Covenant Presbyterian Church - Charlotte, NC

in february

In february E-Newsletter:   STAFF & SESSION  |  CARE & SUPPORT |  WAYS TO SERVE  |  LEARN & GROW

message from bob henderson

Dear friends:

Joy spontaneously wells up within me every time I hear someone say, “I got my first dose of the vaccine!” It portends that day when our faith community can once again gather in person and enjoy the gift of sharing the journey. I continue to marvel at the cohesion and commitment of this church family and remain deeply grateful for all of you. Let me call to your attention a few disparate but important items:

  • Last fall, the Re-Opening Task Force made the hard decision to temporarily close our preschool because of staffing and enrollment complexities around COVID-19. We remain fully committed to re-opening the preschool this fall (perhaps with a few preceding Summer Fun Days) and are glad to announce we have hired a new Preschool Director. We will share details surrounding this good news on Feb. 15 in order to allow for the appropriate transition.
  • We are deeply grateful for the strong financial support in 2020 that allowed us to end the year slightly to the good of budgeted giving numbers. Your generosity continues to be extraordinary. In January, we adopted a completely flat budget for 2021even though we are in need of additional pledges to meet that budget. In other words, 2021 will be a faith year for our budgeting, and we are counting on your continued generosity.
  • We will say Godspeed to Julia Watkins (in April) and Ian Clark (in May/June), our beloved Pastoral Residents, as they embrace the next phase of their respective ministries. We’re deeply grateful for them. We will also welcome new Residents in June. Serenitye Taylor, presently serving as a seminary intern, has accepted a residency in Pastoral Care. Molly Smerko, a third-year student at Union Seminary in Richmond, has accepted a residency in Education/Young Adults. We invite your prayers for this significant transition in relationship and programming.
  • Sometime this spring, Jason Graffis will embrace a new and long-needed role at Covenant in technology and production. We have begun a search for a new Director of Contemporary Worship. Jason will continue in his present role until his successor is found. We are grateful for this easy transition and for Jason’s considerable gifts. We’re excited to see what he will do with his new role.

So very much more is going on as we launch a new year, and we hope that you will engage as fully as possible. We will continue to make every effort to make worship engaging and life-giving. Even now, we are working hard on special Easter celebrations, and there is much to look forward to between now and then.

With abundant gratitude,

Worship on wednesdays
at noon during lent

A minister will lead 15-minute mid-day worship livestreams on Wednesdays at noon beginning Feb. 24. Join us online for readings, music and ritual observances. These services will be rebroadcast on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. Services continue through March 31.

Subscribe to this year's Lenten devotional
What might it look like to trust in what we don't yet know? To encounter hope in the unseen? A devotional called Room to Grow features candid insights from Covenant members and ministers. You'll gain a new perspective on the concept of growth -- and perhaps learn something new about others in our community. Sign up here.

Below are Sunday School classes welcoming you throughout the season.

Open Door – Meets Sundays at 9:30 a.m. for a short video followed by discussion on theology.
Men’s Fellowship Study – Meets Sundays at 8:30 a.m. for check-ins and conversation on the previous week's sermon.
People Class – Meets Sundays at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Scripture.
Foundations Young Parents Class – This class meets twice a month to discuss the sermon from the 9:30 service. If you are interested in joining, please email Jessica Lowry.
Fellowship Class – The Fellowship Class have been invited to join the Open Door Sunday School class for the fall.
Coffeehouse – Meets on third Sundays at 9:30 for Young Adults to explore intersection of faith and current events.

Staff & Session News

meet our next pastoral residents

While we're sad to say goodbye to Ian Clark and Julia Watkins, we're also excited to welcome two new Pastoral Residents to the staff
as part of our commitment to be a teaching church for young people embarking on careers in ministry.
A third Pastoral Resident in Mission and Outreach will be announced soon.

Serenitye Taylor

Pastoral Resident for Pastoral Care
Serenitye joined the staff in September as a seminary intern. In her new role, she'll bring a heart
for pastoral care and an interest in how God uses worship to bring people together.
Serenitye graduated from Union Presbyterian Seminary and works in wealth management at Wells Fargo.
She and her husband, Carlin, are the proud parents of a daughter, Eliana.

Molly Smerko

Pastoral Resident for Education/Young Adults
Molly will graduate in May from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond.
A native of Wilmington, Molly graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh, where she earned a B.A. in Religious and Ethical Studies and Spanish. Most recently, Molly served as a Pastoral Intern for Congregational Life and Compassionate Care Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond.
Molly became familiar with Charlotte as a CROSS Missions intern with Myers Park Presbyterian Church in 2016. 

financial update: session approves 2021 budget

Thank you for your generosity during a challenging 2020. During their January meeting, members of session received a report highlighting that at the end of the year, operating budget contributions (pledges and loose offering) totaled 104 percent of our annual budget. It's a reflection of our congregation's remarkable generosity even in a time of physically separation from one another.

The session also approved a $5.4 million budget for 2021 that positions Covenant to invest strongly in mission, congregational care and education at a time when our church's leadership is needed more than ever. The budget was presented at the annual meeting of the congregation and corporation on Jan. 24. A detailed budget is available for your review at the front desk in the Welcome Center.

Congregational Life

Care and Support

Congregational care initiatives in a time of physical and social isolation

Travel, Learn, Connect (TLC): An active group of adults who enjoy learning and travel (and good food).
  • Join TLC on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. for a Zoom talk with Covenant’s very own Serenitye Taylor, our newly named pastoral resident. She will tell us about her upbringing, her move to Charlotte and her work at Covenant. Click here to RSVP with Michelle by Feb. 12 and we'll send you the Zoom link.

New meal ministry: Congregational Life is assembling a team to deliver prepared meals to those facing health concerns and other challenges. You would be part of a rotation and we would assign you to the area closest to your home. Contact Serenitye Taylor to learn more and get connected.
Stephen Ministers are friends for the journey: Connect with trained, listening friends who can bring the caring presence of the church to those experiencing difficult life situations, large or small. Click here if you or someone you know might like to be paired with a Stephen Minister on a confidential basis.

A word from Health and Wellness Committee: The committee encourages you to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible. Even after vaccination, it will still be important to maintain social distancing, exercise frequent hand washing and wear masks properly.  Read the full message here.

new to covenant? join us for casual conversation 

Sunday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. on Zoom

Join Lora Borrelli and members of the engagement team for casual conversation with time for Q&A. It's a way to learn about the life and mission of Covenant from people who are on the journey. We'll deliver a charcuterie box to you the afternoon of the event. 

ahead in Open Table on wednesday nights

Chef Jon Grier and the kitchen staff prepare delicious meals available for pick-up on Wednesdays for you to heat in the oven at home.  You can choose a pick-up time between 4:30 and 6 p.m. Please wear a mask as a volunteer delivers to your car.

Weekly Menus
Feb. 10: "Sweetheart's Dinner" Baked Ziti (Cheese or Meat), Caprese Salad, Garlic Bread, Italian Wedding Soup, Cannoli's, Mini Tiramisu
Feb. 17: Meat Loaf, Mac & Cheese, Squash Casserole, Corn Bread Muffins, Fire Roasted Vegetable Soup, Apple Pie
Feb. 24: Smothered Boneless Pork Chops, Risotto, Green Beans, Butternut Squash Bisque Soup, Strawberry Shortcake

Ways to Serve

Box groceries for neighbors in need
Second Tuesdays every month

Food insecurity will affect nearly 1 in 5 North Carolina residents in 2020. Loaves & Fishes has launched temporary mobile pantries across the city.
A Covenant team sorts food once a month on Tuesdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Sort at Second Harvest
Third Wednesdays every month

A socially distanced volunteer opportunity brings together volunteers age 17 and over to inspect, sort and pack donated products. Second Harvest responds to hunger in our community. 

Operation Sandwich
First Mondays every month

You can make 25 sandwiches and bring them to the church,
where Julia and Lucy will be outside to collect
and deliver directly to Roof Above's day services center. 

Learn & Grow

young adults plan
busy february

Pop-Up Christian Education: What’s So Special About Jesus? 
Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
History is full of incredible people: great teachers, inspiring advocates, and those who lived selfless lives. Why do we choose to shape our life and community after one figure: Jesus? Join us for this special and informative look at why we prioritize Jesus over all other figures.

Coffeehouse: “Faith In The Real World”
Sunday, Feb. 21 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Zoom
How can we believe in a good God and also see so much illness in our world? We’ll take a look at that question during our monthly discussion forum. All views are welcome.

Young Adults Bible Study
Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. on Zoom
We’ve been having some phenomenal conversations…and we want YOU to be a part of them! We can all spare one hour each month to grow in our relationship with God!

Young Adults Joining Day
Sunday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m. on Zoom
Thinking about becoming a member of Covenant? This is a great time! There are no classes, tests or embarrassing public professions of faith. Simply show up. The whole process takes 15 minutes.

covenant kids

Weekly Chapel Time via Zoom

Children's Chapel 
All children up to third grade are invited
to join Kim Lee every Thursday at 2 p.m.
Click here to join us.

Vacation Bible School returns this summer!

VBS returns to Covenant Aug. 9 through 13. Children ages 4 through 5th grade are invited Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.
Scholarships are available. Registration details will be shared at a later time.

Child of the Covenant

Each year, as part of our worship life, Covenant recognizes and welcomes our youngest gifts in a service Child of the Covenant. It is a celebratory expression of our promise to partner with families as they seek to nurture and guide their children into a life of faith. Our Child of the Covenant service will be held virtually on Sunday, March 14.

what's happening in
child development center

Families in the Child Development Center have demonstrated flexibility and grace during challenging times. The center has benefited from the leadership of Interim Director Alexis Sherrill Modebelu, Assistant Director Abigail Avalos and a dedicated team of classroom educators.

You can support our CDC when you shop for groceries at Harris Teeter. Simply tell your cashier at check-out that you want to link our account number (6954) to your VIC card. Every time you shop, 2 percent of your Harris Teeter brand purchases will go to our center. Below is a snapshot of what the children have been learning:

Angelfish Classroom
Building upper body strength so our little ones can use those muscles to learn to sit up, crawl, and, soon, walk.

Dolphin Classroom
Learned about a hero named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and discussed how he fought for peace and equality so that we all can be treated equally and can play together.

Seals Classroom
Doing an activity called "Read the Room" where we post words around the classroom and the children find and practice writing them. 

youth pivot to zoom, virtual programs

Youth ministry at Covenant is a joyful, invitational time that invites authentic relationships, provides a space to express faith and doubts, and has broad involvement in the life of the church. With that in mind, here are ways to engage:

Alyssa Pacheco, our MSY director, will host a "Power Point Night" tonight at 6 p.m. to give students a chance to share what they're passionate about.

Middle schoolers will host a Super Bowl Sunday food drive in support of Loaves & Fishes on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Circle.

High school youth will meet tonight at 6 p.m. with HSY Director Martin Pruitt for Among Us, a popular online multiplayer game in which you play as a crew member aboard a spaceship, sky headquarters or planet base, attempting to keep your ship together and return back to Earth.

SAVE THE DATE: Youth Sunday on May 2 will bring together middle and high school students to lead online worship. This is a milestone in our youth ministry.

births, baptisms,
in memoriam, 
prayer concerns

Margaret Reid Ketner, child of Katherine and Bo Ketner on December 1
Keegan Patrick O’Brien, child of Vanessa and Dan O’Brien on December 19
Andrew Alexander Tavenner, child of Erin and Ryan Tavenner on December 20
Reynolds Rebecca Taylor, child of Meg and Stephen Taylor on December 22
Edith Emery Morrison, child of Susan Lawson and Andrew Morrison on January 3
David Harvey “Mac” McIntyre III, child of Rachel Westra and Dave McIntyre on January 16

Banks Rhyne Utz, child of Allie and Bradley Utz on December 17
Noah William Collins, child of Christie and Ryan Collins on December 30
Dean Francis McNichol, child of Suzanne and Matt McNichol on January 14
Rangeley Jon Jett, child of Allison and Andrew Jett on January 21
Rhett Middleton Turner, child of Britney and Chris Turner on January 28
In Memoriam
Nathan William Pearson
December 11, 1987 – December 14, 2020

Christian concern to the families of:
Stuart and Chris Murray on the death of his father, Vincent (Vince) Paul Murray, on December 5
Christina and Brian Williams on the death of his father, Fred Williams, on December 10
Susan and Ken Pearson on the death of their son, Nate Pearson, on December 14
Cheryl and Tom McLawhorn on the death of her mother, Minerva Johnson McCoy, on December 25
Susan and Mike Ferone on the death of his father, Robert Ferone, on December 27
Sylvia and George Williams on the death of her father, Samuel McKinney, on January 8
Liz and Ron Moore on the death of his brother, Donald Moore, on January 13
Delight and Randy Kixmiller on the death of his sister, Beth Ann Dawkins, on January 24
Hannah and Ross McSwain on the death of his mother