Welcome to Covenant Baptist Church.
We describe ourselves as a Contemplative Christian Community because we are learning what it means to be quiet, to be prayerful, and to be listening to God. We are discovering what it means to live and serve God in contemplative ways.
We’re Open & Accepting:
We are a people who will welcome you to our family of faith. You are welcome at Covenant just as you are, and no matter what has happened in your life. We are a people who are learning what it means to live empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. There are no ethical requirements for beginning the journey of faith. If you are willing to travel with courage and honesty and in the company of people who are less than perfect, you are welcome here.
Ecumenical means we celebrate our incompleteness. While we love the freedom and distinctive nature of Baptist churches, we understand that the fullness of the gospel cannot be contained in any one church.
We’re Rooted Biblically:
At Covenant, we are determined to keep our roots firmly planted in the Bible. We will study the Bible with scholarship, interpret it with integrity, and attempt to follow its teachings with courage.
We appreciate the following historic Baptist principles of faith and church:
- Every congregation is autonomous, deciding for itself what it should be and what it believes.
- Every believer is responsible for her or his own faith. There are no priests or organizations standing between people and God.
- The Church should be kept separate from the State. The Government should not establish any official religion. All people are free to worship God or not worship God in any way they choose.
The scriptures are the authority for our lives. We are called to read them with scholarship and interpret them with integrity.
We Believe Black Lives Matter
Covenant Baptist Church hears the cries of our black brothers and sisters who live in a country that is steeped in a history of racism, discrimination, and injustice. We are committed to listening to their voices. We recognize that there are systems within our country that are designed to give power to those who are white while creating hardships for people of color. Even as we name and remember Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and George Floyd, we know they are representative of so many other black brothers and sisters whose lives have been wrongfully and callously taken. We believe they bear the image of the Divine and that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we repent of the ways we have lived as estranged and disconnected.
As a predominantly white congregation most of us cannot understand the daily struggle, fears, and choking racism experienced by people of color in America. As Christians our faith is founded in the person of Jesus Christ who came to bring salvation, healing, and light—this life and light found in Christ challenges us to listen beyond our own understanding, perceptions, and assumptions.
Therefore, we pray for ears to truly hear the hard reality of black life in America. May we be conduits for open and compassionate dialogue, and bridges to relationships that care for one another. We pray for eyes to see racism and discrimination where it exists. We pray for voice to name it and the will to change it, beginning with ourselves.
May we seek the establishment of just and anti-racist policies in our community and nation. We pray that as the Spirit of God breathes life in us, we will be breath to those who gasp for justice. May we be agents of healing and reconciliation, and in so doing help usher in a future where all are free to live in the fullness of our God given potential. And may we persevere in these pursuits.
— We are a worshiping community engaged in generous, ecumenical liturgical practices, ancient contemplative Christian practices, and contemporary spiritual disciplines (preaching from the lectionary, following the liturgical calendar, engaging in rich Lenten and Advent traditions, practicing silence, walking the labyrinth, cultivating Rules of Life during our retreats, unplugged worship, etc.).
— We are a church that has eschewed a programmatic, busy approach to church activities. Currently we’re a small congregation with one weekly service. We are a church that strongly values lay participation in the weekly worship service.
— We are a church that is also a small retreat center; we have deep commitments to our Covenant retreat community and the continuation of our free autumn and spring retreats for anyone interested.
— We are a church that has been described often as a “hospital church” for the wounded — a gentle, justice-minded, peaceable community. We are a congregation that trusts the priesthood of all believers, and in such, does not require doctrinal uniformity among its members. We are a church learning to be open and accepting of all who come through our doors; one that practices an open communion.
— We are a community that considers a healthy church to be an inter-generational one. We are a community that is very welcoming of children — their innocence, noises, and idiosyncrasies — even in gathered worship times.
— We are a church whose engagement with Holy Scripture strives to be creative, humble, grace-filled, and engaging, not dogmatic; trusting the Spirit’s role to enliven the Word. We are a church less interested in certitude, and more interested in sustaining a safe place that allows space for both doubt and faith to exist.
— We are a church with strong current mission commitments in Moldova, the Eastern Congo, and in a variety of local settings as well.
— We are a church nestled in the woods, a sacred space where our members are committed to maintaining our grounds, tending our prayer path and labyrinth, and providing guides for praying the labyrinth as part of our outreach to the community. We are a church where “working on the grounds” (landscaping, mowing, cleaning the church, working in the nursery, taking out the trash) is — importantly — done by church members, not outsourced.
Appreciative Inquiry Insights (Spring, 2016)
What we value:
- Inclusiveness. Christ is for all.
- Human beings are valuable. The world we are charged with maintaining is precious.
- We want to be a non-judgmental and welcoming presence.
- Children, as they can participate, are welcomed.
- Women and men leading and serving together. We are a body of equals.
- We are all a family: one body, actively caring for each other. Meeting and eating with family renews us.
- We aren’t interested in being trendy.
What we want to keep doing:
- Music: a blend of traditional hymns, unplugged praise songs, and chants in the tradition of Taizé.
- Intentional worship; Here, worship is not a production.
- Slow, contemplative gathering together.
- Retreats: both for our own body [spring retreats] and when inviting others [autumn retreats].
- Prayer paths, inviting the neighbors to walk our grounds. This demonstrates to the world a visible representation of our core values.
How we do church:
- We like to be slow, intentional, calm and thoughtful. This is not laziness; this reflects the importance of God’s work in us.
- We are on a journey. It is okay to be honest about struggling. Questions spark growth.
- We are authentic.
- We like gutsy, honest, excellent preaching. Well-crafted, intelligent sermons make us grow.
- We encourage small peer groups, age groups, and affinity groups.
- We spread the work and check up on each other. Responsibilities should not be overly burdensome.
How we view growth:
- Growth is not necessarily to increase numbers or amounts.
Peer groups, [having sufficient] leaders and workers, and the sharing of responsibilities all benefit from a larger body.
- [Our members see growth as] adding to what we already have without changing Covenant’s core values.
- Growth should contribute to our future, while honoring our present and past.