Dear friends:
 
Henry Louis Gates, Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University and prolific writer, describes his early experience with faith. He remembers sitting in church as a little boy with his family and trying to imagine what heaven was like. 

“Sitting up in Heaven with Miss Sarah and Reverend Monroe for that many years…was about as appealing as getting a typhoid shot in your behind every day…I suppose the shakeup of my spiritual creed was hastened by my realization that I was religious in part because I was scared, scared of Jesus coming back to earth and sending me to hell, scared of being liquidated or vaporized in a nuclear holocaust. (Listening for God, vol. 2, pages 54-55). 

It’s a common experience, religion as fear-based behavior modification, religion as transaction that exchanges life’s enjoyment for heaven’s reward, religion so heavenly-minded that it’s of no earthly good.

This weekend, we’ll continue to explore the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and his specific suggestion that faith is most authentic when God’s power intersects our everyday living, and especially those places we are most vulnerable. You can prepare by reading this passage.

In addition, let me draw your attention to the most recent thinking from our Re-Opening Task Force. I’m grateful for the wisdom, perspective and leadership offered by this faithful group as they seek to balance our desire to engage in all the life-giving activities associated with church and the larger call to love God and neighbor through our life as a congregation.

I look forward to ‘seeing you’ this weekend.

Warmly,

Dear Covenant Families, 

The Re-Opening Task Force continues to work toward opening our church campus. In our most recent meeting, a medical expert joined us to provide updates on COVID-19 cases and guidance for several months ahead in Mecklenburg County. As a result, the following changes have been made, effective March 7.  

Worship: We will continue with no in-person worship through Easter. Corporate worship continues to be recognized as a super-spreader event and considered highly risky until the greater population of Covenant members have received vaccinations.  

We will continue to offer livestream services at 9:30 and 11 a.m. on Sundays, conduct funerals, weddings and baptisms (with approved attendance and health protocols). 

Mid-day Lenten worship services will be held in-person beginning March 10. Please refer to the church website for additional information.   

Indoor/Outdoor Programming: Under the continued guidance of medical professionals, outdoor education programming will resume with appropriate health protocols and designated leadership.

These protocols include the following: group leaders must be Covenant members or staff, temperature checks and check-in questionnaire required, participants will be limited to 50. Click here to see the full guidelines. Indoor gatherings and programing will be revisited after Easter with the hopes of resuming incrementally.   

Recreation Wing: Currently is operating on reduced hours with   
• Individual exercise workout with a reservation (walk-up reservation is permitted, if space is available).
• Limited to 25 individuals in the facility at a time. 
• Trainer session can be conducted with no more than four people (including the trainer) with a schedule.
• All must be masked with health screening/temperature checks.  
• Group classes, summer activities and rentals will be reviewed after Easter.  

Preschool: Registration for Fall 2021 enrollment is underway. We are excited to have Janice Price join the staff at Covenant as Director and look forward to exciting plans for 
preschoolers in the Fall.   

Child Development Center: The Child Development Center continues to operate five days a week. Alexis Modebelu has recently been named Managing Director and Abigail Avalos as Assistant Director.   

Mission and Outreach: Our commitment to serve the most vulnerable remains resolute. Mission trips remain on hold; however, we are continuing our commitment to our mission partners here in Charlotte and throughout the world. Your generous support has allowed us to reach out to families in need and join in many creative endeavors to serve. Please click here for opportunities to serve in the coming months.

Individual meetings with clergy: Our clergy staff continues to meet with congregation members on a regular basis. These meetings carefully adhere to appropriate health protocols and can take place on site when deemed necessary.

The Health and Wellness Committee will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic Sunday, March 14 on the Covenant campus in partnership with the county. Appointments are available beginning at 7:30 A.M.
 
Those eligible include Group 1: Health care workers & Long-Term Care staff and residents; Group 2: Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation; and Group 3: Frontline Essential Workers. Click the link to complete the questionnaire and make an appointment.

A goal of the Re-Opening Task Force is to stay on the right side of the health crisis. Our current plan is to re-visit the guidelines stated above after Easter with hopes of beginning to re-open the campus in increments as we move into the summer months.   
  
To quote Grace Lindvall from our Lenten Devotional on Wednesday, “The promise of Matthew 18:20 is that no matter how many of us there are, no matter how we meet, no matter where we meet – God will show up.”  

We continue to ask for your prayers and patience as we move forward.  

Sincerely,
Deana Cooper
Chair, Re-Opening Task Force
Phil Koonce
Clerk of Session

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