Message from Bob Henderson
I suppose absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I’m already plenty fond of you and am ready for the world of social distancing to be far distant.
When I grow impatient, I’m particularly grateful for the Re-Opening Task Force that continues to carefully consider how we can best maintain our commitment to love God and neighbor. Here is the most recent update. We’re doing our best to be innovative and faithful and the congregation has been highly responsive. Thank you!
Two events in our country during the last week – George Floyd’s murder and our nation’s leader tear gassing his people to make way for a photo opportunity (all while holding a Bible in front of a Christian sanctuary) – are scandalous at best. I understand and appreciate that our congregation represents a broad political spectrum, and we’re better for it. I also understand that regardless of our particular political persuasion, Christian faith stands on a solid bedrock of justice, love, and peace. We believe in hard-won reconciliation, not division. We relentlessly affirm that each person -- every ethnicity, race, gender, and nationality -- is made in the image of God and is of equal value in God's eyes. Thus everyone should be treated as God’s very own. These values are under siege in our country, and as Christian people, it is for us to ‘stand our ground’ and work toward a world more reflective of God’s ideals for the human community.
Years ago, the Session at Covenant adopted a clear mission statement which will guide us in these tumultuous times: Covenant Presbyterian is a dynamic Christian community that gladly invites all people into a transformational experience of faith; boldly proclaims the gospel; bravely works toward a whole and just world; and passionately nurtures discipleship.
You can expect Covenant Presbyterian Church to embrace this mission statement vigorously in the coming months. We’ll boldly proclaim the gospel and its perspective on hard issues. We’ll bravely work toward a whole and just world by working on systemic and episodic realities that are far from just. And we’ll passionately nurture faithful discipleship that fosters growth in all of us around important issues such as race, inequality, and justice.
I’m sure in doing so that we’ll risk disagreement and error. I’m also sure that God can gather us all up in love and transform us into something more Christ-like as we seek to be agents of God’s redeeming love to a world very much in need.
With gratitude for sharing the journey with you.
A word on email scams: Please be vigilant about any email that appears to be from a minister, asking you to take some kind of unusual action (purchasing gift cards and replying with the serial numbers, clicking a link or downloading an attachment you didn’t request, wiring money to a specified account, or simply replying quickly). Covenant does not communicate in these ways. Please be diligent in not responding to suspicious emails.
The following opportunities are launching points for a comprehensive response that we will pursue together in coming months.
- Around the Kitchen Table: An opportunity to confront racism in our own homes and hearts through conversation, prayer, listening and reflection. Sign up to receive the resource when it is available next week.
- Book study on White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism: Ministers will lead a three-week book study with breakout groups facilitated by church members. The study begins June 24. The book is currently on back order so it is worthwhile to order now. You can sign up here.
- Collection of reading materials: Please view this resource for white people and parents to deepen anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, this is an invitation to start.
Miss seeing faces? New worship option is for you
Beginning Sunday, June 14, you're invited to watch the 9:30 a.m. worship service via Zoom. There will be opportunities during the service to say hello and chat in small group breakout rooms. A moderator will guide us. You can access this new option through the Covenant website and Facebook Live. No RSVP is needed.
A team of ministers and staff have worked hard to fine-tune the experience. We hope you'll give it a try.
Ministry area highlights
Affordable housing community opens on Freedom Drive
The first residents have moved into Mezzanine on Freedom, an affordable housing community supported by our congregation's capital campaign. This milestone marks the next phase of an important ministry. A leadership team is developing a blueprint to guide ongoing outreach for many years into the future.
Julia Watkins, one of our pastoral residents, will move into an apartment on June 10 and hopes to play a role in organizing community dinners and perhaps a neighborhood vegetable garden.
In worship not long ago, children brought forward dozens of bags filled with your contributions of basic household necessities. These bags are placed in apartments as residents move in, providing a gesture of hospitality during an often stressful transition. We're looking forward to what more God has in store for this relationship. Click here to read more about Mezzanine on Freedom.