A Note from Steven & Letter from Session

Posted: Wed, May 1, 2019
A NOTE FROM STEVEN: Dear Friends, There is an Irish proverb that says, “We find shelter in each other.” Your love, support and prayers have been a shelter of grace throughout Laurie’s health crisis. This has not just been a season of crisis for my family. This has been OUR crisis. There have been so [...]

A NOTE FROM STEVEN:

Dear Friends,

There is an Irish proverb that says, “We find shelter in each other.” Your love, support and prayers have been a shelter of grace throughout Laurie’s health crisis. This has not just been a season of crisis for my family. This has been OUR crisis. There have been so many moments I have witnessed the presence and power of God’s Grace at work, often seen through your care and love. As you have heard me preach, I do not believe everything happens for a reason. I do believe that nothing is beyond the touch of God’s Grace. God is able to enter any and every situation and bring forth unimaginable goodness. I know that God is present for all of us in this season of crisis. We are Easter people who trust the worst thing is never the last thing. I know we will emerge stronger.

Laurie is making slow but steady progress. Her care team anticipates we may be able to return to Bend in early June. Once home, continued care will be needed. I wish I could be more definitive when I might fully return to my duties as your Pastor. The grace that has been extended to me and my family during this season of crisis allowing me to focus my full presence, energy and love to Laurie’s care and healing has and continues to be a gift beyond measure. Please know that I am working with the Session to plan my return in a way that not only continues to serve Laurie’s recovery but allows me to return in a healthy and effective way.

In the meantime, I am so grateful for the leadership of Session. I continue to be in awe of how our amazing staff team continues to selflessly rise to what is needed and goes beyond what is expected. I am grateful for Kally’s leadership in serving as acting Lead Pastor during this season with such care and competence.

I remain so very grateful to serve you and humbled to be so tenderly and compassionately served by you in this season of crisis.

Steven

A Letter from Session

Dear Friends,

Your compassionate response as a congregation to Laurie Koski’s health crisis is what it looks like to be the Body of Christ. Your care for Laurie, Steven, Jacob and Jonah has been what it looks like to live out our mission of “Creating Spaces of Grace.” Your support of the staff as they fill gaps and faithfully lead us is so appreciated. Steven frequently says, “We’re in this together. It is our vulnerability and tears and not our strength that unites us.” These past eight weeks, you have shown us what a healthy church looks like. So, we first want to extend our gratitude for your faithfulness in this time of crisis.

Second, we want to extend our appreciation to our amazing staff who consistently exceed our expectations and show us what grace looks like. We want to express our appreciation for Pastor Kally who has and continues to serve as Acting Lead Pastor in Steven’s absence. She is doing an extraordinary job in such challenging circumstances. The date of Steven’s return is still uncertain, and Kally will continue to serve as Acting Lead Pastor in the interim. We are working closely with Steven to plan his return to full duties in a way that supports Laurie’s healing and recovery and best serves the congregation. We will keep you posted as things become clear.

Praise God Steven reports Laurie is expected to make a full recovery, but there is still a long road of healing ahead. In your love for the Koski family, many of you continue to ask how you can best support them. The following suggestions for the Koski family are practical ways you can extend your love:

  1. Continued prayer for Laurie’s full recovery.
  2. Once Laurie is due to travel back to Bend, sign up through the church office to provide healthy meals for the Koski family.  The church office will let you know when you can begin signing up.
  3. To address Laurie’s loss of work and other unexpected expenses in this time of crisis, financial support is a very practical way to show love and can take two forms:
  4. You can write a check made out to the Koskis or give cash directly to them.
  5. You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Ministers’ Assistance Fund of the Presbytery of Cascades, to which the Koskis could apply for a competitive grant.  Contact Boyd Levet at the church office.
  6. The church is organizing a spring time cleanup for the Koski yard sometime in early May.  You may volunteer for this cleanup through the church office.  More information will follow in the coming week.
  7. Generously show up and support the work of the church in all ways that you can. Knowing the church continues to be healthy, strong and doing the work of love that is ours to do is one of the best ways to relieve any worry Steven may have being absent. This involves:
  8. Showing up for worship
  9. Inviting others to worship each Sunday
  10. Volunteer to serve.  There is a need for greeters and ushers and communion servers.  Contact Sherry in the office.
  11. Go out of your way to support, appreciate and affirm the staff who are doing an amazing job during this time
  12. Give generously to the church. The church’s financial health is one concern we don’t want Steven to carry at this time.
  13. Pray that we will all emerge stronger as a community and stronger in our sense of call to be the visible expression of Christ’s love as a result of this crisis.

Please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us if you have any questions or concerns. We are grateful for the sacred task of serving this remarkable congregation.

In Christ’s Love,

Ruling Elders Debbie Barnes, Lloyd Brogan, Christina Davenport, Steven Hummel, James Jaggard, Jane Kirkpatrick, Mike Maidl, Kat Mastrangelo, Don Mercer, Samantha Nelson, Joan Roane, Cynthia Serra, Gretchen Williver and Clerk of Session Sharon Lichti