These past few weeks, I have sought out times to reflect and sit in quiet. We are leaving the Upstate after 18 years, and that has brought about some significant grief. My daughters were born here, and I run by the first house we lived in almost every day. I glance at the windows and remember where we put their cribs, the color of the rug in the playroom, how we would manage breakfast, then playtime, then Sesame Street, and then a snack. I see the azaleas blooming and wonder if they have azaleas in Florida – wonder if they have a Spring in Florida. I pass through Greer City Park and know that there won’t be many more strolls down those sidewalks. These thoughts make me feel sad. Sad for the season we are leaving behind as we embark on a new journey. Sad for the relationships that won’t be the same come this summer. Sad for the changes that are upon us.
I’m wondering if you have had some of that same kind of grief as we approach the end of this season together. My guess is that you have been grieving for some time, as we have endured significant loss over the last few years. A pastoral transition, several significant deaths, and now a new transition can bring sadness and grief.
As we approach this new transition time, the Session is seeking God’s will for the next steps for Covenant. We are in conversation with the Presbytery Committee on Ministry and our Presbytery leaders, as well as engaging in intentional, listening prayer. We know God has great care and concern for us. And we are seeking to be faithful to who God is calling us to be as a community of faith.
There will be several opportunities to share with the congregation ideas and possibilities. The first of these will be at the Small Group Fellowship at the McChesney’s home on April 7th at 5:00 pm (different than the usual meeting day). Another time is being planned for a Wednesday night, with a third during the Sunday School hour. There will be other conversations that follow these.
While we may be experiencing a sense of loss, there is also hope. Hope in the resurrection, hope that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, hope that the Lord doesn’t lead us here to leave us here. Hope that God’s love endures forever.
Thanks be to God.
An order form for Easter Lilies is attached to the print version of this newsletter, which can be found here.
Please mark your calendars and note the changes to the Schedule.
Jim and Emily Bleiler’s letter to the congregation is on the back page of the newsletter.
(M) Indicated Military
Dear Covenant Family,
It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you that we are moving to Burlington, NC in about a year. For the past several years we have been exploring options of where and how we want to spend the next phase of our lives. Finally, last year we received information from Twin Lakes, a Continuing Care Community, that they were building new independent single homes within their community of other independent homes. This community also provides assisted living and nursing home facilities. In addition to being in a new house with options for future health needs, the main incentives which swayed us were: no more maintenance work inside or out, the many onsite activities and, best of all, only a four hour drive to Virginia Beach to see our son and his family instead of the usual seven and a half hour drive.
This has been a very difficult decision for us because for the past twenty years Covenant has been our church home and second family. We will truly miss each one of you! But we will take with us the many memories of you and our times together serving and glorifying God. After moving to Twin Lakes in March 2020, we will retain our church membership and continue our financial pledge to Covenant as long as this is in the best interest of the church.
Love in Christ,
Jim and Emily Bleiler