Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

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Covenant Caller Vol. 9, no. 10

October 1, 2017

For some time now, we have been engaging in a process of discernment about a building project at Covenant. You may be wondering what the process is, when we will know the final plans, and how soon the project will begin. The process has been and will continue to be deliberate. It began with prayerful discernment of God’s will for the future of Covenant Church. It was during this time of discernment that we made some changes to our Statement of Purpose (see the home page) and began using the tag line “Changing Lives with Jesus.”

Next, we began to look at how our buildings impact ministry. The Board of Trustees saw a need for changes and updates. After working with architect Jack Althouse, they recommended the creation of a Building Committee (BC) which picked up where the Trustees left off. The BC eventually prioritized a plan to make the Kingswood Building both more accessible and usable with the addition of a new ground level entrance, the building of an elevator, air conditioning, and other updates to Fellowship Hall. In the Epworth Building, plans were drawn to enhance child safety by adding new sinks and restrooms accessible to each classroom.

Our next steps are to see how much money will be pledged, then work with the architect and construction manager to determine just how much of the dream we can build. With congregational input, the Building Committee will make recommendations which will be reviewed by the District Committee on Church Location and Building. That group will take a dispassionate look at the plans and approve them as is or make suggestions for changes to help perfect the plan.

Covenant for the FutureThe final decisions on building changes will be made by you, the members of Covenant Church. The plans will be published and distributed and then a Church Conference will be called where we can discuss all issues before we make final decisions. Once final decisions are made, the architects, construction managers, and engineers will prepare buildable plans to replace the conceptual drawings we have been using.

It sounds like a long and arduous process, and in fact, it is long and arduous! However, it is designed to be sure we do not make hasty decisions that are not in the church’s ultimate best interest.

Please continue to pray our prayer, “Lord, what do you want to do through me? Pray also for the church, “Lord, what do you want to do through Covenant?” With God’s faithful guidance and our attentive listening to God’s will we are indeed making a “Covenant for the Future.”

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jim



About Covenant Caller

The Caller is our monthly church newsletter, published the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

The deadline for submitting news for each issue of the Caller is the 15th of the prior month.

Previous Callers

September 1, 2017

You may or may not have noticed, but I am not the most athletic guy around. I’ve never been particularly good at sports, though I do enjoy watching some, playing others, and listening to baseball on the radio. Sports can offer all kinds of benefits: they help kids become physically stronger, develop muscle and hand-eye coordination, acquire a sense of fair play, and maybe most of all, experience the importance of teamwork.

Teamwork: think of the people that were, despite their fame, just one side of a great team. Would pitcher Steve Carlton had as many strikeouts without his catcher Tim McCarver? Would comedian Johnny Carson have been as successful without straight man Ed McMahon? Could Moses have confronted Pharaoh without his spokesman Aaron? Probably not, yet the general public gives just about all the credit for success to a single individual.

August 1, 2017

This year, for the first time in my 25 years of ministry, I had the opportunity to participate in an Appalachia Service Project mission trip as a part of Covenant’s ASP team. Our week (actually 8 days) was guided by the scriptural verse, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

The love started long before the week began. Throughout the year members and friends of Covenant have been supporting the fundraising efforts of the team. Then, on Saturday, July 1, many people showed up in the parking lot to see the team off and offer prayers and moral support.

Once in Cocke County, Tennessee, the team put their love into action by fanning out across the county to five different sites to make homes warmer, safer and drier. But the love didn’t stop there!

July 1, 2017

The school year has come to an end, the pools are open, the weather has become hot and humid, and air conditioners are humming. The traditional vacation season is upon us. Summer is here! Theoretically, it’s time to sit back and relax. Yet sometimes we have trouble relaxing because there is so much to do.

We are busy visiting grandma’s, the in-laws, and a few old friends, purchasing supplies for our summer barbeques with family and neighbors, mapping out sightseeing trips to who knows where, and maybe even spending some time at the shore or in the mountains. We are busy with home projects of painting a room, weeding the overgrown garden, and finally reseeding that brown patch that used to be grass. While all those plans and activities may feel important and sound good, we can make our summers so crammed full stuff, we may miss the opportunity to really relax and allow our spirits to be renewed and enjoy the opportunity for some re-creation.

May 1, 2017

A few weeks ago, as the first service was ending and people were saying their hellos and goodbyes at the door to Wesley Hall, I was handed a prayer card.  The card had obviously been filled out by a young child.  Under the “Joys and Thanksgivings” section the child had written, “I love you God.”  Well, actually it read, “I love you Gob,” but I assumed the “d” was written backwards as children sometimes do.  There we also names written under the “Concerns” section and the child included their name along with the name of a sibling.

At the second service, two children listened to the words of our opening hymn and took them seriously.  The hymn was Lord of the Dance and the children danced.  In that same service I began the children’s moment by asking, “How do we send a message to Jesus?”  Without hesitation the answer came, “Pray.”  Well, I guess I didn’t need to teach that message to the kids!