Leading Us Forward

As I look back over the past however many weeks, I have trouble identifying the precise moment but at some point I began to notice how well the members of our church were taking care of one another. At the beginning of the stay-at-home order, our leaders focused much of our attention on ensuring that our church and neighborhood were being cared for well. We were mostly responding to the dramatic change of circumstances.

I'm really proud of how our community responded in those early days of this pandemic and I believe it's time to turn our attention to the future God is calling us toward. We'll continue responding to the opportunities and challenges around us, but God has given us enough that we can also look ahead. To that end, I'm grateful that I get to highlight three new leaders today.

First is Markeyta Sconiers Boone. Most of you know that Markeyta, as its founding Executive Director, has led New Community Outreach (NCO) incredibly well for these past few years. There's simply no way that NCO would exist today without her faithful leadership. Back in December Markeyta told me that she had discerned that it was time for her to step away from this role. Thankfully, she's not going anywhere! In her new capacity as the Director of Worship Arts, Markeyta will be expanding the arts at our church as well as developing new worship leaders. Please join me in thanking Markeyta for her excellent leadership these past few years.

Second is Sonia Mi-Sun Wang who has recently been hired as the next NCO Executive Director. Sonia is a founding member of our church, has served on our Leadership Team as the chairperson, and is currently a Community Group Leader. She also has extensive experience in education on the South Side, most recently as the School Director at University of Chicago Charter School-Woodlawn Campus. Sonia has already been working with NCO students at Dyett High School and is the right person to build on Markeyta's founding leadership

Finally, Kevin Swanson will be joining our team as the Associate Pastor of Spiritual Care. Kevin comes to us as an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church having served most recently in a majority Asian American church in New Jersey. Kevin will be serving in a voluntary capacity for an initial period of 12-18 months with the primary purposes of building teams to nurture marriages and build financial freedom. He has extensive experience in both of these areas. Because he's my dad (yep!), the Leadership Team took the lead on interviewing and bringing him on board.

It's worth pointing out two things. First, Pastor Michelle and myself continue to serve as the primary pastors for the congregation. Like our other ministry staff, each of these folks has specialized areas of focus to help us live into our shared identity as a reconciled and reconciling people. And second, each of these leaders is charged with equipping the rest of us with moving forward in mission. They are not the ones who do the work of ministry, but empower us, the church, to do so. And now is the time to follow God forward!

I continue to be amazed at the amazing leaders God sends to our church. I urge you to follow them well as they point us to Christ and his coming kingdom.

- Pastor David

PS We'll celebrate communion on Sunday, so please have some bread or crackers and juice or wine available during our online service.

Community Prayer Requests

For our community prayer requests we're continuing to highlight an opportunity to pray for our medical personnel during the pandemic. Rebecca Kornack has organized this effort and there is a way for you to commit to praying at a certain time each week as well as for medical personnel to submit specific prayer requests.

Also, if you're free at 8:00AM on a weekday, please join us for our 15 minute devotions and prayer call.

Please continue praying for the Delps. Here is their latest newsletter.

Potluck Replacement

This Sunday we would have been gathered around tables after the service - eating lunch together! We are looking forward to the next time that can be in person but in the mean time we're taking a page from our August Community Dinners and planning some Virtual Community Dinners during the first two weeks of May!

We have a few hosts who would love to host you virtually for dinner/dessert. You can sign up here.

If you would like to jump in as a host please email Amy with the date (May 3-16) and time you'd like to host. 

Donations for Matthew's House

We are partnering with Matthew's House to provide needed supplies as they care for those experiencing homelessness. They have asked for the following items: bleach; dish-washing liquid; Clorox wipes; toilet bowl cleaner; towels; sponges; paper towels; toilet paper. You can either drop these items off or have them delivered: 3722-28 South Indiana Ave; Chicago, IL 60653.

Calendar & Opportunities

PATS via Zoom | Saturday; May 2; 9:00AM
Dennis will be hosting us on a Zoom call that morning. Join us as we pray for our neighborhood schools as they find their way through virtual learning.

Virtual Community Dinners | May 3-16

See above.

New Community Marriages | Saturday, May 15; 8:00PM
Join this webinar for married couples formatted as facilitated conversations led by Pastor Michelle and Karlos Dodson and Pastor Kevin and Linda Swanson.

Kid City Online | Tuesdays; 1:00PM
Kids are invited to this Zoom call for a weekly Bible Study lesson.

The Journey Online | Thursdays; 1:00PM
Middle School students who are going through The Journey confirmation curriculum should join this weekly Zoom call.

Kid City Play | Fridays; 4:00PM
A loosely structured and interactive Zoom call for our children to see each other and play at the end of the school week.

Praying the Psalms Discussion | June 14; after service
With the ever changing landscape, we will keep this on the calendar...but please hold it loosely.

Church Retreat | Friday - Sunday, June 19-21
Registration is now open for our annual retreat at Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva, WI. We are not sure if we will be able to do this, but please register if you are planning on attending. No deposit needs to be made at this time.

Google Group
Join our Google Group for unofficial church news, happenings etc.

Thank you for your generosity to our benevolence fund. This fund is overseen by the leadership team to meet practical needs in the church and community. You can use the church website to give any tithe or offering; select "benevolence fund" to give directly to these needs. If you have a financial need, please let us know.
While were unable to gather for Sunday worship or in small groups, please stay connected in the following ways:
  1. Please enter your information in our communication database if you've not done so.
  2. Sunday worship is streamed on our Facebook page at 10:00AM.
  3. Register for our weekday 8:00-8:15 AM Zoom call for a short devotional and payer. We are also posting short video reflections for each weekday evening.
  4. Community groups are using Zoom to meet during their regular times. Everyone is invited to join the Thursday Bible Study Zoom from 7:00-8:30 PM.
  5. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  6. The Distance is Love webpage on our site which will be updated in response to new developments.
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