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Pastor's Page

We have made it to 2021!  How long ago the start of 2020 feels.  How much has happened that we could never have predicted.  How many things have changed for us as a church community. But many things didn’t change. And one thing that didn’t change as we faced a global pandemic is our spirit of generosity and service.  Here is just some of what happened in December alone:
  1. 45 stocking for soldiers donated
  2. 4 families in Racine were given financial assistance and gifts
  3. 140 Brown Bag breakfasts were taken to the Hospitality Center
  4. Several hundred pounds of food were taken to the North Side Food Pantry
  5. 84 people were served dinner at the Monday Night meal
  6. 2 church families received meals while they were sick
  7. 20 of our members received poinsettias/flowers from our Deacons
  8. 33 preschool through high schoolers received Advent boxes
  9. 24 children and youth put together a virtual pageant
  10. $2,017 was raised for our Christmas offering benefitting the Women’s Resource Center.
Thank you. 
 
And not only have we kept up a spirit of generosity and service, as a congregation we have been flexible, adaptive, compassionate, and kind to one another during all the changes this year.  We have learned new things, like how to Zoom!  We have continued the work of the church while also worshipping and studying God’s word in new ways. 
 
I know we all have dreams about 2021.  We dream of big things like: an end to this pandemic, reconciliation as a country, justice and peace.  We dream simpler things like: holding hands and singing the Lord’s Prayer together in the Sanctuary again, hugs, and potlucks, and hearing the choir sing.  So, let’s pray that in 2021 we will see our dreams become reality, while we hold on to what we know – which is that God is with us and God’s spirit continues to give us the strength to be generous and the desire to serve others and a love beyond anything we can imagine.
 
Love,
Pastor Jenny

Session Letter

Happy New Year!

The December Session meeting was a very productive one.  We have approved upgrades to the video equipment for the Sanctuary, enhancing our capability for livestreaming.  A Worship Technology Assistant position to assist with our worship on Zoom and other events has been approved, as well.  We very enthusiastically approved the contracts of our Pastors, Jenny and Sarah, for the 2021 year.

Our more difficult job has been to manage our response to the continued Coronavirus pandemic.  While we are happy to learn of the availability of vaccines, we know that it could be a while before these are widely available.  We are also sadly aware of more and more diagnosed cases among our own families, friends, and congregation members. With all of this in mind, we have agreed to keep things as they are through at least the first quarter of the year.  Worship, committee meetings, and other events will remain virtual.  The Session will continue to monitor the situation, and will be mindful of the advice of the CDC, the Presbytery, and local officials.

Until we can meet again, we cannot thank each of you enough for all that you do for our Church community.  While some are still not participating virtually, we have found so many ways to stay connected and vital.  Our mission work in the community continues, and support for the church has not wavered.

As we move into the New Year, our prayers are with each and all of you and your families.  Winter is a difficult time for many, and this year it could be more challenging than usual.  We encourage you to reach out to one another in kindness and compassion, through calls, cards, and prayer.

With gratitude from your Session members

New Intergenerational Letter Writing

As we continue to gather virtually, the Christian Formation committee has come up with a new way for us to connect and get to know each other. We’d like to propose a chain letter project. We will create groups of 4-5 households. There will be a question each week that we send out in the mail to one of the households who will answer the question and mail it to the next person. Each household mails their letter to the next house, accumulating answers along the way, and the last person sends it back to the church. Questions will be things like: tell us about a memorable vacation you took or what is your favorite meal or holiday.  All ages can participate. If you’d like to join us in this fun activity, email Pastor Jenny.

Presentation and Conversation
with Presbyterian Missionaries to Zambia
Sunday, January 10, Following Worship

Following worship on January 10, you are invited to join us on Zoom for a presentation by Melissa Johnson, a Presbyterian missionary in Zambia.  Covenant supports Mrs. Johnson in her ministry in Zambia as a Health Education Program Facilitator.  Her husband, Charles, recently retired from his work in teaching agriculture. This is a great opportunity to hear about the work the Presbyterian Church is doing in other places.  You can read more about Mrs. Johnson here.

Book Discussion on "I'm Still Here"
Wednesday, January 20, 7:00-8:30pm

"Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.

In a time when nearly every institution (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claims to value diversity in its mission statement, Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice. Her stories bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric—from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

For readers who have engaged with America’s legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I’m Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God’s ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness—if we let it—can save us all."

Wednesday, January 20, 7:00-8:30pm, Barb Albee will lead a discussion on this book in a Zoom meeting with all those who are interested. Time to start reading!! Click here to sign up for the book discussion in January.

Sunday School Family Night
Saturday, January 23, 6:00-7:00pm

Many Sunday School families have said they miss our potlucks.  On Saturday, January 23, from 6:00-7:00pm, we will gather on Zoom together. We’ll create a breakout room for the kids where we will have some older youth organize some games and be there to supervise while the kids talk. Meanwhile, parents can catch up with one another with some good fellowship time. We hope you will join us! Let us know you are joining us by clicking here.

Trivia Game Night
Wednesday, January 27, 6:00-7:00pm

Come by yourself or create a team of 3-4 people for a trivia night.  There will be many different categories of trivia and all ages are encouraged to play! Click here to sign up.

Annual Meeting, Sunday, January 31

Our Annual Meeting where we receive church reports and approve nominations will follow worship on Sunday, January 31. You will receive the Annual Report in advance of the meeting by email. Plan to stay after worship for this short, once-a-year meeting.

New Member Class, January 31, 3:30pm

There will be a class offered for those interested in membership at Covenant (via Zoom) on Sunday, January 31, at 3:30pm with Pastors Sarah and Jenny. Click here if you plan to attend but haven't signed up yet.

Sunday School and Youth Group

A Word of Thanks 
Thank you to members of the Christian Formation Committee who put together the Sunday School Advent boxes and delivered them. Also thank you to Mary Risler for organizing the pageant costumes and to Tina Kobriger and Lori Jensen for delivering them.  Thank you to Letty Nyamatutu for working on our pageant script and directing our pageant.  

January Sunday School 
  • Sunday School will meet after worship on Zoom on Sundays, January 17 and 24.
Youth Group 
  • High School Youth Group on Zoom at 4:00pm on Sundays, January 10 and 24.
  • Middle School Youth Group on Zoom at 4:00pm on Sunday, January 17.

Mission Outreach

January service opportunities  
Brown Bag Breakfasts - We will be collecting Brown Bag Breakfasts beginning on Wednesday, January 6. (2021 Dates through June: January 6 and 20, February 3 and 17, March 17 and 31, April 7 and 21, May 5 and 19, June 16 and 30.)

Hospitality Monday Night Meals - The first meal will be on Monday, January 11. Watch the Covenant Connections email on Monday to sign up. (2021 Dates: January 11, March 8, June 7, August 2, September 20, and December 20.)

Veterans Outreach Meal - The first meal  will be on Sunday, January 17. (2021 Dates: January 17, March 14, May 2, July 11, September 12, and November 14.)

Read the Covenant Connections email on Mondays to learn more and sign up for these service opportunities.

Special Giving
Change for Children
This year we gave Change for Children $2,426.02.

New Automatic Door

Even while the church has been closed, the facilities committee has kept busy maintaining and improving our precious building and grounds. Our latest addition is an automatic door, with push plates both inside and outside the building as shown in the above pictures. The push plates will not work when the door is locked. However, when we open back up for services and events, look forward to easier access to the building if you need a little extra help opening the door - that includes all you casserole carrying deacons!

Let There Be Light!

The caring for creation and facilities committees have been working together over the past year to upgrade the majority of Covenant’s interior and exterior lighting to cost saving and eco-friendly LED bulbs. The project culminated in a multi-day installation project in December that has left the church adorned in beautiful lights. The expected cost savings should provide a full payback on this investment in a few short years, not to mention a nod of gratitude from the planet as we reduce our energy usage.
 
If you are interested in checking out how you can save energy in your own home, check out the Focus on Energy website.  Your household may be eligible for a free Energy Saving Pack, which includes a variety of products such as LED bulbs.  There is a lot of great information on this website including participating retailers offering discounts on LED bulbs and locations where you can recycle CFL bulbs.
 
https://focusonenergy.com/residential#program-energy-saving-packs

December 2020 Photos

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