(From the Presbyterian Historical Society. To discover more about the 16th Century Reformation period that coincided with the bubonic plague that swept through Europe, and for a copy of the Plague Song, please visit www.history.pcusa.org.)
This week commemorates the Protestant Reformation (1517-1648) that transformed Europe as the Good News was proclaimed with renewed spiritual energy: Scripture alone. Grace alone. Faith alone. While the names of reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin are more widely recognized, it was Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) who left an undeniable impact on the Christian Church. In Switzerland, Zwingli was the newly appointed People’s Priest, or Leutpriestertum, at Zurich’s Groosmünster church. With the Reformation underway, while visiting the Swiss town of Bad Pfäfers in September 1519, Zwingli learned of a new wave of plague devastating Zurich and immediately returned home. The bubonic plague was ravaging Europe. Zwingli ministered to the city’s afflicted and himself fell ill. His brother, Andreas, would perish from the disease, along with an estimated quarter to half of all Zurich’s citizens. Zwingli’s song shows him falling sick, battling the disease, and convalescing. The words speak to his acceptance of divine providence (“Do what Thou wilt; me nothing lacks. Thy vessel am I; to make or break altogether”)and promise a future of faithful acts (“my lips must thy praise and teaching bespeak more than ever before, however it may go”). As a Reformation leader Zwingli went on to oppose longstanding church practices that contradicted his understanding of the Bible, including the veneration of saints and statues, priestly celibacy, and the sale of indulgences. Although he didn’t write the Plague Song to be performed during worship services, the text can be found in many sixteenth and seventeenth century Protestant hymnals. Zwingli’s words remind us 500 years later that a commitment to others and even personal tribulation can lead to a renewed state of grace.
A Session is the leadership team for a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation, a denomination that Cold Spring Presbyterian Church has been a member of since, well, before the denomination was formed! The Session is comprised of nine (9) women and men who are Ruling elders elected by the congregation to terms of service. The Session Meeting gathers monthly with the Transformation Pastor, Dr. Kevin Yoho, who serves as the Session Moderator. The Session is responsible for the spiritual vitality of its members and listening to the Spirit of God and the voice of the congregation to best serve the community of Greater Cape May, New Jersey in the name of Jesus Christ.
2020 Session Team Leadership
Beverly Mate, Fred Ferrari, Kevin Beare, Lenore Bowne, Marjorie Wetherill, Martin Bowne, Norris Clark, and Tom Imperato. As of March 2020, there is one vacancy on the session. Our elders are structured to serve on one of six (6) ministry teams. Speak with them to share your ideas, concerns, joys, learn more, and please, consider joining a team that interests you.
Restructuring Session Teams to Better Achieve Our Mission
The Session has been faithfully meeting via Zoom since March. In May 2020, the session restructured the teams to better achieve our mission together. Below are the team names and the elders who serve on them. Contact information for our session members can be found on our staff and leadership contact page.
- Finance and Personnel Team (Tom Imperato with Beverly Mate). The mission of the Finance and Personnel Team is to facilitate accountability of the Church’s funds and other assets and provide financial information to enable decision-making that will ensure the Church’s financial sustainability and to ensure Church employees have the training and tools to perform their job, are held accountable for achieving the goals of the Church, and are compensated appropriately for their efforts.
- Worship and Music Team (Marty Bowne with Lenore Bowne) The mission of the Worship and Music Team collaborates with the Pastor and the Organist/Music Director to enable meaningful worship in the preaching of the Word of God, the administration of the Sacraments, and celebration with music. Through meditation on the Word of God, and subsequent application to their lives, the members of our congregation will be better equipped to serve God and the community.
- (NEW) Cemetery and Grounds Team (Fred Ferrari with Tom Imperato). The mission of the Cemetery and Grounds Team is to improve the beauty, accessibility, care, usefulness, and maintenance of our entire campus including cemetery-specific structures such as the field office, garage, and mausoleum, roads, parking lots; promote cemetery services, develop cemetery use guidelines, rules, operating procedures, review and recommend cemetery services prices, review monthly and annual reports such as required by the New Jersey Cemetery Board, and other responsibilities assigned by the session from time to time.
- (NEW) Facilities Team (Kevin Beare): The mission of the Facilities Team is to improve the beauty, accessibility, usefulness, efficiency, care and maintenance of our buildings and structures, both interior and exterior, (including Price Hall (rental policies and processes), Red Brick Church, and manse, but excluding cemetery-specific structures).
- (New) Congregational Life Team (Marge Wetherill with Lenore Bowne) The mission of the Congregational Life Team is to provide church fellowship events during the year to celebrate our life together as one church family. The Team serves as a liaison for groups within the church to offer a variety of year-round fellowship events to foster Christian unity and love among the congregation.
- (New) Community Life Team (Norris Clerk). The mission of the Community Life Team is to identify opportunities for positive community engagement and increased involvement and service by promoting and creating welcoming experiences, mission activities, concerts, and programs like Cold Spring Suppers.
The Top Ten Session Responsibilities include:
- Mission of the church (working with the congregation, inspiring the congregation, and equipping the congregation to achieve the vision and mission of Cold Spring Presbyterian Church)
- Worship (providing regular, spiritually energizing and equipping, experiences)
- Transformation (learning and growing in community-directed ministry)
- Evangelism (sharing the Good News about Jesus)
- Community (serving the community of Cape May)
- Education (providing learning experiences for all ages)
- Stewardship (promoting the joyful participation of our time, energy, and attention to support God’s work)
- Finance (setting the annual budget, financial review and accountability, and investing resources)
- Administration (works with the pastor to pro five supervision and training to all staff)
- Higher Governing Bodies and Ecumenical Relationships (regularly participating in the regional ministry of West Jersey Presbytery, the national ministry of the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.), and local ecumenical partners)
Additional session leadership resources are discussed in the, The Presbyterian Trustee, A Guide, (Geneva Press, 2004).
Updated: March 12, 2020
Stay Healthy During Coronavirus Pandemic.
We will follow directives from the State of New Jersey, Cape May County Health Department, or other state or municipal authority should they impose assembly restrictions, quarantines, or other constraints to prevent or contain virus exposure including cancelling or postponing worship services, events, and closing our facilities. (Check back often for updates.)
From our new Healthy Living Team
The session has established a Healthy Living Team to promote healthy living practices, especially during health crises like the coronavirus pandemic. Jonna Myers (R.N.) and Melissa Arnott (EdD.) are leading this team.
We encourage appropriate social distancing during the pandemic: Our sanctuary in the Red Brick Church is spacious enough to allow worshippers who choose to attend to comfortably practice recommended social distancing protocols. (Our average attendance is 70. Our sanctuary seats 300 including our balcony, leaving lots of room to spread out as needed.)
Live streaming of worship: Should services be cancelled due to the pandemic, visit our Facebook page for FaceBook Live video streaming, and/or our website for messages and music content. Stay spiritually nourished and connected!
What about Easter? Its possible that our two Easter services may be postponed, but they will not be cancelled! Should the coronavirus pandemic threat continue into April (Easter is April 12), we may need to postpone our services to a later, safer, date. Easter is one amazing event we don’t want to miss celebrating, so we will just choose a different date to gather if the April 12th events are postponed. (Stay tuned!)
What we are doing: We are re-doubling our efforts to ensure that Price Hall and sanctuary, bathrooms, other surfaces are clean, using disinfectants that are approved by the CDC. Boxes of tissues have been provided in center aisle pews. Hand sanitizer is provided. We installed automatic paper towel dispensers in our bathrooms that are safer to operate.
What you can do: We have our own special areas at home or at work that we need to pay attention to during virus outbreaks. Everyone’s cleaning list should include door knobs, handrails, and handles on your microwave, refrigerator, cabinets, and those toilet and faucet handles, too.
Check with neighbors! If you are able, reach out to your neighbors, especially those who are home bound.
Stock-up! Remember to have at least a three-week’s supply of food essentials and any required respiratory medications. BUT…
Please do not hoard – if you have extra soap and hand sanitizer – bring it to church – we will use it! Hoarding is not neighborly!
Contact the Deacons or call the office for assistance with essential shopping or doctor’s visits. We want to help!
Go Online! Shop for groceries, contribute to the church, listen to worship services, and even pay bills online. Follow us on Facebook, and please Like our page. It helps others discover our page!
You Can Prepare for Any Infectious Disease Outbreak
In light of the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), resources are available for our congregation. Now is the time to prepare and be aware of safer community practices. According to a Preparedness for Pandemics guide published by the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, simple precautions can help everyone participate in healthy ways.
Everyday Musts During A Pandemic:
- More Hand Washing – Less Face Touching. Washing hands thoroughly and frequently is essential. Especially every time you go out in public. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be found in and around bathrooms in the Red Brick Church and Price Hall. Use sanitizer often, but hand washing is a must!
- Stay at home if you are sick. Remember you can stay connected to our community when you’re sick at home or away from home by visiting our website. Listen to sermons and music, watch videos, and connect to us on Facebook. Consider giving online. Staying away from others when you’re sick is a must!
- Simply smile and use your welcoming words, without handshakes. Welcoming hospitality takes many forms, and your smile is a wonderful gift others enjoy receiving! Social distancing is a must!
As we gather for events and worship, simply smile, and use your welcoming words, without handshakes. Frequently and thoroughly washing our hands is essential. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers (containing at least 60% alcohol) can be found in and around bathrooms in the Red Brick Church and Price Hall. Use sanitizer often. (Again, hand washing is better!)
Thank you for modeling protective health practices and praying for those most severely affected by the pandemic, especially the most vulnerable and isolated members of communities around the world. Should you have any special needs or concerns, please let a Deacon or session member know how we can assist you.
Next Brickette issue will be March 2020, expanded edition
Our weekly Connections emailed newsletter (which is also available online) is read by more and more subscribers every week. It provides relevant, timely information and better integration with our website, social media, and worship bulletin. Connections keeps us and our community better connected and engaged.
To complement the weekly Connections, and to reduce redundancy and production costs, we are experimenting with distributing a more comprehensive edition of the Brickette fewer times each year. In 2020, the Brickette will be published in the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter; the first of March, June, September, and December. Special editions may also be added.
We look forward to receiving your feedback on our new publication schedule this year. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Publications.