View from Rosann Hickey’s porch Photo by Jason Crane

What’s been happening? Summer! And what’s happening now is glorious Autumn. When you read the next issue of Pancakes and Prayers, we’ll be shoveling snow. Here’s a quick rundown of happenings in and around our church community this summer…

We Reflected and Worshipped

On Sunday June 6th we held a virtual Communion and Conversation session via Zoom, allowing members of the congregation to share their responses to these questions:

  • Where have you seen God at work in the last year?   What has helped you sustain hope in the future?
  • What new thing did we discover about ourselves and our community over the last year? What did we learn was possible this year that we didn’t know before?
  • Given our experiences, discoveries, and insights from the past year, what excites you about our future as a congregation? 
  • Given what we have learned this year, what do we as church need to stop doing? What do we need to start doing? What do we need to continue doing? 

The responses to these questions were thoughtful and enlightening. Many praised the on-site team of Ed, Hal, Kyle and Cilla for their gifts of courage, talent, technology, and beauty. The energy and generosity of our community services was commended by many. We willingly engaged with the virtual worship service and Zoom coffee hours as they kept us bonded together. Folks from other states and towns were able to join as well! We envision a future where hybrid worship (some live, some online) is likely to be the norm. In all formats of worship, God sustained us and kept us creative, open-minded, and hopeful.

Several members of the community participated in the UCC’s “Re-Launching as a Hybrid Church.”  workshop which began on May 22 and continued with regular check-ins through August. Joining via Zoom with other UCC churches throughout the state, we learned how fortunate we are to have such a well-functioning virtual worship service and an active congregation.

On Sunday, June 27th, we gathered in-person inside the sanctuary, for the first time in many months. Our masks were on, our windows open, and even without a coffee hour the feeling of unity was palpable. And after a rousing hymn, We Gather Oh God (written by former pastor Anthony Acheson), Hal Parker exclaimed with joy! Ed demonstrated his humor and empathy for us by wearing his face shield for most of the service.

Ed Sunday-Winters Photo by Jason Crane

We Fed People

  • Our little food shelf was stocked and used by many! It still stands in the entry of Fellowship Hall.
  • A Grab-n-Go quiche event raised $700 for Migrant Justice, and the Greensboro Nursing Home pie sale was a success.
  • Deacons organized Welcome Baskets for newcomers in our community.
  • Our kitchen was used by community organizers who provided meals in and around our town.

We Added Staff

We welcomed Jason Crane as our Office Manager. See The Music Corner for Hal Parker’s interview with Jason!

We Were Creative

The 2nd annual Art Show, with the theme Gratitude and Grace, included approximately 25 works and attracted artists and visitors from near and far.

2nd Annual Art Show Photo by Jason Crane

We Enhanced the Property

The Properties Committee was busy as usual, painting, installing new front doors, updating the parsonage, repairing some pews, and ensuring ventilation and distancing in the sanctuary.

We Made Music

Hal Parker invited three soloists to grace our worship services – his sister Hollie (voice and flute), Keilah Figueroa (voice), and Jason Crane (soprano sax).

Hal’s sister, Hollie Parker Winzenread Photo by Jason Crane

We Grieved

This was a summer of grieving as well. We mourned the passing of Lib Bishop, Hazel Gray, Don Hislop, David Kelly, Larry Kreider, Bill Nicely, Jackie Lovett, and Anne Parke. Ed presided over many graveside memorials and many attendees remarked that being surrounded by the beauty of our landscape helped to ease our sadness.