Church of the Covenant
Boston, Massachusetts

This Week at Covenant
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Breathe:
Easter Sunday
This Sunday at Covenant
Worship Service
10:30 am via Zoom: click here

Bulletin: click here

Scripture Readings:
Isaiah 25:6-9
Mark 16:1-8

Worship Participants:
Preaching – Rev. Rob Mark
Minister of Music – Tom Handel
Attending to the Breath Guide – Lauren Star
Liturgist – Rev. Joshua Lazard
Lector – Nancy Hollomon
Time with Children – Rev. Kate Carlisle
Jesus Prayer in Aramaic – Claudine Ellyin
Vocalists – Tom Reid, Betsy Groves, Tim Groves, Barbara Darling, David McKinney, Kathryn Barry, Nancy Stockford, Anita Gram, Christine James, Mocky Day, Sarah Perrault, Theodor Langenbruch, Arnold Rots, Rachel Case
Redline Brass – Kyle Spraker, Trumpet; Andrew Moreschi, Trumpet; Nick Rubenstein, French Horn; Philip Hyman, Bass Trombone; Michael Tybursky, Bass Trombone

Cover Art: The Promise, by Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity, A Sanctified Art, Inspired by Mark 16:1-8 | Acrylic & gold leaf on canvas
This Upcoming Week at Covenant
EASTER BLESSINGS & PEACE BE WITH YOU IN THESE DAYS:
We are so grateful to be connected as a family of faith! As we all do our part to love our neighbor as ourselves to help “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus/COVID-19, our building remains closed; all meetings and events that are offered, including worship, have shifted to an online or conference call format.

We are grateful for the technology that allows the majority of us to gather together online. And in faith and through God’s ceaseless, amazing grace—as we practice “social distancing” we also practice “spiritual nearing” to each other and the Sweet Holy Spirit.

The announcements that follow reflect the ongoing abundant life that is Church of the Covenant.

GOOD FRIDAY GLOBAL PANDEMICS STONEWALK:
Today, Good Friday, at some point between 3-5pm, the Peace Abbey's Global Pandemics Stonewalk will arrive at the steps of Church of the Covenant for a few moments of prayer and solidarity. Rob will be on hand to welcome it on behalf of our wider community. If you have any specific prayers, or names of people who have been affected, died, or impacted by the pandemics we have collectively faced this past year, please email Rob (rob.mark@cotcbos.org) a name or prayer you'd like him to read during this moment of public lament. For more info on this stonewalk that begins at the State House, see: https://www.peaceabbey.org/stonewalk-intl-requiem-memorial-walk/ or facebook.com/PeaceAbbeyFoundation

OUR BRASS MUSIC SUNDAY, THANKS TO REDLINE BRASS, is offered in celebration of the life of Ed Cutler (May, 1935 –September, 2006). Ed was a beloved member of Church of the Covenant with a passion for music. In his youth he sang and played the violin. Before he lost his vision he sang in community and church choirs. He was a biology professor, avid “birder,” and environmentalist who served on many local environmental committees. At COTC, he served on the Personnel Committee, supported youth group pilgrimages, and chaired the committee that called Minister of Music Tom Handel.

ATTENDING TO THE BREATH - INTRODUCTION TO OUR BREATHING GUIDE: Lauren Star has been teaching hatha yoga for 18 years, and at the core of hatha yoga is conscious breathing exercises. She was originally trained in the Sivananda Lineage at Ananda Kutir Ashram in CapeTown, South Africa. More recently she completed her Master's Degree in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University (2020), and is currently working on a post-graduate certificate in Yoga Therapy. She has taught yoga and conscious breathing to people of all ages, in a variety of settings, including Women's Lunch Place! Conscious breathing is a practice with physiological benefits, including stress management and pain reduction. Many believe it has spiritual benefits as well, and it has been used by monks and nuns in many traditions as a way of turning within and connecting with God. During the Lenten services this year, Lauren Star will lead us in some simple 'conscious breathing' practices. Some of these will include gentle movement. We look forward to hearing your experiences of 'attending to the breath' and where that leads you physically, mentally, and spiritually.

UPCOMING WORSHIP ON SUNDAYS: Please join us each Sunday at 10:30 am as we come together in community through Zoom to pray, sing, share celebrations and concerns, and hear God’s still-speaking Word proclaimed.
  • HOLY WEEK:
  • Good Friday April 2, 7:00pm Tenebrae Service in solidarity with Bedford (NH), Clinton, Burlington, and Eliot (Lowell) Presbyterian Churches (Zoom link)
  • Holy Saturday April 3, Noon-1pm Sacred Vigil on your own (devotional ideas to be emailed out) - Breathe
  • Easter Sunday, April 4, 10:30am Rev. Rob preaching, Communion, Redline Brass
  • April 11, 10:30 am Guest Preacher, Rev. Brian Ellison from Covenant Network
  • April 18, Presbytery of Boston led worship service, vegan potluck
  • April 25, Earth Sunday service led by New England GLOW Youth collaborative

Here are the Zoom details for Sundays:
join by computer/tablet/smartphone:
one tap mobile:
+16465588656,,91025989890#,,#,892502#
join by phone:
+1 646 558 8656, Meeting ID: 910 2598 9890, Password: 892502

Some suggestions to aid in your worship for you to consider:
  1. Printing the bulletin out in advance so you have it during worship
  2. Pulling the bulletin up on a second device/phone/screen
  3. Pulling both the bulletin up and Zoom, and switch between them as needed. The liturgy, songs, and scripture are the important times to have this bulletin visible if possible.
  4. And if none of these options work for you, no worries—just following the link will be fine – you will be able to worship fully. 

CHILDREN'S AND YOUTH PROGRAMMING: Each Sunday beginning at 9:45AM we gather using Zoom for Godly Play and Youth Class. Our Godly Play class gathers to sing, share news with each other, pray together, and hear ancient and contemporary stories of our faith. Our Youth Class shares their weekly gathering rituals and explores topics of interest and curiosity in faith and identity. If you need a Zoom link, email children@cotcbos.org or contact Rev. Kate at kate.carlisle@cotcbos.org.

20s-30s-40s GROUP AT COVENANT: We have a vital group for young adults, young professionals and students – and we’d love you to join us! We currently hold brunches (virtual for the time-being) on the third Sunday of each month. If you would like to be added to our email list, or connect one-to-one, please contact Rev. Joshua at joshua.lazard@cotcbos.org

BIBLE STUDY - FRIDAYS 11AM: Our virtual Bible Study is meeting at 11:00 am on Fridays, and we will begin a study of the Gospel of Mark. If you have questions, please contact Nancy Ammerman at ntammerman@gmail.com. We gather on Zoom for about an hour for a “BYOB” (bring your own Bible) gathering. Drop in any week! No homework required! https://zoom.us/j/104478666?pwd=MHAwdEY5VVNvdVFkbVA1R2U3Z3NnUT09
join by phone: (646) 558 8656, Meeting ID: 104 478 666, Password: 581626
 
EASTER EVENING PRAYERS 4/14 & 4/28: Join us on two Wednesdays this month (April 14 and 28) during this Easter season from 6-6:30pm for our evening prayer service. As we did in Lent, if you'd like to help choose a reading for either of these services, please email. Zoom link for each Wednesday.

COVENANT BOOK DISCUSSION:
Covenant's book group will meet by Zoom on Sunday, April 25, at 5 PM to discuss the book Dear White Christians by Jennifer Harvey. As always, you are welcome whether or not you have read any of the book and whether or not you have ever attended a Covenant book discussion. For more information email Barbara; Zoom link forthcoming.

EARTH DAY BOSTON 2021:
Evelyn Kimber is once again helping connect is with this year’s Earth Day Boston 2021 free virtual event on Thursday, April 22, 7-8 PM. Tune in here! Rev. Rob has the honor of giving the invocation. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day last year revitalized the date as a day of action and events to heal and protect the environment and raise the alarm for the climate crisis. National Earth Day and Earth Day Boston were established to bring people together in this effort that impacts every living thing. Covenant is actively engaged as a Partner in both national and local organizing teams.

CLIMATE POTLUCK & EARTH SUNDAY:
Covenant will celebrate Earth Month on Sunday, April 18, following a Presbytery led worship service, and by virtually sharing an after-service Plant-Based Meal and Discussion on how food choices impact the environment and climate change. Covenant’s longtime vegans will be on hand for an “Ask Anything Q & A” about making a shift towards living more plant-based. On Sunday April 25, the New England youth collaborative (GLOW) will led us in an Earth Sunday worship service at 10:30am.

CREW INTERFAITH CLIMATE SUMMIT: Healing, Helping, and Building Resilience: Sunday, April 11, 2pm. Click here to register.

MOTHER'S DAY WALK FOR PEACE MAY 9, 9am: The annual Louis D. Brown Peace Institute of Dorchester, will be doing their annual Mother's Day Walk for Peace again virtually. But this year you can also commit to walking each day for 25 days starting the day after Easter, in solidarity. This Walk is the Institute's major public fundraiser of the year. Please consider supporting the important resurrection work they do all year: support and healing to those who have lost a family member to homicide and to those families on the other side, support to community trying to heal, and work to prevent any further violence. The Peace Institute stands in the dark places, and brings true light, through its stated principles: Love, Unity, Faith, Hope, Courage, Justice, and Forgiveness. Knowing that vulnerable populations are hit much harder by our current situation, and aware of the extra pain of those who normally found the community and solidarity of the Walk to be an escape from personal isolation and grief, please give what you can here on the Church of the Covenant Team page, or send a check to Louis D. Brown Peace Institute at the address here.  Contact Diane Lauber with any questions dianelauber@comcast.net or 978-376-6574. Thank you!!

VACCINATIONS: As we all know, our Commonwealth is in the process of ensuring everyone gets a COVID-19 vaccine according to MA/CDC guidelines/ phasing – yet the process can feel a bit daunting and frustrating. As we give thanks for the miraculous reality of these vaccines, we lament the unequal access still in our state, and the confusing roll out. There is a new Mass.gov site by the Commonwealth where you can pre-register to be alerted when you are eligible and when there is availability: vaccinesignup.mass.gov/#/ If you are feeling confused, you are not alone, and we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Rob, Joshua, Kate or our Deacons if you could use some help in making sense of this and making a plan to get vaccinated. We also recommend everyone be in touch with their PCP as a first step. And remember, even in the face of a long history of unequal health care access, we at COTC deeply believe in the importance and efficacy of this vaccine as a necessary next step in reaching public health. Here are some helpful websites: https://www.macovidvaccines.com/ and https://www.cic-health.com/vaccines-location#fenway in addition to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-data-and-updates

WHAT CAN I DO ONCE VACCINATED?
As we give thanks that increasing numbers of people are getting vaccinated, many are asking this question, here are a few guidelines: 

FACING OUR RACISM WORKSHOP: Our friends at Co-operative Metropolitan Ministry are organizing an excellent few hours long workshop, join Rev. Rob, $45 (scholarships available - please ask Rob), “Facing Our Racism: Becoming Conscious Partners” on Sunday, May 16, noon-4:30pm – click here to register.

A CHALLENGING SEASON & MOTHER'S DAY CARDS: One way we can help those experiencing homelessness in downtown Boston is to support our partners Women's Lunch Place who have an ongoing wish list for items, found here: https://womenslunchplace.org/in-kind-donations. You can also support WLP by purchasing beautiful Mother's Day cards designed by WLP guest Darcy.

ARE YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW FACING FINANCIAL CHALLENGES? Info on fuel and electricity discounts in MA available here.

CONTINUED GIVING: Even in face of important, life-giving changes, our COTC ministry remains moving full steam ahead. Our staff and pastors continue to be hard at work. Our building continues to be faithfully stewarded. Our deacons and pastors continue to carry out vital pastoral care in these days. Therefore, your continued generosity and giving to help support the work of our church community is even more valued in these challenging days. And we are deeply grateful for your tangible signs of generosity. Here are a few ways you can continue to financially support the church and its ministries:
  1. Directly on our website: http://www.cotcbos.org/give.html
  2. Download free app: GIVEPLUS+ (GIVE+ by Vanco Services, LLC) in the App Store, Google Play, or at https://giveplushelp.vancopayments.com. Then, type in our zip code 02116 to find Church of the Covenant. Both online options allow you to make a one-time or a recurring gift.
  3. If you are uncomfortable with online giving, yes, you can still mail checks!

ZOOM Tutorials: If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, click this link Zoom How To for a video on how to join Zoom Meetings. Here are a few step by step procedures on how to join a Zoom meeting from your specific device.


BUILDING ACCESS: Our church building remains closed except for services connected with Women’s Lunch Place, our Food Pantry, and a subset of our church staff (Rev. Rob, Tom Handel, Bill Brown, Alan Lane, Faith Perry, Nancy Stockford, and Chuck Ferrell), who only enter for specific and limited purposes. All other staff, church leaders, and key holders are required to keep away from the church building until further notice. While we are not opening for our normal Open Sanctuary program this year, we have protocols in place to allow for safe group tours by appointment through Bill Brown.

THE APRIL ISSUE OF THE COVENANT NEWS can be read online here
Resources In Light of COVID-19:
Personal Practices: (as reminders)
  • Vaccinations: Here are some helpful websites: https://www.macovidvaccines.com/ and https://www.cic-health.com/vaccines-location#fenway in addition to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-data-and-updates
  • As per Commonwealth's new law, be sure to where a face and nose covering when you are outside, or in need of entering a store for essential needs.
  • Throughout the day, wash your hands for 20 seconds while singing the doxology or "this little light of mine" or saying a prayer for the world. Soap, rigorous rubbing and rinsing is the best way to stop the virus/ germs.
  • When hand-washing is not an option, use hand sanitizer, rub hands well, and air dry your hands.
  • Drink water, a lot! Hydration is a great way to stay healthy, and if any virus comes to you, water does a great job in helping to rid the lungs and body and restore health sooner. "Its great to hydrate!"
  • Avoid all large gatherings - stay put as much as you can - and of course keep loving your neighbor fully by keeping that sacred social distance of 6-feet away.
  • Sneeze and cough into your armpit. Then wash your hands anyway. Wash your clothes regularly.
  • Do the impossible by avoiding to touch your beautiful faces. :)
  • Clean/ sanitize commonly used surfaces regularly.
  • Even if you're young and healthy, it is critical that you take all of these steps because they help protect the rest of your community. You'll reduce the risk of unknowingly passing on the disease to someone else.
  • Do everything you can to follow these guidelines and take care of yourself. And if you're able, please take care of your friends, your family, your neighbors, and anyone around you who might need a little extra help — pick up groceries for an older neighbor or order takeout from a local restaurant that is struggling.
  • And again, with each pump of the hand sanitizers, each washing of the hands in these days, let us remember not just our own needs, but the needs of others. With each pump, a prayer: "God, may your blessings of wellness, wholeness, health and healing come to all in harm's way. And over, and in, and through all, may there be love blanketing all. In the strong name of Christ we pray, Amen."

Take Media Breaks & Get Outside: In these days of rapidly shifting realities, it is tempting to stay glued to media - public radio, news, websites. While it is important on some levels for us to stay in tune and be aware with what is unfolding - it is also an important psychological and spiritual step to take a break from it all at times. Unplug. Turn off. Go outside and seek out an early blooming crocus. Look up at tree buds beginning to bloom. Take a walk. Take a nap. Read a book. Veg out. Listen to music. Sing. Call a friend. Whatever relaxes and calms, take a break, and breathe deep.

Pastoral Care: We are continuing to check in on one another in these days - but if you are in any particular need for a visit or a call, please reach out to your pastors or your deacons.
Here are some helpful pages, with live links:

Finally, as we continue to hear the daily refrain of COVID-19, I offer us Psalm 19 as a hopeful, spiritual counter-refrain:
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
  and the elements Her handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
  and night to night declares wisdom.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
   their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens, God has set a tent for the sun...
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable to you,
   O God, my rock and my redeemer.

617.266.7480  info@cotcbos.org  www.cotcbos.org
67 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02116