Church of the Covenant
Boston, Massachusetts

This Week at Covenant
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Epiphany Sunday
This Sunday at Covenant
Worship Service
10:30 am via Zoom: click here

Bulletin: Click here to download

Scripture Readings:
Isaiah 60:1-6
Matthew 2:1-12

Worship Participants:
Preacher – Rev. Rob Mark
Liturgist – Nancy Ammerman
Lector Joe Waters
Star Words Wizard – Rev. Kate Carlisle
Minister of Music – Tom Handel
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.

ADULT ED FOLLOWING WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY:
Caring for Boston's First Public Parks: 50 Years of Stewardship and Advocacy, by our own Liz Vizza, President of the Friends of the Public Garden, on her work, mission (and ministry!) in that sacred space just down the block from Covenant's sanctuary for the benefit of us, our city, Commonwealth, and world! This presentation will speak about the story of how these parks were almost beyond saving in the late 1960s, and how the Friends worked with the City to restore and care for them, including times of fighting the powers that be. Don't miss this one!

STAR WORDS: For several years now, we have received Star Words on Epiphany Sunday to serve as guides for prayer and discernment in the coming year. This year, we're distributing Star Words virtually. If you're in worship Sunday, we'll let you know how to get your Star Word. If you can't make it, email Rev. Kate next week at kate.carlisle@cotcbos.org to request a Star Word. Whether you write your word on a post-it or cut out and decorate a star, put your star word somewhere you can see it and bring your thoughts back to it over the coming year.

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.
  • Sunday, January 10, Epiphany Sunday
  • Sunday, January 17, MLK Sunday, Rev. Rob preaching, Communion
  • Sunday, January 24, Rev. Joshua preaching

Here are the Zoom details for Sunday:
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. 

LENT IS COMING (DEVOTIONALS): Lent begins Feb. 17 with our Ash Wednesday service on Zoom at 6:30pm. In preparation for this season, our Worship and Music committee would like to let you know you will all be provided with a free PDF copy of A Sanctified Art daily Lenten devotional. In addition, for those who prefer booklets to hold, here are some we recommend (please let Rob know if you have any financial limitations and we will purchase a copy for you):
 
20s-30s-40s GROUP AT COVENANT: We are currently planning our calendar of events through the Lenten season. Please be on the lookout for upcoming virtual events. If you would like to be added to our email list, contact Rev. Joshua at joshua.lazard@cotcbos.org.

WEDNESDAY EVENING ADVENT PRAYERS 6-6:30pm: Our next Weds. Evening prayer will be on Weds. Jan. 13, 6-6:30pm. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88999202076?pwd=bU9XQ0JuR0F1bXhrTUV2eVBDcHIxdz09

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!
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 children@cotcbos.org or contact Rev. Kate at kate.carlisle@cotcbos.org.

ANNUAL MEETING: Our Annual Meeting will be Sunday Feb. 7, 2021 following worship on Zoom.

CLIMATE JUBILEE TEAM ACTION REQUEST: You may have heard that the Mass. legislature has passed a very exciting and comprehensive climate bill and your Climate Jubilee Team is asking you to call Governor Baker--as we all have done--and urge him to sign it immediately. The number to call for Gov. Baker is (617) 725-4005. And then please let us know you've done so by emailing me at barbarakdarling@yahoo.com
The bill prioritizes environmental justice in clear and concrete language and boldly addresses the climate crisis, fitting in beautifully with our Climate Jubilee missional focus. See below for details from the Environmental League of Massachusetts. And then please take two minutes and call the Governor! Even if you're in the Covenant diaspora and don't live in MA, you can mention that you attend church in Boston.
(617) 725-4005.
The legislature sent An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy to the Governor's desk for his signature. This bill will ensure the Commonwealth steadily and permanently reduces its greenhouse gas emissions at the scale and pace that science demands. Further, it codifies critical environmental justice language into law, giving power to low-income, immigrant, and communities of color that have borne the brunt of environmental burdens for decades. This bill will fight climate change and put us on a path toward a more equitable future.

NO PLACE AT THE INN? A CHALLENGING WINTER: For many reasons, this will be a challenging winter. 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.

ARE YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW FACING FINANCIAL CHALLENGES? Info on fuel and electricity discounts in MA: https://www.greennewton.org/experiencing-financial-difficulty-you-may-be-eligible-for-electricity-and-fuel-discounts/

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!

ART ON BULLETIN COVER: Arise, Shine by Lauren Wright Pittman, Inspired by Isaiah 60 |A note from the artist: “As exiles returned home to Israel from Babylon, the prophetic words of this text would have been a glittering, hopeful, light-filled dream. This is precisely the kind of vision Israel would need to have a renewed sense of empowerment and a redefined goal for restoring Jerusalem. This dream for Jerusalem is a complete overturning of what had become the norm in Israel’s troubled history. Instead of emptying their resources out in offering to overbearing empires, all nations would come to Jerusalem, bearing gifts, elevating Israel to a position of influence never before reached.10 This is the kind of overturning that fuels dreamers throughout the scriptures. For the oppressed, downtrodden, and cast-aside, God says, “Arise, shine; for your light has come.” These texts are filled to the brim with dreams to help us persevere on the path to realizing God’s dream for Creation. 
I’ve been told that I’m naive because my hopes for the world are desperate and wildly unrealistic. I’ve been told that once I come of age, I’ll float back to earth and find footing in more grounded understandings of what is possible. To those people, I say: I will continue to set my vision on a horizon that feels impossible and will work toward justice, peace, and equity for all until my dying day. I pray that prophets continue to cast visions of glittering, hopeful, light-filled dreams which become our collective aim until heaven and earth meet.” 

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 JANUARY ISSUE OF THE COVENANT NEWS can be read online here
 
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.

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