindergarten through 5th grade. “Marketplace” is the name of the VBS program and it teaches children the stories of Jesus and what life was like during his time. Held on the grounds of First Presbyterian Church, 1432 Washtenaw Ave, “shopkeepers” in the marketplace set up activities such as games, arts and crafts, Synagogue school, acting out Bible stories, visiting a storyteller, and more. To sign up, contact Diane Sonda, Caroline Kittle, or fill out the google form. You can also download a pdf of the brochure. The kids who went last year loved it!

Acorn Buddy Camp—Helpers Needed  June 24–July 1  Zander, one of our young attenders, is going to a camp this summer called Acorn Buddy Camp. It’s a week long Christian camp for people with disabilities, age 9–25. The camp desperately needs buddies—able-bodied people age 15 to collegeish to buddy up with a camper through the week. If you’re interested, let one of the staff know so we can connect you with Zander’s parents. The camp is in Liberty Center, OH, about an hour and 15 minutes away at Camp Widewater, from June 24– July 1.

Youth Ministry events (5th/6th, Middle School & High School)

Middle School Painting with a Twist   Sunday, June 11, 2pm–4pm  Tpainting with a twisthe Middle School Youth Group is invited to join a painting event—we will be going to Painting with a Twist (the painting they picked is shown to the right). There are 10 seats available so please RSVP as soon as you know if they can come! Each person will get a canvass, art easel and paint brushes to work on during the event. Caroline will bring snacks and juice. Here’s the painting he youth group picked for our activity in June. Please let Caroline know if your middle schooler is interested.

Summer Service Project   Saturday–Thursday, June 17–22, Chicago  The Youth Group is invited to join Living Water Ministries Summer Service Project in Chicago from June 17-22, 2017. The cost is $485 for the camp. Some of the St. Clare’s youth have already signed up. Jayin Wavrik will be joining the group if we have interest!

May 2017

Mitzvah Day (Sunday of Service)   Sunday, May 7  On this day we’ll join​ with​ our friends from​ St. Clare’s​ Episcopal​ and Temple Beth Emeth​ to serve the community together. After a group lunch in the social hall we break into teams to go to various non-profits to help perform tasks they’ve prepared for the groups (sign-up is below). 

​We’ll start the day by having a joint multi-faith worship service with all three congregations that will begin at 10:30am. This is the one Sunday our start time is different, so take note! ​Kids will also have activities together during the service. After service we’ll take a group photo before having lunch. Then, from 1–4pm we’ll join our groups at various locations in town to serve. A staffed nursery will be available for the littlest kids from 9–11am and then from 1–4pm.
A special thank you to Laura Schram and Paul Sonda for helping to plan for this event!

Youth Ministry events (5th/6th, Middle School & High School)

OWL (Our Whole Lives)  OWL is a comprehensive sex education program we are offering along with our friends at Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS). We kicked off with the middle schoolers earlier in the year. Darel Middaugh and Caroline are facilitating this with two other excellent facilitators. Our final retreat will be at the end of April! It’s been a great bonding experience for our middle school participants and we can’t believe it’s almost over! 

The High School OWL program is being facilitated by Jenni Piotrowski along with 2 facilitators from COGS. I’ve heard good things from some of the high schoolers involved! Lastly, our 5th-6th graders have had a few sessions. They’ve got a large group—up to 13 kids!—and it’s a fun, age-friendly curriculum.

OWL Facilitator Training   Friday–Sunday, May 19–21, in Midland, MI  If you are intrigued by OWL and/or interested in being a facilitator, there is a Facilitator Training class in Midland, MI on Friday, May 19–Sunday, May 21. Please let Caroline know if you are interested in attending this training, and she can give you more information. The flyer for this facilitator training is attached.

30 hour Famine Youth Group Overnight   Saturday–Sunday, May 20–21, St. Clare’s  Our Youth Group will be participating in the 30 hour famine to raise money to fight hunger. Some of our youth did this last year, and it can be a very powerful experience. The fast starts Saturday morning and ends Sunday morning with a group breakfast at St. Clare’s. Caroline Kittle will be joining for the overnight. Please let Caroline know if your young person is interested.

April 2017

Blue Ocean Easter Choir Practice   Wednesdays, March 8 & 22 and April 12 from 7–8:30pm  We’re jazzed to announce that our own Crystal Harding, famous Ypsilanti Public School Choir Director, will lead our first-ever Blue Ocean Easter Choir. Interested in singing? Come to 3 rehearsals during Lent on Wednesday evenings from 7–8:30pm at Ken’s home. Crystal can get rocks to sing (a very biblical gift). So can you carry a tune in a large bucket? Good enough. Don’t read music? Crystal to the rescue—she can work with you too. Ken’s joining the choir and he flunked his Junior High choir audition (in his defense, he had a cold). We will work up a couple of songs during those 3 rehearsals for singing on Easter Sunday. If there’s enough interest and energy, we may just make it on ongoing choir for special events.

Good Friday Vigil for the Scapegoats   Friday, April 14 at 8:30pm on the Diag  As we observe the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, we will hold a vigil for the groups who are being scapegoated in our times and to this day. Remembering the words, “What you do for one of the least of these, you do for me.” This will involve prayers interspersed with silence to remember those who are being scapegoated today including immigrants, Muslims, scientists, people of color, LGBTQ, the press, etc. Emily has prepared a simple and lovely liturgy for this and we’ll have little light sticks for everyone. The sun sets at 8:19pm, and we will gather on the Diag at 8:30pm. Contact the Church Office for more information.

Easter Sunday Baptisms, Family Photos and Egg Hunt   Sunday, April 16  On Easter Sunday, during our Celebration, we will be doing baptisms in our baptismal (the inflatable hot-tub that we bring out once a year). If you would like to be baptized, contact the church office.

Betsy Saltzman has once again offered to take free family Easter portraits! Join her outside following the service. Come in your Easter finery—or everyday casual—but come ready to smile! We will also hold our annual Easter Egg Hunt for all the children outside after the service. We had so many children that we ran out of eggs last year, so this year we will probably overcompensate with too many eggs! 🙂

March 2017

Ash Wednesday Service   Wednesday, March 1 from 7–8pm  We are invited to a joint Ash Wednesday Service with our Episcopalian friends on Ash Wednesday, March 1, from 7–8pm in the St. Clare’s sanctuary. This service includes “the imposition of ashes” (the ashes on the forehead thing, done as a reminder of our mortality).

February 2017

Lenten Prayer Bead Making Party   Sunday, February 26   After church on Sunday, February 26, we will have a prayer bead assembly party and pizza lunch. The prayer beads are to help us with our Lenten Prayer practices. All beading supplies, an explanation of how to use prayer beads, and lunch will be provided. It was a ton of fun last year!

Church Potluck   Sunday, February 5  Join us after the service in the sanctuary for a church birthday potluck (we’re celebrating our 2nd birthday!). We’ll provide lasagna (including a vegetarian option), bread, and birthday cake. Sign up at church to bring salad or some other side to share. 

January 2017

Guest Speaker, Mark Kinzer   Sunday, January 15  Rabbi Dr. Mark Kinzer is a Jewish scholar, author, and founder of Zera Avraham, a messianic congregation in Ann Arbor. Mark will speak on the Jewish Mind-Set of Engaging Scripture, as part of our Making Contact series.

March on Lansing   Saturday, January 21  Emily and Rachel will be going to the March on Lansing, a local version of the Women’s March in D.C. If you’d like to join them, contact Emily. The rally is from 1–3pm at the state capital; they will be leaving around 11am.

Youth Ministry events (High School)

High School OWL  Kick-off Retreat Friday–Saturday, January 27–28  The High School OWL program is getting started! Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a comprehensive sexuality education program we’ve been offering for middle school. Our very own Jenni Piotrowski will be helping facilitate the high school program along with two other facilitators from Church of the Good Shepherd. The high school program will kick-off with a retreat on Friday, January 27, from 6–9pm and Saturday, January 28, from 10am–2pm at the Church of the Good Shepherd. We are very excited about this program and would love to have our high schoolers attend! Please email Caroline, our Youth Ministry Director, if you’re interested in joining or have any questions.

December 2016

Christmas Eve Lessons & Carols Candle-Lit Service Service   Saturday, December 24, 7–8pm  Please join us in the St. Clare Sanctuary for a family-friendly Christmas Eve. Music led by Cassie Brabbs (familiar Christmas carols with piano accompaniment), interspersed with short Scripture readings that tell the Christmas story, and a narrative that ties the readings together to make it all more understandable. Special music, including an opening selection from Handel’s Messiah, by vocalist ZhenZhen Zhang, and candles during Silent Night! Note that there is a large viewing room connected to the sanctuary for parents and young children to watch and hear the service, if that is preferred. We are so grateful to St. Clare’s for making their beautiful sanctuary available to us for this special celebration! (St. Clare’s has their Christmas Eve services before and after this.) 

Christmas Carols & Soup at Ken-Julia-Oceana’s home  Sunday, December 18, 5–7pm  Caroline and MicahJulia, who knows her Christmas Carols, will lead us from her grand piano—so no neighborhood caroling (sorry, you extroverts!) People are bringing soup to share (you can too, but it’s by no means required—that would be too much soup!), or a dessert or something to drink. But really, we want You (more than your food). So come! Kids welcome, of course. You’re free to mingle, listen, join in, enjoy a bowl of soup. This event works well for introverts and extroverts alike! 

November 2016

Bible 101 Class  Sundays, November 6, 13 & 20, at 9:30am  Ken & Emily will teach a 3-part “Intro to the Bible” class on 3 consecutive Sundays in November before the service. The class will meet in Room 16. There will be a sign-up sheet available on the Welcome Table in the back of the sanctuary for the next few weeks. This class is for people without any (or without much) Bible background. We’ll start with the basics and provide some tools for how to approach reading Scripture.

BOF National Gathering  Friday–Saturday, November 18–19  The Blue Ocean National Summit will be held at Sanctuary Community Church in Iowa City, IA. This is the Blue Ocean church pastored by Dr. Adey Wassink (for those of you who remember Adey from when she spoke at our church last fall). Emily will be speaking for one of the sessions and it will be a great chance to meet others involved in Blue Ocean around the country. It would be wonderful to have a nice-sized group of people from BOFA2 attend.
Listen to Emily’s talk.

Rotating Homeless Shelter  November 21–28  We’re partnering again this year with St. Clare’s and Temple Beth Emeth to provide much needed overnight shelter for up to 25 of our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. Our guests are men who have been screened by the Delonis Center Homeless Shelter staff, who would not have a warm place to sleep since the Center doesn’t have enough space in the cold months. You can sign up online at Rotating Shelter 2016 to do one of 5 tasks: drive men from Delonis (on Huron st.) to St. Clare’s in the evening, drive them back in the morning, be one of three overnight hosts (biggest need), or socialize with the guests during their evening meal. If you ever saw a person on the streets in the cold in need of shelter and thought, “I wish I could do something, but I don’t know what”—this is it.

Youth Ministry Events (Middle School)

The Great Escape Room  Sunday, November 20, 12:30–3:30pm  We have a special activity planned for November—Please RSVP! We’re going to the Great Escape Room in Royal Oak. It’s a real life room escape game and a great opportunity for team building and problem solving. The tickets are $28 dollars per person, but Blue Ocean can pay for the tickets (unless you would like to contribute a donation). We will be leaving the church building at 12:30pm. St. Clare’s Jayin Wavrik has a 9 person van that we will be taking. Caroline will have room for about 4 people as well. We will be doing the LIBRARY ROOM which holds about 15 people. Please let Caroline know if your young person can come or if you already have plans for that day. 

October 2016

Why Christian Conference  September 30 & October 1  Our staff will be attending the Why Christian conference in Chicago. The conference was started by Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz Weber and features several speakers answering the question, “Why are you a Christian?” We will be taking the train to Chicago.

Cider & Donuts  Sunday, October 23  Join us for cider and donuts after the service. We will have make-your-own caramel apples for the kids!

Youth Ministry Events (Middle School)

Cider Mill  Sunday, October 30, 1–3pm  In October, we will be going to Plymouth Orchards and Cider MillLet Caroline know if your kids can come and if you need help with transportation! We can help transport kids from the church building and back.

September 2016

Ozone House Harvest of Hope fundraising dinner  Friday, September 9  Ozone House is a nonprofit that provides housing and support for homeless teens, and an organization with whom we’ve had an ongoing relationship. Harvest of Hope is their annual fundraising dinner. Rachel and Emily will attend on behalf of the church, and wanted to invite any of you who might be able and willing to join us to support Ozone to do so. Note that the tickets to this dinner are $160 each. More information can be found at

Fall Connection Fair & Cookout  Sunday, September 11  Stick around after church for our Fall Connection Fair to learn about our ministry, volunteer, and small group opportunities. See how you can connect to other Blue Ocean members and guests.There will be drawings for prizes and gifts for getting involved. Immediately following the Connection Fair, there will be a huge cookout at Pastor Ken’s house. Maps will be available at the Fall Connection Fair. Join us!!!

August 2016

Ride to Hell & Back  Saturday, August 6  Mark your calendars! We’ve picked a date for our annual Ride to Hell & Back. Brad & Gretchen Humphries live in Stockbridge, along the bike trail that goes to Hell, MI. Come at 10 a.m. for the ride. People can stay as long as they want. They have a pool and will make a campfire. They could also have a backyard movie if people want to stay that late (shoot, you could even pitch tents in their yard if people want to spend the night). The round trip is about 26 miles. People can ride one way (13 miles) or not at all (0 miles), and just come out and hang. We will provide drinks, hamburgers, and hotdogs and ask everyone to bring something to share if they are able.

Washtenaw County Pride Picnic  Sunday, August 7 from noon–4 p.m.  Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor will be hosting a table at this year’s Pride Picnic as part of the 2016 OUTFest. The picnic will be at Wheeler Park, at the corner of Depot and Fourth St., Ann Arbor. For more info on OUTFest visit Be sure to stop by at the picnic and say “hello,” and let us know if you’d be willing to help staff the table!