On Maundy Thursday, the church remembers the last evening Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room before his arrest and crucifixion. Maundy Thursday marks three key events in Jesus’ last week: His washing of the disciples’ feet His institution of the Lords’ Supper His new commandment to love one another It is also the evening when Jesus foresees the disciples’ betrayal and abandonment. This service begins the Triduum, the three-day period from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Easter Day. The name “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin mandatum novum, referring to the “new commandment” Jesus taught his disciples (John 13:34). In other words, this is “new commandment Thursday.” Congregational seating will be reconfigured with congregants worshipping “in the round.” Music will be provided by the GraceNotes and our Taizé Ensemble, and we will serve communion.
Covenant’s spring program of Career Transitions will be in FE 100 on Thursdays at 7 p.m., starting March 23 and running for five Thursdays. Gary O’Neal, Director or Austin HR, will kick off the series with “Maximizing LinkedIn.” Participants are invited to attend one or all of the sessions. Class topics and dates are as follows: March 23: “Maximizing LinkedIn” Gary O’Neal, Director, Austin HR March 30: “Resumes That Work” Angela Loeb, Author, Speaker, Career/Personal Vision Strategist, InSync Resources April 6: “Networking for Introverts” Angela Loeb, Author, Speaker, Career/Personal Vision Strategist, InSync Resources April 20: “Adventures in Job Interviewing” David Hughen, Principal, Austin HR April 27: “The Non-Traditional Search; Building Your Brand” David Hughen, Principal, Austin HR For more information, contact Kay Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through Joy Ministry, Covenant matches a volunteer “buddy” with a special needs child to make it possible for the child to attend and participate more fully in Sunday school. The goal of Joy Ministry is help all Covenant families to feel truly welcome on our campus. Many families with special needs children struggle to attend church as a family. Parents often go separate ways on Sunday morning. One may attend a service or class while the other provides adequate care for their child. Without additional assistance in the Sunday school setting, our special needs children are missing out on the chance to learn about God’s love, make lasting friendships and be part of the church community. We need you! Volunteer “buddies” are needed to work with these children one-on-one to facilitate their inclusion. Volunteers are needed on Sunday morning, for both the 9:30 & 11:00 worship hours. Support and training is provided. All commitment levels are welcome. We will work with your schedule and availability. Help us open our doors to the Covenant community and to all of Austin. Do you have a special need in your family that this ministry might touch? Please let us know. Contact: Cindy Young at email@example.com or (512) 809-9786.
“God has a purpose even for us high school kids right here in Austin!” So said Jessica Martin, a participant of Covenant’s DNow/Love Austin weekend retreat. Jessica “loved” this year’s event, as Student Ministry leaders Billy Streu and Whitney Bell worked to transition the weekend to be more service-focused. Whitney explained: “When we were thinking about DNow 2017, we kept hitting a wall when determining what we wanted to do. Billy turned to me and said, ‘What if we changed this into something that we really loved? What if our focus became loving the city?’ “That made perfect sense! We offer mission opportunities in Oklahoma and in Belize. But our call as Austinites is to love Austin! When Darrell Guder encouraged us to see Covenant as a love letter to the city, we began looking for opportunities for young people to do just that. Thus, Love Austin 2017 was born!” So this year, Covenant middle and high school students went out into Austin to volunteer. Some kids worked with Movin’ and Groovin’, some kids passed out flyers in the St. Johns neighborhood, some delivered care packages to Westminster Manor and to Texas Reach Out clients, others painted with Street Youth Ministry. Jessica’s group participated in a somewhat different activity. “The senior girls didn’t really volunteer around Austin, We stayed home and decorated rocks for Redeemed Ministries,” Jessica said. “A representative from Redeemed Ministries came to talk to our group. I had no idea that human trafficking was such a problem here in Austin and it was incredibly eye opening. Also, decorating the rocks for the safe house was awesome because I know that something I make could make someone feel happy or at home. I love the thought of giving someone hope when they see my rock.” After spending Saturday morning serving, DNow/Love Austin participants spent the afternoon learning about and praying for Austin. “We called this time our ‘urban plunge,’” Whitney said. “We had groups praying at the Capitol, at UT, at Zilker Park, at city hall and at other important areas of our city.” For her, Jessica said most fun part of the weekend was “just hanging out in the houses at night with our D*groups. Murder in the Dark is my FAVORITE GAME EVER. I love the simple fellowship that comes along with playing games and hanging out.” In this, her fourth year of attending D*Now, Jessica appreciated the subtle changes. “I feel like this year was much more meaningful and it made me feel like I could make a difference. I really like the aspect of “Love Austin” and I think it will be a great transition in the coming years to focusing on God’s community right in front of us. We don’t need to travel to a different country to do God’s work when there is plenty to help with right here in Austin.” “This weekend was incredible because it fits into our heart as a church to encourage one another to follow Jesus wherever we live, work and play,” Whitney said. “Our students and leaders were able to pour into our city and communities and see where God is at work loving Austin!”
This year during Lent, Covenant is encouraging members and visitors to follow our daily guide to praying the psalms. Our lenten devotional, titled “Praying the Psalms” will be available in hard copy on Sunday, Feb. 26. We have also created a video about the practice of praying through scripture. Jon Wasson outlines the importance of the Psalms and offers some guidance for reading them. Watch the video and then read the devotional online. Read Praying the Psalms online. If you have questions about the booklet or the video, please contact Kathryn Sedberry.
Covenant Presbyterian Church hosted Q Commons in October, welcoming three local presenters and many guests. The crowd descended upon the church to be part of a global conversation on hot topics in our world. The conversations were led by Q founder Gabe Lyons, who — along with several nationally-known presenters — joined us via video. Covenant followed up to this event early this year, with the three local presenters returning to the church for longer, separate discussions. For a refresher of the fall event, see videos of the local presenters and read a recap of the event below. For questions about Q Commons, contact Jon Wasson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Videos from Q Commons Dr. Leonard Moore: Stop the Mission Trips: A Challenge to White Evangelicals Jennifer Carr Allmon: Called Together for the Common Good Carol Kallendorf: Disrupting the Cycle of Poverty in Austin Cornerstone Article Showing Up: Exploring Hot Topics for Community Delivered at more than 100 locations around the world, Q Commons offered an opportunity for people to come together for one moment. “This world transforms through the power of God. It’s about relationships. We want to engage in our culture, and be the kind of people who show up,” said Q founder Gabe Lyons. Q, an organization that seeks the renewal of all things in Jesus Christ, together with Covenant hosted the event locally, welcoming more than 150 people to our church in mid-October to discuss hot topics for our community and the world. Local and global leaders, either presenting live or via video, posed difficult questions to participants. The intended outcome: to see how the group might bring hope and leadership to the different communities in Austin. “This process will be difficult. It will take some courage. It will open some spaces that make us feel uncomfortable,” said Covenant Associate Pastor Jon Wasson. “Every single one of us will be challenged tonight. Everyone will disagree with something – and that’s a good thing.” The Q format is similar to a Ted Talk. Via video, Lyons said, “We created this space to actually ask questions. Each presenter has nine minutes. Then, we work in time to discuss the topics, to sit with one another and debate, and to talk about how this affects our world.” In perhaps the most emotive presentation of the night, Dr. Leonard Moore, an American history professor at the University of Texas, addressed racism. He said many groups plan mission trips to Africa, and he asked, “How come nobody is doing a mission trip in Austin? Why is white man’s dream so infatuated with going to Africa? It’s become a staple of the young white Christian experience,” Leonard said. Leonard called on white people to know the hard teachings of Jesus; to understand the complicated history of the destination country; and to change the terminology from mission trip to global engagement encounter. He called on participants to end spiritual gentrification. “Too many times, white Christians want to go over [on a mission trip] and do something new. We do that at the expense of the folks who are indigenous on the ground. Instead of taking a group of kids to Cape Town, why not send a check to people already doing the work?” Carol Kallendorf, co-founder of The Dream Come True Foundation, said, “The most underserved group in poverty are the people who most want out of poverty. Most resources are directed toward a need, not an outcome.” Kallendorf and her husband, foundation co-founder Jack Speers, started Dream Come True to disrupt poverty cycles in Austin by helping those in poverty achieve their dreams. “We would find people stuck in poverty, with tons of talent, resilience, optimism … and a dream that they had already taken huge steps to achieve on their own. We would walk side by side with them to make those dreams come true and cross the bridge from poverty to self-sufficiency.” Other presenters via video were Christian apologist and best-selling author Dr. Ravi Zacharias, New York Times columnist Ross Doughat, Fox News liberal analyst Kristen Powers and hip-hop artist LeCrae. Locally, Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, talked about Payday Loans that discriminate against low-income individuals and the fight to regulate them. This story was the focus of “The Ordinance,” a film screen at Covenant this fall. Watch the film at deidox.org.
VISIONS Travel has a wonderful adventure planned for Friday, Feb 24. The group will visit St. John Neumann Catholic Church to see the newly completed vibrant dome made of 10 million tiles in more than 1,300 colors. The dome took two years to draw and three years to build. The group will see words from the Lord’s Prayer, images of the 12 apostles, miracles of Christ, trees of life and the crystal clear waters of baptism. Lunch will be at County Line. The group will then visit the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church. The beautiful interior is filled with gilded iconography, white marble, brass lamps and Byzantine artwork. The only cost is lunch. VISIONS will leave the church at 9:45 a.m. Sign up on the patio: Billie Fay Grayson, (512) 258-7301.
Covenant is seeking a full-time Director of Children and Family Ministry. The Director will serve the congregation by providing opportunities for children and their families to follow Jesus wherever they live, work, and play and by providing leadership to and supervision of staff members and laity involved in these ministries. Qualifications for this position are: A commitment to the Christian faith and to serving God through the faith formation of children and families. Bachelor’s degree; Master’s degree is preferred. At least five years of significant, successful experience in developing children’s ministry programs in a medium or large congregational setting. Proven success in the recruitment, development and management of a significant number of volunteers. Experience required to manage and maintain a vibrant children’s ministry in a large congregation. Proven success in leading staff team Able to work flexible hours and maintain confidentiality in appropriate settings. Qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume to email@example.com.
Did you know Covenant is a satellite campus for Manos de Cristo educational classes? We need more teachers for ESL (English as a Second Language) classes of Levels 1-4 at Covenant. We teach ESL Level 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon, and Level 2 and 4 Tuesday andThursday from 7 to 9 p.m. Our students have come from countries all over the world: USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Columbia, Cuba, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Korea. About half of our students in the morning classes are referred from Refugee Services. COMMON QUESTION: I have never taught ESL or anything else, can I do this? The short answer is YES! The class uses a very complete teacher guide that includes lesson plans, DVDs, student materials and dialogs. The lesson plans feature common daily activities to guide each unit, such as making a grocery list, going to the grocery store, planning meals, following a recipe, going to the doctor, buying a car, using public transportation and looking for an apartment. Another teacher will be with you! Each class has a lead teacher and one to two teaching assistants; we team teach and divide into groups for conversation time. Most people start as a teaching assistant for a few weeks before planning and teaching a lesson.For more information, contact Cheryl Banks, (512) 789-2696.
Covenant will hold a congregational meeting on Jan. 22, at 12:10 p.m. in FE 200. The Congregational Nominating Committee will present the following slate of officers for elders, deacons and trustees: Elder, Class of 2020 Marilyn Adams Cherrylynn Burris DeDe Church Kelley Green Doug Hartman Deacon, Class of 2018 Lee Terrell Lorrie Terrell Adele Trigg Tom Hutchison Deacon, Class of 2020 Breece Adams Jennie Ashton Jean Brender Nancy Bulhon Susan Edgar Pansy Flick Steve Genovesi Abbey Gray Bob Kay Tammy Linn Gray Luckett John Neff Jill Noel A. V. Ootsey Ryan Palm Mary Jane Parker David Petrick Adriana Porras Jennifer Smith Bill Taylor Barbara Tindel Jim Troiano Scott Trull Greg Wilson Sally Wilson Cindy Young Trustee, Class of 2020 Scott Ream Kristin Schell