News from Covenant Partners
January, Annus Domini 2012. A brand-new year, like a new, un-written-in diary volume before us. How—in our dealings with our Lord and our neighbors, will we fill it? Have we made any resolutions? Did any of them include Covenant Partners Ministries?
A brief look back at the last few weeks of 2011, before we seal it and put it away in time’s eternal filing cabinet. It’s done, now, of course—no additions or erasures possible; every moment written with utterly indelible ink. But what those filled pages mean—that depends in part upon how we follow them up in this year’s sequel.
Part of their meaning is simply what they were in and of themselves. And on those terms, Covenant Partners’ Advent/Christmas 2011 season was really great! All through December all our events were a full house! Every worship service saw every seat filled. Especially our Christmas play on the 18th, when Compass Church served our meal—considering all the people in the play as well as in the audience, there must have been over 100 people here. Our candle-light service on Christmas Eve was packed. And on Christmas Day, Pastor Linda and her husband Jerry held an open house at the church for persons who might have had no one in their personal lives with whom to celebrate—and 65 to 70 people showed up. The Christmas story was re-told, there were carols and other music, a light buffet, games, visiting…
On Community Day we provided bags of groceries to 120 households, containing 390 individual persons. We were able to serve so many because Ontario Systems employees held a food drive for our benefit.
Other friends also were especially generous this Christmas. Yorktown UMC gave us 20 Christmas baskets to distribute. They also provided gifts for every person in our congregation. Nancy Warner of Fairview asked for information about every one of our children, and found an appropriate present for each child. Jeanette Sumwalt, from Farmland, made each of our kids a “pillow pet”—a pillow with a bird or animal head. These were a great hit!
As we reported in November, Covenant Partners is blessed these days with a lot of young people—up to about 40 by now, out of a total congregation of about 120. We’re growing! If we compare this to what seems to be happening in the rest of the United Methodist Church in America—and in the other “mainline” American churches as well—it might provide hints about where to find today the “fields ripe unto harvest” that Jesus spoke about.
But growth creates needs. We’ve begun to rearrange our children’s room—which we’re about to paint—to make more room. And we’re thinking about cushions on the floor, rather than tables and chairs, as a way of fitting more kids in.
There is another kind of growth also… As we all know, in Muncie as in the rest our country, more and more people are losing their homes. A number of our families are finding ways, somehow, to take in neighbors—to squeeze to or more families into houses or apartments that many middle—class folks would consider already too small for one family! Read once again Matthew 25:36! How many of us safe, comfortable middle-class or upper-class people have the spiritual maturity to do this?
Referring back to Community Day; we’ve been serving lunch while, or after people receive their bags of food, etc. Beginning in February, we’re going to try providing breakfast instead. We’ll open at about 7:45 to 8:00 a.m. and serve breakfast immediately after folks receive their numbers for the groceries line—which will open at 10:00 just as it has in the past. We hope that this will enable clients to get on with their day’s activities and waste less of their time.
We seem to have a lot of our people sick right now. We ask for prayers especially for Vicki Falkenstein, who was very seriously injured in an automobile accident December 23rd and has a long period of recovery, including several surgeries, still ahead of her, and also for one our children, Breana Stevens, who will be undergoing heart surgery on Monday morning, January 23rd, in Riley Children’s Hospital beginning at 7:00 a.m.
Every new day, every new moment is a gift from God. May we all find the grace upwelling in our hearts to use the moments and the days we are given in Anno Domini 2012 to become more what our Lord calls us to be—channels of His grace to the folks around us.