Community Presbyterian Church invites everyone to download and participate in the "Lent at Home in Communty" program.
The Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday - February 17, 2021 The forty days of Lent continue until the day before Palm Sunday and does not include Sundays, since Sundays are considered small celebrations of the Resurrection.
Lent at Home in Community is a six week resource for families and individuals to use at home. This program is based on the Psalmss and focus on the senses: Seeing, Tasting, Hearing, Touching, Smelling and Giving.
This material is provided to Community Presbyterian Church by the Logos program and is intended to be used at home. We encourage all to use this resource to stay connected.
From the Annual Meeting, held on January 31st, 2021
Pastor’s Report: “2020: A year like no other.”
Dear Friends –
What can be said about the year of our Lord, 2020? What do you want to remember?
It would be easy to focus this report on all that was lost in 2020. We stopped worshipping in person together in March. The coffee pot in the church basement hasn’t been used since before Palm Sunday. The Logos end of the year party was postponed, and eventually cancelled. These were some of the challenges that Community Presbyterian Church faced in 2020.
But I don’t just want to remember what was lost. I want to remember the blessings that were tucked into the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and the advent of a socially distanced and often quarantined community.
One of the things that my experience with Alcoholics Anonymous groups and meetings is to focus on gratitude. Looking back at the “year that was like no other” – what are you grateful for?
I am grateful for the following:
Blessings in Soup – Meg Curtiss recognized early the need to stay connected during the early days of the pandemic. Her creativity and motivation led her to make over 300 gallons of soup. Her vision inspired the community to donate all of the ingredients (or give a little money to offset other costs). Soup was made and bagged by community members and prayed over by clergy and church leaders. Soup was distributed to church kitchens and freezers and then shared over the next six months. What a blessing this soup was! Thanks, Meg Curtiss.
Daily Prayer on Facebook Live – Shortly after the decision to halt in person worship, I decided to do a daily check in a prayer over Facebook. Using the Book of Daily Prayer (which has been around for literally centuries), I would read scripture, share thoughts, and pray aloud. It proved to be a valuable part of my daily routine in the midst of being the principle and head teacher of my new home school and a way to stay connected and grounded. It also helped prepare me for worshipping online.
Learning new technology – Daily prayer on Facebook live quickly became the way to connect on Sunday morning during online worship. Community Presbyterian Church became a virtual church – and then eventually a two service church as we returned to in person worship but maintained an online worship service as well. Our weekly worship post on Facebook receives just under 200 views each week.
Learning new technology, still – After a couple months pause, the Session began to meet virtually as well, using the Zoom platform. Although this doesn’t entirely replace the in person connections made during face-to-face meetings, we learned that we could connect, share prayers, and do the business of the session over Zoom. I also led an online bible study over the summer.
Drive by parades and Easter Chalk – Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday happened during the early days of the pandemic. Community Presbyterian Church held a Palm Sunday parade after worship in which folks drove by the church waving something green. My two favorite participants were a family from St. Joachim’s Catholic Church up the street who had just collected their palm branches and waved them enthusiastically as they passed our church and Ralph and Diane Hart, who waved their green mop head, because it was all they could find at home that was green.
Many folks also came to church on Easter Sunday to grab some chalk and an address and spread the Easter message that “Jesus is alive!” to loved ones.
New Members - Despite not worshipping as usual, God still blessed us with a new member class of four. Welcome Mark, Jason, Lacey, and Jamie!!
Blessings in Giving – You can dig into the financial reports at the end of this Annual Report. One of the things that I am grateful for in 2020 is that members and friends of Community Presbyterian Church found ways to give. I know that the pandemic had great economic impact on many, however, nearly 98% of all pledges were paid in full in 2020. Praise God for generous hearts!
What about you? What’s on your gratitude list today? For 2020?
Sometime in 2020, I was reminded of the phrase “liminal time.” It’s a fancy church word that means the in between time. For example, when Jesus was in the tomb on Holy Saturday, Jesus was experiencing liminal time. He was in between, and in this case, between something pretty significant. Having died on Good Friday, his body was buried. But Jesus doesn’t stay in the tomb. God raised him from the dead, giving us hope.
In many ways, the church is in a liminal time. Who we were before 2020 is not who were are becoming after 2020. In this in between time, we must continue to count our blessings, continue to seek God, and renew our faith that God is pulling us through.
I believe that Community Presbyterian Church is standing on the threshold (did you know that the root of liminal is the Latin word for threshold?) of something new. And I believe that God will pull us through together.
Community Presbyterian Church might look and feel a little different right now. But I believe that God is still calling us to be the church today. God is still equipping us with exactly what we need to meet the challenges of today. And God is still giving us opportunities to grow our faith in God, deepen our trust in Jesus’ teachings, and experience the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Are you ready to step up to the threshold with me and prepare to take the next step of faith forward?
January 26, 2021
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Dear Friends –
If you read the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews, you will find the phrase “by faith” repeated over and over again. This chapter is retelling the story of Genesis through the lens of faith. “By faith, Abel offered to God…” “By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death…” “By faith Noah…built an ark to save his household.” “By faith Abraham obeyed…” “By faith Moses was hidden by his parents…”
We are shaped by the faith of the people who go before us. We don’t always see what their faith looked like, but we do see the fruits of their faith. The history of Community Presbyterian Church includes incredibly faithful people. One such person is the Reverend Henry Willard, founding pastor.
According to our history, a Congregational church group depended upon circuit rider preachers “for its sermons until one Sunday afternoon in September, 1863, when the Rev. Henry Willard delivered a sermon at the Plainview schoolhouse. He was prevailed upon to come to Plainview to organize a church. The Plainview Congregational Church (which became Community Presbyterian Church in 1936) was organized on October 7, 1863 with 28 charter members. Reverend Willard remained with the church until 1885 and received 257 new members into the congregation during his pastorate.”
I would love the opportunity to go back in time to have a conversation with Reverend Willard and ask him about what he saw in Plainview that caused him to start a church. What faith he must have had! And I would also like to ask the people who heard him preach and decided to call Reverend Willard as their founding pastor. What faith they must have had!
Using the book of Hebrews for inspiration, we could say, “By faith, Henry Willard came to Plainview to begin a church.” By faith…
We could, of course, add to this story. “By faith, a church was built and dedicated in 1871.” “By faith, the Ladies Aid was formed in 1884 to provide support and fellowship.” “By faith, a church basement was added in 1955.” “By faith…”
What about you? How would you finish the sentence: “By faith…”
I am convinced that Plainview still needs Community Presbyterian Church and I believe that God is not done shaping and guiding us. Can you imagine what future generations will say about us?
This note was written on October 7th, 2020 – exactly 157 years after the founding of Community Presbyterian Church. Isn’t it amazing how the faith of those who have gone before us continues to be a blessing to us?