Notes from Session


Back in the old days when we weren’t socially isolating, the annual meeting was quickly followed by a church officers’ retreat. One of the highlights of this retreat was the sharing of faith statements by the new church officers. Well, now that retreat has been replaced by a meeting on ZOOM, but the highlight remains the same. New church officers Sue Brooks and John Owen (Session) and Lorrie Richland (Deacon) shared their faith statements, and, as always, we were touched by how powerful and how reflective of each individual these statements were. We asked questions and appreciated the depth our new officers bring to us. We also so appreciate their willingness to serve again. Sue will serve as Worship Chair, John will head up Building and Grounds, and Lorrie will again bring her gifts to Deacons.

Since it was her last Session meeting, Marjorie shared an “Exit Reflection” with Session, reflecting on her time as our Transitional Pastor—and her thoughts for us as we go forward. She noted that the role of an Interim or Transitional Pastor is to prepare the congregation for a new pastor. She noted that while we were not in a time of crisis when she accepted this role, a crisis arrived in the form of COVID, and this shaped the work she felt called to do as she pastored us through this time and the changes it required of us. She identified how we can help our pulpit supply pastors and later a new pastor understand the workings of CCP. She suggested that while many in the larger community think of us as a social justice church, we might also emphasize how seriously we take theological study and discussion. Finally, she reminded of us of the required boundaries that will be important once she leaves– and that she won’t be able to serve us in any way in a pastoral role. We all noted how much we will miss Marjorie and all she has done for us—but no goodbyes until February 28th!

Mary Beth and Sue shared some of the worship changes that will take place when Marjorie leaves. As noted in our mid-January email to the congregation, we are blessed to have a wonderful and familiar pulpit supply team, Rev. Carl Hilton VanOsdall and Kristabeth Atwood. They will lead our afternoon service on alternate weeks beginning the first week in March, supplemented from time-to-time by Frank Sadowski and other pastors. Once they begin in March, there will no longer be a Sunday morning mailing; our entire service, including the readings and sermon, will take place each Sunday at 4 pm on Zoom. As in the past, the Deacons will be our first line of pastoral care, and Carl and Kristabeth will be available as needed for crisis or emergency situations. Watch for an email that will provide more detail. We are excited about our new pulpit supply team, and they are excited about working with us as well.

Virginia reported that the new VIA group on racial justice issues is getting started on its work and CCP will join with College Street and First Congregational churches to work in these areas—lots of good information from one-to-one meetings in our congregation. Additionally, we will be monitoring the BIPOC Fund for homes, lands and farms. We will be asking the congregation to offer letters of support if needed. Al reported that the financials are in good shape, and will, of course, be impacted by the timing of hiring of a new pastor. David reported that the committee has done some additional outreach in hopes of generating new applications.

Finally, Session expressed our great appreciation to church officers Elinore Standard and John Steele, who have served us so well as Clerk of Session and Chair of Building and Grounds for the past six years and to Tom Barritt for his dedicated service as a deacon for that time. We also warmly thanked Rev. Dr. Larry Jones for his valuable and committed service as Moderator of Session. Thankfully, he will continue in this role.

Lots to be aware of in the weeks ahead:

February 21-CCP sharing of memories of Ken Wolvington during our Joys and Concerns/Communion Gathering. Bring your stories and memories. Tom Jones will share some of Ken’s favorite music. We’ll also install our new Church Officers.

February 28-Marjorie’s final Sunday with us. We’ll share our appreciations and well wishes for Marjorie during Joys and Concerns and celebrate her time with us –all on Zoom @ 4 pm.

March 7-Our first Sunday with our new Pulpit Supply Team. We’ll move our entire service to the afternoon Zoom format. Join us in welcoming Kristabeth—and on March 14, we’ll welcome Carl.

March 3-Book Study on Walking Each Other Home, with Pam MacPherson, begins Wednesday, March 3 at 1:30 pm on Zoom. Group size is limited, so early sign ups are encouraged!

Take good care,

Mary Beth Barritt,
Clerk of Session