Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

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Covenant Caller Vol. 9, no. 12

December 1, 2017

There are two ways of looking at the Christmas season: as the great winter holiday season that has the potential for stimulating the retail economy, or as the season centered on a Holy Day celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. These two ways of considering the season are vastly different. How do you celebrate the season?

Covenant Church is offering a number of opportunities to help you to focus on the Holy Day aspects of the Christmas season. We begin the season by offering a new study led by Pastor Kevin called “A Different Kind of Christmas,” based on the book by Mike Slaughter. This group will gather on Thursday evenings in the Kingswood Chapel. To make it easy for parents of young children to attend we will be offering childcare.

On Sunday, December 10, following the 10:45 a.m. service, Covenant will join with C. C. Hancock at Hancock (Sproul and Wesley Roads) for a fellowship meal and an opportunity to sing the Christmas message using familiar carols of the season. The pastors will offer brief backgrounds on the messages contained in the words of the carols. In addition, we are finalizing plans to again go Christmas Caroling to some of the local care facilities and a few of our members who have mobility issues.

We are also offering opportunities to give gifts that make a lasting difference. The “Gifts from the Heart” program enables you to support a variety of mission projects in honor of someone special to you. Your gift will have a positive impact in the lives of others and recall the selflessness of God’s gift to humanity. You can also choose to make a difference in the life of a child by taking a tag from the “White Tag Christmas Tree” and fulfilling the gift request on the tag. Each tag represents a child in need who would appreciate a toy or other item; it may be their only Christmas gift this year.

Finally, remember December 24, which this year is on Sunday. You can scramble around doing last minute shopping, or take it as a day of Sabbath rest from the ordinary. In the morning we will celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent with C. C. Hancock UMC worshiping with us at our regular 8:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. times. In the evening we turn to the three traditional Christmas Eve services, each distinctly different, yet all ending in candlelight.

Christmas: Holiday or Holy Day?

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

November 1, 2017

For the month of November our Sunday messages will revolve around the idea of our “legacy.” As we begin this sermon series, I thought it might be helpful to understand what we mean by the word. From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary we read the following: “Legacy, noun: 1. A gift by will esp. of money or other personal property: BEQUEST 2. Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” It is this second definition we will be focusing on during the month.

When I think of my own life, I realize how blessed I am by the legacy left to me by those who have gone before.

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 below) 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.

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!