Covenant Presbyterian Church - Charlotte, NC

Outdoor ministry

Cultivating our faith

2022 Goals:
● To continue to provide opportunities for fresh air, fellowship and community connection.
● To make earth care “actionable” as a call and faithful response.
Mission: To provide members of our community practical opportunities to experience nature; deepen relationships with the church, each other and our natural surroundings; and grow in faithful stewardship of the environment. We do this through:

  • Fresh Air and Fellowship: Providing people of all ages and life stages a simple, compelling, low-barrier-to-entry option for nurturing their physical health and for building their relationships with and through the church through fellowship. (ex. Hikes, Sunday strolls, kayaking, etc.)
  • Community Connection: Using nature and the environment as a universal context to foster relationships within and beyond the Covenant community. (ex. Earth care for sacred spaces/campus gardening, stream cleans, gleaning, etc.) 
  • Eco-theology: Providing programming and curriculum to enhance ecological and environmental knowledge with a biblical, spiritual and theological emphasis. (ex. Open Table programs, contemplative hikes, etc.) 
  • Earth Care and Sustainability: Examining and putting into practice our spiritual convictions about taking care of the environment, both on the Covenant campus and within our local community. (ex. Programs and panel discussions, projects and calls to action, examining systemic issues, engaging in environmental restorative justice, etc.)

Covenant Eastertide
Congregational Challenge

Climate Change: Our Faithful Response
Saturday, April 23 - Sunday, May 29
Saturday, May 14
Young Adults Second Saturday Service Project
  • 10:00 a.m. to noon: Gardening at McCreesh Place
As part of our monthly Second Saturday service project at McCreesh Place in NODA, Young Adults will tend to the community garden on the apartment complex campus.
Sunday, May 15
Interpretive Hike at Buffalo Creek Nature Preserve

3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Join us for fresh air and fellowship in nature. 
Covenant’s Bruce Chapman and Will Raurk of Catawba Lands Conservancy will lead a natural habitat and resources interpretive hike at this local nature preserve, which covers a variety of terrains, from savannah grasslands to old-growth forest.
Wednesday, May 18
Windows on Covenant: Learn more about meatless meals
Check out a brief tutorial from Covenant member and professional nutritionist Cheryl Hoover on how to create an easy meatless meal. Cutting down on meat consumption cuts down on carbon emissions and helps save the planet!
Wednesday, May 18
Travel, Learn, Connect (TLC): Outdoor Ministry and Earth Care
  • 10:30 a.m. to noon: Gather with active adult friends to learn about earth care 
Covenant’s Travel, Learn Connect (TLC) group will enjoy refreshments, followed by a presentation by Emily Reinicker, Covenant member and  civil engineer specializing in stream restoration, who will talk about the importance of earth care, specifically in relation to our water resources. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the Outdoor Ministry and ways to get involved.
Saturday, May 21
Kayaking with Covenant
  • 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Slow Flow Kayaking with friends 
Join the Catawba Riverkeeper on Saturday, May 21 from 2pm-3:30pm for a kayak trip on the South Fork of the Catawba River! You’ll meet at the South Fork McAdenville Greenway and Blueway Launch where you’ll meet your kayak guide and get equipped to paddle for approximately 90 minutes from McAdenville to Cramerton. After everyone ends their paddle in Cramerton, a shuttle will bring you back to McAdenville.
 
There are 15 spots for this trip with the option to choose from a single or tandem sit-on-top kayak with associated gear. Please use this unique registration link (promo code Presby) to reserve your kayak! Please use Promo Code PRESBY to unlock the ticket. The registration fee is $30 and includes all gear, kayak guide and shuttle.
 
Registration will close at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18. Guests must be 4 years of age in a tandem kayak with an adult or 8 years of age in a single kayak with an adult in another boat. This guided tour, good for all ages and abilities, will leave from the Catawba Boathouse and end in Cramerton, near Goat Island. Cost is $25/person and includes all equipment and instruction.
Sunday, May 22
Plant-Based Eating Experience
  • After all services: Plant-based snacks and recipes
Curious about plant-based eating and what it can do for your personal health and the health of the environment? Following services on Sunday, May 22, experience plant-based snacks and get recipes to try at home.

Outdoor Ministry Activities

Earth Care for Sacred Spaces: Campus Gardening and Beautification 

Every other Wednesday on Covenant campus
Help cultivate the Columbarium and other garden spaces on Covenant’s campus, including the preschool playground area. We’ll spend time improving, restoring and beautifying the landscape of this sacred space. Activities will include weeding, digging, and planting. Come dressed to get dirty and bring gardening tools, including shears, pruners, shovels, rakes and a wheelbarrow, if you have them.  

Community Care: Gleaning 

Be a part of the solution to food waste and food insecurity by spending time with Covenant friends collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.  Join Covenant friends for outings over the summer. Sign up below to indicate your interest in joining this team and to receive updates on dates and times for gleaning opportunities. Specific dates and times to be determined.  

Fresh Air and Fellowship: Hike with Covenant

Community Care: Stream Cleans 

Join Covenant friends for fresh air, fellowship and family-friendly hike in the woods at a nearby trail.  A great opportunity to get to know people and check out new trails around town.
Join Covenant friends at the Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary as we enjoy nature and beautify the space by removing litter in and around the wetland ponds and along the banks of Briar Creek.   Covenant has adopted this stretch of the creek, committing to quarterly beaufication events.  

Urban Hikes/Sunday Strolls

Join Covenant friends for an easy, fully accessible urban hike, good for all ages and abilities.  
Sunday, July 24 at 7:00 p.m. Location to be determined
Sunday, October 2 at 4:00 p.m. Location to be determined 

An Eastertide Covenant Community Challenge

Sunday, April 24 through Sunday, May 29

This challenge is about responding to the call to climate action by making significant personal commitments to changing our lifestyles for the climate. Each week, we will encourage reflection on sustainable choices we can make as individuals and as a congregation through the lens of a theological theme.  We will invite the community to share ideas on a creative “commitment tree”, filling the installation with leaves that represent personal commitments and, each week, will celebrate an activity or event that moves us closer to the goal of climate sustainability.  Click here for full details on activities. 


Natural Resources/Historical Interpretive Hikes

Sunday, May 15, 3:00 p.m. at Buffalo Creek Preserve 
Join a natural habitat and resources interpretive hike led by Covenant member Bruce Chapman and Carolina Thread Trail Conservation Preserve Manager Will Raurk at Buffalo Creek Nature Preserve.
September 10 at 9:00 a.m. at Forney Creek Trail
Enjoy a guided historical interpretive hike along Forney Creek Trail trail in Denver, N.C., led by Catawba Lands Conservancy specialist Andy Kane.  

Paddle with Covenant

Saturday, May 21
Kayaking with Covenant
  • 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Slow Flow Kayaking with friends 
Join the Catawba Riverkeeper on Saturday, May 21 from 2pm-3:30pm for a kayak trip on the South Fork of the Catawba River! You’ll meet at the South Fork McAdenville Greenway and Blueway Launch where you’ll meet your kayak guide and get equipped to paddle for approximately 90 minutes from McAdenville to Cramerton. After everyone ends their paddle in Cramerton, a shuttle will bring you back to McAdenville.
 
There are 15 spots for this trip with the option to choose from a single or tandem sit-on-top kayak with associated gear. Please use this unique registration link (promo code Presby) to reserve your kayak! Please use Promo Code PRESBY to unlock the ticket. The registration fee is $30 and includes all gear, kayak guide and shuttle.
 
Registration will close at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18. Guests must be 4 years of age in a tandem kayak with an adult or 8 years of age in a single kayak with an adult in another boat. This guided tour, good for all ages and abilities, will leave from the Catawba Boathouse and end in Cramerton, near Goat Island. Cost is $25/person and includes all equipment and instruction.

Fresh Air, Fellowship and Fly Fishing

Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
A free introductory class (all equipment provided!) with classroom and on-the-water learning through the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education at DuPont State Forest in Hendersonville, NC.

Campus Assessment

Contemplative Hikes

Using the Interfaith Power and Light resource and process guide, we will examine Covenant’s carbon footprint and propose recommendations for taking steps toward a greener campus and providing tools and resources for individuals to live into our call to care for the environment.
Action items could include:
● Planting a native pollinator garden on campus,
● Examining and enhancing our campus recycling program,
● Installing solar panels and/or EV charging stations on campus,
● Creating a community compost bin,
● Installing a bike rack,
● Committing to environmentally-friendly landscaping, and
● Offering a program on climate-friendly investing, etc.
When:
● Spring/Summer 2022
June 21 and December 21
Spend time in guided contemplation on an easy local hike.  Tuesday, June 21st at 6:30 p.m. for the Summer Solstice and Wednesday, December 21st at 4:15 p.m. for the Winter Solstice.  Locations are to be determined.