In the kitchen of a home outside of Ramallah, I learned how to make qatayef. My young aunt Duha scooped the cheese into the sweet bread and neatly pressed the edges to fold it. I tried to follow her steps, and my step-grandmother, Umm Tayseer, showed me how to press it with her hands, smiling between a few Arabic words. Soon we fell into a peaceful rhythm, completing the tasty Ramadan sweets.
Robert L. Owens has been serving in ministry in the Covenant for the past forty-four years as a pastor and most recently as the superintendent of the Southeast Conference. He retired in August.
Choose and Choose Again is a mosaic of personal stories collected by author and Covenant pastor J. Kevin Butcher, who founded Hope Community Church in Detroit, Michigan. The stories he shares (as well as his own testimony) display the complexities of people who live their lives as prisoners and prostitutes, as well as those who are lawyers and in business.
Women in ministry have been shifting the church’s image of pastoral leadership and are answering the call to serve in a wide variety of contexts. Thirty years ago, the Covenant endorsed a woman as a military chaplain for the first time. Women have been following this unique call ever since.
This summer 5,000 students gathered at the University of Tennessee Knoxville for CHIC, the Covenant’s triennial youth gathering. The theme was Unite, so the Companion convened a diverse group of students from across the Covenant to share about their experiences at the event, how God is working in their lives, and what it means to them for the church to “unite.”
Last summer an explosion destroyed part of Minnehaha Academy, a preK–12 school operated by the Northwest Conference. Staff members Ruth Berg and John Carlson were killed and several others were injured. President Donna Harris reflects on what their community has learned in the past year and how they have drawn together.
Recently Devyn Chambers Johnson, co-pastor of Community Covenant Church in Springfield, Virginia, hosted a daylong seminar called Talking with Children about Race. She invited fellow Covenanter Rukiya Davis from Windsor Mill, Maryland, to be the presenter. Davis earned a master’s in Christian ministry from North Park Theological Seminary and recently earned her master’s of social work. “From my perspective,” Davis says, “there aren’t a lot of clinically trained people who work with children and families in need inside the church. I want to advocate for people who are caught up in the foster care or assistance systems.”
I was team teaching second-grade Sunday school. Another teacher asked the class, “Does anyone know what Lent is?” A quiet boy who rarely participated raised his hand excitedly. “Lent is the stuff you find in your belly button!”
The book called out to me. That’s all I can say. I’d heard about it in passing, then one day I saw it on my colleague’s desk. Perhaps it was the phrase “I’m perfect” that was scribbled out and re-written “The Imperfect Pastor,” that struck me. But I still didn’t read it. Several years later, it sat languishing on my nightstand until I finally had enough wisdom (or desperation) to pick it up.
Where do you go when you’re sick and homeless? Often the ER is the best option for chronically homeless individuals with medical issues. Across the country emergency department staff find themselves greeting the same faces again and again. Without the safety and stability of permanent housing, homeless people are vulnerable to illnesses, accidents, and violent crime necessitating medical attention.