April 29, 2021
Covenant Family, for your reference I am reposting my congregational letter that came out in our email newsletter on April 29, 2021. This gives an overview of upcoming changes in our worship and structure. An additional FAQ with more details will be made available by clicking the link below. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with additional comments and questions.
Dear Covenant Family,
We’ve seen so many changes this last year and I’m very proud of all of our volunteers, leaders and staff for the way that we have been able to run our in-person worship for 10 months with no cancellations and no Covid-19 transmissions known to us! We have so much to praise God for!
I’ve got more important changes to share with you concerning our worship for the rest of 2021.
The elders have approved a bold plan for the next 100 days so that in the Fall we will relaunch the new semester with strength. We are focused on equipping our entire congregation to carry out our mission: to make disciples of Jesus Christ who love God, love one another, and serve in the world.
The plan has three strategic objectives:
To clarify these objectives, the elders have also identified specific results to measure our progress. Let me briefly sketch the most important changes for you:
These results focus us on our mission of making disciples. After a year of the pandemic, members of Covenant and our neighbors have never needed God more. We hope that these plans for the fall will allow us to strengthen our faith and relationships, and allow us to reach out to our neighbors to welcome them in the name of Jesus Christ.
There will be additional changes to our organizational structure to support this bold strategy. To read additional details about all of these changes – check out the FAQ here:
I have to pause for a moment and say a special word of thanks to our worship staff for their grace and flexibility in making these adjustments. The decision to continue with one worship service has been considered over many months by the Elders, Trustees, and Worship Team and the worship staff have been a part of that conversation. As we move forward with one worship service and one blended style for the remainder of the year, please join me in thanking our current worship staff for their gifts and grace:
Russ Ivey has been playing in the Grace Through Faith Praise Band in the early service for almost 18 years. He has led that service as our Praise Band Leader on staff for almost 9 years, since he took the reigns in 2012. Recently, Russ has worked tirelessly to bring creative and excellent contemporary worship through the pandemic by providing multiple digital mixes of the praise band’s recordings for both in-person and at-home worship. I am grateful for Russ’s service to Covenant and thankful for his support during this transition.
Matt Carey and Betty Augsburger have also provided excellent service during their time among us and throughout the pandemic. Betty will be continuing in her role as our organist and Matt has been very gracious in his willingness to consider a fresh role as our Artist in Residence. Both Matt and Betty are delighted to have the opportunity to mentor our new Music Director, Allison Hendrix. Another email introducing Allison Hendrix will be coming out soon. So stay tuned for this special announcement! Allison will be working with all of our musicians – both contemporary and traditional – to bring a joyful noise to the Lord in this new season of worship.
In addition, I have personally contacted each of our Praise Band, Choir and Bell Choir musicians about these changes and I have been impressed once again by their commitment to serve our church and to offer their gifts to God.
I know that change is hard. As I’ve been preaching in my “Coming Home” series, it’s a challenge to adapt when our world has become so different. But I’m also feeling fresh energy and excitement from across the congregation as we move forward into this new chapter. I’ve never been more confident in God’s purposes for our church and I’ve never been more committed as your pastor!
This Sunday I will be preaching about how “God is at work, even when it’s a work in progress.” All of these changes are a “work in progress.” Rather than being etched in stone, these changes are experiments based on our best research and prayer. The elders will be carefully reevaluating these decisions every step of the way and we look forward to hearing your feedback.
I am personally grateful for your willingness to continue to pray for me and to join me in this work, as your “work in progress” pastor. Don’t forget to check out the FAQ link above for more information or to contact me anytime with questions and comments.
I can’t wait to see what happens next!
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