May 20, 2020
The two governing bodies of our congregation – the diaconate and session – both met virtually this week to pray for and guide the ongoing work and ministry of our church. It is an incredibly inspiring and beautiful thing to witness the collective commitment and faith of these forty-two women and men who have been called and elected to serve as the spiritual leaders of our congregation. The challenges of this “new normal” in which we are living seem only to have strengthened their resolve to not only provide compassionate care for those in our own church but also to lead us in finding ways to care for the wider world around us. 

The deacons spent the majority of their hour-long meeting organizing the distribution of flowers, writing of notes, placing of phone calls, delivering of meals, and, of course, lifting of prayer for those facing both joy and heartache in our congregation. At the surface, each individual act may seem small but taken together they represent a church committed to staying connected and spreading the love of Jesus Christ even when the traditional means of doing so are limited. We give thanks to God for the faith and prayer and ministry of the deacons in our church.  

The session also covered a lot of ground at their meeting last night. Among the topics of discussion were the ongoing building renovation as well as how/when to gradually resume some in-person programming. On the renovation front, the building committee continues to be hard at work. This week, they are putting together a “video tour” of the construction zone that will be sent out to the congregation along with updated renderings of the finished space. The financial side of the project continues to look good as well. The capital campaign has received pledges totaling approximately $4,048,000 of which $3,402,500 has already been collected. The total project cost currently stands at $4,567,000. Because we are still searching for a few final pledges that will help us to close the gap and realizing that not all of the existing pledges will be paid this year, session also approved securing a $1,000,000 line of credit. This will allow us to cover the bills that will come due later this year as the project moves towards completion. It is important to note that this line of credit will not become long term debt. It will be paid off in full on or before the end of two years as remaining and new pledges are fulfilled.

There was also a good discussion last night with regards to “reentry planning” for the church – i.e., when and how to resume in-person gatherings. I will be sending a separate email to the congregation soon with a more detailed outline of the plans and thinking around this topic. That said, the general consensus among the elders was:

  1. The ongoing threat of the pandemic requires that when we return to in-person activities at church, we must do so in a way that is measured and especially mindful of the health and safety of all who come through the doors of the church. We will continue to monitor data on the virus and heed the guidance of health care professionals in all of our decision making.
  2. As a church, we need to start thinking about this event in terms of months and years instead of days and weeks. The return to in-person activities and worship will be gradual and may shift back and forth as flare ups in the virus come and go. As I talked about in the homily from last Sunday’s worship, now is the time for us to start praying and planning for how we “lead beyond the blizzard.”
  3. While it is still too soon to set any specific dates for resuming in-person programming and/or worship, we are hopeful that beginning this summer we may be able to safely plan some in-person outdoor gatherings, which will allow us ample room to physically distance but socially connect. 

Lastly, be sure to mark your calendar for Sunday, May 31, which is Pentecost Sunday. The liturgical color for Pentecost is red and so we invite you to send photos of you and/or your family decked out in red for us to include in our worship video that Sunday. Email photos to .  

Enjoy your newsletter. Remember that God is with us. See you Sunday.


P.S. I invite you to be in prayer with and for your church officers.
Elders 2019
Bonnie Roberts
Jack Hartman
Anna Henry
Leslie McCracken
Carol Snyder
Leigh Truett
Charlotte Zell

Deacons 2019
Sandi Goeldner
Laurie Longley
Molly Macaulay
Harry Moffett
Ada Owens
​Ron Shafer
Jerry Spencer
Elders 2020
Judy Benjamin
Marianna Elias
Faye Foster
Michael Johnson
Bob Killian
Lee Malone
Tadd Wessel

Deacons 2020
Ben Bryson
Kathleen Haller
Nancy Harper
Mike Kellar
Bunnie Lynn
Barbara Powers
​Cathy Rossiter
Elders 2021
Jeff Shiver
​Coco Bujold
David Burch
Fred Griffith
Holley Rogers
Sean Hidalgo

Deacons 2021
John Turner
Tate Simpson
Anne Marie Stirewalt
Kate Buckley
Lee Baxter
Anna K Mansfield
Barbara Dieterman
Looking Ahead
*Please note  that we are keeping a close eye on state and federal guidelines in regards to the COVID19 pandemic and will contact registrants immediately if there is any change to our current Summer Fun or VBS schedule.
Sunday Devotional
Christian Education
Musical Notes

I recently read a novel about the life of a woman in north Canada entitled “Mrs. Mike” by Benedict & Nancy Freeman. I highly recommend this book – it’s a fast read, is a Hallmark Channel kind of book, and is escapist in all the good ways. Somebody told me that there is a movie of this book starring Dick Powell.  After being sent to her uncle in the wilds of Canada (Calgary, Alberta) in 1907, Katherine Mary O’Fallon meets the love of her life, a Canadian Mountie named Mike Flannigan. They live through adventures and tragedies with many First Nation people (Iroquois, Mohawk, Cree) and end up adopting children from two different families. One of them is from the Cree tribe – they call her Kathy – but she is the daughter of Mamanowatum (O Be Joyful). The book has a sequel – The Search for Joyful. A quote from the book really stuck with me because I have been thinking about this subject for a while as it relates to singing and choirs.  
  “I began […] to wonder if I could get back to being happy. Not merely happy as a great many people are . . . but joyful. Joyful is past happy. Happy is more a quiet content. Joy on the other hand is actively seeking moments when you’re high on life and if those moments aren’t there, to make them, to cause them. […] I wanted to live up to my Indian name.”    

Joyful is past happy. We are told to sing and rejoice and worship the Lord in songs and scripture. Recent news in a national forum about church choirs being the ones to spread the virus more than anyone has been a hard blow to take. Congregational singing has taken a hit, as well. Singing produces aerosols that spread far and wide.  Now, some are saying that they don’t know if it was singing that spread the virus or not. It’s sort of like the wear or don’t wear the mask thing.  Studies have been done with instruments, with results that aerosols do not get spread as well as with singers. Wind instrument players regularly clean their instruments to prevent bacteria growth, etc. They have spit valves to open and drain during performances and practice.  Eww… TMI? There’s still a debate about the actual singing and the ventilation in the room and the size of the space and which one is more the cause of spread. Suffice to say, for now this makes us very sad in the choir.  
How do we find “Joyful” so that we feel like singing? Our society doesn’t promote singing as much as other cultures. John McCall reports (through a source) that in Taiwan they are singing with masks on and doing well without spreading the virus to their knowledge. This is a singing culture from birth until death.  The answer to my question about finding joy so that we feel like singing may be found in the Book of Psalms.  Maybe we don’t need to find joy to sing.   There are psalms of comfort, lament, absolute joy, and some sound angry to me. Laments are sad, but we need to sing them anyway.  Reading through the Psalms is an experience – I hope that you’ll do it sometime.  It’s all that Presbyterians sang in the days of the beginning of the denomination.   

The Chancel Choir has stepped out on a limb to offer a virtual audio experience with Sunday’s hymn, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. My resident tech, Harlan, has spent hours syncing 17 (at this point) entries into this recording.  For many, it wasn’t exactly a joyful experience to record their solo voices.  It’s a very difficult thing to do in addition to the technology it requires. This is a temporary fix, folks. We’ll be back together as a real choir and congregation should be when the time is right.  We don’t always have to burst into joyful song like Giselle from the Disney movie “Enchanted” in order to sing. We don’t have to win American Idol or The Voice, either.  Singing around the house on your own is a release and a mind soother.  If you can, sing a few notes today, then more on the next day. When we gather again to sing, you’ll be in practice!  Even the Whos in Whoville sang when they had no Christmas! 
The anthem is “Joy in the Morning” from our Christmas presentation this past year.  “……there’ll be joy in the morning on that day.”  To quote another well-known hymn, “What a day of rejoicing that will be!” (Bonus points: what is the hymn? Email or call me. Could be a prize involved.) 
Pentecost is on May 31 this year.  Bring out your reds, oranges, yellows (flame colors) to decorate your door or mailbox. This is the birthday of the church! I’ll be calling on some of you to help with a very special prelude. The Chancel Choir will offer a recording of “Fill-a me up” by Pepper Choplin with Bud Longley as soloist and several percussionists.   
Love & Gratitude,  
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Joys and Concerns
Meal Delivery
One way to offer our Christian love and care is by providing a warm meal to our family and friends in Christ during their time of need.

Members of our congregation who could use a meal this week include: John & Bonnie Turner

If you or someone you know could use some help with meals, don't hesitate to reach out! We're here for you. 
Contact Molly Macaulay for assistance: 
Community Relief Fund
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