Clerk’s Report, April 2015

This is my last Clerk’s Corner as Clerk of the Session. New elders begin their service on May 1, and the current class of 2015 will roll off. Please take a moment to thank Don Davis, Evangeline Herring, Chuck Ruesink and Cindy Young for their dedicated service to Covenant through the last three years of change and transition. It has been an interesting, healing and exciting time in the life of our congregation, and I am expectantly awaiting what God planned for us as we move into the future with a new leadership team.

In the last couple of months, Session has had the pleasure of receiving 38 new members to our congregation. We hope they will feel welcome and will quickly plug into some groups and activities. We have also approved a number of baptisms of infants, children and youth, and are so happy to see the church expand in this way. Next month, we will listen to the faith stories of the youth participating in the confirmation class and invite those who wish to become full members of the church. Spring is definitely a time of wonderful growth!

In March, we approved the recommendation from the Personnel Committee for a job description for a Parish Associate for Older Adult Ministries. Rev. Beth Daniel will fill this part-time position. We look forward to having her on staff. When Thomas was called to be Senior Pastor, Beth was not part of the package. Both Beth and the personnel committee followed a thoughtful process to discern who might be a good fit for that very active ministry. Beth has a heart for this group and felt that this was her calling (and she had other options), so we might see it as “God’s gift with purchase.”

The Sunday Morning Task Force presented its findings in February. The recommendations were sent to staff for review and comment. Staff’s comments were brought back in March, and we expect a vote on the Sunday morning schedule at our April meeting. There will be some tweaking of the current schedule to address issues raised in the input gathering phase, but there are a few main points that will be in effect: We will continue to have four services on Sunday morning during the Fall, Winter and Spring, and one pastor will preach all four the bulk of the time. We will report more on this after our April meeting.

Finally, the Session approved several financial items. We are currently renegotiating one of our loans at Frost Bank to a more favorable interest rate. The Session committed, upon the recommendation of the Finance Committee, to continuing to make the same monthly payments to the loan in order to pay down the principal faster. We also accepted a very generous gift from the Foundation that will be matched by church funds to increase the Permanent Pastoral Housing Fund so we can attract and retain pastoral staff by offering loan assistance on housing purchases. This fund will benefit Jill as well as the new Associate Pastor when called, and it has already benefitted the Daniel family. We are grateful to the Foundation Trustees for their leadership in this effort.