Special Synod of the Covenant Assembly

The Synod of the Covenant is inviting you to a Special Assembly of the Synod of the Covenant.

Special Assembly Meeting – Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

for the sole purpose of approving the following motion:

To appoint Wayne Yost, (Synod of the Trinity) to serve as Temporary Associate Stated Clerk of the Synod of the Covenant in the matter Elder Doug Dault (Stockbridge – PLM) vs the Presbytery of Lake Michigan in this matter and this matter only for the duration of the judicial process. Rev. Yost will be compensated at the rate of $30/hr plus any associated costs.

Register Now

From the Interim Executive….

From the Interim Executive,

Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ!  Usually our Synod newsletters focus on our ministries to support your presbyteries and congregations. Today, though, I want to write about something which might seem a little “Inside Baseball.”

The Executive/General Presbyters and Stated Clerks and synod staff joined together for a retreat in late August. Our subject was “The Why of the Synod,” and we will be presenting a draft of our conclusions at the Synod Commissioners’ Assembly October 7-9, 2021, for their approval.  The overview of our work was, “In our Synod, we’ll do anything to equip leaders who are engaging God’s creative, emerging future.”  I’m really excited about how this statement will guide our work in 2022 and beyond.

Also at this assembly, we’ll be electing a new Stated Clerk.  Ruling Elder Sharon Moore has served in this capacity for the past year, quite ably!  She has been a wonderful colleague. You can read her resignation letter here; please pray for her health.  Rev. Fran Lane Lawrence of Presbytery of Lake Michigan is the candidate for interim Stated Clerk.  We will also elect a new treasurer and commissioners to various committees.

The Administrative Commission which currently oversees the Synod also hopes, at this assembly, to return jurisdiction to us. They are grateful for the progress they see and for the work that so many of you are doing to bring about the improvement.  If you would like to attend any part of the assembly, you can register here.

Check out the rest of the articles in our newsletter for the “Outside Baseball” work to support your churches and ministries more directly!

Your partner in ministry,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
Interim Executive
chip@synodofthecovenant.org


What Poets Can Teach Preachers

Catch up on the “What Poets Can Teach Preachers” Preaching Workshop

Columbia Seminary’s Dr. Anna Carter Florence offered the Synod’s monthly Preaching Workshop on September 1, 2021, helping participants gain a fascinating new perspective on their work as preachers. Both preachers and non-preachers will appreciate the insights Carter Florence shared.

The Presbyterian News Service published an article about the workshop, which you can read here.

You can watch the video, and other past monthly workshops, at Preaching Workshops – YouTube.


Alma College Is Seeking a New Chaplain for its Spiritual Care Team

Learn more and apply here for the role of Campus Chaplain at this Presbyterian College in Lake Huron Presbytery.  Former Chaplain Rev. Andrew Pomerville has been promoted to Director of Alma College’s Center for College and  Community Engagement and Senior Chaplain.  The new chaplain will join Andrew and two more team members, a part-time Protestant and part-time Roman Catholic chaplain.


An Urgent Message from our Covenant Partner, Samaritas of Michigan

Samaritas’ Director of Church Relations, Rev. Beth Birkholz, writes…

Samaritas is in urgent need of housing for New American families.

We especially have needs in the Southeast Michigan as well as Grand Rapids areas, and we are open to the Ann Arbor, Lansing and Kalamazoo areas as well for housing. As you may have seen in the news, we are already resettling more people than in the past few years, and the numbers are expected to increase more and more into 2022. This is good news! But we need help to affordably house them as they get on their feet.

These housing options may include apartments, single family homes, or even mobile homes. Not every complex or landlord is open to renting to newly arrived folks, so we are especially seeking connections to landlords, homeowners, and any person with those kinds of connections so it won’t be a “cold call.”

We are exploring creative options so we can resettle more people such as camps, dorms, or sharing space with another family as well. These would be more short-term options, but we will still need affordable housing longer term.

We are open to possibilities to shelter these people, and invite you to contact Pastor Beth Birkholz at bbirk@samaritas.org to then be connected to the appropriate staff member.

Thanks for your prayers and support!


Catch up on the “Opening Your Listeners to New Perspectives” Preaching Workshop

Synod Interim Executive Chip Hardwick offered the Synod’s monthly Preaching Workshop on August 4, 2021, working with participants on the principles of basic rhetoric as a way to persuade listeners through their preaching. Chip’s Ph.D. is in homiletics (preaching and worship) from Princeton Theological Seminary.

The Presbyterian News Service published an article about the workshop, which you can read here.

You can watch the video, and other past monthly workshops, at Preaching Workshops – YouTube.

Facilitator:  Chip Hardwick, Interim Executive, Synod of the Covenant

Chip earned his Ph.D. in homiletics (preaching) at Princeton Theological Seminary, helping to teach courses in Introduction to Preaching and Worship in the Reformed Tradition. He has served as the regular preacher at churches in Bloomington, IL, and Lake Forest, IL.  He is the former Director of Theology, Formation, and Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church (USA), and has served the Synod since April 2020.

This workshop is part of a monthly workshop series on preaching, the first Wednesday of every month from 10:00 to 11:30 am. For an overview of the series, click here.


Help the Synod Be an Excellent Financial Steward

The Synod is looking for a volunteer treasurer to provide internal control, oversight, and back-up for the staff as they provide the Synod constituents with the financial analysis needed to plan and carry out its mission.  This position should take less than ten hours per month, and applicants can live anywhere inside the geographic bounds of the Synod.

Learn More

Meet the winners of the Synod’s Higher Education Scholarships for Christian Leaders

Several of the 2021 winners of the Higher Education Scholarship for Christian Leaders submitted short videos in gratitude for the support they received.  Watch them at 2021 Higher Education Scholarships for Christian Leaders – YouTube.  The 56 Recipients received between $375 and $1000 each for vocational, associates, or undergraduate programs or first masters programs in Theology.  Applicants were asked to describe how they work toward the Matthew 25 goals of strengthening congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty. See the whole list of winners and learn more at  Grants and Scholarships – Synod of the Covenant


What Poets Can Teach Preachers

What Poets Can Teach Preachers About Surviving, Thriving, and Talking About What We Do

What Poets Can Teach Preachers About Surviving, Thriving, and Talking About What We Do

September 1, 2021: 10:00 -11:30 am by Zoom

Poets and preachers have a lot in common. You could even say poets are our closest cousins—and in ways that might surprise us. Come for an energizing morning of learning what a poet can teach a preacher about the work we share, the life we seek, and the words that shape the journey.

Facilitator:  Anna Carter Florence

Anna Carter Florence’s gifts for preaching and teaching make her a widely-sought after presenter in the church and academy.  She is interested in preaching and public proclamation, and preparing leaders who can speak and listen in multiple contexts for ministry.  Her research focuses on testimony, pedagogies of preaching, the creative process by which communities engage and embody scripture, and how other fields—particularly poetry and theater—offer models for prophetic speech. She has a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and has taught at Columbia Seminary since 1998.  Her books include Preaching as Teaching and Preaching Year A with Anna Carter Florence.

Register Here

This workshop is part of a monthly workshop series on preaching, the first Wednesday of every month from 10:00 to 11:30 am. For an overview of the series, click here.