COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
As we continue to work together towards a return to pre-COVID church activities and practices, we want to make you aware of a unique opportunity here at CongoPres. In partnership with Idaho Public Health – North Central District, we will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic (PFIZER) on Sunday, June 20 from 10:00-11:00am and noon-1:00pm in the Chapel. This clinic is open to the public and available for all adults and children ages 12 and above. Let’s continue to work together towards a safe and healthy community. Questions? Contact Pastor McLane at email@example.com
COVID-19 Operational Plan Updates
May 20, 2021
Dear Church Family,
Fourteen months ago, the COVID pandemic caused us to stop meeting for worship in our Sanctuary. For the next four months, weekly Sunday worship videos were provided for you to watch at home. Then, in July, we were able to begin meeting again for worship in the Sanctuary, albeit with masks and social distancing, and we had full livestream capacity for those worshiping at home.
Now, with the latest directives from the CDC and having entered Idaho’s Recovery Stage 4, the Board of our church has approved these changes to our COVID-19 Operational Plan:
- Wearing a mask is now optional in worship and at all church activities. Masks and hand-sanitizer will continue to be available in the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.
- We will maintain efforts at table and chair social distancing for meetings and events by using our larger rooms and spacing out tables and chairs.
- In Worship, beginning May 23, we will resume Communion (with a few tweaks to enhance health and safety) and Young Disciples’ Time. We will discontinue the “blue tape” social distancing of the pews, and we will continue to livestream our services.
- Fellowship Time after worship will resume in Fellowship Hall on May 23 with food and beverages offered by gloved servers at the kitchen counter.
By taking these steps, we are aware that we are not all in the same place with respect to the virus. While some are vaccinated, others are not. And, while some will choose to refrain from wearing masks, others will choose to keep them on. Regardless, we are all part of the family of God and we are all part of Congregational-Presbyterian Church. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, vaccinated or unvaccinated, mask wearing or maskless, for we are all one in Christ.”
As we continue to negotiate the changing landscape of COVID-19 and its impact on our church and its ministry, let us do so with the command of Jesus at the forefront of our relationships with one another: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Yours in Christ,
Director of Children’s Ministries
Kelly Paynter, our Director of Children’s Ministries, is leaving our staff at the end of July to join Cornerstone Christian School. The search committee for the position of Director of Children’s Ministries, chaired by Trustee Mike Rooney, is accepting resumes from the congregation and community. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for the position, please submit a cover letter and resume to the Church Office or Pastor McLane.
Programs marked with an * have finished for the spring and will begin meeting again in September
Senior Exercise – Welcomes everyone on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, 9:00-9:45am in Fellowship Hall for low-impact exercise according to the “Fit and Fall Proof” method.
*Women’s Association – We meet the second Monday of the month, 10am-12noon in Fellowship Hall. All women of the church are invited for fellowship, refreshments, a devotion led by one of our ladies, and a study on the Parables of Jesus led by Pastor Steve Wilbraham.
*Monday Evening Women’s Bible Study – This study meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, 6:45-7:45pm downstairs in the Administration Building. Our current study is “The Fruit of the Spirit.”
Deep Roots: Theology for Today – Join Pastor McLane on Tuesdays at 3:00pm in the Chapel for a reading of important Christian texts aimed at enriching our lives today. Questions? Contact Pastor McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday Men’s Bible Study – Meets weekly with Pastor Steve in Fellowship Hall, 6:45 – 7:45am. Join us for good fellowship around God’s Word as we study the book of Acts, and enjoy coffee and donuts.
*Wednesday in the Word – Join us every Wednesday with Pastor Steve, 12:00-1:00pm in the Chapel, as he leads our discussion of the coming Sunday’s scripture passage.
*MidWeek – Wednesdays, 6:00-7:00pm meeting in Fellowship Hall. Pastors Steve and McLane are teaching a Wednesday evening series on “Important Themes for Understanding and Reading Scripture” including such topics as Generosity, the Tree of Life, Justice, and the Day of the Lord.
*Friday Morning Women’s Bible Study – We meet weekly on Fridays, 10-11am in the Chapel. All women are welcome to join. Jean Allen, 208.746.0557, coordinates this study. Note: We plan to begin meeting again in February.
*DivorceCare – Sundays, 3:00-4:30pm meeting in Fellowship Hall. DivorceCare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Don’t go through separation or divorce alone. For additional information, contact Loa Vornholt at 509-295-3930; www.divorcecare.org.
Food Bank Sunday – On the third Sunday of each month we invite our congregation to bring food to Fellowship Hall and place it in the shopping cart. The food is delivered to the Lewiston “Community Action Food Bank” located at 124 New Sixth Street where those in need can go and be served.
Pastor Steve’s Annual Report Letter for 2020
Dear Church Family,
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” The opening line of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities, seems an apt summary of this past year, easily the most unusual of my forty years in ministry. It was the best of times because, as a church, we ministered with one another in new and innovative ways without losing the foundational strength of who we are as the people of God who seek to love him and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It was the worst of times because the reality of COVID-19 kept us from being able to come together as we have in the past, limiting our interactions with each other and, for some, eliminating person-to-person contact altogether.
We learned about live stream and social distancing. We wore masks and practiced hygienic precautions. We stopped meeting, for a while, and then slowly and carefully found ways to be together, albeit with limits. And, through it all, we looked to the Lord to guide and encourage us along the way, and he blessed us as a congregation.
I want to thank the staff of our church for their faithful and caring stewardship of our life together during this difficult year. Associate Pastor McLane Stone took the lead on all things technical. He spearheaded the research and implementation of our live stream worship capability, learned the intricacies of video editing software, and did the work of providing weekly worship service recordings for our congregation. Beth Katzenberger guided our music ministry, blessing us with her vocal and instrumental leadership. Kelly Paynter showed us how to safely do ministry with our children, creating fun and innovative learning environments for our young ones.
Kathy Johnson, our Administrator, retired in April after serving our church for more than 25 years. This brought Lisa Huddleston onto our staff, and she has guided the finances of our church ably and effectively during these uncertain times. Also leaving our staff this past year was Jim McCracken, our Director of Senior Adult Ministry, when he took a position with Union Gospel Mission in Spokane. The job was more than ably filled by Mike Gabby as he returned to his former position of leading the ministry with our seniors. Rich Goodwin, our Facility Manager, continued his steady and insightful work on the maintenance and renovation of our church buildings and vehicles.
Our two secretaries, Anna Bruce and Bobbi Jo Sinner, also experienced significant changes to the way in which they did their work of supporting the ministries of our church, as did our custodian, Rich Kaiser. While office routines were altered and ministry needs changed, they remained flexible and always willing to do their very best for the church.
Leading our church during this complex year were the committed women and men of our Board. Dedicated to the ministry of our church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ who alone is Head of the Church, they guided us through the various stages of COVID-19 restrictions, making decisions for how best to provide ministry and service to our congregation and community, while maintaining high standards for health and safety. Often difficult decisions were made after prayerful and respectful discussions as they sought to “be the church” while they did the work of the church.
I am encouraged as I look to the coming year. We are a congregation of faithful, caring people who truly enjoy ministering together. Our church has a strong spiritual foundation on which God is building: we honor and study the Word of God, we practice prayer in our daily lives, we consider mission and outreach a priority, and we are committed to supporting all in our church – from the youngest to the oldest. While we may not know what the year will hold, we do know that our lives are in God’s hands. I am glad you are a part of our church family!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Steve