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Pastor's Page—Pastor Jenny

With All Saints Day coming up, I’ve been reading through Jan Richardson’s book The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief. She wrote this book after the death of her husband. I started to read it looking for a reading for our worship service, but found myself drawn in because it speaks well to all the grief of these days.

As we are entering Thanksgiving month, which is a time to concentrate on our gratitude, I suspect most of us have new things we are grateful for this year. And while there are surely things for which to be grateful, this year also carries a profound amount of grief. Grief for all those lost to Coronavirus; grief for all the other losses that have come with this pandemic; grief for the unjust deaths of too many black and native people; grief for the division and anger and political rhetoric so rampant in our country; grief for holidays which will look different this year; grief for not being able to sing and hug and sit in a crowded restaurant or attend concerts or plays or movies. And, many of us have experienced unique, personal griefs this year too.

So, in light of all those griefs-those we share and those unique to us-I’d like to share a blessing from Richardson’s book in hopes it will speak to your heart and whatever griefs you know in this time. I am grateful for each of your beautiful hearts and give thanks for this community which continues to sustain us together:

Blessing the House of the Heart

 
If you could see
how this blessing
shimmers inside you,
you would never wonder
whether there will be
light enough,
time enough,
room enough for you.
 
If you could see
the way this blessing
has inscribed itself
on every wall
of your heart,
writing its shining line
across every doorway,
tracing the edge
of every window
and table
and hall—
 
if you could see this,
you would never question
where home is
or whether it has
a welcome for you.
 
This blessing wishes
to give you
a glimpse.
 
It will not tell you
it has been waiting
It will not tell you
it has been keeping watch.
It would not
want you to know
just how long
it has been holding
this quiet vigil
for you.

It simply wants you
to see what it sees,
wants you to know
what it knows—
how this blessing
already blazes in you,
illuminating every corner
of your broken
and beautiful heart.

Session Highlights

The members of the Session have been busy with small groups, committee meetings, and planning ahead for the 2021 year.  At our October meeting, we took action on several projects that we are happy to report to you:
  • Adult Spiritual Growth will create and install a Little Free Library for the distribution of Advent and Lenten devotionals and other Church related materials.  Facilities will assist with this project.
  • Caring for Creation has recommended and received approval for LED upgrades to our lighting.
  • Worship and Music received approval for a new Nativity set for the Sanctuary.
  • The language for the Welcome page on the new website was approved.
The Session also approved the addition of a Youth Elder to the Session, beginning in 2021. The Nominating Committee will consider this as they build the slate of officers for the 2021 year.

The Elders would like to thank you for joining us for our small group conversations.  We were pleased that so many of you would take the time to meet with us.  We are grateful for your comments and for your willingness to take the time to share.  If you were unable to attend one of the scheduled conversations, or would like to have an opportunity to talk further, we would be happy to schedule a time to talk with you on the phone or to receive an email with your responses.

Again, we wish to express our gratitude to each and every one of you, who have reminded us that the work of the Church is faithful following of the teaching of Christ, and that the Church is US, not a building.  And, to our Pastors Jenny and Sarah and to Kathy Miller—we are so grateful for all that you do, and for reminding us of those things that are truly important.

Book Discussion Opportunity

Please RSVP to Kathy Miller if you're planning on attending!

Member Care at Covenant

Pastors and Deacons have been making calls and sending notes to keep in touch with everyone in our congregation.  If you haven't been contacted, email Kathy Miller and she will contact the pastor on call or a deacon to have them be in touch with you. We hope to hear from you, especially if you haven't heard from us!

Invasive Species Removal Work

At our last invasive species removal work day in October the weather and the autumn colors were gorgeous! Our grounds look beautiful! If you are able, I’d encourage you to take a stroll through the NW corner and around the Bioswale. The NW corner and the lot lines are all looking so good. We are seeing a lot more of the beautiful trees and plants that are growing there.

Thank you to:
  • Maureen Potter who has taught us how to remove invasive species, hopefully so they are gone once and for all, and also for hauling away a truckload of invasives both on October 2 and 9.
  • Chuck Albee for bringing a bench (an Aldo Leopold design), keeping a path mowed in the NW corner, keeping the bridge and path in the Bioswale clear, and for his chainsaw skills!!
  • Steve Wolf for loading and hauling away 2 van loads of invasives both weeks.
  • Barb Albee, Will Archer, and Bob Dean for cutting, treating, and loading the truck and van.
  • Leon and Linda Potter who have been so passionately caring for our Bioswale…. It really looks amazing!!
--Linda Webster
Thanks to all who pitched in and did the hard work on the grounds. The van was packed so solidly it was difficult to pull out the branches! I DID have an ulterior motive in assisting with that, as I searched (and found) some strait sticks for my craft project. We will enjoy the fruits of your labor for some time to come.
--Dawn Wolf

Stephen Ministry 2020: 
A One to One Ministry

The Stephen Ministry at Covenant is celebrating our 20th year, with gratitude for those who made this possibility into a reality.  We have been graced by the ability to serve a number of people – both in and outside of our Congregation – as they maneuvered the difficult transitions of their lives.  Our one to one caregiving has taught us to walk with God, and to be the face of Faith for those who might have trouble finding theirs.

During this pandemic and the resulting disruption, we have been slow to create new caregiving partnerships.  Life continues, though, and the challenges that face us can be more complicated by our ongoing situation. Change, loss, grief, health issues, parenting, caring for our parents, job loss, isolation, and so many more concerns are amplified. With a few modifications to our practices, we are now able to reach out once again.  We will not meet face to face, but leverage our skills to provide care over the phone, through Zoom and Facetime, and other platforms.  Stephen Ministers will work to provide a steady presence for care receivers – and to be the partners who walk with us on our life journeys.

For more information about the Stephen Ministry, please contact Pastor Sarah or Stephen Leader Claudia Grace.

Mission Outreach Opportunities

Here's a photo of Bob Holroyd bringing his bags for the Food Pantry to give to Candy Lively and Randy Eisel who were picking up the food for that week. If you have food to donate there is a rotation of members who will pick up your donations. After making several stops to pick up all the donations they deliver the food to the Northside Food Pantry in Racine.

Here are opportunities Covenant continues during the pandemic. For more information on any of them please contact Kathy Miller and see regular updates in Monday's Covenant Connections.
  • Brown Bag Breakfasts - make 10 bags with breakfast items (list provided) - November 2 and 16, usually the 1st and 3rd Monday each month.
  • Veterans Tiny Village Sunday Dinner - make a part of the meal to serve about 12 people and drop it off at the Tiny Village - Candy Lively coordinates this project - November 15.
  • Hospitality Monday Night Meal - make a casserole (pan and recipe provided) and drop it off or Kelly Miller will pick it up - December 14.
  • Food Pantry - pickups every week.

New Railing in Balcony

Thank you to Bob Dean for creating an added step into the balcony along with a railing in the balcony. We hope it will be easier and safer to get to the balcony seating once we return to the sanctuary.

Plastic Film Recycling
If, How, Where, and What?

We all know that we shouldn’t put plastic film in regular recycling bins, but have you ever wondered if these items can be recycled and if so, how to go about it?
 
We are fortunate that Wisconsin has a plastics film recycling program.  The Wisconsin DNR has partnered with the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) on an innovative public/private plastic film recycling initiative called Wisconsin WRAP (Wrap Recycling Action Project)—Recycling Plastic Film Beyond Bags. This partnership focuses on recycling more plastic film found in nearly every business and household to significantly increase the recycling rate.
 
There are several plastic film collection bins located in various businesses throughout Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties.  The film collected is sent to the Trex Company, which turns it into composite decking or pellets for the manufacture of other products like new bags or pipe.  You can recycle more than just plastic grocery bags too!! 
 
Just collect your film for recycling, perhaps using a larger plastic bag placed next to your regular recycle bin and grab it the next time you go to a store that collects them.  Some of the businesses even have outside bins, like Festival Foods on Washington, so there is no need to even go inside.
Here are a few of the local businesses who accept plastic film.  For a complete listing: https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/find-drop-off-location/ 

Christian Formation 
Sunday School Schedule

Nov. 8 – No Sunday School (2nd Sunday Coffee after worship)
Nov. 15 and 22 – Sunday School classes after worship
Nov. 29 – First Sunday of Advent
**Make sure to look for the other opportunities for service that would be great for families to do together.  In November -- a special Change for Children offering dropping off at church on Nov. 22.  And in December - our annual Christmas Family gifts, a new project of stockings for soldiers, and our reverse advent calendar food drive.

Change for Children

Youth Groups

Nov. 1 and 15 – Middle School Youth Group at 4:00pm on Zoom
Nov. 8 and 22 – High School Youth Group at 4:00pm on Zoom

Reverse Advent Calendar Food Drive

Stewardship 

Thank you for Pledging! (And it’s not too late if you haven’t got yours in yet.)

This year’s Stewardship program is coming to an end. We are so grateful for all your pledges. If you haven’t had a chance to get your pledge in please do so as soon as possible. You can return your pledge card to the church or you can email your pledge to Kathy Miller.  If you have an automatic withdrawal set up, it will continue as is unless you tell us otherwise, but we still ask that you submit a pledge for the year.

As of this writing, we have 86 pledges received and are well on our way to our goal. We are so grateful for every pledge and know you make these decisions faithfully.  Having our pledges in is a great help to our Trustees and Session as they create the budget for 2021.

A special word of thanks to the Stewardship Committee: Mary Bohn, Leslie and Carlton Wininger, and Dawn and Steve Wolf. And thank you to those who offered faith talks: Naisbert Nyamatutu, Sue Gabbey and Maureen Potter.

Covenant Christmas Families
Gift Collection

November 29 – 1st Sunday of Advent 

Watch your email for announcements coming in mid-November about all kinds of plans for the Advent and Christmas season.  We will be offering all kinds of ways to connect and engage – devotionals, classes, a Christmas pageant, advent boxes for children and youth, additional worship services and a number of ways to share in the traditions we all love.

Stockings for Soliders

Game Night – Outburst
Wednesday, November 18, 6-7 p.m.

Outburst is a great game for all ages.  It is a bit like Family Feud. Each player/team is given a category and has 45 seconds to name everything they can think of in that category. The host has a card with the top 10 answers for that category and you get points for all the ones you can name. Come join in the fun!
Copyright © 2020 Covenant Presbyterian Church, All rights reserved.


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