Maybe you’re one of those people, like me, who looks back at the previous year in remembrance and thanksgiving while also looking ahead with hopes and dreams for the year to come.
In the early days of Methodism, our founder John Wesley (1703-1791) invited people to reflect on their spiritual journey and to renew their covenant relationship with God. The covenant service was designed (1) to remind people of the grace and mercy that God gives everyone and the hope to which God calls us, (2) to encourage people to reflect on the places where they have failed or fallen short in their faith and practice, and (3) to give themselves anew to God. The first covenant service was held in London on August 11, 1755. After that service, Wesley wrote in his Journal:
“After I had recited the tenor of the covenant proposal … all the people stood up, in testimony of assent, to the number of about eighteen hundred persons. Such a night I scarce ever saw before. Surely the fruit of it shall remain forever.”
It’s inspiring to think of those 1,800 people renewing their covenant relationship with God on that night so long ago. I wonder who they were, who they became, and how God used each one to bring others to know the love of God in Jesus Christ. I imagine that the fruit of that covenant they made back then truly does live on today within those of us who are seeking to follow God’s calling on our lives as United Methodists.
Toward the end of Wesley’s life, covenant services were usually celebrated on New Year’s Day or a Sunday near the beginning of a new year. This Sunday morning at 10am, we will hold a time of Covenant Renewal in the same spirit as those who came before us. It will be a unique time that combines worship with fellowship in that we will renew our divine covenant together, enjoy conversation with one another as we eat brunch, and close with Holy Communion.
I hope you’ll begin the new year at Avondale United Methodist Church. Feel free to invite your friends and family. I look forward to seeing what fruit God will bear within each one of us in the year to come.
Rev. Malinda Weaver (she/her)
P.S. Because of the unique format of this service and the way in which it’s combined with brunch, we will not have our usual livestream.
Please Consider a Year-End Gift
Your financial support helps us sustain our ongoing ministries such as feeding Avondale School families, providing space for AA, supporting our social workers as they seek to help our neighbors get back on their feet, caring for the homeless, and more. It also helps us with our capital needs as we seek to care for our historic building and provide a space to know Christ for generations to come.
If you’d like to contribute right now, you can give online by clicking here to make a one-time gift or to set up a recurring gift. You can also mail your contribution to the church at 500-40th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35222. Or you can drop it by the church in the mailbox which is located on the wall just outside the single glass door on 5th Avenue. To receive 2022 tax credit, all donations must be postmarked, received online, or in our mailbox by December 31, 2022.