Coming This Sunday… Two Pietists, Two First Covenant Churches

Within our denomination, one of my favorite theologians and writers is Jay Phelan, former president, dean, and professor at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. I’m happy to claim him as a fellow Covenanter — and a fellow Pietist. His longstanding column in Pietisten is called “A Pietist’s Bookshelf,” and Pietism comes up often in his regular contributions to The Covenant Companion. (His January column — “Whatever Happened to Pietism?” — starts with nice words for The Pietist Vision.) I’ve never heard Jay preach in person, but since he retired up here, I’ve been hoping that he might wind up filling a nearby pulpit on a Sunday when I could visit.

And sure enough, I noticed that he’s preaching this Sunday (April 29th) at First Covenant Church in downtown Minneapolis…

…which is the same morning that I’ll be the guest preacher and teacher at First Covenant Church in St. Paul.

First Covenant Minneapolis
I think both First Covenants date back to 1874. The one in Minneapolis has occupied its famous building since 1887.

Ah well, I suppose there’s a kind of symmetry to the two of us preaching in two of the Twin Cities’ most historic Covenant churches on the same Sunday. Jay will be preaching on Colossians 3:18-4:1, as a series on that epistle continues at First-Minneapolis, while I’ll tackle Luke 8:1-21 as part of First-St. Paul’s series on generosity (tentative sermon title: “A Generosity of Attention”). You’re likely to hear a better sermon on a harder passage on the west side of the river, but if you head east, you can also stay for my spiritual growth hour presentation, “The Pietist Option for a Multiethnic Church.”

By the way, my speaking schedule for the summer is starting to fill up. During my research trip to the Northeast, I’ll be at First Congregational Church in Litchfield, CT on June 17th, then the Evangelical Covenant Church of Attleboro, MA the following Sunday. After getting back home, I’ll prepare for a four-week class on Pietism all August at Central Baptist Church of St. Paul, MN (which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this weekend).