Notes from Session


Greetings Friends,

Session launched our June meeting discussing a video forwarded by Frank Sadowski: the annual Bauer-Broholm lecture from Andover Newton Seminary, by this year’s speaker, Mennonite pastor Melissa Florer-Bixler. The lecture was an expansion of her article in Sojourners on how various factors related to “The Great Resignation” are playing out in church leadership. She spoke of the tension for pastors who are pulled between institution-keeping and meaning-making and how easily meaning-making can veer into an expectation of entertainment. What has been the impact of Covid and political divisions on ministry? On congregations? These questions lead to a central question: how can we keep the focus on Jesus’ original program? We need to pull out weeds to let this garden flourish. We noted that CCP’s lack of a building is a positive in these terms—and the video generated good conversation on “What is Church?”

Al offered a status report on hybrid services. At this point, we’ve held five hybrid services and Al believes we are becoming more comfortable with this as a community: “It feels like we are a community again, even though half of us are in-person and the other half are at home.” He reports that actionable feedback has been helpful in improving services each week and that we are now in fine-tuning mode for AV. Training others to run the hybrid service is the next order of business. Sue has also contributed many hours to the planning the details of the hybrid services, along with members of Worship Planners. Session offered a huge thank you to Al and Sue for their work—and to all the others who have contributed to these efforts. Please continue to share your feedback as to what’s working and where tweaks might be needed!

Related to our return to the space at St. Paul’s, Session noted that we had planned to raise the amount of our monthly free will offering to St. Paul’s once we were again using the space. We will increase our offering to $850/month for this dedicated space beginning in July. As always, there was appreciation expressed for the space.

Elinore, our committed Presbytery rep, shared updates from the May PNNE meeting. Candice Provey has resigned and Scott DeBlock of Old South Church in Newburyport MA will be the new Resource Presbyter. Larry Jones reminded us that Elinore is serving on the PNNE Leadership Team, and is greatly valued in that role. As she is here at CCP!!

Finally, remember to check the Thursday E-newsletter and the Sunday morning Zoom announcement to be alert to the hybrid and “Zoom only” Sunday schedule. So far, we’ve not had anyone showing up at the church for a “ Zoom-only” Sunday—and we’d like to keep that record going!!

Enjoy these gorgeous June days!
Mary Beth, for Session