Holiday Lights in February?

February is often a challenging month, with the cold and the dark. It’s even more challenging now, with Covid and ongoing political, economic, and racial issues.
People are hurting. We are stressed and weary. Life is hard now. Many of us are not OK.

I see more and more things like this graphic circulating on social media.

If you’re struggling, you’re not alone.

If you need help, please reach out.
Call a friend or family member and share your struggles. They will probably be struggling as well, and you can support each other. Professional help is available too.
Dane County 24-hour Crisis Line at 608-280-2600
United Way 211 Anonymous Resource and Referral Line--Dial 211
TEXT the Center for Suicide Awareness: "HOPELINE" to 741741
CALL The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Covenant Presbyterian Church 608-233-6297
In our DISCIPLE Bible study, we’ve been reading the gospels, and I’m struck by how Jesus and John the Baptist call people to “repent.”

Traditionally we’ve understood repentance to be about turning away from bad things, but it’s also a change of mind or a change of direction--things which could help us get unstuck.

Now, in our challenging days as we approach the season of Lent, is a good time to be thinking about a change of mind or a change of direction. I invite you to consider a small change—which might be something like this:
  • taking a minute each morning to close your eyes and breathe deeply and give thanks for a new day
  • writing down three blessings at the end of the day
  • committing to something healthy—eating more fruit, reading a book, stretching, less screen time
  • going for a walk, or looking out the window and enjoying the birds (see bird photos below)
  • getting out some crayons or markers or paintbrushes and having some fun
  • taking time for morning and evening prayer (click for Daily Prayer resource)

Please don’t try to do all of these at once. Pick one, and ask God for strength to repent—to change direction and to welcome some light and love and new life.
I’ve been feeling a bit weary lately myself, so I’m writing for myself as much as anyone.

I miss being with people at church. The Session made the hard but appropriate decision last week to continue with online-only Sunday worship at least through the end of May because of Covid. So while that’s the right decision, it makes me sad.

And I’m sad for my kids. One is at college in St Louis, spending 90% of his time by himself in a dorm room, and the other is spending 90% of his high school senior year in his bedroom.

I’m sad as I miss going to restaurants and movie theaters. I miss having friends over for board games and meals. I miss shaking hands. I miss bringing reusable cloth bags to the supermarket.

I’m sad for our divided country, and I’m sad that those divisions have impacted our church. Some people are unhappy that we haven’t been outspoken enough on the issues of the day, and other folks think we’re being too political. As a result, some families are considering leaving Covenant.
As I was out shoveling last night, even though it was very cold, I looked at our house and smiled—grateful for my family and grateful that we haven’t taken down or turned out the holiday lights.

Then this morning I read our DISCIPLE assignment for today which included Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)

I’m grateful for that light, and even when things are rough, I know the light still shines. On the cloudiest day, the sun is still shining; we just can’t see it until the clouds pass.

It’s dark and cold and sad these days, but as the gospel tells us: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

This is good news! God is still with us. We are not alone. So we continue forward in hope. And at our house, we're going to keep our holiday lights on for a while.

On the journey together,
PS--Last Sunday in our Zoom gathering for Adult Education, our focus was birds, with Covenant member Rosemary Jones sharing her photos and her wisdom. Click the photos above to see the whole album. Thank you Rosemary!
The Gospel According to
the Gospel in our own handwriting for Lent 2021

Do you have a good pen? Would you be willing to write out a chapter of the gospel according to Matthew?

We want to compile a handwritten version of Matthew for the congregation to read and ponder during the month of March, right in the middle of Lent.

We’re looking for 28 people to each take one chapter of Matthew to write out by hand and add any appropriate underlining, bolding, drawings, comments, questions, etc. Click HERE to learn more and sign up!
Save the Date & Save a Life!

Covenant will be hosting a blood drive on February 11 from 1:00-6:00 pm. See page 5 of the latest Caravan for instructions on reserving your time slot.

February Donor Promotions:
  1. Special offer from our partners at Amazon: To thank you for coming to give Feb. 1-28, we’ll send you a $5 Gift Card by email. Restrictions apply, see Terms and conditions apply; visit
  2. All donations are tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Donors will receive results within 7-10 days after their donation via the blood app or their online donor profile.  As part of this effort, plasma from standard blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.
Sunday, February 14: Jazz Service followed by Congregational Meeting via Zoom at 10:00

The Session has called the Annual Congregational Meeting for Sunday, February 14, at 10:00am, via Zoom. The agenda includes:

  • Approval of the 2020 Annual Report
  • Approval of the terms of call for both pastors
  • Presentation of the 2021 Budget

Click HERE to read Covenant's 2020 Narrative Annual Report. It is also available on our website (see the "Resources" section of the homepage), with hard copies available for pick-up at the church office. The Financial Report is not yet available, but will be added to CONNECTIONS next week and to the same place on the website as the narrative report.
Vaccines are happening!

We are grateful for the COVID vaccine and we're compiling a photo album of Covenant members getting their vaccines to celebrate!

Pastors Charlie and Jeff both got their first vaccines this week. Click on bluc box below to their pix along with several other new additions, or to add yours. Or email Lexie Ofe and she will add it for you!). For the safety of your personal information, please do not add or submit a photo of your vaccination card. (Or hide the personal info.) Thank you!
Have you been keeping up with the "Words of Wisdom, Words of Faith" congregational devotional? We'd love for you to read this special devotional with us--it ends on Feb. 14!

  • Click HERE for the devotional.
  • Email Mary Kieta if you'd like a hard copy mailed to you.
  • Click HERE to sign up to receive daily devotional emails (no need to do this if you have received daily devos in the past--you're still on the list!)
Lussier Center Updates

Thank you so much to all who contributed to January's toiletry & household goods collection for Lussier Community Education Center!

The Lussier Center sent us this special thank you for our sponsorships of their annual Christmas gift-giving program! 
Lent & Easter Church Carry Out: Six Sunday School Lessons

The church building is closed, but Sunday School continues at your home with one Church Carry Out bag filled with six lessons journeying through Lent and Easter.

●The lessons are for 3-year-old through 5th grade children
●Order your FREE family take out bag online HERE
Place your order soon so we know how many bags to prepare!
●Pick up your bag on Sunday, February 14 or February 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
●Contact Donna for more information (
The Carry Out Menu Includes:
●Lent and Easter Bible stories with ''I wonder" conversation starters for family discussion.
●Lessons include: Welcome to the Church Season of Lent, The Beatitudes, Prayer and The Lord's Prayer, The Last Supper, Palm Sunday and Holy Week, and Easter Sunday.
●Crafts, stickers, coloring sheets, games & exercise, outreach, and deep-dish options for older elementary children.
Middle & High School Youth Connections

High School Youth Connection Change in Plans!
Due to the extremely cold weather, we will not be gathering in the courtyard Saturday evening as planned. Instead, we’ll have the Super Saturday Super Zoom! This will happen at 6:30 Saturday evening.
Middle School Youth Connection will have their own Super Saturday Super Zoom on Saturday at 4:00. Youth Ministries Coordinator Steve Royalton has sent out the links to families.
Soul Sisters Small Group

Soul Sisters will gather remotely again on Sunday, February 14th; the Zoom chat begins at 7:00pm each second Sunday of the month.

Soul Sisters is open to all Covenant women. The purpose of gathering together is in three parts, woven together:
  • To have thought-provoking, inspiring and educational discussions
  • To envelop each other with warmth
  • To get to know other Covenant women better

Contact Nan Schaefer with questions and/or to be added to the mailing list for Zoom connection info.
Adult Ed Sunday, February 7

The Bible Project Character of God Series
Together we will watch several videos and "learn about the foundational descriptions of God's attributes found in the book of Exodus." Discussion will follow with members of the Adult Education Committee.
This class will meet at 10:00 am via Zoom.
Worship on Sunday, February 7

  • Words of Wisdom, Words of Faith Sermon Series: Jenn Sauer preaching on the word "EQUANIMITY"; Phil. 4:11-13
  • Children's Time with Katie Mace, Piper, Maya, and Eli
  • Follow our blog to read Pastor Jeff's weekly reflections.

We'd love to see you at the Sunday morning

Happy, happy anniversary!

Bill and Helen Birkemeier celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on February 3rd! Helen was the organist at Covenant from approximately 1960 to 1990. Bill built the church’s first pipe organ! Covenant joins with them in celebrating their love.

If you'd like to send them a card, here's their address:

The Meadows
477 Rainbow Rd. #5
Spring Green WI 53588
Remain vigilant!

Hey Covenant, another friendly reminder to be cautious when opening emails! No staff from Covenant will ever solicit gift cards or money from you--especially not in an email riddled with grammatical errors and sketchy requests! Double-check senders' email addresses to make sure they're correct and trusted!