Dianne_Covault's blog

September 2017

Here We Go!

Well, we’ve had a couple of months now to get to know one another. I have learned a bit about navigating the West Side (thankfully I don’t have to take the 130th St. route!) We changed our worship time to allow us to worship fully together – and I really appreciate not having to rush from one church to another (well, at least not quite as much!) I’ve officiated at a wedding and two funerals, allowing me to celebrate life with many of you.

But I have to admit it still is all new to me. I haven’t been able to see as many of you as I would like. I haven’t been able to visit shut ins or sometimes even make hospital visits when I have been out of town. Meeting Pat’s bulletin deadlines sometimes keeps me up late at night, after I do all the kid taxi stuff and the animal care stuff that my home requires. Juggling is hard!

But it’s no more than most of you do every week. I am so grateful to see how volunteers step up to help out, whether with sound and AV on Sunday morning, making marvelous meals, teaching Sunday school, taking care of bills, making sure the building is running smoothly, cleaning out rooms and taking care of kids, and on, and on, and on.

Being the church means more than just showing up on Sunday morning – although if you do that, that’s great! Being the church means answering our membership vows to serve through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. How are you fulfilling your membership vows, the covenant you have made with God?

There is always more to be done. But if our response to God comes out of obligation, I think we’re missing the point. God loves us. God’s love overflows into us – and our response to God is to serve with love.

I don’t want any of you to feel as though coming to church, or doing things for the church, is a burden or a task to be dreaded. Sometimes it may be hard work. Sometimes it may not be how you would choose to spend that time. But know that your efforts are noticed, and appreciated. The church would not be the church without you, and I, as your pastor, have already in these two short months, noticed how much you do, and I am grateful.

So let’s go! Let’s jump into fall with the energy of kids jumping into a pile of leaves! God made us to be creatures of joy,

And remember,

Fear Not!

Dianne

August 2017

What’s Your Story?

Behold, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine (Isaiah 43:1)

This is one of my favorite passages of scripture. God has called us by name, claimed us as God’s own, and has redeemed us, saved us, for new life!

I am so excited to begin my ministry among you at Christ and Simpson UMCs! Although my “official” start date is July 1, I have had the opportunity to meet some of you already, and to tour the beautiful buildings you inhabit. I am working on my first worship services for July 2, and am so looking forward to sharing worship with you!

Transitions are hard! I am sure you know this, but transitions can also be exciting and fun. One of my favorite things to do is to hear people’s stories, and church’s stories. In our first weeks together, I will be doing as much as I can to get to know you better – what is your vision for the church? How has God worked in your life thus far? What do you expect God to do in the future? What excites you about being a part of Christ Church?

The Hebrew Scripture lessons for the months of July and August focus on the stories of the Hebrew people in Genesis, and specifically on Joseph and Jacob, of Rachel and Leah and Miriam. How do their stories parallel your story? How can we learn about who God is through these faithful, flawed, passionate people?

I invite you to stop by my office at Christ on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or at Simpson on Thursdays. Give me a call or text to let me know you’re coming – I also want to learn the stories of your neighborhoods, so I might be out and about.

If you can’t come by, or even if you can, do me a favor and leave me an index card with answers to these questions (my own answers are below), with your name, or text to me at 216-509-4229 with a picture! Names are hard for me, so please be patient – God has called you by name, and I want to as well.

1. What’s your favorite passage of Scripture?

2. Who is in your family?

3. What do you like to do for fun?

4. What’s your favorite thing about church?

5. What’s the last good fiction book you read? (bonus – last great movie you saw?)

6. What’s your favorite hymn/worship song?

My answers:

1. Isaiah 40:30-31 (but Isaiah 43:1-7 and 1 John 4:7-21 are also right up there, actually there are too many more!)

2. I have three children – Louis (18) who will be attending the Cleveland Institute of Art, Glennis (16 on July 21) who is a rising junior at Heights High, and Estelle (13) who will be in the 8th grade at Roxboro Middle School in Cleveland Heights. I also have three cats (Lucky, Tumnus and Ezri) and two dogs (Dunstan and Fenway). Fenway is training as a service dog so you will see him around!

3. I love spending time with my kids and being outside – hiking, running, walking, playing sports. I’m a Red Sox fan and an Indians fan. I love to read!

4. I love pretty much everything about church and have since I was a little kid growing up in a small town outside Boston. But the best part is being with a community who loves God and loves others.

5. I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove. We just watched Wonder Woman, and that was fun!

6. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing has the best line of any hymn, in my opinion. I also really like Every Praise, and Gather Us In, and, well, there are too many of these too!

I’m looking forward to being in ministry with you! I’ll sign as I always do, with a message God gives to God’s people over and over again:

Fear Not!

Dianne