Covenant Presbyterian Church - Charlotte, NC

in november

In november E-Newsletter:   Worship  |  lEARN & gROW  |  cARE & sUPPORT  |  sERVING oUR nEIGHBORS

message from bob henderson

Gratitude continues to overflow for the breadth of our life and mission. For all the ways you contribute — making sandwiches, praying, serving in food banks, signing in for worship and so many more — I am deeply grateful.

I confess to my ongoing internal debate about the virtual status of our worship life. I, like so many others, have a deep desire to worship with others inside the chapel and sanctuary. Something about the beauty — especially the light and colors — speaks to me of the divine. And I miss that regular injection of spiritual renewal.

I’m also aware that Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” And, one truth I’ve discovered in these pandemic months is that experts in this field know what they are talking about. I’m fortunate to serve on a board with the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs as well as the CEO of a medical testing company. In addition, several of our members have PhDs in epidemiology, and every one of their predictions about the pattern of contagion has been correct. In fact, back in September, when it looked like contagion was on the wane, they all predicted a significant spike at the beginning of November, which we are clearly now experiencing. I expect they will continue to be largely correct about the future.
The Re-Opening Task Force will continue to listen closely to the experts while finding creative ways to embrace our mission. The sanctuary will remain open for prayer on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will augment that prayer time during Advent with weekly 15-minute services of readings, music and ritual observances. A large group is hard at work to provide a meaningful Christmas Eve experience both on and off campus. This won’t be the ‘pack the house’ experience of other Christmas Eve services, but it will be meaningful and memorable. In addition, we’ve ramped up ways to serve across the city and increased learning opportunities and support groups.

Please peruse this edition of the newsletter for other opportunities and information. And, keep all who serve at Covenant in prayer, and trust that the “one who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1:6).


financial update

Thank you for your support of Covenant during these unprecedented times. Our congregation’s generosity allows us to continue to fulfill the needs for our church family, community, and world.

Many have paid your 2020 pledges in full and, for that, we are deeply grateful. Between now and the end of the year, we are counting on receiving $704,000 of unpaid pledges as part of achieving our annual budget. In addition, our budget includes $60,000 more than we have received for unpledged contributions and loose offerings.

As you are likely aware, we have several areas that generate income for the church - Child Development Center, Preschool, Recreation Wing, and Food Service. These areas have been dramatically impacted by our pandemic closure and represent a year-to-date income shortfall versus budget of $762,000.

Fortunately, we have savings in utilities, office, and property expenses – but the most significant savings has been in personnel, Preschool and CDC costs. The combined $650,000 below budget has primarily resulted from open staff positions.
We have been able to maintain a stable net financial position, but we are counting on the next two months of giving to finish the year well positioned for a continuing strong execution of our mission in 2021. 

Stewardship campaign
now underway

Chairs Katie and Lee Cornwell hosted a celebration to kick off
the stewardship campaign in support of the church's 2021 operating budget.
Watch the video or click here to see highlights and get involved.

ahead in worship in november

We'll stay grounded in familiar rituals -- communion, baptisms and milestones for young people -- while preparing our hearts and minds for Advent season.

  • Sermon series: Are You Content?
    • Nov. 8 - Generosity with Bob Henderson
    • Nov. 15 - Joy with Bob Henderson
    • Nov. 22 - Gratitude with Bob Henderson

  • Coming soon: A sermon series called "Home for Christmas" will prepare us for a different kind of Advent season.

15-minute vespers on mondays during advent

The sanctuary is open for in-person, personal prayer time on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will augment that prayer time during Advent with weekly, in-person 15-minute services of readings, music and ritual observances. These services are at noon and will also be live-streamed. Attendees are asked to wear masks at all times while on campus.

Structure of Monday Advent Vespers: 
  • Organ/Piano music (3-5 minutes)
  • Minister opens with a Call to Worship and introduction of Scripture readings 
  • Minister reads two Scripture passages 
  • Minister prayer
  • Closing hymn (Organ/Piano)

1st Monday in Advent (Nov. 30) – Grace Lindvall
Opening Organ Music: Come Savior of the Nations, Come, BWV 661 – J.S. Bach
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9 (OT) Mark 13: 24-37 (NT)
Hymn: O Come O Come Emmanuel

2nd Monday in Advent (Dec. 7) Serenitye Taylor
Opening Organ Music: My Lord, What a Morning – R. Bellingham
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11 (OT) Mark 1: 1-8 (NT)
Hymn: Prepare the Way O Zion

3rd Monday in Advent (Dec. 14) – Ian Clark
Opening Organ Music: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming – T. Keesecher
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 (OT) John 1:1-5; 14 (NT)
Hymn: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

4th Monday in Advent (Dec. 21) – Julia Watkins
Opening Organ Music: Partita on ‘Creator of the Stars of Night’ – D. Cherwien
V. Toccata
Scripture Readings: Psalm 89:1-4,19-26 Luke 1:46-55
Hymn: Canticle of the Turning

outreach plans a busy
advent season of service 

Our congregation's commitment to outreach remains strong, as evidenced by the 400 volunteers who took part in Covenant Impacts Charlotte with at least one service opportunity every day across the month of October. Each of these opportunities has not only had an impact on our partners in ministry, but has also provided pathways for our congregation to purposefully connect through a time of separation.

The holiday season brings new opportunities to serve:

  • Moore Place Thanksgiving: Save the date to participate in our annual Thanksgiving dinner for the residents at Moore Place, a permanent supportive housing program at Roof Above. You can provide homemade dishes or sign up to pack to go dinners on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Sign up here.

  • Room in the Inn: While churches are not hosting Room in the Inn this year, Covenant’s partners at Roof Above will increase the number of shelter beds to meet increased demand in colder weather, while also following appropriate measures to keep our neighbors, volunteers, and staff safe. Volunteers are needed to prepare bagged lunches for winter overflow shelters. If your group (i.e. Bible study, small group, Women’s Circle, etc.) would like to coordinate lunches together one week, please contact Lynn Morrow.

  • Alternative Gift Market: We're going virtual! Go online via the Covenant website to shop for gifts and honor cards, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to our mission partners. Shopping begins soon.

  • Christmas Eve Offering: As the pandemic makes learning challenging for students everywhere, we want to supply our partner schools with the technology they need to educate safely and effectively. Learning loss is accelerated for students who live in poverty and we will be gifting to children at the Renguti School in Kenya, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization in Palestine, and Highland Renaissance Academy here in Charlotte. Stay tuned for a video to learn how your donation will help students thrive and overcome the challenges of distanced learning!

how young adults are serving, learning, growing

Young Adults is hosting smaller events with something for everyone. Space is limited for in-person events. Each event will have an opportunity to learn more about ways to be involved.

  • Second Saturday Service: Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon
    Fall can be a difficult time for those with limited mobility. We'll spend a little time helping Covenant members in need. Sign up by clicking here.
  • Coffeehouse: Thinking About Career Decisions, Sunday, Nov. 15 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
    We all have career goals. But how can we balance those ambitious personal goals with our faith? Do we need to choose between our faith and career? Join us online here.
  • Friendsgiving: Sunday, Nov. 22 from 3 to 5 p.m.
    We'll meet safely outdoors at Covenant for a meal, hot cider, seasonal desserts, music and fire pits! Bring a side dish and we'll provide the meat. Our first priority will be to pack up homemade Thanksgiving meals for our neighbors at Hope Haven.  Click here to join.

happening in
adult education

  • December First Sunday Series: “Faith and Rest” with Dr. Nate Stuckey of Princeton Theological Seminary and author of the book Wrestling with Rest
  • New podcast! Discover contemporary twists on familiar stories in the Bible, continuing this week as Grace and Katherine consider God as the ultimate multi-tasker. Check it out here.
  • 2020 Advent Devotional: Covenant members share personal reflections on this year's theme, Waiting with Hope. You can subscribe via email or pick up a printed copy at church.

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.

Care and Support

Congregational care initiatives in a time of physical and social isolation

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.

Happening with Travel, Learn, Connect (TLC): An active group of adults who enjoy learning and travel (and good food).
  • Virtual visit to the NC Zoo:  Join us Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. for a guided virtual tour of animals inhabiting the zoo. Please click here to register by Nov. 13.

  • Christmas at Biltmore House: Join us Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 10:30 a.m. for holiday fun. Pat Viser will lead us in a few Christmas activities before we join Burt Wolff for a virtual tour of Christmas customs at Biltmore House. We'll top off our travels singing favorite Christmas Carols led by our own Heather Potter. The first 30 registrants will receive a Christmas treat bag. Register with Michelle Williamson no later than Dec. 4 to receive the Zoom link.
New group for those who have lost a spouse: A new group called SOS (Surviving Our Spouses) invites widows and widowers to fellowship and conversation throughout the year. Visitors to Covenant are welcome. Click here to learn more.

ahead in Open Table on wednesday nights

Leaning into the Discomfort: How to have Difficult Conversations
Wednesdays, Nov. 11-18
Katherine Kerr and Juliet Kuehnle will host “Leaning into the Discomfort: How to Have Difficult Conversations” in two sessions at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Juliet is a Covenant member and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor who founded Sun Counseling and Wellness.

Grab-N-Go Meals
Take home a freshly prepared meal for you and/or your family prepared by our kitchen staff. Here's how it works:
  • Menus will be posted in Windows and on the Covenant website, where you can order and pay online. If you do not have access to the website, please call Michelle Williamson at 704-804-7560 to place an order and pay.
  • Meals are available a la carte, so you can choose what you want and how many portions you need. 
  • All orders must be placed on the Friday before pickup. There will be no drive-up or walk-up ordering.
  • On Wednesdays, drive-thru pickup is from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the upper parking lot. Volunteers will bring the food from the kitchen to your car.

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.

Annual Wreath Sale

The annual wreath sale supports Covenant children's ministries. Please order by Wednesday, Nov. 11. Supplies are limited. Wreaths will be available for pick-up on the Green on Sunday, Nov. 29 from noon to 1 and 4:30 to 5:30 and Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 5 to 6 p.m. 

Christmas Crafts, Cocoa and Caroling!

Open Table on Wednesday, Dec. 2
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom
Children will make holiday cards for elderly church members.
Heather Potter will lead a virtual caroling night.
Grab-N-Go meals will include cookie decorating kits!

youth pivot to zoom, outdoor programs

It is our vision to create a joyful, invitational time together 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's what we've been doing:

High school students built benches for Habitat for Humanity and refinished picnic tables to create an outdoor youth fellowship space.

A big group of eighth grade students met their Quest mentors on Nov. 1 in a parking lot gathering (shown here).

Next up on the youth calendar is Sixth Grade Stories, a milestone event celebrating this new chapter of our youth’s lives!

Seventh graders will meet for "Middle of the Middle," a milestone celebrating the middle year of middle school.

births, marriages, baptisms, prayer concerns, deaths 

Myers Jo Gibson, born on September 30, child of Meredith and Andrew Gibson
Audrey Grace Visco, born on October 7, child of Marry Ripple and Gray Visco
Cameron Sloan Williams, born on October 12, child of Dana and Mark Williams
Henry Joseph Tumen Gavin, born on October 13, child of Kathryn Tumen and Joe Gavin
Hudson James Zizzi, born on October 22, child of Elizabeth and Andrew Zizzi
Eliza McCarley Knight, born on October 23, child of Caroline and Greg Knight
Camerone Sloan Williams, child of Dana and Mark Williams

Sean Cooey Boyles and Andrew Stevenson Gibson on February 29
Eleanor Sojka and Drew Thompson on October 9
Patty Babb and Bill Saunders on October 17
Abby Young and Bo Liu on October 17
Rachel Justice and Brian Heath on October 17
Jordan Yourick and Parks Barnhardt on October 23

Bennett Gray Hoffman, child of Allison and Ryan Hoffman, on October 8
Madison Lyn McKee and Alexandra Lee McKee, children of Meghan and Steven McKee, on October 15
Annabelle Louise Dawson and Landon Gordon Dawson, children of Dana and Chad Dawson, on October 18

In Memoriam
James Henry Morton
April 4, 1935 - October 1, 2020
Vernie Reitzel Snider Jr.
October 5, 1935 – October 10, 2020
Lynn Anderson Penner
November 5, 1947 – October 14, 2020
Ann Cecile Blinn
March 31, 1950 – October 18, 2020

Christian concern to the families of:
Sally and Bill Jackson on the death of her mother, Connie Owen, on September 23
Debbie and Sadler Barnhardt on the death of her father, Neil R. Kinley, on September 23
Glenda and Steve Helms on the death of her mother, Jo Martin Alexander, on September 24
Marcia Morton on the death of her husband, Jim Morton, on October 1
Marilyn Alexander on the death of her sister, Barbara Holt, on October 1
Carey Pound on the death of his brother, Ralston Pound Jr., on October 5
Mary Logan on the death of her brother, John Atwood, on October 6
Vonda Snider on the death of her husband and Alston and Jessie Mann on the death of her father, Reitzel Snider, on October 10
Leah Penner and Erin Lanik on the death of their mother, Lynn Penner, on October 14
Martha and David Isaacs on the death of her sister, Mary Beth Blinn, on October 15
Donna and Bill McNairy on the death of his father, Samuel W. “Sam” McNairy, on October 17