A Sabbath Sunday from the Synod for Pastors and Worship Planners

All of you who plan and lead worship services have been so inspiring since the pandemic began. You have met the challenge of coordinating worship that is meaningful in such an uncertain time, of navigating new technology, and of deciding the best format in your particular context. More recently you have worked to address the issues of racial justice that are all around us.

The Synod of the Covenant is offering you pastors, musicians, and worship leaders a Sabbath from worship preparation and leadership in recognition of your faithful ministry. Interim Synod Executive Chip Hardwick is coordinating a service based on Romans 6:12-23, one of the lectionary passages for June 28th. You’ll be able to download the worship service as either the whole service (which includes involve liturgists from throughout the Synod), or just the scripture and sermon from the links below.

Of course, there is no requirement to use the service! The Synod is offering it with hopes that many of our churches will receive it as a gift, to give you a Sabbath Sunday.  For questions, contact Chip at synod.covenant@gmail.com or 309-530-4578.

From the Interim Executive ...

Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ!

It’s been about two months since I began serving as the Synod’s Interim Executive. I have been so inspired as I have learned about your ministries.  It is a really challenging time to be church leader right now.  As the pandemic swept over us, you’ve figured out how to be the body of Christ when we can’t physically be with those who are sick and dying. You’ve navigated Zoom, Facebook Live, Vimeo, YouTube, and conference calls. You’ve debated closings and openings, and found such creative ways to do ministry.

Then the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd brought a reckoning over racial injustice in the United States and provoked us to wrestle again with the Spirit as we recognize structural racism and personal prejudices, including, for me and my fellow white Christians, our own.  You’ve led and participated in these challenging conversations and read books and articles which stretch your faith and understanding of what it means for all to be created in God’s image. In your words and actions, you’ve proclaimed that Black lives matter to God, to the church, and to you. You’ve looked for concrete changes to make so that people of color experience the world as Jesus wants it to be.

I’m so grateful for you.

To thank you for your hard work, I’ve been busy planning the Sabbath Sunday from the Synod so that pastors and worship leaders can have a break on 6/28 or afterwards (click here for more information). Since starting I’ve also been on 103 zoom calls, had 36 informational interviews, and tilted at countless administrative windmills. I would love to hear from you about your hopes for the Synod, any advice you have for me, and how Stated Clerk Richard Rojas Banuchi, Bookkeeper Belinda King, and I can serve you.

Your partner in ministry,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
Interim Executive

Charles B. Hardwick: A Brief Biographical Sketch

The Rev. Dr. Charles B. Hardwick began serving as the Interim Executive for the Synod of the Covenant in spring, 2020. Chip is grateful that the Holy Spirit brought him to this challenging role, where he can work with the eleven presbyteries throughout Ohio and Michigan to develop ministries to help Presbyterians live more faithfully.

Before joining the Synod, Chip served the denomination as Director of Theology, Formation, and Evangelism. He has also served churches in Lake Forest, IL, Bloomington, IL, and Atlanta, GA.  His education includes a B.A. from Alma College, an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, a Th.M. from Emory University, and an M.Div. and Ph.D. (preaching and worship) from Princeton Theological Seminary.  Before seminary he worked at strategy consultancy Bain and Company in Dallas and Madrid, and at Dow Corning Corporation in Kentucky and Michigan.

Chip is a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee at Alma College, a trustee at Princeton Theological Seminary, and an adjunct professor in Dubuque Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program. He writes the Bible Explorations column for Presbyterians Today and contributes to These Days and The Presbyterian Outlook. His Outlook article “My Mom and Me:  Theological Comfort and the Suicide Crisis” won first place in its category in the 2018 Associated Church Press Awards. His devotional book Crossbound was published for Lent, 2015.

Chip is single, grew up in Beavercreek, OH, and lives in the Detroit area, with his two cats Salsa and Queso.  He is fluent in Spanish and enjoys photography, pop culture, travel, Spanish culture, and biking. The biggest competitor to Christ’s lordship in his life is the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.

You can friend him on Facebook and Instagram (“Chip Hardwick”) and follow him on twitter (@chiphardwick).