Covenant is debt-free! We have erased all the debt incurred on the Fellowship and Education Building that is now serving as a bridge to Austin. We will celebrate! On Sunday, Jan. 27, after the 11 a.m. services, we'll enjoy a brief program, music and a few surprises, as well as pizza, salads and tacos. Food trucks from Tia's Kitchen and Roppolo's Pizzeria will be here. Bring the whole family for a free lunch and lots of fun fellowship with the Covenant community.
Covenant will have a 30-hour Prayer Vigil from Friday morning, Jan. 25, to Saturday afternoon, Jan. 26, in the Covenant Sanctuary. The vigil is an opportunity to spend some time with God in prayer in our Sanctuary—to thank Him for the great things we have accomplished and to seek His guidance as we move forward. Covenant will have a cozy area with blankets, pillows and Children's Bibles so members with young kids can feel comfortable and welcome to pray. Sign up here. Contact Kay Austin.
Are you considering membership at Covenant? Explore Membership classes offer the chance to make new friends and grow relationships with those you already know, learn more about who we are and what Presbyterianism is, discuss tips for spiritual growth, and gather suggestions on how you can care for others. Covenant's next four-week class will be offered Sundays in February, starting Feb. 3 and concluding four Sundays later on Feb. 24 from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Childcare and/or Sunday school is available. For more information, contact Amy Skaggs. Register online.
Armchair Travelers will meet Thursday, Feb. 7. Bill and Linda Holtkamp will share photos taken on their first, long (12,910 mile) road trip adventure after moving into their travel trailer full-time. Join us as Bill and Linda share their tour of John Wayne's birthplace in Iowa, the Parliament Building in Ottawa, Parc de la Chute-Montmorency near Quebec City, the Covered Bridges of Vermont, a Mail Boat Cruise in New England and more. We will meet in FE 200 at 7 p.m., with refreshments during the intermission. Armchair Travelers is open to anyone who enjoys travel and good fellowship. For more information, contact Marv Hackert.
Groundhog Day will be over by the Feb. 5 Activities Day. Well, maybe not, if we get caught in a time loop like Phil the weatherman (Bill Murray) in our movie "Groundhog Day" (1993). This "hilarious and unexpectedly profound comedy" shows what happens when Phil goes to cover the big day in Punxsutawney, Pa., and ends up living it over and over again. Games, bingo and puzzles start at 10 a.m. in FE 200, lunch is at noon, and the movie will be shown at 1 p.m. Guests are welcome. Donations are accepted for lunch and reservations are not required. Contact Sue Gunnels at (214) 403-7981.
Covenant Presbyterian Preschool will host "The Gatsby Gala," its annual spring fundraiser, on Saturday, March 2, at Chez Zee American Bistro. This fundraiser provides the preschool with supplemental resources needed. All proceeds go directly to the school's operating expenses. Last year we raised more than $20,000. We need your help to do it again!
There are many opportunities for you or your business to get involved, from becoming a sponsor to donating a silent auction item. You can directly impact our preschool program's 120+ children through facility and curriculum enhancements, teacher support, and learning opportunities such as Spanish and music. To find out more about supporting the fundraiser, contact Katie McFarlane.
This volunteer opportunity takes just over an hour per week per week, costs nothing and adds so much value! Ushers pass out bulletins, gather the collection and tidy up for a few minutes after the services. Usher team leaders are always there to provide training, and respond to any questions or concerns you might have. Usher teams alternate assignments and substitutes are readily available. No long-term commitment is necessary. Covenant needs ushers for the 9:30 and 11 a.m. traditional services, as well as volunteers to serve occasionally as substitutes or help with special services. If you would like to help, please contact Monroe Talley.
With the holidays behind us and the tamales safely tucked away in our freezer (or tummy), Presbyterian Women would like to give a shout out to those who supported Manos de Cristo through this annual fundraiser. This year Covenant members bought a whopping 320 dozen tamales compared to 2017 sales of 200 dozen. We especially appreciate folks opting for online ordering, which accounted for more than 75 percent of the sales. The $2,560 profit will be used to support Manos programs like the dental clinic, ESL classes and the food bank. Special thanks to Sally Rowe, PW mission coordinator, for overseeing this project and for the volunteers who helped with sales and distribution.
In fall 2017, Covenant members responded with extravagant generosity to disaster relief collection for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, giving a total of $66,967. Covenant immediately donated $7,500 to Austin Disaster Relief Network and in subsequent months covered expenses for materials and volunteers to help out in Houston, Port Aransas and Port Arthur. Covenant volunteers included Steve Bissell, Danny Bissell, Kate Murphy, Gaines and Leslie Bagby, Mike Austin, Jen Kost and Jim Rumbo. Covenant also purchased insulation to help a Houston homeowner volunteers met on a trip.
The mission committee also donated $20,000 to Rebuilding Together Houston, an organization that repairs homes damaged by Harvey that belong to veterans and the disabled. Covenant participated in RTH work twice, with volunteers Steve Bissell, Brian Millington, Jim Rumbo, Brian Millington, Harold Skaggs and Monroe Talley. Disaster relief funds covered expenses. The mission committee recently approved an additional $20,000 donation to RTH to repair another home. To date, Covenant has allocated $48,742 to Harvey relief. The remaining funds are available for ongoing relief needs. Thanks to all members who supported these efforts with money, time and prayers.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the CROP Hunger Walk is known to many as the “granddaddy of charity walks." The $80,000 raised in Austin last year provides much-needed food assistance locally and around the world. For the 2018 Austin CROP Walk, Covenant was the second largest fundraiser. The first was another Presbyterian congregation that raised almost twice as much. This year, we are stepping up our game! You can “walk the walk” with the Covenant group at Camp Mabry on Sunday, Feb. 24. Registration is at 2 p.m.; the walk starts at 2:30 p.m. You may also sponsor a walker or contribute to the Covenant team here. For more information, contact PW mission coordinator Sally Rowe.
Covenant will begin our journey through Lent together by hosting an "Enneagram: Know Your Number" workshop in FE 200 on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2. The workshop, conducted by Suzanne Stabile, is open to all. Small groups are encouraged to attend together. During Lent, we will read a book together as a follow-up to the workshop. Registration for the Enneagram workshop will begin soon.
If you are interested in joining a small group for Lent, register at covenant.org/smallgroups. We are looking for a few new facilitators. Please contact Kathryn Sedberry if you are interested. Resources and support are provided.
Women of Covenant and beyond are invited to link arms with women across generations, denominations and cultures for a time of worship, reflection and to discover what it looks like to lean on God’s wisdom for 2019. Invite friends, family and neighbors to join us for the IF: Gathering 2019 in FE 200 from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 29, and from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. We will use Proverbs as our guide. Register here. Scholarships are available: contact Stephanie Campbell. We believe gathering is the spark to fuel discipleship in our community and to spread God’s love.
Hey students and parents! Covenant Student Ministry's Love Austin weekend is February 15-17. Save the date for this amazing weekend of loving our city! Love Austin is an in-town retreat where students do service projects in Austin and grow in their friendships through prayer, worship and fun. Register here. Contact Billy Streu.
The 5th annual churchwide talent show, "Covenant's Got Talent," is Saturday Feb. 9, in FE 200. We are looking for acts of all ages and types! A silent auction starts at 6:30 p.m. with the talent show at 7 p.m. Tickets will be on sale on the patio between services Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, or email Stacy Curtis. Proceeds support Journey Youth Choir mission trips.
Proverbs is one of the most fascinating, relevant and useful books in the Hebrew Bible. It has an interesting history, and its verses help guide people of faith in many ways. Through this class, we’ll explore that history and delve into what the book is, its purpose, when and by whom it was written, and why it has great value in our own time. We’ll begin with a focus on the book’s first three verses, which briefly and eloquently teach about the book’s principal aims. Then we’ll dive deeply into five or six verses each week. We’ll learn of the extraordinary means by which the author teaches us to be wise. It’s an amazing journey that we'll take the four Sundays in February, starting at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 3 in FE 100. Contact Kathryn Sedberry.
Do you have an elementary-school-aged child interested in ringing the bells? The Resonant Ringers group is open to second to fifth graders. Kids do not have to be in the children's choir to participate in the Resonant Ringers. The group meets in Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. in SA 106. If you have questions about the group, please contact Linda Rutherford, (512) 970-7529.
Need a break from hectic times and stressful headlines? Are personal or professional challenges making life difficult for you? You are invited to a worthy getaway to re-ignite your faith with spiritual renewal, music, camaraderie and good food. Look deep inside yourself and at the world with a new perspective in a caring environment. Austin Presbyterian Pilgrimage is a wonderful event that Covenant has supported for many years. Many Covenant members have attended. Austin Presbyterian Pilgrimage #46 weekend is Feb. 21-24 at Camp Buckner. Pete Hayes is the weekend moderator. Register. Scholarships are available. Contact Samantha Sipowicz, (512) 657-6700.
The MoMs Group meets on the first and third Mondays of the month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary Parlor. Please join us for coffee, a snack and fellowship with other moms. On Monday, Jan. 21, MoMs member Christina Allen will share her knowledge on kinder readiness, early intervention and when it's time to ask for help. Come learn with us! For more information on MoMs, contact Katie McFarlane. For free childcare, please make reservations at least 48 hours in advance by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
New grief support sessions are beginning soon. Covenant will offer eight weeks of Walking the Mourner's Path starting Saturday, Jan. 26, and running through March 16, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The sessions are spiritually directed and offer mourners the opportunity to help one another learn ways that they may honor their loved ones and discover Christ’s promise of comfort. For information or to register, contact Kay Austin, (512) 334-3030.
Church Women United of Austin will gather for its first meeting of 2019 on Friday, Feb. 1, at Genesis Presbyterian Church, 1507 Wilshire Blvd. Church Women United, founded in 1941, is a Christian women’s movement, celebrating unity in diversity and working for peace and justice. Churches throughout Austin take turns hosting. Please come for coffee and fellowship at 9:30 a.m. The program begins at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Covenant’s CWU coordinator Winnie Gage at (512) 328-8163.
As we count down the days to the Mission Presbytery Retreat, we are thrilled that almost 70 women from Covenant will attend. As the host church, our planning committee continues to nail down the details to make it a fun weekend for everyone. If you have signed up to attend and would like to help with greeting, events, transportation or decorating, we have a spot for you! Please remember to send in your registration form, available in the PW box. While all the housing set aside for the retreat is full, we are maintaining a waitlist. If you have an extra bed or a change of plans, please contact Bretna Hackert, (512) 284-9010. More details on Facebook.
We give thanks and praise to God for our congregation’s strong response to this year’s stewardship campaign. Covenant is extravagantly generous! More families have pledged, average pledges are up and our annual budget is set. Thanks to 510 members who pledged the amazing current total of $3.26 million. You can still pledge! Pledge online at covenant.org/pledge or pick up a pledge card in the church office or the narthex. Contact Duane Dube.