Pastor's Reflections on 2018
How can we build on what we’re already doing well, to go a bit deeper?
How can we respond to new needs in the congregation and community?
How can we be flexible, adaptive, and creative in our ministries?
These are a few of the questions that have been fueling my ministry this year.
In worship we’ve been building on what we’re already doing by reflecting on art, music, and drama, and inviting our children and youth to provide art for the bulletin covers during Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, Advent, and Christmas.
We strengthened our communication by video recording sermons and posting these to a new Covington channel on YouTube, as a way to help members connect to worship when they cannot be physically present.
We began a book & film club, with God, Improv, and the Art of Living and Won’t You Be My Neighbor as our first selections.
Building from our 2017 Nurturing Faith event, we’ve worked to provide resources and encouragement for families and individuals to nurture faith at home. These have included our “Heart of Lent” Intergenerational Event, our family Advent wreath activity, and our weekly “e-votional and e-vents” emails.
This year we’ve had the excellent addition of seven new adult members, five confirmands, and several other new worshippers. I gathered a “Hospitality Strategy” team for conversation about ways we can deepen relationships within the congregation and with newcomers. Coming out of this conversation, we have several exciting initiatives in the works for 2019, including a family movie night and special dinners during the month of February.
This spring we offered a confirmation program with 5 youth and 5 adult faith partners participating. This fall I’ve been collaborating with neighboring churches to form a new joint youth group exploring key skills such as budgeting and cooking. Upcoming topics include basic building skills, friendship, auto maintenance, and anxiety, plus a May retreat on camping and wilderness skills at our Presbytery’s Camp Whitman.
For continuing education in 2018, I attended the Next Church National Gathering in Baltimore; the “Called Together” conference in Virginia; a workshop called “Safety in Houses of Worship” with the FBI and Roberts Wesleyan, and I have been part of a 6-month leadership coaching program called “Artful Leadership.”
It’s been a full year, with four weddings, five funerals, and joyfully, five baptisms. We’re so thankful for the leadership of Yvonne Smith, who is concluding her second consecutive term on session and Jerry Sturm and Gloria Byrwa, who are concluding their second consecutive terms as “Property Managers” (our new name for Trustees). Yvonne, Jerry, and Gloria have all been dedicated servants of the Lord, and for this we are very grateful!
God has been at work through all of us this year, and it is a blessing to be living in God’s grace here at Covington.
Rev. Laura Fry