Covenant Presbyterian Church - Charlotte, NC

A message to the Congregation

Learn more

Join an information session:
  • October 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall 207 or on Zoom
  • October 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall Main Room or on Zoom

Frequently asked questions

When and why was the Arts Task Force formed?
The Arts Task Force was formed by Session as part of the Framework for Covenant’s Response to the racial inequities and unrest that exist in our society. It was charged to examine Covenant’s physical buildings and art to determine whether there are “representations that involve individuals or acts supportive of racism” and if there are, to “make a recommendation regarding their presence.” After two years of study and reflection, the Arts Task Force has submitted a report detailing those recommendations (the “Report”), which has been received by Session and commended to the congregation for its consideration.  You are encouraged to read the Report in its entirety. For a fuller explanation of the Arts Task Force’s history and charge, please see Section I of the Report.
 
Who are the members of the Arts Task Force?  
Will Summerville (Chair), Betty Graybeal, Brad Gritter, Vince Hindman, Jerry Jernigan, Ben Mallicote, Ashley Roehrig, Henry Trexler, Campbell Tucker, Ben Unger and Grace Williams.
 
What action is being proposed?
The Arts Task Force recommends that Covenant replace four individuals currently located in our History and Service Windows and that we engage in a window preservation/ renovation/ restoration project by providing new protective coverings for all Covenant’s stained-glass windows in the Sanctuary, Chapel, and Narthex.
 
What individuals are recommended for removal?
After two years of careful study, the Arts Task Force unanimously agreed that the presence of Stonewall Jackson, D.H. Hill, Benjamin Palmer, and Woodrow Wilson are inconsistent with Covenant’s mission.
 
What criteria were used to decide on the four individuals recommended for removal? 
Criteria were set forth in the Response and the process used by the Arts Task Force can be reviewed in Section II of the Report.
 
What individuals in the windows/carvings were researched?
All extra-biblical characters featured in our windows were considered.
 
What resources did the Arts Task Force use in its discernment/education process? 
Many, including nationally recognized church historians, a local historian, and college professors and presidents. For a complete list, please see Section II.C of the Report.
 
Approximately how much will it cost?
The cost estimate for design and replacement of the windows is approximately $160,000 (as of Spring 2022).  The Arts Task Force also recommends preservation/renovation/restoration estimated to cost $240,000, which is addressed in in Attachment 3 of the Report.
 
What might be put in these figures’ places?
We anticipate recommendations from an additional Task Force charged with deciding how to replace these figures. These recommendations may include appropriate historical Presbyterian/civic/faith leaders, symbols, or other solutions that more clearly align with our mission and values.  

What about the individuals who have ties to racism/slavery but who were not recommended for removal?
How will those individuals be acknowledged? This is a complex issue to which the Arts Task Force devoted a great deal of time and consideration. Please see Section IV.B of the Report.
 
Is the removal of four individuals the extent of the recommendation?
No. The Arts Task Force has recommended a number of additional actions related to contextualization, education of our membership, and worship, as outlined in Section IV.   Additionally, we recommend maintenance and restoration work to all Sanctuary, Narthex, and Chapel windows as described in Proposal Two of Attachment 3.  Covenant’s stained-glass windows are a precious gift to be stewarded with great care, and should be brought back to their original beauty.  
 
Have any windows been changed/replaced at Covenant previously?
Yes, both the Chapel and the Sanctuary windows have experienced substantial renovation work, including lancet replacement/re-leading, coverings, and reinforcement. The work was performed by the Willet Company which originally designed, created and installed the windows.
 
Will the replacements change the look of the sanctuary?
Won’t new windows “stick out”? The Arts Task Force has been assured that replacement windows can be a stylistic and aesthetic match to the existing windows.
 
Will worship in the Sanctuary be disrupted?
The Arts Task Force has been assured that the removal and replacement process can be completed without impairing our use of the Sanctuary.  
 
Wouldn’t it be better to use these resources for projects that foster racial reconciliation and justice?
The Arts Task Force feels strongly that the two are not mutually exclusive, and has recommended additional actions to continue Covenant’s work promoting racial justice. Covenant has long linked building projects and mission. We expect our current and future leadership will maintain this tradition.
 
When will Session vote on the recommendation?
We anticipate Session will vote in calendar year 2022.
 
How can I learn more?
Come to one of the presentations on the subject with a spirit of appreciative inquiry. The first two will be held at Covenant on October 2 from 9:30am-10:30am and October 12 from 6:30pm-7:30pm.  Both presentations will be held in the Fellowship Hall and more presentations will be offered as well.  
 
How can I share my input?
We warmly invite any member of the congregation to mail a personally signed letter (no emails, please) addressed to the Session. 1000 E. Morehead St, 28204 Attention: Session/Arts Task Force. All letters will be read by Session members.