Covenant Presbyterian Church - Charlotte, NC

a new season of ministry

In This E-Newsletter:   Worship  |  lEARN & gROW  |  cARE & sUPPORT  |  sERVING oUR nEIGHBORS  |  mEET NEW eLDERS

message from bob henderson

I miss you! A lot. Every day. I pray for you, love hearing from you, and count it one of life’s greatest privileges to participate in this vibrant, strong, and generous congregation. I can’t help but commend you for your resilience and commitment during this pandemic. Nearly every time I turn around, you are making sandwiches for the hungry, writing notes to the lonely, reaching out to someone in need, writing a check, or finding some other path to significance and service. It’s deeply encouraging.

Our process of adapting to a ‘new normal’ continues and let me underline that it is a process. Elders and staff continue to do our best to provide meaningful opportunities for community, service and spiritual growth during this time when we cannot gather in-person. Meanwhile, we are trying to strike just the right balance between making plans for the future while knowing those plans may need to be re-configured.

At present, the Re-Opening Task Force has set no date to return to in-person worship, Sunday School, or other large group activities. However, we have carefully opened the Sanctuary for personal prayer and hosted outdoor on-campus activities such as exercise, youth group, and study groups. Read our letter here about the town hall and please pray for wisdom, vision, and patience.
Let me close with just a bit of reflection: I’ve always known – and have now seen – how the church of Jesus Christ is neither location nor circumstance dependent. When Rome persecuted early Christians, house churches sprang up across the empire and sustained followers of Christ. When Mao Tse Tung outlawed the church in China, again the church went underground and met in homes, basements, and porches – often at night or on odd days – where they drew little attention. When Hitler tried to co-opt the German church, faithful disciples worshiped, worked, and resisted out of sight. In fact, some historians argue that the Christian church comes more fully to life when faced with obstacles and challenges.

Thanks to you, I’ve seen glimpses of this new life recently, and it anchors my soul in hope. I’m convinced that if we ground ourselves in prayer, make wise and faithful choices, and move forward in trust, we will come out of this challenging time in history far richer. I look forward to traveling the journey with you.

Warmly,
 
Bob

what to expect in
worship this fall

We'll stay grounded in familiar rituals -- communion, baptisms and a day to remember those we have lost -- while considering the Christian response to a global pandemic and national reckoning on race and racism.
  • Pardon the Interruption (Aug. 30 - Sept. 27): How do we respond spiritually and personally to interruption in our lives? We can start by studying the examples of Moses, Abraham, Jesus and others. This series takes its cue from Bob's favorite sports talk show.
  • An Exploration of Faith and Race (Oct. 11-25): Inspired by the movement for racial justice, this series will explore how we can become agents of God’s redeeming love to a world very much in need. 
  • All Saints Day (Nov. 1): We'll say thank you for the 'saints' in our lives who entered the heavenly realm during the last 12 months -- those who have mediated to us something of the divine, the sacred, and the holy. This service includes Communion.

new in music ministry

children & youth

Students in grades K-5 can register here for Covenant Children's Choirs.
You will receive digital music recordings, a notebook of printed materials, and access to video and audio lessons to encourage in-home music learning.
For more information, contact Heather Potter.
Youth Singers
All 6th-12th graders are invited to participate in Youth Singers. As opportunities arise to record and participate in worship leadership, Youth Singers will be the go-to group to assist! Contact Heather to register.

covenant choir

Although we are not meeting regularly for worship leadership, we do gather virtually for fellowship and prayer, and you are welcome in that community. Contact Heather to get connected.

As we are able, we will gather in small groups on the Covenant campus to sing together. RSVPs are required for these singing experiences.

outdoor music series

Enjoy beautiful live music and see friendly faces. A carillon prelude at 5:45 p.m. is followed by instrumental programs. Feel free to bring chairs, blankets and picnics. Please limit to one concert so others can have an opportunity.
RSVP for the Sept. 20 concert.

meet incoming elders

The congregation has elected these 10 adult elders to the Session class of 2023 and two Youth
Elders to serve one-year terms beginning Jan. 1.  *Indicates prior service as Elder

Sandra Boozer

Contemporary Worship Team
Mission Teams: Reynosa, Kenya, Holy Land and more
Quest Mentor

Lucy Butler

Campus Construction Team
Property Committee
Capital Campaign Hospitality Team

Mark Folk*

Grants Committee
Men's Sunday School
Prior Co-Chair, Elder Nominating Committee

Hugh Gaither*

Room in the Inn
Elder, First Presbyterian Church - Newton
Chair, Building Committee, FPC Newton

Stephanie Guffin

Youth Impact Team
Middle School Youth Adviser
Mission Teams: Mexico, Avery County, Heifer

Carla Haughton

Project Co-Leader, Covenant Impacts Charlotte
Chair, Search Cmte. for Children's Ministry Director
Sunday School Teacher

Tommy Lawson*

Capital Campaign Leadership
Co-Chair, Stewardship Campaign
Prior Chair, Worship Committee

Hannah Leitner

Co-Chair, Child Development Center Playground Cmte.
Mission and Outreach Member
Quest Leader

John Longshore

Chair, Usher Teams
Elementary and Youth Education
Re-Opening Task Force Consultant

Liz Ward

Leader, Development Team for Mezzanine on Freedom
Volunteer, Highland Renaissance Academy
Member, Phoebe Circle and Small Groups

Elsie Currie

Youth Elder Nominee
High School Youth Ministry
Covenant Impacts Charlotte
CROSS Local Mission Experience

Walton St. Onge

Youth Elder Nominee
High School Youth Ministry
Youth Impact Team
Audio/Visual Worship Team

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.
Caregivers Support Group: Connect with peers and learn helpful ways to take care of yourself as you care for a loved one -- whether at home, in a care facility or long distance. Susan Ferone, MSW, a Covenant member and care coordinator with Caregiving Corner, leads the group via Zoom at 11 a.m. on second Thursdays of every month. The fall session kicks off Sept. 10 and includes a book study on Courage for Caregivers by Henri Nouwen. Contact Susan or reach her at 704-737-2487.
New group for those who have lost a spouse: A new group called SOS (Surviving Our Spouses) will offer fellowship, activities, small groups, personal outreach to newly widowed members, and practical services, when possible. A leadership group found a high level of interest after sending out surveys and contacting nearly 90 Covenant widows and widowers. Our group kicks off with an online welcome gathering led by Katherine Kerr on Sept. 13. Click here to learn more.

Support for those in grief: We are gauging interest in a grief support group that would meet via Zoom. Please contact Katherine if you're interested.

Open Table offers weekly programs, grab-n-go meals

Programs at a glance
  1. Wednesday, Sept. 9: The season kicks off with a virtual talent show starring a wider variety of performers than ever before -- from singers and roller skaters to comedians and magicians. All ages and talents are welcome. 
  2. Sept. 16 to 30: A series called "Making Justice a Habit: Three Challenging Conversations on Race" will bring us together via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. each week.
Sept. 16: Race and the Role of Protest led by Dr. Rodney Sadler, Director of Union Presbyterian's Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation
Sept. 23: Race, Housing and Reparations led by Laura Belcher, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region
Sept. 30: Race and Voter Suppression led by Ray McKinnon, Minister and Principal Consultant for Repairing the Breach
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 will work beginning Wednesday, Sept. 9:
  • 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 will be available a la carte, so you can choose what you want and how many portions you need. Payment will be based upon what you order.
  • All orders must be placed by noon 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.
  • Each week, a blessing will be included with the meal. We’d like to share blessings that hold special meaning to families in our community. Contact Katherine Kerr to share a blessing.

happening in
adult education

  • Connect small groups will convene this fall to offer virtual fellowship and opportunities for conversation with church friends. Sign up here.
  • Look for monthly updates to the Around the Kitchen Table resources to foster conversations on race and racism with family and close friends.
  • Grace and Ian will host a podcast exploring Scripture and its relevance to our times.
  • Uptown Bible Study kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 15 with a look at the Epistle to the Hebrews. We'll seek to better understand who Christ is while also learning a great deal about the religious and cultural contexts from which he came. We'll meet every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Click here for the Zoom link.
    •  Read Hebrews for Everyone by N.T. Wright, which will be a nice (but optional) supplement to our discussions

Below are Sunday School classes reconvening on Sept. 13. Stay tuned to Covenant publications for more details, including Zoom links.

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.
Young Parents Class – Details TBA
Fellowship Class – Meets Sundays at 9:30 a.m. to hear talks by guest teachers from the congregation.
Coffeehouse – Meets on third Sundays at 9:30 for Young Adults to explore intersection of faith and current events.

covenant kids

Weekly Chapel Time via Zoom

Preschool Children's Chapel 
Children ages 2 through TK are invited every Thursday at 11 a.m.
Click here to join us.

Elementary School Children's Chapel 
Beginning Thursday, Sept. 17, children in grades K-3 are invited every Thursday at 2 p.m. Click here to join us.

Zoom Book Study

We loved our summer book read so much that we are doing a fall book read for Grades 4-5.  Up next is Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.
Book discussions and activities are Tuesdays, Sept. 22 and 29 and Oct. 6, 13, and 20 from 5 to 5:30 p.m.  Stay tuned for more details, including Zoom links.

Around the Kitchen Table:
Resources for discussing race, racism with children

Here's a resource to foster conversations with children on race and racism. These selections were chosen by Kim Lee, director of children's ministries.

youth will open season with drive-up program

What: Youth leadership will preview the fall season
When: Sunday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.
Who: Middle and high school youth & families
Where: Upper parking lot at Covenant
How to prepare: Decorate your car in any theme. When you arrive, a volunteer will direct you to a parking spot and take your photo for use in a virtual parade. You'll stay in your car the entire time!

how young adults
are pivoting

Instead of one big kickoff party, Young Adults will host 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.

  • Virtual Faith Team Trivia, Thursday, Aug. 27: Put your knowledge to the test! We'll tap into our competitive spirit (and maybe learn a thing or two). The winning team gets a prize.
  • First Sunday Community Meal: NoDa Deli and Picnic, Sept. 6: Pick up a delicious lunch and then we'll head to the park across the street to enjoy our food picnic-style!
  • Operation Sandwich, Sept. 12: In support of Roof Above (formerly Urban Ministry Center), we'll prepare sandwiches for neighbors experiencing homelessness.
  • Christian Ethics for Young Adults, Sept. 15: Christianity is, fundamentally, about embodying the love of Christ in our every day lives. But what does that actually look like? Consider Christian ethics in relationships (including dating), friendships, work, politics and finances.

ways to serve this fall

Here are ways you can serve as we proclaim the Gospel to a world very much in need. In the above video, Julia shares how Covenant Impacts Charlotte, an annual church-wide day of service, will take on a new format this year.

Capital campaign delivers
on key commitments

While the pandemic has paused so many aspects of our lives, projects funded by the Capital Campaign For a Whole Community continue to move forward, bringing to fruition God’s vision in a time of need.

The Covenant Child Development Center (CDC) now has a fully funded $2 million scholarship endowment, ensuring that Covenant can fulfill its commitment to providing high-quality childcare for families across the economic spectrum.

Three miles away on Freedom Drive, the Mezzanine on Freedom is slated for completion by December. Our congregation has delivered on its $2 million pledge and a leadership team is now studying ways to support new residents in the affordable housing community. Two of the four buildings are open and nearly fully occupied. The remaining two will be finished by November.

The fundraising phase of the capital campaign will continue through 2021. As of the end of July, 87 percent of pledges had been received.

presbyterian women (PW) support local partners

Covenant's Presbyterian Women's group recently announced mission grants for local partners who are carrying out the PW mission of providing hope, help and dignity for women, children and the elderly.

Center for Community Transitions (CCT)- Families Doing Time Program
This nonprofit provides support to men, women and children affected by incarceration.  The ultimate goal is to break the inter-generational cycle of families involved in the criminal justice system. Our dollars will go toward a program called Families Doing Time (FDT), which serves caregivers and children of those incarcerated and includes services like monthly family dinner meetings and tutoring.  

First Gen Success
This organization serves rising high school junior and senior girls who will be the first generation in their families to attend college. The PW grant will fund technological resources such as tablets and hot spots to allow scholars access to programming and resources.

births, marriages, baptisms, prayer concerns, deaths in the church family

Since the world changed in March