Saturday, Dec. 22: Free S’mores with Santa at 4 p.m., followed by a candlelight service and Christmas carols at 5:30 p.m. and wraps up with hot chocolate and caroling in the community at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 6: Inaugural weekly service for Connexion Church, 11 a.m., at Peachtree Academy at 1801 Ellington Road, off of Salem Road, in Conyers.
The Rev. Andrew Covington and his team at the new Connexion Church are looking to shake up the concept of church.
“We’re going to take a hard look at what church is and what church should and could be,” he said. “What if church was a verb… (what) if you didn’t identify it as a place, but an action.”
The newly planted church will launch weekly services on Jan 6, 11a.m. at Peachtree Academy in Conyers with the sermon series “Re-Think Church”
During their inaugural service, Covington will share the pulpit with good friend Reverend Bill Koble, a Methodist pastor in Kenya. Koble trains local Kenyan pastors, connects mission teams and helps with micro-economic projects. Covington believes Koble’s perspective of some African churches meeting beneath a tarp with members sitting on the ground will help illustrate his point. “Church is more about the actions we do than the place where we meet,” said Covington.
As the only church plant of the North Georgia Methodist Conference in 2012, Connexion Church is aiming to serve people in western Rockdale and eastern Newton counties, an area that’s had a five hundred percent population growth in the last five years. “We’re really trying to reach out to folks new to the area and those who have become disconnected with the church and provide an open, loving, peaceful space where they can feel cared for and worship.”
Covington is eager to forge partnerships with different community groups. With only three “preview” services under their belt, they have already partnered with the United Day Center, a program for special-needs adults, to host a Thanksgiving Dinner and Dance and a Christmas party complete with a deejay spinning tunes. “We want the DNA of Connexion Church to add value to the lives of people in Conyers and Covington.”
Covington, a 1996 Heritage High School graduate and former youth minister at Conyers First United Methodist Church, earned his Master of Divinity degree from Emory University in 2011. He contends their church is different from the common labels, traditional or contemporary. “Matt Tryall, our worship band leader, has assembled an amazing pool of musicians – we have a banjo and mandolin player for our carol service.”
In the last six months, Covington and his family, along with Tryall and Andrew Baker, the Director of Student and Family Ministry, have visited churches all over the region. His top takeaway has been to ensure a welcoming spirit – Connexion will have greeters in the parking lot and home-baked goods and coffee available. The experience also shaped the tone of his teaching, conversational and interactive sermons. “We’re in a time filled with so many questions and uncertainty I want to answer that with messages filled with God’s grace and hope through Jesus Christ,” he said, “It’s what the community and world needs to hear.”
To that end, they have put together an idyllic and complimentary late afternoon treat open to all on Saturday, Dec. 22 with S’mores with Santa at 4 p.m., followed by a candlelight service and Christmas carols at 5:30 p.m. and wraps up with hot chocolate and caroling in the community at 7 p.m.
Covington was inspired to do the S’mores with Santa event after taking his two young children to the mall to learn it would be $60 to have their pictures made with Santa. “We thought families are having a hard enough time, and we’re going to offer this for free.”
For more information, visit www.connexionchurchumc.org or call (770)367-1620. The church meets at Peachtree Academy at 1801 Ellington Road, off of Salem Road, in Conyers.