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Covenant Presbyterian Earth Day Psalm

This Psalm was created by the congregation during worship on April 26, 2020.

God, you are:

love, sparkly, wonderful, unconditional, omnipotent, loving, amazing, nice, dazzling, forgiving, good, great, peace, perfect creativity, humble and inside all of us.
 
We give you thanks for this beautiful and delightful planet you have created.
 
Thank you for the flowers and trees, especially:
lilacs, daffodils, bleeding hearts, holly trees, apple trees, oak trees, tulips, magnolias, weeping willows, daisies, lily of the valleys, sunflowers, hyacinth, and plumerias.
 
Thank you for the food that grows from the earth, like:
cherries, carrots, Brussel sprouts, mangoes, squash, pears, potatoes, kiwis, corn, berries, apples, avocados, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, watermelons, mushrooms, asparagus, peanuts, and raspberries. 
 
We are so grateful for all the amazing animals, such as:
the red panda, giraffes, hummingbirds, pandas, Serena, manatees, turtles, cheetahs, hedgehogs, Sadie, grizzly bears, cats, dogs, whales, foxes, horses, sand hill cranes, elephants, capybaras, opossums, birds, and Penny.  
 
There are so many wonderful places, like:
Lake Michigan, the beach, Key West, Oceanside, Parfrey’s Glen, my backyard, mountains, the Sangre de Cristos, mountain tops, deserts, shorelines, desert paths, the woods, Up North cottages, hiking trails, on the water, NYC, Up North, lighthouses, Bong, Whitnall, Canadian Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Ireland, fields of South Dakota, Little Beaver Campground, and Michigan.
 
We grieve for the places and creatures that have been damaged and pray for the wisdom and strength to do the things we can do to care for the earth, like:
conserving, picking up litter, conserving water, recycling, composting, reusing things, not littering, planting more flowers, gardens and trees, feeding birds, shopping second hand, and singing to others. 
 
May we be the good stewards of this earth, as you have asked us to be.
 
May we praise you and your creation in every way possible for all our lives long.

Pastor's Page - Pastor Jenny

Dear Covenant,
 
Now, more than ever, I am so grateful to be a part of a worshiping community with members who are so thoughtful, caring and faithful.  Our Trustees are caring for the financial well-being of the church.  Our Session is carefully considering where, how and when to offer worship, and continues to care for the staff and manage various programs of the church.  Our Mission Committee is reaching out to the community to determine how to give our money and resources where they are needed most.  Our Facilities Committee is making sure the building and grounds are still cared for.  Our Deacons and Stephen Ministers are reaching out with phone calls and notes and emails. 

And, as Pastor Sarah and I make calls and connect with individuals, we hear some of you are making masks or volunteering to help stock grocery stores in town.  Many of you are reaching out to one another with cards or calls.  And we've had a great response to our call for food for Northside Food Pantry. If you are looking for ways to reach out, please let us know.  And, if you would like someone to connect with you, please do not hesitate to contact Pastor Sarah or myself.
 
But, perhaps most importantly, we, like our ancestors before us who have suffered through difficult times, continue to gather to worship.  Even during a global pandemic.  Even as we count our losses.  Even as we feel so much uncertainty.  Even as we feel afraid for our futures and our health and our jobs and our children and our parents and, and, and.  Even now, we gather for worship to hear God’s Word; to praise God; to lift up our prayers; to see and be seen by one another; to break bread and sing of God’s love.  Even when we can’t meet in our building.  Even when we can’t be together in person to hug or shake hands or sit together or sing together.  Still, we will come together to worship.  And we remember that the building may be the “church,” but we are the Church
 
Once the safer-at-home order is lifted, whether for a different kind of order or not, we will have some choices about how to move forward together.  We recognize that when it becomes legal to meet back in our Sanctuary, it still won’t mean everyone will necessarily want to or should.  Plus, we’ve found some good new things about worshiping virtually that we may want to continue to use.  We will likely continue in a “not yet” place for quite some time still – meaning, “not yet” back to worshiping all together in the sanctuary like we used to do.
 
Session is beginning the conversation about what our “not yet” will look like at Covenant.  We are asking questions like: “how do we care for our whole community, especially the most vulnerable?” and “what will work practically?” and “how do we continue to be connected when we can’t connect all the ways we are used to?”  We are looking for guidance from the Presbytery and other faith organizations who are also asking these questions.  But, the most important people for us to be in conversation with is all of you.  So, if you have thoughts or concerns about this, please be in touch with someone from Session or Pastor Sarah or myself.
 
Through all this time, let us remember we have practice being “not yet” people.  Easter is a season for knowing that Jesus’ resurrection means God has redeemed creation, and also that God is still at work redeeming creation.  We trust in “God’s kingdom come,” and acknowledge that it is not here yet.  So, may we do our best to continue in this time of “not yet” with faithfulness, compassion, thoughtfulness and care, together. 

Love,
Pastor Jenny

Session Letter

Dear Covenant Family and Friends,

Once again, we find ourselves greeting you from a distance.  We had all hoped that our lives would have returned to some ‘normalcy’ by this time.  Instead, we find ourselves watching Spring arrive from our own windows, and greeting each other for Worship in the little Zoom gallery. It is good to hear your familiar voices and see your faces as we worship together, remembering that the church is closed, but the Church remains open.

At our Zoom Session meeting on April 27, we voted to continue with our present building closing throughout the month of May.  Worship services, committee meetings, Bible Studies, and other Church events will continue to be conducted using Zoom.

We also created a taskforce that will work with our pastors in thinking about how we continue to be the church as restrictions are lifted—what will worship look like (online or in person), will we have in-person meetings if allowed by the government, etc. Know that we are working hard to discern how best to care for everyone in our congregation, and please be in touch with us if you have concerns or strong opinions you’d like us to be aware of.

In the meantime, we will continue to reach out to one another and hope you are doing the same. Connection is a huge part of what makes Covenant the incredible community that it is, and we are so grateful for all the ways in which you have been reaching out to us and to one another. Please keep it up!

Together, in Faith, Hope, and Love,

The Covenant Session:
Michael Clickner, Karen Fretschel, Claudia Grace, Greg Hanchon, Eddy Huffman, Lori Jensen, Scott McDonald, Maureen Potter, Tim Risler, Janelle Rogers, Linda Webster, Carlton Wininger

From Our Trustees:
Consider Using Automatic Payments for Pledges

As we communicated last month shortly after the announcement of the “Safer at Home” order by Governor Evers, the Covenant Trustees are making sure our building is being cared for and our bills are being paid.  We have committed to paying our Pastors and staff throughout this health emergency as well as keeping up with all the other operating expenses.  Our pledges, however, have not kept pace.  Our Treasurer has confirmed that while our cash flow is okay at the moment, we are tracking underbudget for pledges for the year.

For this reason, if it is financially possible for you, we are asking for your help to keep up with your pledges.  We know some of you have been waiting until we can be back in the building together, but as the weeks go on, it would be helpful to have checks mailed in.  Or better still, we strongly encourage you to sign up for Automatic Payments.  Use of an automatic payment system eliminates all physical handling of checks sent through the mail and sets up a regular pattern of giving to ensure that your pledges reach the church on a timely basis.  Click here for the form for setting up Auto Payments.  Once completed, you will need to mail this form to the church, but once it is set up, there is no more mail handling.

We do understand this may be a financially difficult time for some of you, so we want to encourage you to reach out to our Pastors if you have any concerns along these lines. We continue to pray for all of you, our Covenant family, and for the many ways this pandemic is affecting us as individuals and a community.

Mission Outreach Grants

On Tuesday, April 14, the Mission Outreach Committee met to discuss the possibility of providing grant money early. We decided to do this based on the impact the virus has on our local charities/agencies for some of the most basic needs such as food and housing. After contacting each of the these organizations it was determined that we would provide grant money to the following charities.
 
$2000 to HALO
$2000 to Hospitality Center
$2000 to Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency 
$2000 to North Shore Food Bank
$1000 to Veterans Outreach
$1000 to Women’s Resource Center

You might not have heard about the Racine/Kenosha Community Action Agency, Inc. (RKCAA).  RKCAA has operated anti-poverty programming in Racine County since 1967 and in Kenosha County since 1978. Their mission is “improving lives by providing quality programs and innovative solutions for individuals and families."
 
We have also sent our General Mission Pledge to the Presbytery which consists of the following:

  • Per Capita Apportionment (based on our membership number):  $10,710
  • General Assembly: $1,000
  • Synod:  $1000
  • Presbytery:  $2000

We give to Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly to support the work they all do in the PC(USA) denomination that our church is a part of.

The Per Capita Apportionment is a set amount of money (apportionment) per member that congregations pay to the larger Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Said another way, it is a Presbyterian Covenant Community Fund — part of the glue that holds Presbyterians together. Because every Presbyterian shares in the benefit of the PC(USA)’s system of government, the expenses associated with coordinating and performing the functions of that system should be shared by everyone as well. The 2020 Per Capita Apportionment is $38.25 per communicant member as of 12/31/2018.  (On 12/31/2018 Cov Pres had 280 members and when multiplied by $38.25 the amount is $10,710 as noted above.)

Mission Opportunity:
Food Pantry Donations

The Mission Outreach Committee has been hard at work talking to non-profits in Racine to find ways that we can assist during this pandemic. 

 
One of the needs we learned about was at the Northside Food Pantry.  Their donations are down and their requests for help are up.  They need many non-perishable items.  Some of this need is due to the restrictions which have been put in place about how much individuals can buy of certain items which has made it difficult for the pantry to restock. 
 
There are a few members of Covenant who have agreed to drive around to pick up items at church members houses and then deliver them in bulk to the Food Pantry.  When they come to your house, they will just pop the trunk and you can place them in without having to have contact. 

Please note, we are NOT asking you to make any extra trips to make these donations.  Please only make the purchases when you are already out or already ordering through a service. 
 
Also, the Food Pantry is only open a few hours each week and there are many people who come during that time, so please DON’T drop off food yourself. 
 
If you have items to be picked up, please send Pastor Jenny an email.
 
Here is the list of the needed items:

  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Dishwashing Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo 
  • Bar Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Mac and Cheese
  • SpaghettiO's
  • Soup (not cream of soup)
  • Kids Flavored Cereal
  • Toilet Paper

Mission Trip to Arkansas Cancelled

Recently we heard from Ferncliff Camp in Little Rock, Arkansas that they would no longer be hosting mission teams this summer, and so, regretfully, we have cancelled the mission trip we had planned.  The 16 of us who were planning to go are disappointed to miss the opportunity to work with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and other non-profits.  We hope there will be a chance to reschedule.

Mission Opportunity:
Providing Dinner at Veteran Tiny Homes on Sunday, May 17

Covenant is going to provide dinner for the Veterans living in the Tiny Homes Village on Sunday, May 17.  Due to the Safer at Home order, we will just be dropping the food off, not staying to serve.  The main course is already taken care of, but if you are interested in helping to provide a side, salad, dessert, etc. please contact Candy Lively.

From Your Music Director: 
Joe Dominic

Happy Spring; Happy May!
 
Already, the thought of May seems so strange and peculiar.  For me, May is a time to be frantically getting testing, grades and IEPs done, making sure the choir and bells are ready for a big music season finale at Pentecost, planning camping trips, preparing for the spring concerts in the university band and queer chorus I play and sing in, attending weddings, and going to my niece’s dance recital in Illinois.  Moreover, I should already be sailing and playing softball!  Clearly this year, all of that is on hold.  So, instead of a column, I thought I’d take the liberty of giving you some resources to pray together as a household, or if you’re like me, with your 5 quarantine buddies, through our weird time apart.
 
The Fourth Sunday of Easter, which is May 3 this year, is commonly called Good Shepherd Sunday because each year we hear from the 10th chapter of John’s Gospel where Jesus states he is the gate waiting for the sheep.  It’s traditional on this day to sing Psalm 23, even though this psalm only appears in our lectionary once every three years on this day.  But good news, this is the year!  If we were still having live church, you would hear the choir sing Allen Pote’s amazing and well-loved arrangement of this psalm. 
 
Our hymnal contains three paraphrases of Psalm 23.  My favorite version of Psalm 23 is sung to the Irish folk tune, ST COLUMBA, #803 in our hymnal.  Irish musician George Petrie was the first person we know to write this tune down in 1855.  He believed he found a tune sung by ancient Christians in Ireland.  The version we know was lushly harmonized by the English composer, Charles Stanford and uses the very Christian oriented psalm paraphrase written by the English poet, Henry Baker in 1861.  It was reported that Henry died saying the third stanza.
 
The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine forever.

 
Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul he leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow
With food celestial feedeth.

 
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me,
And on his shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

 
In death's dark vale I fear no ill
With thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

 
Thou spread'st a table in my sight;
Thy unction, grace bestoweth:
And O what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!

 
And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house for ever.[i]

 
Happy Mothers’ Day!  Much like folks reported that Henry Baker died saying a prayer, my Dad reported that my Mom died in her sleep saying a pray to Mary out loud that remains very popular with Christians who follow the Roman Catholic and Episcopalian traditions, the Hail Mary, or in Latin, the Ave Maria.  If we were in church today, I’d play an organ solo setting of the J.S. Bach and Charles Gounod version of this text to remember her.
 
Folks in the United States have celebrated Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, May 10 this year, since Anna Jarvis came up with the idea in 1908.  Later in her life, Anna protested at how commercial this holiday became.[ii]  In the two previous churches I worked at, the hymn, “I was there to Hear Your Borning Cry,” #488 in our hymnal, was incredibly popular for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as it envisions God acting in a parenting role throughout our lives. 
 
The following is a blessing you may wish to use with your mom or to remember her with today:
 
Loving God, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children,
So you watch over your Church. 
Bless our mother. 
Let the example of her faith and love shine forth. 
Grant that we, her family, may honor her always with a spirit of profound respect. 
Grant this through Christ our Lord. 
Amen.[iii]
 
In 1971 the US Congress made the last Monday in May, May 25 this year, the national holiday of Memorial Day.  This day has been celebrated since the end of the Civil War as a day to remember and honor members of the armed forces who died while serving their country.[iv]
 
The following is a prayer you may wish to pray with your household or quarantine buddies today:
 
Leader:       
For those who suffer most from war:
That the homeless, the orphaned, the hungry, and the innocent
May challenge us to turn from warlike ways and accept God’s gift of peace,
We pray to the Lord.
All:             
Lord, hear our prayer.
Leader:     
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
All:           
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
Leader:
May they rest in peace.
All:
Amen.[v]
 
You may also wish to consider praying a hymn on this day. I suggest the second verse of “America the Beautiful,” #338 in our hymnal, which is about those who died serving our country.
 
“O beautiful for heroes proved” is the second verse in our hymnal because the editors chose to combine the second and third verses that Katherine Bates wrote in 1895.  They left out the beginning of the second verse that glorifies the western expansion of the U.S., “O beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern impassioned stress….”  Interestingly, rather than simply keep the entire original text of third verse about those in military service, which ends, “America! America! May God thy gold refine, till all success be nobleness, and ev’ry gain divine” they chose to end it with the last lines of the second verse.  Most other hymnals I’ve played from keep the second verse intact and don’t include the third verse at all.  I always thought this was because of Katherine’s acknowledgement that we are a flawed and often self-destructive nation at the end of this verse.  Although, I believe that very acknowledgement makes the text more powerful.  The editors of our hymnal chose instead to create the following hybrid of the middle verses:
 
Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law. [vi]
 

[i] Public Domain
[ii] https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day
[iii] Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers © 1989 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
[iv] https://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/memorial-day/history/
[v] Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers © 1989 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
[vi] Glory to God © 2013 Westminster John Knox Press

Listen to The Lord's Prayer

This link will take you to a video of Joe Dominic playing The Lord’s Prayer that we regularly use during worship in the Sanctuary.  If you’ve been missing it, now you can play it and sing along.  
https://youtu.be/LstTbNmyj6A

News of the Church Household

Our Congratulations to...

Michael and Kristina Wolf, parents, and Steve and Dawn Wolf, grandparents, on the birth of George Leo Wolf on April 22, 2020, in Chesapeake, Virginia.  George joins brother Robbie.

Chris Smith who guessed correctly in our "Let's Have Some Fun" game last month.  The girl in the purple jacket is none other than our very own Anne Risler.  Thanks for sharing your photo Anne, and congratulations for figuring it out Chris.  Anne was 5, her brother Peter was 7, and we don't know Santa's age - maybe ageless?



Our Sympathy to...

Doug and Kim, Lauren, and Dalen Instenes on the death of Doug's mother, Judith Instenes on April 11, 2020, in Racine.

Directory Updates...

Page 11
Beth Kapralian has a new address:  6353 Nature Drive, Racine WI 53402
 

Church Updates and Reminders

Worship:  Due to copyright issues we are not posting the worship service on Facebook.  If you want a copy of the sermon to read, or to watch the service please contact Kathy Miller.  She can share a link to a Dropbox file for you to watch the service, or email you a copy of the written sermon.

First Sunday Communion:  We will have communion together on the first Sunday of the month as usual.  Pastors Sarah and Jenny will lead us through the Words of Institution and prayers that usually accompany communion.  This will mean you will need something to eat and drink nearby where you are watching.  Please don’t get hung up on having a specific kind of bread and grape juice.  Jesus used bread and wine because that is what he had available to him at the time.  We are invited to use what we have available also – whether that is crackers, muffins, coffee or water.

Zoom Password:  After entering your ID for the Zoom worship service or meeting you are attending with Covenant Presbyterian, you are required to enter a password.  Please contact Kathy Miller if you need the password.

Invite your Family and Friends to Worship: If your family or friends would like to get the Covenant Presbyterian emails so they can join us at Worship or Bible Study please send their name and email to Kathy Miller and she will add them to the distribution lists.

Contacting Kathy Miller, the Ministry Assistant:  You can still reach Kathy by calling the church, but it is more direct if you call her cell phone number which is 262-880-6621.

Church Building Closed:  The Session has determined that the church building will continue to be closed through May 31, due to the pandemic.

How we Handle the Mail:  Currently, the mail is held at the Post Office.  It gets picked up once a week on Mondays.  On Tuesdays, Kathy Miller goes in to sort the mail.  The offering is counted and your checks are deposited on Wednesdays.  Please note that this process may slow down how soon your check clears.

Zoom Links

Worship - Zoom ID 956 669 638
Sundays - 10 - 11am, 
with gathering time at 9:30am


Bible Study - Zoom ID 930 1680 1365
Wednesdays - 11am - noon

Come join us for a conversation about the week's lectionary texts. No prior knowledge or attendance required.

Sunday School - Zoom ID 705 695 433
Fridays - 10 - 11am
Kids in Kindergarten through 6th grade are invited to join Pastor Jenny for games, stories & more.

Zoom Coffee - Zoom ID 290 593 820
Fridays - 11am - noon

Informal conversation time with one of our pastors and other congregation members. Come for all or part of the hour.

Fellowship, Fabric and Fibers - Zoom ID 872 4073 8547
Wednesday, May 6, 7 - 8pm

Pastor Sarah will join us for the first 10-15 minutes for a time when we will catch-up with one another, and then we will have time to share our projects with each other.  FFF is a church fellowship group that normally meets at the church to craft together, whether sewing, coloring, card making, quilting, or anything at all.  Please join us on Zoom!
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