Church of the Covenant
Boston, Massachusetts

This Week at Covenant
Sunday, May 2, 2021
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Sacraments of Baptism & Communion
This Sunday at Covenant
Worship Service
10:30 am via Zoom: click here

Bulletin: click here

Scripture Readings:
Jeremiah 17:7-8
John 15:4-5
Mark 8:22-25
Revelation 22:1-2

Worship Participants:
Preaching – Rev. Rob Mark
Minister of Music – Tom Handel
Liturgists/Lectors – Rev. Joshua Lazard, Rev. Kate Carlisle, Barbara Darling, Diane Lauber
Cantors – Tim Groves and Rev. 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.

FREE TREES!! & ARBOR DAY:
Our Climate Jubilee Team is teaming up with Boston’s Speak for the Trees and offering free tree seedlings to anyone who is interested: Persimmon, Fraiser Fir, Bur Oak, White Oak, and Sweetgum. On Saturday, May 1, 1-3 pm, we will be safely handing these out from the steps of COTC, and also giving remaining seedlings away to anyone. Drop offs also available. Please email Betty Southwick if interested. 

CLIMATE JUBILEE ADULT ED SUNDAY AFTER WORSHIP: On this Arbor Day weekend, please join us as the Climate Jubilee Team leads us in a second adult ed based on the theme of trees, with a discussion of how science is revealing all that trees and forests can teach us about resilience, community, affection and even jubilee. If you can, come to this session having reviewed some or all of the readings and videos linked here. We look forward to sharing some time together on the same Zoom channel following worship. 

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.
  • May 2, Rev. Rob preaching, Baptism of Hannah Miller Waters & Communion / Climate Jubilee Adult Ed around Arbor Day
  • May 9, Rev. Rob preaching
  • May 16, Rev. Joshua preaching, Communion
  • May 23, Pentecost

IN CASE OF MAJOR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES DURING WORSHIP: Should any major technical glitches arise during worship and Zoom become challenged / the meeting end before worship is over, please relocate to our YouTube livestream page where a new livestream will start up. In the case of minor technological glitches (your mic doesn’t work, your video doesn’t seem to work), feel free to reach out to any church staff member for assistance.

EASTER EVENING PRAYERS: Join us each Wednesday during this Easter season 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 Wednesday.

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!!

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.

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.

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 are currently studying the book of Acts. 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

COVENANT BOOK DISCUSSION: Covenant's book group will meet by Zoom on Sunday, May 23, at 5 PM to discuss the second half of 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.

REMINDER: COTCCONNECTS & COTCBOS LISTSERVS:
In December, Yahoo! Groups closed permanently and we moved the longstanding COTC community discussion group listservs over to a service called groups.io. While groups.io has been working very well for our purposes these last few months, we have noticed many folks either have not joined yet or have not been able to join. We know that, in particular, there was difficulty for some of you with gmail addresses due to the gmail outages in December. If you have not been receiving occasional emails marked [cotcbos] and [cotcconnects], you are not enrolled for either or both of those listservs. This announcement is a reminder and encouragement to sign up for COTC Connects and COTCBOS, if you would like. COTC Connects is a moderated listserv for church-related matters such as prayer requests and event updates. COTCBOS is the unmoderated listserv for non-church-related matters, such as questions, requests, job postings, life updates, etc. Official announcements from the church, including This Week at Covenant, continue to be sent out from Constant Contact. To join COTC Connects, send an email to cotcconnects+subscribe@groups.io. To join COTCBOS, send an email to cotcbos+subscribe@groups.io. Be sure to send those emails from the address with which you want to join. For assistance with joining or any other listserv issues, please email Kate at kate.carlisle@cotcbos.org. See more about signing up for COTC communications here.

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. Everyone ages 16+ is now eligible for the vaccine. See this Mass.gov website where you can pre-register 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: 

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:
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.

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