Presbyterian Church of the Covenant

The Courier 

Our Monthly Newsletter




Message from Pastor Mike

Congregational Meeting and Service of Shadows

Souperbowl of Caring, Carlanne Evans, Violinist, Rev. Melana Scuggs

Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not un[1]derstood from the foundations of the earth?...The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; ...He gives power to the faint, … those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40 excerpts from verses 21-31)

One of my favorite choral anthems is “He Is the Everlasting God”! (By Joseph Martin) Isaiah understood that God’s people are sometimes unclear about the character and purposes of God. Joseph Martin thought that Christian congregations ought to be reminded of who it is that we worship from Sunday to Sunday and generation by generation. In times of transition and change, we all need to be reminded of who stands within us. We read the scriptures and are informed of the foundations of our faith. We tell the faith story with our words, worship and hoping to be transformed, as we share the presence of God’s Kingdom in Christ, joining with others to respond in faith, hope and love.

Covenant and Mike and Linda Mansperger are about to venture into new territory. The church will be formulating plans to greet a neighborhood that has never existed. The church has always enjoyed a prime location in south Sarasota. We are a gathering place for a growing school (with a large and growing waiting list) as parents want to have their children learning at Roots Nature Leadership Academy. This campus serves as host to five A.A. groups each week serving hundreds of people who have experienced addiction and are now committed to sobriety. Including a Wednesday night group meeting in the Chapel who explore the transformative power of meditation grounded in the Prayer of St. Francis. The choir is led by Michele Pruyne who has introduced us to a variety of talented musicians, in addition to her husband David who has delighted us in duets with Dr. Danny Zirpoli. The Mansperger’s have trips to Huntsville, AL, Calvin Crest Conference Center (below Yosemite National Park in CA) and Lake Tahoe for Linda’s birthday. They are looking forward to a special evening at Bay Village and entertaining Paul and Sheri King (Lenexa, KS) and The Rev. Wally Johnson with his wife Joyce (from Tulsa, OK). They think they are going to try their hands and legs at tennis, play some golf and have days together during the week.

Yes, life is going to be different. Peace River Presbytery has lined up Pulpit Supply for the immediate future and has identified experienced clergy who may be willing to serve Christ and Covenant as interim pastor. The church will prepare for the next installed pastor.  General Presbyter Melana Scruggs will preach Sunday March 3 to express the support of the presbytery and has begun to help your Session understand the process that will lead to your next pastor. Herman Wissenberg and Dana Trimble have begun contacting others in the church to assist. You can contact Alice in the church Office to let her know that you are willing to help lead worship, produce the Order of Service for Sunday, provide a Coffee Hour, pull some weeds, attend a bible study, learn to ‘stream worship’ on a Sunday morning, sing with the choir, take pictures of church events, etc…

The same Lord who captured the heart of Saul of Tarsus so long ago (see Acts 9) and called The Reverend Freeman Parker in 1967 to begin Covenant in the Buckingham Club, is in charge of leading a search for the next pastor. Remember who we worship. Remember who calls us to love one another and empowers us to serve the community and the world. He is the everlasting God!    Pastor Mansperger


Sunday January 28, 2024 following worship the congregation will remain in the sanctuary to celebrate the life and stewardship of June and Robert Wright! We will also conduct the business required by our By-Laws to move into the year ahead. Please join us in remembering June and her labor and love for Christ and Covenant as the choir sings one of Bob’s favorite songs.


To each of you who went out of your way to supply Mision Peniel and their children with wonderful toys, sheets, pots and pans, clothing, dry food goods, checks and more. Your efforts to care for those who work so hard for so little are greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for helping to make December a joyful time of sharing God’s generosity with one of our Migrant Laborer Missions.


We are grateful to announce that on Thursday, March 28 at 4:00 p.m. in our beautiful Chapel, The Reverend Daryl Goldman has agreed to lead a Maundy Thursday Service for Covenant. We have an opportunity to remember the final days of Christ’s earthly ministry. We will reflect on Jesus’ betrayal, denial, suffering and death as the season of Lent concludes.

We will also have an opportunity to tell Rev. Goldman and those he speaks with about our church, how supportive the congregation is to a newcomer. Please, make every effort to be present and bring a neighbor, family member or friend along to hear another Christian pastor who has just completed his interim ministry at Christ Church of Longboat Key! Your presence will make a difference.


Following worship on Sunday February 11, 2024 in Fellowship Hall we will feast on chili, clam chowder, cornbread and a variety of desserts. Diane Steiger and Linda Mansperger have organized the meal and we are all invited to share in this nation wide event to help feed the hungry. Beginning with one youth group in South Carolina there are now thousands of churches across the country who gather to donate food and funds to those in their own community who suffer with food insecurity. Thanks to that group of teenagers and each of us, Miguel Estrada, Marifrans Estrada and volunteers will be able to feed another 400-600 farmworkers at Mision Peniel. Can you imagine the bags of beans, rice, vegetables from the community garden and proteins required to feed that many people every Friday evening?

Please join us for a festive meal and bring a check or cash or food donation to share with those who put food on our tables generation after generation! We will have fun.


Our new found friend, Carlanne has agreed to help us celebrate the Lord’s Supper on February 4th during worship. The choir has two extraordinary pieces of music to share accompanied by Carlanne’s magnificent work with her violin. You won’t want to miss this time of worship as Priscilla Fullerton, Dr. Danny Zirpoli, Michele Pruyne and the choir lead us in the corporate act of worship giving thanks for Christ’s broken body and cup of sacrifice.


Please make every effort to be present as the Rev. Michael Mansperger conducts his final worship service as our installed pastor at 10:30 a.m. There is special music planned and a memorable service as we bid Linda and Mike God’s blessing for their future.


Will preach Sunday March 3 at 10:30 a.m. representing Christ’s presence in Peace River Presbytery and our 35 sister churches from Naples to Longboat Key and Bradenton and the Gulf of Mexico to Arcadia.

Melana will help our church remember that we are supported by others who will assist us in the process of preparing ourselves for the next pastor who will lead us in worship, fellowship and mission in the years to come as we seek to follow Christ’s outreach into a changing neighborhood.

Since 1966 when The Reverend Freeman Parker help start Covenant there has been a steady stream of change and Peace River will pray and support the conviction that the best is ahead of us. Thanks be to God!


In this new year there are plenty of opportunities to serve Christ in the Office helping Alice; working in the Clothes Closet Boutique on Friday or Saturday morning; singing with the choir; sharing Tuesday morning with the Knit and Sew Crew from 9 a.m. and if you like for lunch afterwards; preparing communion for the first Sunday of the month; serving communion; pulling a few weeds on campus. Just giving Alice or one of the Elders on Session the news that you would like to pitch in, is a gift in itself.

Please take a moment to fill in the Flower Chart or Buy some doughnuts for Coffee Hour (after you sign up at the bulletin board in front of the Office). Don’t be bashful, there may be someone in need who needs a ride or a visit, phone call or friendly note. Just let the office know how you would like to help.

With you in His service,