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It feels like our country is living through (or perhaps into) the saying that, “when it rains, it pours.” I write this the morning after protests over the death of George Floyd turned into riots that set a police station on fire in Minneapolis along with other nearby businesses and buildings, a CNN crew covering the protests was arrested live on camera, and our president’s twitter account has been censored (again) for glorifying violence. On a much smaller scale, in our own community, I’ve witnessed less-than-polite encounters both on social media and in person over whether or not masks should be required and personal space observed.

And yet, the morning has dawned sunny and green; everything is blooming and the birds are singing. Our family hasn’t personally lost anyone to COVID-19, we’re a safe distance away from the rioting, and we have so much privilege that we don’t need to worry about our children’s safety or our own economic security in the face of racial discrimination or pandemic-related economic downturns. And so I must admit that it’s hard to know how best to respond. If I sit in my safety and privilege and say nothing, I feel complicit in what is happening across our country and in our own community. But what words are adequate to express the deep disappointment I feel that we are so divided, that people are not safe (not to mention equal) simply because of the color of their skin? What can words, even the best words, accomplish in the face of so much injustice, hate, and desperation?

I write this not because I have any answers, and not even because I have the right words (even as thoughtful as I am about each word I type, I type with hesitation, worried I will inadvertently say or imply something hurtful or insensitive), I write this because I think these are issues that the church has to face, that we, as followers of Christ, must bear witness to. Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?... It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity."[1]

I suppose my deepest prayer in this moment is that we would be better at hearing one another–at hearing that a huge segment of our population is afraid of the very people we have entrusted with protecting us, that people are afraid of catching a disease that could either kill them or someone they love, that people are afraid of how they will continue to afford to live if they can’t work, that people are afraid of a world where nothing looks the same as it did 3 months ago. Listening, of course, isn’t enough, but it would be a good place to start.

Blessings, Pastor Sarah
 

[1] Martin Luther King Jr., “The Other America” (March 14, 1968).

Update from Session Taskforce on COVID-19

As was shared in an email that went out on May, 20, 2020, session has voted to keep Covenant’s building closed through at least Phase One of the Badger Bounce Back Plan. This means that staff will continue to work primarily from home, worship services, committee meetings, fellowship opportunities, and other events will continue to be conducted through Zoom as they have been since mid-March.

In considering the various options available to us, the taskforce appointed by session looked at the practical logistics that would be required to open up the building, what worship would look like if we held it in the building, and how Zoom is currently working both for worship and for meetings. We discussed who Zoom is unable to reach (those without the technology as well those who simply dislike the technology) as well as who we would reach if we switched to in-person worship and/or a hybrid option (some people in person and some people watching from home). Ultimately the taskforce decided that, at this point, in-person worship would be unlikely to feel very worshipful (with folks wearing masks, sitting 6-feet apart, no singing, and no fellowship opportunities before or after the service), and that any hybrid option would disrupt the sense of community that we’ve been able to establish by seeing one another on Zoom each week (in addition to presenting significant logistical and practical hurdles).

This was not a decision the taskforce nor session made lightly (both groups heard from and had individuals in their midst who expressed a deep sense of loss at not being able to be present in the building for worship), and it is a decision they are open to revisiting in the future should things change, but ultimately, both groups felt that keeping the building closed was the best way to care for the most members of our community.

We are grateful to all of you who stayed after worship on May 24th for our Town Hall meeting, and especially for those who shared their thoughts and feelings on the matter. The Session Taskforce will continue to meet as things shift and change in our community and around the world, and we welcome your feedback at any point. You can be in touch with either of the pastors or with any member of session.

Fellowship & Support from Covenant

We know that while we’re all in the same storm, we’re not all in the same boat, and that for some of you, this time feels extra stressful as you try to work from home with kids underfoot, while for others of you, this time feels especially isolating as you are home alone and unable to see beloved friends and family. Wherever you fall along that spectrum (or even outside of it), we want you to know that Covenant is here to support you, financially, emotionally, spiritually, or physically as best as we are able. To that end, we wanted to make sure you were aware of the following resources and opportunities:


Fellowship Opportunities

  • Zoom Coffee Hour with a Pastor
    Each week on Friday, one of our pastors hosts a Zoom Coffee hour from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for anyone interested. There is no set agenda and the group changes from week to week. If you’re looking to see some friendly faces, chat about what is going on in the world or in your life, or simply listen to others do so, you would be more than welcome. While we start at 11 and end at noon, you’re welcome to sign on at any time and leave when you need to.
  • Bible Study with a Pastor
    Each week on Wednesday morning, one of our pastors leads Bible Study from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is an opportunity to hear, think about, and discuss the scripture passages that will be used in worship on Sunday morning. No experience or prior attendance is necessary, and if you need to leave early to tend to childcare or work issues, you won’t be the first nor the last to do so.
  • Second Sunday (and more) Coffee
    We are experimenting with hosting Second Sunday Coffee after worship using Zoom breakout rooms. Our plan is to offer this on Second Sundays and occasionally at other times (usually when there isn’t another meeting scheduled after worship). On these Sundays, you’ll be invited to stay online and after Go Now in Peace ends, we’ll put you into breakout rooms at random and invite you to stay and chat with the folks in that room just as you might do in the Gathering Space after worship. This is a great opportunity to catch up with church friends in a space that’s easier to chat as well as potentially get to know someone new.
  • Fabric, Fiber, and Fellowship
    If you’re a “maker/crafter/sewer/knitter/etc” you might enjoy the Fabric, Fiber and Fellowship group that meets via Zoom every other week on Thursday evenings. This group is hosted by member Claudia Grace, and is a time to gather to share what you’re working on or just for the fellowship.
  • A Zoom Group of Your Own …
    If you’d like to host a Zoom meeting for Covenant folks either for socializing or business purposes, please let us know. If scheduling allows, we would be happy to create the meeting for you and allow you to be the host. While we are limited by the fact that only one Zoom meeting can be taking place at a time, using the church’s account (versus a free account) does allow for you to meet for longer than 40 minutes. While our pastors’ already full schedules mean they can’t join every fellowship opportunity on Zoom, they are happy to help you make one happen, whether this be for a group that existed prior to COVID-19 (like the men’s and women’s breakfast groups) or for a new group or fellowship opportunity.

Things You Can Do

  • Birthday Cards
    Are you someone who likes to send cards? We would be happy to share our birthday list with you if you’d like to send cards. In this season when we can’t connect and when folks might not be able to celebrate the way they normally would, a plethora of cards in the mail might be a very welcome celebration and reminder that they are loved even from a distance. If you’d like the list, please be in touch with Kathy Miller.
  • Phone Calls & Notes
    If you have time on your hands and like chatting on the phone or sending cards, you can always open up the directory and pick someone at random to call or send a note to, but if you’d like a list, we can happily give you the names of members who we know are living alone or are especially appreciative of phone calls and cards during this time. Simply be in touch with either of our Pastors for such a list.

Support Available

  • Financial Help
    If you are experiencing financial difficulties during this time, please be in touch with one of our pastors. Covenant has money set aside to help church members in times like these, so please don’t hesitate to ask. All requests are kept confidential.
  • Deacons
    Did you know that you have your very own Deacon? It’s true! Every Covenant member is assigned a Deacon (you should have received a letter from them in February or March in which they introduced themselves). If you have a need, your deacon is a great person to reach out to—they can help you tap into the resources of the congregation and are happy to be in conversation with you through this time (and anytime!). Deacons have helped to arrange rides to doctors’ appointments, delivered meals, helped with shopping and errands, helped with technology questions around Zoom, and been listening ears. Because each Deacon is assigned multiple members to “shepherd,” it is always helpful if you reach out to them to let them know that you need something or simply to chat.
  • Stephen Ministers
    Covenant is blessed to have a Stephen Ministry that includes over 10 active Stephen Ministers. These are members who have undergone over 50 hours of training focused on listening and caring skills. They are trained to walk with people through times of loss, change, and many other situations. While they are not currently able to meet with people face-to-face, they are available to be a companion or a listening ear if you’re looking for someone to talk with during this time. You don’t need to have a problem (and they’re not trained to solve problems), you just need to be willing to talk. If you think you might be interested, please be in touch with Pastor Sarah.
  • Pastors
    Your pastors continue to be available phone or zoom calls to talk and listen and pray with you. Simply call, email or text one of the pastors to set up a time.

Felicity Smith – First Recipient of the Covenant Presbyterian Church Youth Scholarship

Last year, our Session established a scholarship in honor of Jim Parrish for his many years of service as our church treasurer.  The scholarship is for $1000. High School Seniors who applied were required to complete ten acts of service with Covenant over the year and to write an essay about their experience at Covenant. 
 
We are so pleased to announce that Felicity Smith is the first recipient of our scholarship.  This year, Felicity participated in the bell choir, helped with Sunday School classes and in the nursery, assisted with fellowship events at church and made casseroles for the Monday Night Meal. 
 
We will celebrate Felicity’s award of the scholarship when we celebrate all our high school seniors in worship on Sunday, June 7.

Thank you to our Sunday School Teachers and Supply Gatherers

While our Sunday School year did not happen the way we had planned, there was lots of good learning, building friendships, eating snacks, making crafts and other enjoyment that happened between Sept. and March.  We would like to say a special thank you to all our Sunday School teachers and the team who gathers all the supplies for Sunday School.  We are so grateful for your work and time in sharing the Gospel with the youngest among us!
 
SS Teachers – Lori Jensen, Tina Kobriger, Anne Risler, Tim Risler, Brandy Smith, Tiffany Strand
 
Supply Gatherers – Candy Lively, Mary Risler, Susan Weisbrod, Dawn Wolf
 
Thank you all!

Confirmation Update

This year’s confirmation class will attend the virtual Zoom Session meeting on Monday, June 15.  At that meeting, they will share the faith statements they’ve written and be voted into membership at Covenant.  We will have a prayer and celebration of our confirmands during worship on Sunday, June 21 on Zoom.  But, in conversation with our confirmands, we will also plan to have a Confirmation Sunday in the Sanctuary whenever we are able to gather there together again.

Sunday School, Youth Groups, VBS and more…

The Christian Formation Committee has sent out a survey to the Sunday School families at Covenant asking for their input on possible offerings for this summer.  We hope to continue offering Sunday School, as well as add a youth group for 5th-7th graders (meeting virtually).  We are also exploring the idea of a virtual VBS that would happen for a week sometime this summer, but will depend on interest and availability of families.  We plan to announce a summer schedule for our children and families in early June. 

Our Graduates

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

Ben Adams graduated from Horlick High School and is planning to attend Wisconsin Parkside.

Joey Leger graduated from Horlick High School. Joey is moving to Madison to live with his brother Zach. He accepted a job at Two Men & a Truck. He is hoping to be hired by Bachmann Construction this summer. 
 
Jason Frosch graduated from The Prairie school.  He is enrolled at UW LaCrosse for fall 2020.

Bryn Nielsen graduated from Union Grove High School.  She will continue to work at Community State Bank over the summer and next fall with the hopes of furthering her education after a year away from school.

Felicity Smith graduated from Lutheran High School and will be attending Carthage College in the fall for Early Education with a minor in Spanish and Christian Education.

COLLEGE GRADUATES

Zachary Hanchon graduated from SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, New York with a B.S. in Nanoscale Engineering. His future plans are to build up some practical experience and save a bit of money to hopefully apply for medical school in the future.

Caroline Potter graduated from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine with a degree in Human Ecology.  She will be attending the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington with plans to pursue a career in national marine fisheries policy.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES
Ben Adams, Jason Frosch, Joey Leger, Bryn Nielsen, Felicity Smith (pictured above)
COLLEGE GRADUATES
Zachary Hanchon, Caroline Potter

Covenant is a lovely place for a stroll - or a little work in the dirt.

Social Distancing Weeding in the Bioswale....
Beth Kapralian, Leon Potter, Will Archer and Linda Webster (not pictured)
With the warmer weather and sunny days, the Covenant grounds are bursting with new life! Not only are the Caring for Creation and Facilities Committee members planting and maintaining gardens around the building and in the bioswale, Covenant members who walk the grounds are finding numerous varieties of wildflowers and trees in bloom. Feel free to stop by and stroll around your church property - don’t miss the almost hidden path through the woods! You may be surprised at what you find. For those who can’t visit the church, look for some of our natural beauties featured in the Midweek Musings.

While many of our wild and cultivated finds would be coveted by most gardeners, we also have an abundance of invasive species currently in bloom that should be eradicated. If you are interested in helping to maintain our beautifully growing bioswale or learn a little about composting, please contact Linda Webster at linda7612@gmail.com, and if you’re interested in learning to identify and spend a few minutes pulling out some invasive species, contact Maureen Potter at ondalake55@gmail.com. All of these activities are available to do outdoors while adhering to safe social distancing practices.

A New Way to Send in 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.  We are excited to announce a new way to send in your pledges.   We have initiated on-line giving which can be accessed through the Covenant website. 

Check out the “GIVE NOW” button (as pictured above) on the Covenant website, www.covpres.org

For more information click the following:
Making Donations Using GivePlus Church
Giving to your church is as easy as 1-2-3

News of the Church Household

Directory Updates
As Kathy has contacted you to update the Church Directory your response has been fantastic.  There's a little way to go to finish it up, but when the directory is updated you can have a .pdf version of the updated directory.  It's not our new Photo Directory, but will work for us in the meantime.  Click here to email Kathy and let her know you would like her to email the updated directory when it is ready.

Thank You Notes from Mission Outreach

Monday Night Meals at the Hospitality Center

Thank you so much for the quick response in volunteering to make a casserole, or two, for the Monday Night Meal program. We had to adjust how we are providing meals, and like always the Covenant Family stepped up to help meet the needs of those in our community. I am so grateful to know each of you and be in fellowship with you on ZOOM, when available. ❤ Kelly Miller 

Veteran's Sunday Dinner at the Tiny Village
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and generous spirits for our Veterans. I know that they appreciate all of our efforts and know that we work hard to provide a wonderful meal for them. Thank you again for all you do to show your appreciation of our Veterans within the community.  --Candy Lively

Thank You Notes from Community Grant Receivers

Dear Covenant Presbyterian Congregation,
Thank you for your financial support of the North Side Food Pantry.  We also thank you for the delivery of food collected from our congregation.  We sincerely appreciate your kindness and generosity.  We assure you we will use these funds and food donations to provide food to the families who seek our help.  Thanks again and we look forward to your continued support.
--Steve Oppeneer

On behalf of Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency, Inc. (RKCAA), thank you for the recent grant awarded in support of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)/Cupboard Bound.  The church's contribution will assist in providing fresh fruit and vegetables for seniors at one of our partner distribution sites.  Although Cupboard Bound provides nutritious food boxes to the senior community, the program makes no provision for fresh produce that can significantly impact wellness and well-being.

As an organization, we are committed to improving the lives of those in our community through various programs and services.  Our food and nutrition services include several diverse programs that serve hundreds of individuals each year.  Our Skills Enhancement Program has helped hundred of individuals to obtain and maintain certification that will improve their ability to secure employment within a specific area of expertise, and our Weatherization Assistance Program promotes the reduction of home energy costs by improving the energy efficiency of homes in Racine and Kenosha Counties.

Thank you for partnering with us to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.  We are extremely grateful for friends like you who possess a giving spirit and remain thoughtful of the mission we work to achieve.
--Essie Allen


Thank you for your support of Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin.  We greatly appreciate your generous donation.  Your willingness to assist us with our mission to help veterans in our community makes all the difference for veterans in need.

Again, thank you for your generosity.  It means the world to us and to the veterans that we serve.  Make sure to visit us online at our Facebook page and at our website, www.vetsoutreachwi.us, to stay updated on our progress and upcoming events.  As always, please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions.
--Jeff Gustin

Dear Friends,
On behalf of the Hospitality Center, I would like to thank you for your generous donation.  Your kindness makes a transformative difference in the lives of many and in the life of the Hospitality Center.

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic causes anxiety and disruptions for all of us.  A disruption in food and basic toiletries and spiritual support should not be a worry for any person in Racine.  Your support makes it possible for the Hospitality Center to continue to serve hot and nutritious meals twice daily to those in most need.

As we shift into a "To Go" model for the time being, we continue to deliver to our guests the dignity and respect that each person deserves while balancing the need to care for the wider community by observing public health cautions. A little food and a short conversation with a volunteer can make all the difference during this time of isolation.

Thank you for reaching out and connecting with others through your gift.  May God bless you.
--The Rev. Seth Raymond

Church Updates and Reminders

Worship and Sermons:  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 June 30, 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.

Food Pantry:  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

Zoom IDs

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

All are welcome to join us!

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.

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, June 17, 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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