FOR SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2021 

After 11 years of writing the Note from Pastor JR weekly with a few exceptions, I took a break this year.  However, I think now is the time to begin again.  The weekly Note from Pastor J R is intended to be a sermon teaser based on the upcoming Sunday’s sermon.  And it returns this week as I’m in preparation to begin this Sunday my annual sermon series on Covenant’s vision.  Remember our vision statement is“To be an inclusive community of faith – Offering Hope + Showing Faithfulness + Sharing Joy.”   However, in this first edition back of the Note from Pastor JR, I wanted to use it to honor one of our church’s most cherished members, our Church Mother, Mama Dorothy Swims.

          The past few years has been a struggle physically for Mama Dorothy and currently those struggles are even more difficult.  However, in my visits with her, that always kind and loving demeanor is still very much present.  She remains dear to our hearts and beloved among our church family in ever way.  As I write this on Friday, July 9, today is Mama Dorothy’s 86th Birthday.  Because of her current health challenges, it will be a low-key observance.  However, unbeknownst to her, her sisters, one living in Texas and the other one living in Haleyville, will be visiting her this weekend.

          And for me, Mama Dorothy remains the standard for our vision of Offering Hope.  I still remember the plethora of times people new to our congregation would gravitate to her because of her loving, accepting and sweet manner of welcoming and loving others without judgement.  That’s what “Offering Hope” in its purest form looks like.

          So, join us for worship this Sunday in person, by zoom or Facebook livestream as I begin a 3-part sermon series on Covenant’s vision statement.   This Sunday the sermon is “The Vision is … OFFERING HOPE,” based on Psalms 85:8-13.

Reverend J R Finney II, Pastor, Covenant Community Church, UCC

Former Moderator and Board Chair, Southeast Conference, United Church of Christ