We have just celebrated our high school seniors and our confirmation group in worship and, once again, I have come away with a deep sense of gratitude and hope: gratitude because God revealed his power and grace in these growing young people and the adult leaders who have invested time and energy in them, and hope because I see a glimpse of the future of Christ’s Church. God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good.
I also would like to thank all of you who took the CHAT survey. Your input is important as we discern God’s leading for our future. Additionally, thank you to our Special Ops Team under the competent, caring and inspiring leadership of Sheila Cloud. We continue to encourage you to read the book, BECOMING A HEALTHY CHURCH. There are a few copies in the church office to purchase, or you can purchase an electronic copy; or you can check out the book in our library,where we have five copies. We hope many of you will choose to participate in one of our small group discussions this Fall. Once the surveys have been submitted, our Special Ops Team will receive the results and make a macro report to our Session in June. Over the summer they will analyze more deeply the results and make a fuller report to the Session and congregation in the Fall. With our findings, we will engage the congregation in setting a course for the next five years. We hope you will pray for Covenant, one small slice of Christ’s worldwide Church.
Looking to the summer, I want to share with you some exciting plans. Our Session, recognizing that I have been the only pastor at Covenant for the past two years, has asked Jean and me to step away from pastoral leadership from June 22- July 31. We had already planned vacation and study leave time, but now will add some more time away with Jean’s parents and our children. They want us to take time away to rest from leadership and pastoral concerns so that we can discern God’s leading in our lives for the next few years. While we are away, Dr. Charlie Durham and his wife, Sandy, will join our Covenant community and Charlie will provide pastoral leadership. Charlie recently retired as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Tuscaloosa after twenty-five years of leadership. Freida Howell and George and Mary Ann Woodward will gladly tell you about how great Charlie and Sandy are as they have children and grandchildren who have grown and served under his leadership. From January to May, Charlie provided interim pastoral leadership at First Pres, Huntsville, and they loved him. I love you very much and it means a lot to me that you will be served by a fine, faithful servant of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While here Charlie will preach (leading you through a series on Jacob), provide pastoral care, immerse himself in the life of Covenant, and serve as a consultant for ministry and leadership to our Session. I have recently gotten to know Charlie and Sandy and am thankful that Covenant will be in the hands of a competent, faithful Christian leader. I trust you will love them as well as you have loved us. We will return at the beginning of August.
We would appreciate your prayers for Charlie and Sandy, and for Jean and me, and our Session , Deacons and Trustees as they provide faithful, dedicated leadership. We are truly blessed. We count it all joy to serve alongside you.