Pastor's Notebook: Reflecting on Ten Weeks at CUMC

As of this week, I have been serving among you for ten weeks. Many of you have inquired how I have been settling in. Thank you for asking! My apartment is mostly unpacked, though I am always slow to get pictures hung on the walls. The same goes for my office. It takes time to learn the rhythms of a church, but because so many of those rhythms were interrupted by COVID and most of your church staff is new, we are inventing brand new rhythms, too. That's both fun and a challenge!

Many of you have shared with me stories about CUMC's historic values of hospitality and outreach, and a yearning to reclaim those values post-COVID. There is a hunger to (re)connect with each other and with our neighbors. In prayer and conversation, I have discerned three key areas of focus for this first year of ministry together. These areas are all about strengthening our connection to each other, so we are better equipped to connect with our neighbors.

- Worship. Worship is not static; it's dynamic! It changes in response to the movement of the Holy Spirit. We are building a new identity as a single blended worshiping community instead of two distinct traditional and contemporary worship services. A blended identity takes the best traditions of our past and blends them with newer forms of music and liturgy so we can be a hospitable place of worship for new people who are unfamiliar with our traditions. We share our traditions while also making room for theirs. Blended worship is an art, not a science. It takes time (and compromise) to craft a service that feels authentic to who we have been and who we are becoming. But we're already seeing the fruit of our labor! On Sunday we experienced a powerful moment of worship when the band led us in singing "One Bread, One Body" during communion. People were moved by the Spirit to stand and share traditional hand movements that accompany the song. This is a beautiful example of our blended identity: Our contemporary Praise Band leading a cherished hymn from our hymnal, while the congregation offered spontaneous praise to God. When we are doing blended worship well, there is no longer a distinction between traditional and contemporary. Instead we are one body, worshiping God together. That unity is something worth celebrating and sharing with our neighbors!

- Digital Ministry. This is an area of focus that the Coeur Team asked for when the District Superintendent was discerning which pastor to send to CUMC. Digital ministry is about hospitality and outreach, too. It empowers us to connect with each other and with our neighbors beyond the church building. So much of life today has a digital component, so this is a critical mission field for the church. CUMC has invested significant resources in our digital ministry infrastructure, but there is still lots of potential for growth! We are building a monthly communications plan that incorporates all of our digital outreach tools (website, phone app, Facebook, e-newsletter, Google business profile, livestreaming, online giving) and introduces other forms of digital outreach (television app, Instagram, texting, push notifications, simulcasting, short-form video). We are also excited about our partnership with LifeSource Community Church to share A/V equipment and improve the quality of our worship livestream so we can better serve our homebound members and invite new people into our faith community.

- Administration. This area involves a lot of behind the scenes systems and processes that your church leaders use to keep the church running smoothly. There are four subareas: personnel, property, finance (including the endowment), and recordkeeping. Some of our administrative systems need updates to meet the demands of twenty-first century ministry. More importantly, though, when our administrative house is in order, we have more capacity to reach out to our neighbors, support new people, and integrate them into the life of our faith community. When you see our office staff or members of the Coeur Team, be sure to thank them for the hard work they give to this important form of ministry! Their gifts of time and skill help keep our church healthy so we can stay focused on our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

These are the three major areas that will be guiding my ministry among you this year. And thanks to the passion of a few key volunteers, we are also dedicating renewed time and energy toward rebuilding our children's ministry (more on that later!). If you have ideas or questions about any of these areas of ministry, I would love to talk! See below for the best ways to reach me.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Amanda

Have an idea, question, or concern? Here's how to reach Pastor Amanda:

Phone: 208-765-8800 (church office) or 509-720-8190 (personal)


Office Hours: Mondays and Thursdays, 9am-5pm (I work from home most Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)

Sabbath: Fridays. I do not check email or voicemail on this day.

Family Day: Saturdays. I do check email and voicemail on this day, but only to prioritize emergent needs.

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