MARRIAGE WORKSHOP: CREATE LIFT, AVOID DRIFT! “Create Lift by Avoiding Drift” is the topic of Covenant’s Jan. 27 marriage workshop facilitated by Todd and Beverly Sandel. The couple has been leading marriage retreats and conferences since 2006. This date night workshop, which requires that attendees have a dinner reservation after the session, will help couples identify the ways “hurry” is creating drift and equip them with a few powerful ways to create closeness by guarding your marriage against the enemy of drift. The workshop starts at 4 p.m. in FE 200. Make your own dinner reservation for 6 p.m. at the restaraunt of your choice. Sign up for the workshop at covenant.org/marriageworkshop. Questions? Contact Maureen Crawley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Childcare is available, but is currently full. To get on a waitlist, contact email@example.com. The childcare staff recommends seeking other care options. SILENT RETREAT IS JAN. 11 Covenant members and friends are invited to unplug using the ancient spirtual practice of solitude on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Cedarbrake Retreat Center in Belton. A silent retreat is an extended time in which an individual seeks to be alone with the Lord to listen, rest and be transformed by God’s spirit. There is space for up to 50 participants, ages 16 and up. Cost is $10. Find out more and sign up by contacting Kay Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit covenant.org/silentretreat. NEW MEMBER CLASSES Covenant’s next four-week new member class will be offered Sundays in January, starting Jan. 7 and concluding on Jan. 28, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Come learn about Covenant and how to connect and get involved in missions and classes. Childcare and/or Sunday school is available. For more information, contact Amy Skaggs at email@example.com or visit covenant.org/explore-membership. CHRISTIAN YOGA: GOOD FOR THE SOUL “I pray that you may prosper in every way and that your body may keep well even as your soul keeps well prospers” (3 John 1:2). Join us for Christian Yoga at Covenant. Yoga is a therapeutic way to embody our spiritual practice through intentional movement, strengthening, balance, stretching and restoring. We practice among friends in the body of Christ. All levels, including beginners, are invited. 2018 classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 9: 1-hour classes: Wednesdays 8:15-9:15 am., $10 per class Sundays 5–6 p.m., free 1½-hour classes: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30–10 a.m. Cost: $18 per class drop-in; $15 per class if paid in advance. All classes are in FE 107. Please join us and bring a friend. Contact Joy Durrant at (512) 346-7435 or JoyDurrant28@gmail.com. MOVING AND GROOVIN’ NEEDS STORAGE SPACE M&G is in need of a place to store gently-used furniture before delivery to families exiting homelessness. M&G storage requirements are simple. No climate control, loading dock or security other than a lock on the door are required, nor is a wider than normal door opening. Optimal size is 2,000+ square feet. Donations of goods or services to Movin’ and Groovin’ are tax-deductible. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 962-2629. AVEY VOLUNTEER OP FOR THE NEW YEAR Starting in 2018, Austin Voices for Education and Youth (AVEY) will manage the Central Texas Food Bank Mobile Pantry food distribution at the For the City Center. On the second Thursday morning of every month, AVEY will help serve 200-250 families with about 10,000 pounds of food. AVEY is looking for eight volunteers. Contact Julie Weeks at email@example.com. WALKING THE MOURNER’S PATH FALL SESSION Walking the Mourner’s Path is a Christ-centered, spiritually-directed grief support group for those mourning the death of a loved one and experiencing the pain of grief. Group members become aware of God’s presence and healing comfort as they share their stories. Participants learn ways to honor loved ones, seek spiritual direction and discover Christ’s promise of comfort. Covenant will hold a winter series starting Saturday, Jan. 13, and running through March 3, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Two trained facilitators and a pastor lead the sessions, which are limited to 10 people. Contact Kay Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 334-3030. KILDAYS: A YEAR IN REVIEW Doug and Thais Kilday, and their three kids recently returned from a year in Cambodia where both Doug and Thais worked for the International Justice Mission (IJM). Their yearlong journey was filled with work, travel, school and more. Come hear about IJM, living abroad and everyday life in Cambodia on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 6:30 p.m. in FE 200. START 2018 OFF RIGHT WITH ROUTINES Covenant Children and Family Ministry and Ensemble Therapy will partner this spring to present a series of five parenting workshops. On Sunday, Jan. 14, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., child therapist Jaclyn Sepp will present “Routines.” Sepp will help parents recognize how consistent routines can help families improve functioning; determine and develop effective morning, afternoon, evening and travel routines; and discover ways children can practice independence through developmentally appropriate chores. Covenant is sponsoring these workshops so our community can attend for FREE! Future topics will cover Sibling Rivalry (1/21), Limit Setting (4/8), Typical Behaviors (4/22) and Mindfulness (5/6). Free childcare: Reserve at least 48 hours in advance: email@example.com. To register for the workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org. AFTER-CHURCH POTLUCK & FAMILY FELLOWSHIP Start off the new year right by sharing food and fellowship with other Covenant families. On Sunday, Jan. 7, we will open the fourth floor of the Fellowship and Education Building to Covenant families of ALL ages to play and to gather for a meal together at 12:15 p.m. We will provide plates, flatware and beverages. You simply bring a dish to share! Make your own or pick up a local favorite. For more information, contact Christy Milam (email@example.com) or Amy Skaggs (firstname.lastname@example.org). MO RANCH WOMENS RETREAT In the middle of our January freeze, warm weather feels far away, but it is not too early to plan a lovely weekend at Mo-Ranch with the women from central Texas. The Presbyterian Church of Gonzales is hosting the April 6-8 event, themed “Singing in the Rain” based on Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice […]
Join us for an evening of Beer and Hymns at Adelbert’s Brewery on Monday, January 22, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tom Brown, Derek Nafe and the Covenant Folk Band will lead us in singing familiar hymn favorites during this first annual family friendly event. There is a taco truck onsite as well as other food available for purchase. RSVP to Kathryn Sedberry at email@example.com
The Communications Team asks that the attached form be completed for every project. We ask that you provide all the details that we will need to complete your project. (i.e., We don’t want dates for events if don’t yet have the pertinent information that we will need to relay.) Please touch base with us after making a request. Please allow 10 business days for each project. https://covenantpresbyterianchurch.wufoo.com/forms/maul0s30x2cze8/
View bulletin: 9:30 a.m. Pamphlets are handed out at the entry to the 11:05 Contemporary Worship Service. Covenant will have two services on Dec. 31: the 9:30 traditional and the 11:05 contemporary.
Join us February 9-10, 2018 for a chance to refresh, worship, and be inspired! Hundreds of thousands of women have been equipped and unleashed to live out their God given purpose through the IF Gathering ministry. Gifted speakers, powerful worship, meaningful conversation, and good food and amazing giveaways await. Covenant Presbyterian Church will be hosting the event on Friday, February 9th from 6-9:30 (dinner included, gluten & dairy free options available) and Saturday from 9-5. Feel free to attend even if you can’t make both days. When you register, IF asks for a donation. Please give as you are able. Scholarships are available. If you or someone you know needs one, please contact Stephanie Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited, so register today: register.ifgathering.com/event/ifcovenant-0.
Prepare your heart for Christmas with the Covenant Advent Devotional. In the booklet and emails, you’ll find devotionals written by Covenant members wrestling with scripture, questions to reflect on and discuss with others, and suggestions for activities to do with your family. We also hope that you’ll build a habit of spending time in scripture that will last long after Christmas comes and goes. Download a PDF here. The Advent devotions will also be used in our Daily Devotional email during the season. Sign up below. For more information, contact Kathryn Sedberry. Subscribe to the daily devotions mailing list Here are some suggestions for making the most of your Advent journey with the help of the booklet or emails: Each Sunday in Advent, we light one candle in our Advent wreath during worship for each of the four themes of Advent: hope, peace, joy, and love. Look for these weekly themes of Advent as you read. How do you see the coming Christ in each story? The daily scripture readings include a Psalm, an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading. We encourage you to read all the scriptures for each day, even though the author may have chosen only one or two from which to write their reflection. Pay attention to how God may be speaking to you through the daily scripture readings and the author’s reflection. Each page of the devotional contains a Family Connection segment, with suggestions for family activities pertaining to that week’s Advent theme. These practical, simple, and meaningful activities are intended to engage your entire family to celebrate the season and be reminded of the light of Christ coming into the world. Each author has shared his or her family’s favorite Christmas tradition, which perhaps will help your family create new traditions or enhance your existing ones.
The author, Scott Ream, was a doctor for nearly 40 years and has been a Covenant member since 1978. Here, he provides some advice and ideas about how to be fulfilled during your retirement years. Retirement offers many exciting possibilities for all of us; it also can pose a number of difficult issues. I retired as a primary care physician two years ago, but in the nearly 40 years that I practiced, I lived through the retirement transition with hundreds of patients. Retirement can be difficult for individuals who have had a very scheduled work life in which they accomplished task after task as the workday progressed. This can be especially challenging for those of us who did not have time to develop other interests because of work and family responsibilities. Suddenly we’re faced with lots of free time without an agenda to fill this void. In my profession, I was able to see what worked for those who made the jump to a fulfilling retirement; I concluded that their success could be summarized in two words. Stay Active! There are three major areas in which to try to achieve this goal. 1. Stay Active Physically. Numerous studies show that regular physical activity is important in maintaining strength and agility, and retards the onset of cognitive decline. Staying fit increases the likelihood that you can enjoy those travels that you have been dreaming about and to fully enjoy those active grandchildren. It reduces falls, a major cause of disability, and significantly diminishes the risk of stroke and heart attack. All you need is about 30 minutes of physical activity four to five times per week. Activities could include walking, yoga, Pilates, working out at the gym or on home machines. Find something you enjoy. I cycle, mostly spinning classes, and walk. I’m always amazed by the burst of physical and psychic energy I have after this. Staying active reduces the risks of having a preventable medical issue. You can also reduce this risk by getting regular medical check-ups. 2. Stay Active Socially. Isolation is a real drain for many of us in terms of our sense of wellbeing. We need to interact with others to stimulate our interests in the world. Family can play a key role in this. Interacting with friends or joining groups where you will meet new people will expand your world. The church can be an important part of this. Covenant has many opportunities such as small groups, mission opportunities, study groups, choir and social groups. Stay connected! 3. Stay Active Mentally. It’s important to continue to learn and expand your mind. This helps prevent cognitive decline and also helps prevent depression. The church, as mentioned above, can provide a solid base for continued learning. We are also fortunate in Austin to have numerous groups that can also provide this stimulus, from local colleges to city facilities. I’m sure the new Central Library will also expand our options. Part-time work or volunteer activities also provide a source for “using your brain” regularly. Travel and hobbies also stimulate our minds. I am in a Covenant Bible study and also in a continuing education program at UT. I have a part-time job that keeps me busy about a day a week. My wife and I have seven grandkids, all under eight years old, and they are in Houston, Durham, N.C., and Canterbury, England. That alone provides plenty of travel opportunities for us. There is no one recipe that fits all. However, staying active in the above areas is very important. You need to find what suits you best, what you enjoy and what seems most meaningful. I can say that Covenant is here for you and can provide an entrance to many activities that will help you accomplish this. So start thinking and planning now on how to make your retirement an enriching experience. For more information about Covenant Presbyterian Foundation, visit covenant.org/foundation/ or contact Duane Dube or any Trustee: Elizabeth Christian, Everard Davenport, Larry Faulkner, Megan Poore, Helene Maham, Kristin Schell and Scott Ream. Covenant Presbyterian Foundation supports Covenant Presbyterian Church by assisting donors to be Faithful to Generations, during and beyond their own lives, by receiving and growing their gifts, and using them to help fulfill the donors’ glorification of God. One generation will commend your works to another …Psalm 145:4
October Covenant Lab The Psalms, taught by Sandy Kress SESSION FOUR New Psalms 1. Psalm 126 – read the whole psalm. This psalm is one of the 15 songs of ascent. What are ascents? What does it mean to plant seeds with tears of sorrow and then be able to reap with joy? Even going out, weeping, we are seed carriers? What does that mean? What does it mean that we come back with joy and sheaves? Do these verses remind you of the verses from which we rise out of the Valley of Baca to pools or blessings? How? 2. Psalm 104 Read verses 1-4. What does it mean that God is cloaked in light? What do you make of God’s making messengers of the wind? His ministers, glowing fire? Note verses 10-18. Note images of watering, nurturing both the tame and the wild, the birds in their homes singing their songs, grass for cattle, wine/oil/bread for human beings. What does all this teach us? 3. Psalm 133 – read whole psalm. What is the Divine expectation of us in verse 1? What do we get out of the verse about the oil pouring down on Aaron? Who was Aaron? What does Aaron signify to and for us? Like the dew from the mountain? God’s command? Blessing of life forever more? Can you piece this together? 4. Psalm 86 Verse 4 is best translated as: “Gladden the soul of your servant for to you O Lord I lift up my soul to You.” What does it mean to lift up our soul to God? Once we do so, how does God gladden our soul? Verse 11 is nicely translated as: “Unite my heart to be wondrous of Your name.” What does that mean? How do we unite our hearts to and for God? Conclusion – what are our takeaways from our study? When you think of the Psalms we have examined, how do they inform you about what it means to dwell with God? What does God seek from us? And how are we blessed in the encounter? SESSION TWO I. Review and recap of the first session – discussion 2. Consider new psalms A. Psalm 48 – introduction Note key words in the early verses that are descriptive of God’s dwelling place: holiness (kadosho), beautiful (yepay), joy (mesos), refuge (mishgav), loving-kindness (chesed) and righteousness (tzedek). How do you understand these words to fit what you see as the place where God lives? Read verses 12-14. This was the psalmist’s entreaty to the reader (or listener) to mark and remember the sights and the experience of the Temple. Do you have similar reflections on your experience of sacred space – in church, for example – going all the way back to your childhood or even just to this past week? What of these memories do you believe to be enduring, that you would want children and future generations to know about and sustain? Please share. B. Psalm 77 – read verses 1-15. This psalm is, in many ways, a consoling psalm. It is a teaching psalm. The psalmist feels desolate at the beginning but finds ways to respond to the desolation. Number and name each and all of those ways. What effect does such thought/action have for a person of faith? C. Psalm 73. After a short introduction on verses 1-20, read verses 21-28. What do we learn about God’s nearness in these verses? Have you felt this nearness in such moments? There’s a name of God I will reference that may trigger further reflections D. Psalm 84 Read verses 1-4. How does the image of the sparrow help us understand the beauty and meaning of dwelling with God? Read verses 5-7. We’ll look at the Hebrew words here and unpack the flow of thought in these beautiful verses. What do they say to us? Has this progression been something you’ve experienced in your lives? SESSION ONE I. Overview of the Sessions The Psalms respond to the deepest needs of the human spirit. For this reason, this book of the Bible has spoken powerfully for centuries to a vast array of peoples – in the form of words used in prayer, meditation, and song. Why? What is it about these Psalms that has created such deep resonance for so many? We’ll consider in our introduction the history of the Psalms, its purposes, its author(s), its uses. We’ll look at form as well as function. I’ll ask what views of the Psalms folks bring to our study. And then I’ll lay out a hypothesis for a possible understanding of the book’s deepest purposes. II. Focus on Several Psalms to Start A. Psalm 1 — Read the whole psalm. Why might this psalm have been placed first? What’s with all the verbs at the outset? What does “Torah” mean?Why is a “happy” person compared to a tree planted by streams of water, that bears its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither? What do we believe is meant by the saying that “in Why is a “happy” person compared to a tree planted by streams of water, that bears its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither? What do we believe is meant by the saying that “in all he does he prospers?” What might it not mean? So, what then is happiness, from the psalmist’s point of view? B. Psalm 22. — While those reading ahead should read the whole psalm, we’ll read verses 1-6, 12-15, 24- 31 in class. You know the first line. Let’s discuss it at some length. Jesus certainly knew this psalm. Do you have thoughts about why he mentioned these first words on the cross? Was it just these words? Or, after having read the psalm, do you think the whole of the psalm was on his mind? If so, why? What are the lessons of the psalm? After its painful beginning, how do we find hope in the end? With what vision […]
View bulletins: 8:15, 9:30 a.m. Pamphlets are handed out at the entry to the 11:05 Contemporary Worship Service. *There is no 11 a.m. Traditional Service this week. Covenant will host a dialogue sermon between Thomas Daniel and Ross Baird.
Do you know someone who would be a great Deacon, Elder or Trustee? Please pray about members who can serve in these roles and submit confidential recommendations to the Congregational Nominating Committee (CNC) by Oct. 22. Download the form below to get more information and to nominate someone. Information and nomination form. For more information contact CNC chair Regina Schlotter at email@example.com.