learning to pivot

Basketball was my only sport. Year-round. Not because of traveling teams, expensive clubs, or a favorite NBA player. Basketball was the life of our community. At least from my perspective. And I was a passionate devotee. I played for hours on our dirt court where the hoop was affixed to the granary and the bats

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the heavens declare

Everywhere I turn, I hear the same message. (re) Connect with creation. I thought I was just leaning into the theme of our Community Garden worship service. Sunday was gorgeous in Champaign-Urbana, a strong dose of summer before cooler weather sets in. But the theme of Wild & Cultivated stays with me. Our need for both.

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outside my window

Judson Chubbuck’s gifts of worship and wise counsel have blessed our community since the early days of New Covenant. May his words encourage you today. –Renée  Outside My Window- September 30, 2021 Fourteen forlorn feathered faces in the redbud tree stared into my living room during my morning coffee. Watering my parched lawn last night

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praying the prophets

I believe in bananas, but haven’t eaten a raw bite in over forty years. Delicious in muffins and bread, the texture and fresh smell repulse me. I support public transportation. For others and with others. Alone, I prefer the convenience of a car. T-shirts with words are fun to read, but I personally avoid wearing them.

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ordinary days

It’s Tuesday. Kids in their desks, adults at their jobs. We got through yesterday’s full moon. Instead of lying low when everyone else went to work Monday morning, I drove on campus (rarely a good idea!) to participate in a university research project. I forgot I need downtime on Mondays. Long walks and laundry.  I should

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so you wanna go back to Egypt

The songs of our childhood linger, even when we move away from the genre, theology, or small town of our upbringing. Radio, cassettes, 8 track tapes in the way back of the Chevy station wagon. Bob Dylan and Keith Green.  So you wanna go back to EgyptWhere it’s warm and secureAre sorry you bought the

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Did He Just Say That?!

So glad that Oliver Ferguson can share with us again! – Renée “Hold up… wait a minute. Did they really just say that?” Someone made a bold declaration that seems a little too bold. When this happens (after our double take or a side eye) we might say, “Excuse me? Did you just say____” …expecting

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beyond the systems

A note from retired pastor Ron Simkins, with love.  -Renée Hi friends far and near. Renée asked if I would write a pastoral note about something I have been thinking about recently. As many of you know, New Covenant has always attempted to take seriously the Living God, the human Jesus, the Spirit of God

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where’s the love?

My nun sometimes asks surprising questions. I miss our in-person prayers, nestled in her cozy office. I am easily distracted in phone conversations; I don’t feel very spiritual. I crave her direction, and am grateful for her good health and joyful wonder at Jesus’ goodness.  “How have you been treating God, lately, my dear?” Dumbfounded,

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with all due respect

I’ve been told- repeatedly- that New Covenant is the best kept secret in Champaign-Urbana. I’m never quite sure what to make of that. Do we like it that way? Is it a point of private pride? Am I supposed to do something about it? I’ve been quoted and pictured in the newspaper more since taking

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