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Connie Eberly shared the following poem and prayer at the Stephen Ministry Zoom meeting in July and I thought it was worth sharing with all of you as well. Thanks to Connie for allowing me to share:

Small Kindnesses[1]
by Danusha Laméris

I've been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say "bless you"
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. "Don't die," we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don't want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, "Here,
have my seat," "Go ahead—you first," "I like your hat."
 
Gracious God,
 
As the poem says, we have “so little of each other” right now.  For many of us, the only tribes we have during this pandemic are Zoom tribes.  And so many of the small things mentioned in the poem — things that usually bring us together — are off limits, at least temporarily.  And now when we read this poem, the words “Don’t die” have a more urgent meaning.
 
But because we miss them so much, we know for certain that our “brief moments of exchange” are indeed the “true dwelling of the holy.” 
 
Lord, be with us during these challenging times.  Help us to find new and creative ways to offer small kindnesses to each other while we’re separated.  Help us to remember that we can bring the members of our various tribes closer with every kind word we offer, every note we send, every call we make, and every sappy animal video we email.  Walk with us, guide us, and when this pandemic is over help us to grow because of what we’ve learned.
 
In your name we pray, Amen.
 
[1] "Small Kindnesses" by Danusha Laméris from Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection. Green Writers Press, © 2019.

Dialogues on Race Study (from Ahn Peterson)

A group of twenty-five members of Covenant began meeting July 1 to continue a conversation about race. Dialogue can be a noun: “conversation between two or more people as feature of a book, play or movie,” but our focus is on dialogue as a verb: “take part in conversation or discussion to resolve a problem.”

Recognizing the complex issues surrounding race, we are utilizing the book, Dialogues on Race, to guide us through a number of topics from Black Lives Matter to Native American views on the Divine over a seven-week period. Each week we read provocative essays including, “What Does it Mean to be White?”, “Christmas Cookies from Cambodia”, and “Two Christianities”, each from a different author providing unique perspective on the role of race in our lives. We come together via zoom for an hour each Wednesday and watch a related video, and break into small groups (sometimes as small as just two!) to discuss the chapter, some prickly questions, or learn more about one another and our own experiences. But truly, it is in the hours between when the conversations take root and we each reflect on these dialogues that our work begins. Digging deeper into subjects like redlining, systemic racism, and the whitewashing of history and sharing suggestions for reading, listening and viewing we continue to learn and grow, opening ourselves to God’s voice and turning “conflict into community.”*

*shamelessly stolen from the back cover of the book

Bible Study Update

Bible Study will be taking a break for the remainder of the summer (after the Dialogues on Race Class ends). We will resume with our Zoom Bible Study in September, details to come.

Giving Your Pledges

During this unprecedented time, we are finding ourselves worshiping and connecting with each other in ways we never imagined.  It has also challenged us to find creative ways to safely receive your on-going pledges.  Perhaps you’ve noticed the “GIVE NOW” button (as pictured above) on the Covenant website, www.covpres.org.  By clicking this button, you will be able to send in a one-time donation or set up regular intervals of giving.  You can choose to pay with your bank savings or checking account or with a credit card.  You can even donate from your mobile smart phone.  Click here to see a video for more information about the GivePlus Mobile App.  Covenant will be charged 2% for each transaction completed through either the website or mobile app.  You may wish to offset this transaction fee by adding 2% to your donation amount.  No matter your decision, your total donation (including the fee) is tax deductible.

Fellowship Opportunity: Family Feud All Church Game Night on Sunday, August 23, at 4pm

Come join in an all church game night, for ALL AGES, led by the Christian Formation Committee. We will play Family Feud again, with more questions from the polling we did with our own church family.  Please join us.  Sign up with Kathy Miller (click here).

Fellowship Opportunity: Men's Breakfast on August 5 & 19, at 9am

Miss the Men’s Breakfast? Did you always wish you could go to the Men’s Breakfast but couldn’t? Now’s your chance! We’re reviving the Men’s Breakfast—Zoom style. Join the men of Covenant on Wednesday August 5th and Wednesday August 19th from 9-10am on Zoom (come when you can and leave when you need to) for coffee (bring your own) and fellowship. If you can’t make either of those times but would be interested in joining in the future, please let Kathy Miller (click here) know.

Fellowship Opportunity: Fellowship, Fabric and Fibers on August 6 & 20, at 7pm

The FFF group began as a way for us to share our creative talents and interests, gathering together in Fellowship.  We have colored, puzzled, joined the Random Act of Kindness Bear project, sewn, knitted, crocheted, stitched, and snacked.  Now we have moved together into a new format as the current challenges prohibit our in-person gatherings....and joined the age of Zoom!
 
Our aim remains the same: to share time in Fellowship with one another, letting the work of our hands bring us together.  Won't you join us?  The first and third Thursdays of the month, beginning at 7 p.m.  Join in as you can (there's no such thing as late!), and stay as long as you wish.  We will be happy to see your faces (or hear your voices).  August gatherings on the 6th and 20th.

Service Opportunity: Help with Worship - 3 Ways

Special Music: We would love for you to record yourself playing or singing music that we could share in worship. While there are plenty of videos we can find online, nothing helps us feel as connected as seeing one another, and we love hearing your voices and your gifts. If you are willing, please do your best to record yourself in landscape mode and keep the video to under 4 minutes (under 2 is even better). You can email links or videos to Kathy Miller (click here) and the pastors will work them into worship as appropriate!

Virtual Ushers: In lieu of ushers who collect offering, we are in need of folks who would be willing to serve as virtual ushers. Each Sunday, we need two individuals—one to take attendance (Kathy Miller will send you a spreadsheet to help with this), and one to act as “host” (this person greets anyone the attendance taker doesn’t recognize or know and generally keeps an eye on all of the screens during the service to make sure nothing inappropriate is being shown). If you would be willing to help with either or both of these jobs even once a month, please let Kathy Miller (click here) know.

Other: If music isn’t your gift and Zoom is still a little daunting, but you like to help lead, let us know. We can imagine asking folks to record themselves reading scripture or saying a prayer, so if you’re willing, we’d love to know. And if you have ideas for how you’d like to participate, send those along as well. (It’s tricky to manage too many live participants on Sunday morning with the technology, but it’s easy enough to include recorded materials that are provided in advance.)  Click here to let Kathy Miller know of your interest.

Mission Outreach Opportunity: Brown Bag Breakfasts on August 3 and 17

The Brown Bag Breakfasts has been a very successful event and adults and children are getting involved.  We are looking for volunteers for August to make a BBB or a Brown Bag Breakfast for the Hospitality Center.  They serve breakfast every morning from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. This brown bag breakfast would consist of the following items  ....


Granola (bar or small sealed bag)
Hard Boiled egg
Yogurt (cup/individual serving; please provide a plastic spoon) 
Fruit (your choice – apple, orange, banana)
Cheese sticks
Juice (box or pouch)

Homemade items are welcome as long as they are packaged.

We would like volunteers who would be willing to make 10 (or more) of these brown bag breakfasts at home.  Someone will then come to your house to pick them up and deliver all the bags to the Hospitality Center.  We plan to collect them on Monday, August 3rd and on Monday, August 17th. Please plan to have the bags ready for pick up at or around 11:00 AM on those days.  Click here to inform Kathy Miller.

Mission Outreach Opportunity: Providing Dinner at Vets Tiny Homes Village on Sunday, August 16

Covenant is going to provide dinner for the Veterans living in the Tiny Homes Village on Sunday, August 16.  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. Click here to contact Candy Lively.
 

Mission Outreach Opportunity: Casseroles Needed for Monday Night Meal on September 14

On Monday, September 14, Covenant is responsible for the meal being served at the Hospitality Center.  The Monday night meals have continued in this time, but they package up the dinners and let people take them to go.  We are looking for people who are willing to make casseroles for the dinner. 

Kelly Miller will drop off a tin and recipe for you in advance and you can either drop off your casserole on July 27th or Kelly can come pick it up from your house.  Casseroles will need to be dropped off at 4pm. Please click here to contact Kelly, call Kelly at 262-939-6043 or click here to contact Pastor Jenny if you can help or have questions.

Mission Outreach Opportunity: Volunteers Needed at North Side Food Pantry, 2nd Tuesday Each Month, 1:30-4:00pm

The North Side Food Pantry is looking for volunteers to both pack up the food, record number of visitors and/ or give out the food to families.  Covenant will be supporting the second Tuesday of each month.  We will be packing food beginning at about 1:30 pm and then the food is handed out from 2-4:00 pm that same day.  Currently food is distributed outside with masks and gloves (and a tent for shade or rain).  If you are interested in volunteering regularly each month or even just once, please contact Candy Lively by clicking here.

School Supplies Update

August is the time of year that Covenant usually has a school supply collection drive. We have decided to hold off giving any type of donation until we better understand what the needs for this school year will be. Kelly Miller is in contact with the principal of West Ridge and will update us regarding the needs of the students this year.

Children and Youth Schedule for August

Sunday School
Meets Wednesday, August 5, at 4:30pm
and then a break for the rest of August
(led by Abby Neubauer)

Middle School Youth Group
Meets on Friday August 7 and 21 at 11:00am

High School Youth Group
Meets on Fridays at 2:00pm

Fall Schedule for Sunday School

This fall, we will have a new format for Sunday School. We plan to offer Sunday School for 1st-6th graders right after worship on Sunday morning. There will be two classes and we will send each group into their own breakout room on Zoom at the end of worship. Classes will be 30 minutes long. The schedule for each month will look like this:

1st Sunday’s – special days – music, stories, crafts led by different members of the church

2nd Sundays – NO Sunday School (second Sunday coffee happens)

3rd, 4th, and 5th Sunday’s – Sunday School class with a teacher based on a Bible story

We will begin with our first class on Sunday Sept. 20th.

*Watch the September Tidings for an announcement about picking up a Sunday School box of materials and fun for each child.

Fall Schedule for Youth Groups

Pastor Jenny will offer two youth groups this fall on Zoom at 4:00pm on Sundays beginning in September.

Middle School (5th-8th grade)
1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

High School Youth Group (9th-12th grade)
2nd and 4th Sunday of the month

Additionally, there will be some other events planned at other times throughout the year for connection and fellowship.

First Family Feud Game - Answers to the Poll

For the first Family Feud game in July the church family was asked to answer a poll.  There has been curiosity about the answers so we are publishing them here for the first 12 questions. The answers are listed in order of greatest percentage vote to least percentage vote.  The fastest way to see more questions and the results is to play the next round of Family Feud on Sunday, August 23, 4pm.  Click here to sign up.

1. What is your favorite kringle flavor? 
  1. Pecan
  2. Almond
  3. Cherry Cheese
  4. Cranberry
  5. Turtle
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Cherry/Raspberry
2. What’s something you’ve enjoyed about doing church differently during covid?
  1. Zoom church on Sunday
  2. Home comfort/No rush
  3. PJs/Pastors adapting, their creativity/More videos and media in service/Coffee, trivia/Seeing people on screen, learning their names, getting to know more people
  4. No dressing up/Virtual meetings/No shower/How well we adapt
  5. Saying Lord’s Prayer [not singing]/Not being late for church/Church from our patio/No dressing, no driving/Inclusion of people who could not attend church/Interacting with others ½ hour before church/sleeping in/Midweek musings/Visiting different church services online/Eating breakfast from McDonald’s during church/How easy it is
3. Which one is your favorite Wisconsin sports team?
  1. Packers
  2. Badgers
  3. Brewers
  4. Bucks
  5. Detroit Lions
  6. Bears/Admirals/The Wave/Carthage Basketball/Brewcity Bruisers/The one with my children or grandchildren
4. What is your favorite Mexican food restaurant in Racine?
  1. Javier’s
  2. Jose’s Blue Sombrero
  3. Los Mariachis 
  4. Taqueria Arandas Taco Truck
  5. Picos
  6. Taco Bell/Taco truck
  7. Mi Tierra/La Tapatia/Food truck on Durand
5. What do you miss the most from our in-person church services?
  1. Interacting with people in person
  2. Singing together
  3. Fellowship
  4. Talking before church
  5. Music/Meet and greet/Passing of the Peace
  6. Hugs and welcoming smiles/Go now in peace/Laughter after the service/Conversations with friends/2nd Sunday treats/Greeting the pastors/Holding hands/Meeting friends afterwards for coffee/Church members, friends, and family
6. What is your favorite Brewers sausage?
  1. Bratwurst
  2. Chorizo
  3. Italian
  4. Hot dog
  5. None
  6. Polish sausage
7. What is your favorite city to visit in Wisconsin?
  1. Madison
  2. Milwaukee
  3. Minocqua
  4. Lake Geneva
  5. Racine/Mineral Point/Green Bay
  6. Sturgeon Bay/Lodi/Franklin/Viroqua/Fond Du Lac/Monitowoc/Sheboygan/Ephraim/Cedarburg/Weyauwega/ New Glarus/Door County/Peninsula State Park Door Co.
8. What is your favorite board game?
  1. Scrabble
  2. Monopoly
  3. Chess/Clue/Sorry
  4. Checkers/Scattergories/Sequence/Barbie Dating Game/Trivia Pursuit
  5. Game of Life/Villainous/Cribbage/Parcheesi/Mille Borne/Rummikub/The Quilt Show/Triominos/Clue/Ticket to Ride/Battleship/Risk
9. What is your favorite pizza place in Racine?
  1. Wells Bros
  2. Infusino’s
  3. Mike & Angelo’s
  4. Papa Murphy’s/Bernie’s/Rocky Rococo/Nonna Wells/DeRango's 6 Mile
  5. Pizza Hut/Domino’s/Durango’s
10. What is your favorite room at church? 
  1. Sanctuary
  2. Gathering space
  3. Providence room/Cold woman’s bathroom
  4. Welsh Hall/Nursery/Choir room
  5. Loft/Entry foyer
11. What is your favorite sport to watch?
  1. Football
  2. Baseball
  3. Basketball
  4. Soccer
  5. Volleyball/Hockey/Gymnastics/Olympic Games
  6. Tennis
  7. Roller derby/Women’s soccer/Track n field/Ice skating
12. What is your favorite thing about living in Racine?
  1. Lake Michigan
  2. The people/The walk/Family/Diversity/History
  3. Covenant Presbyterian Church/Kringle/The Windpoint Lighthouse/Community/Small business/Fall/Four seasons/Convenient to everything/Friends and family/Close to Milwaukee and Chicago

News of the Church Household

OUR SYMPATHY...
to Jessica and Chris Nennig on the death of Jessica's father, Arnold J Detloff, on July 30, 2020, in Kenosha.

BLOG to Follow:
Linda Webster & Will Archer are on a RV adventure through the west and our country's national parks, stopping to take photos of Will with Roadside Attractions at any chance!  To see their beautiful photographs of our country and read a bit about where they are, go to the BLOG at https://lindawillsrvadventures.wordpress.com/ and click the “follow” button to be notified each time there is a new entry.

If anyone else wants to share their BLOG with us to put in this newsletter please contact Kathy Miller (click here).

THANK YOU Received:
"On behalf of HALO, I would like to thank Covenant Presbyterian Church for the $2,000.00 donation, made on April 15, 2020.

HALO remains the largest, general population shelter in Racine, serving over 120 men, women, and children of all ages, every day, 365 days a year.  We provide all toiletries, linens, clothing, laundry detergent - and more - to every person.  We provide over 14,000 meals per month.

Thank you again for your support of our organization.  HALO's on-going mission is to provide a pathway to self-sufficiency for ALL those experiencing homelessness in Racine County.

Sincerely, Nina Thillemann, Deputy Directory"
Copyright © 2020 Covenant Presbyterian Church, All rights reserved.


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