Grace Abounds!
Sermon writing and worship preparations are a holy art. I prayerfully engage the living word with imagination, curiosity, and an openness for the Spirit to dance!
My hope as your pastor through “Neeley’s Notions” is to offer stories and perspectives to ignite your own imagination, curiosity, and openness to the Spirit. - this will be a periodical email offering as the Spirit leads!
What is Pentecost?
Pentecost is my favorite day of the church liturgical year. Our Paisley Sims was baptized on Pentecost! 
Pentecost falls fifty days after Easter. When the first Christians gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost, there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind! They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the spirit enabled them to speak. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. Language has power and when the Holy Spirit ignited in every one the ability to speak and hear, to speak and be heard something powerful happened. For us today, when we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit speaking in and through us as the church something powerful happens! 
I love the doves above the font and the fabric draped from the rafters of our sanctuary at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC on Pentecost 2015 when Paisley Sims was baptized.
We read in Acts 2 that on the Day of Pentecost, God gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower witnesses to the resurrection. Therefore, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ – the Church! (pcusa.org)
(See Acts 2:1-13; see also Joel 2:28-32.)
Happy Birthday, Church (universal)!
On Pentecost Sunday, churches celebrate the birthday of the Church! This Sunday we will celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit presence at FPC Covington past, present and future. The prophet Joel wrote and we read again in Acts 2:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young will see visions. Your elders dream dreams.
While studying this text with our Lectio Divina group I found out that our FPC Covington Capital Campaign of 1986 used this very scripture spoken by the prophet Joel as a guiding light. On the day of worship for the consecration of the Sanctuary and Education Building in 1995, the bulletin title reads:
A DREAM FOR THE FUTURE... A VISION FOR WHOSE TIME HAS COME...
This vision that came into fruition in 1995 was birthed because of seeds planted in 1986 and the church’s need to “stretch and reach out in faith.” You can read more about this in our church history titled Toward 2000
A scan of a 1995 building update from the Toward 2000 committee.
Again in 2015, our church recognized a need to dance with the Holy Spirit through building on our past and preserving our future. Therefore, another capitol campaign set forth on a mission to
And the Holy Spirit hasn’t stopped dancing! In 2021, FPC Covington created and adopted a new mission statement: 
FPC Covington is a Christian community existing to glorify God by welcoming all of God’s children. We celebrate through serving, teaching, praying, eating, crying, singing, and dancing with the Holy Spirit. As works in progress, we seek to respond to God’s presence in our church, lives, and community.
I invite you as we near Pentecost Sunday to take a look back at our church history and give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit for our church then and now!
Looking Forward
I wonder what our organizing church fathers and mothers from 1827 would say today of our church and how the Holy Spirit has been dancing for 195 years with our church family from generation to generation! Indeed, our young see visions, and our elders dream dreams! Thanks be to God! You can see the work of the Holy Spirit today in the life of our congregation as we worship together this Sunday! Come, Holy Spirit Come!
How have you seen the work of the Holy Spirit at FPC over the years? 
What visions and dreams do you have for our church, our community, our world? 
Share with me your memories and visions of First Presbyterian's past, present, and future!
Faithfully,
Neeley Rentz Lane