Church of the Covenant
Boston, Massachusetts

This Week at Covenant
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Blessing of the Animals
St. Clare & St. Francis Sunday
Season of Creation
This Sunday at Covenant
Worship Service
10:30 am via Zoom: click here

Bulletin: Click here to download

Scripture Readings:
Psalm 148, Hosea 2, Philippians 4

Worship Participants:
Worship Leaders – Barbara Darling, Evelyn Kimber, Nancy Stockford, Rev. Rob Mark
Lector – Harry Forsdick
Minister of Music – Tom Handel
Vocals  Barbara Darling and Ted Goodfleisch
Choreography – Kaitlyn Martin Fox
Cantor – Tom Reid
This Upcoming Week at Covenant
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.

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: This Sunday, as we continue on into the Season of Creation, we will engage in a our annual blessing of the animals. If you have a companion animal – from kitten to chicken – please invite them to church!! Since we are on Zoom, there is no fear of bringing allergies to others, or need to bring kitty litter into the pews! In addition to asking God’s blessing on these beloved companions, we will also remember those animals who have died and we still hold tightly in our hearts. So please feel welcome to bring a picture to share – or a photo of a friend’s pet, etc. We will each have a moment to share the name of an animal we are asking God’s blessings upon. Also, as we honor St. Clare and St. Francis, consider bringing your Zoom device outside if possible so we can worship together in nature. The weather should be good! If this is not possible, perhaps find a favorite plant or photo that reminds you of nature into your view so others can see as we Zoom in together.

COLUMBARIUM AT COTC? ADULT ED TODAY SUNDAY OCTOBER 11: Directly following worship on Zoom. Join us as we hear a report from our Building Committee on a specific proposal on installing a columbarium in the back vestibule of our sanctuary and how this can be funded and maintained. A second survey of the congregation will follow this important discussion – thank you for joining us.

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.
  • Sundays, October 11-25 Special Series on Climate Jubilee:
  • October 11 Blessing of the Animals Service
  • October 18 Communion, Rev. Rob preaching climate jubilee
  • October 25 Rev. Rob preaching climate jubilee

Upcoming Adult Eds following worship on Sundays:
  • Oct. 11 – presentation and congregational meeting on the columbarium proposal at COTC
  • Oct. 18 – Question 2 on MA Ballot – Rank Choice Voting with Rev. Vernon Walker, followed by Informal Coffee Half-hour getting to know Rev. Joshua

Here are the Zoom details for Sundays:
join by computer/tablet/smartphone:
one tap mobile:
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. 

WEDS EVENING PRAYERS (on Zoom) 6-6:30pm: Following three successful outdoor evening prayer sessions, we will begin moving inside and Zooming together for weekly evening prayers beginning this Weds. Oct. Zoom link: Please email Rev. Rob if you have questions:

STAFF TRANSITION: We are sorry to share Hillary Gabbidon, our Parish Administrator for the past two years, has taken on another full time position with Gordon-Conwell, and so is finishing her work with us. We give thanks to God for Hillary’s presence and service to our congregation over these years, and we pray her God’s deepest blessings as she continues in the work of ministry. Stay tuned for a goodbye communication from Hillary to the congregation soon. 

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST: At this important time as our nation and church face the realities of racial justice, police brutality and white supremacy with renewed intention, please consider joining us for this next church book discussion. For our Covenant book group discussion in October we have agreed to read and discuss Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Anti-Racist. We'll meet via Zoom to discuss that book on Sunday, Oct 25, at 5 pm.

CONGREGATION CLIMATE JUSTICE VOTER CHALLENGE: Covenant’s Council voted unanimously on August 18 to join the Congregation Climate Justice Voter Challenge initiated by the Southern New England Conference of the UCC. Needless to say, our country is at an important crossroads this year and our ability to address and deal with climate change and climate justice issues, as well as other important social justice issues which are important to us, will be affected by our elections this Fall. This is true at all levels – local, state and Federal. So voter engagement is crucial! And Council accepted the recommendation of the Climate Jubilee Team to join this Challenge for at least 75% of our members to sign. So please sign!--at this link: (

By signing the Pledge, one simply says that they “pledge to be a consistent voter” and “always to prioritize caring for God’s creation in how I vote.” The Challenge has two levels: First, individual congregations are asked to challenge themselves to have a least 75% of their members commit to being faithful and regular voters. Second, the Southern New England Conference's Environmental Ministries Team hopes that many churches in MA, CT and RI will join in accepting the Challenge for their congregations.

More information on the Congregation Climate Justice Voter Challenge is on the website ( 

40 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THIS COUNTRY: Our siblings in faith at the Sudbury Presbyterian Church invite us to join them in praying each day in advance of the election:

VOTE: Questions about if you are registered, where or how to vote?

BALLOT QUESTION #2Adult Ed following worship on Sunday, October 18, we welcome Rev. Vernon Walker who will speak to us about the importance of voting Yes on 2 to help bring Rank Choice Voting to our Commonwealth.

VIRTUAL SUPER SATURDAY (UCC): Saturdays October 24, 2020 and October 31, 2020, 9am-3pm, $10

BIBLE STUDY ON WEDNESDAY MORNINGS: We gather on Zoom at 10:00 am for about an hour for a "BYOB" (bring your own Bible) gathering. Currently, we are exploring the Book of Psalms, which runs the gamut of human emotion. Drop in any week!
join by computer/tablet/smartphone:
one tap mobile:
join by phone:
(646) 558 8656, Meeting ID: 104 478 666, Password: 581626

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

20s-30s-40s GROUP AT COVENANT: We have an active young adult group that meets regularly to create community, even while we can’t be together physically. Join us on Monday evenings at 7:30 PM for a weekly time to pray and connect via conference call at (712) 432-0220, access code 2667480#. If you’d like to be added to our email list, contact one of our group leaders: Kathryn Barry, Melissa Morgan, Tom Reid, or Rev. Joshua at

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:
  2. Download free app: GIVEPLUS+ (GIVE+ by Vanco Services, LLC) in the App Store, Google Play, or at 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!

A SAINT FOR ALL SAINTS: A Conversation about the Life and Legacy of The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray – Sunday November 1, 2020, 4 pm on ZOOM - Emmanuel Church, Boston. Register:
Panelist include:
  • Melissa Wood Bartholomew, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Harvard Divinity School and racial justice and healing practitioner;
  • The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Canon Theologian at the National Cathedral, Dean of Episcopal Divinity School, and leader in womanist theology and racial reconciliation;
  • The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, openly transgender theologian and Rector of St. Aidan’s San Francisco.
Moderated by The Rev. Dr. Yolanda Rolle, Episcopal-Anglican Chaplain at Howard University.

MOURNING ALL THE SAINTS (UCC): It has been a year of abundant grief. On top of the pain and loss we experience collectively in what we used to call “normal” times, this year has added 205,000 (and counting) Saints to the numbers of those who have gone before. This year has added trauma and pain and loss in ways that continue to hold our hearts captive. This year has called a reckoning of systems towards Justice, and the slow pains of growth and awareness and the impact of struggle on people trying to hold it together. And this year has called us to cling fast to faith with clarity and strength and prayer. So in calling on our faith that all those who have gone before are in community with All Saints, you are invited to join us in honoring those who have passed, especially to COVID-19, for a service of All Saints with music, prayer, and lifting of names. We will gather via Zoom on November 1st at 6pm ET. To contribute a name to the visual list of people in memoriam, simply fill out this form and the name will be included. To register:

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.

Resources In Light of COVID-19:
Personal Practices: (as reminders)
  • 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.

67 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02116