Pastor's Notebook: Star Words

Dear Church,

Eight years ago, I took up the practice of choosing a word to guide me spiritually in the new year. The first word I chose was “wellness.” I was working with a spiritual director on healing from a period of intense disappointment, and I wanted to spend that year focused on my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. So, I chose “wellness” to focus my intention. That was 2015, the year I moved to North Carolina and started seminary. I had high hopes for that year, and it did not disappoint.

Likewise, 2022 has been a year of high hopes, big dreams, and even bigger changes. I am closing in on six months as your pastor and reflecting with joy and gratitude on all the ground we have covered together in that short period of time. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We welcomed FOUR new staff members: Bill, our Minister of Music; Kathleen, our Bookkeeper; Laura, our Organist & Accompanist; and Matt, our A/V Technician. In addition to our Office Manager Kelly, our Accountant Kerri, and myself, the church onboarded an almost entirely new staff in 2022. That is a tremendous accomplishment!
  • We also welcomed long-time community groups back into our building and initiated new partnerships with Coeur d’Alene Chorus and LifeSource Community Church. We approved a new five-year lease agreement with Head Start and after a long search for a new teacher they hope to reopen in late January!
  • We re-established our Children’s Ministry with the help of a fantastic team of volunteers. We installed a prayground in the sanctuary, founded a pop-up Sunday School, and launched our new Messy Church ministry with a successful Messy Christmas celebration!
  • We explored our identity as a single blended worshiping community, celebrating the many gifts that we bring to worship together, and began improving the quality of our livestream with software and equipment upgrades. We also re-established our music ministry and welcomed new and returning musicians to our Vocal Choir, Bell Choir, and Praise Band.
  • We celebrated the return of church potlucks!
  • We welcomed six new members and three new friends of the church.
  • We grew our capacity to serve our neighbors by hosting the 2nd Harvest Mobile Market three times and establishing our new Community Benevolence Fund.
  • We tackled critical administrative tasks. Huge thanks go to our Finance Team who has worked long and hard this year to overhaul the budget, clean up our books, and transition us to online banking!

This Sunday is Epiphany Sunday, when we remember the Magi who followed the star to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus. It is also the first day of a new year. As we reflect on where we have been and look eagerly for the new things God will do in 2023, we will be giving out star words in worship. These words are intention (guiding) words printed on beautiful paper. You will be invited to draw a word from a basket and use that word as a spiritual guide throughout the year. Place your star word somewhere you will see it regularly and reflect on how God is moving in and through your word.

If you are not able to join us in-person on Sunday, you can still choose a star word! Look at the list of words here, choose a word, then email the office at and we will mail it to you. This year, I am choosing the word “imagine.” I will be cultivating a bigger imagination for my life and the life of our church – imagination that makes it possible to see what new thing God is inviting me (us) to do and be. What will be your star word?

In Christ,

Pastor Amanda

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