Reverend J. Beth Goss
Beth has been pastor at Church of the Covenant since August of 2008. She describes herself as an imperfect follower of Jesus, called to walk alongside others, wherever they are in their own spiritual journeys. Beth became a "second career" pastor in 2000, along a path in life from being a preacher's kid, to working in business (as a CPA with Arthur Anderson & Co in Chicago and Miami) to seminary at Princeton Theological Seminary. Beth and husband Rollie met in the high school youth group at The Village Church in Northbrook, Illinois, where Beth's dad was a pastor. Rollie and Beth lived for nearly 20 years in Miami, Florida, where their three sons--Carl, Blake, and Emery--were born. Volunteering with survivors of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 put Beth on a path to serving the church. She is still active in the disaster response communities from Northern Virginia and serves on the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team. Rollie is an attorney and practices in the District of Columbia. They enjoy baseball (yea, Nats!), opera, and traveling around the county to visit their spread out family. Whenever possible, Beth still pretends to be a farmer by puttering around in the garden and digging in the dirt and playing in the greenhouse.
I'm passionate about...
- adventurous faith
- good preaching
- vibrant worship
- Church of the Covenant's transforming mission
I am an active participant in Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's National Response Team and I meet regularly with government and interfaith groups to promote readiness and response to disasters—both natural and human-caused—in partnership with many faith communities. I occasionally blog at http://pastorbethatcovenant.blogspot.com
I think life is about relationships of love...with God, with neighbors, with family. Good discussion is part of those relationships, and good questions are part of those discussions. Church of the Covenant promotes good questions because we are serious about growing disciples of Jesus Christ, growing in love and community.
"Talk Back to the Preacher" is a different format for the sermon. In the summer, I use a more interactive/discussion format for meditating on the biblical text. I ask for specific feedback from the people and we have a conversation together about it. The notes indicate my own reading and thoughts, but people come with different expectations, ideas, and concerns. When we talk about the text together, the Holy Spirit will take it where it needs to go. What happens on a Sunday morning may be very different from the notes I bring in. We trust that, together, God will have us hear what we need to hear. I invite the feedback from all.
Emma was brought on board as the Christian Educator at Church of the Covenant in July 2014. She has a passion for helping adults and children experience their faith in new and exciting ways. Her primary duties at Church of the Covenant will be directing and organizing The Backyard: Wednesday Kids’ Club, an afterschool time for religious education geared toward local elementary school students. A self- described communion nerd, Emma loves the joy and fulfillment that happens during corporate worship. Emma graduated from Mars Hill College in 2008 with her Bachelors of Arts in Religion with a concentration in youth leadership and Christianity. She graduated from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond in 2011 with her Masters of Divinity. She and her husband Jeff share their apartment with their three cats, Lucky, Dale and Daenerys. Before coming to Church of the Covenant, Emma spent three years at Western Presbyterian Church, serving as their Christian Educator and a year at First Presbyterian Church Charlottesville as their ministry intern. When she isn’t thinking about exciting new ways to help children and adults experience God, Emma can be found with her nose buried in a book, watching movies, or going for runs around Arlington.
Organist and Choir Director
Barbara has directed the senior and junior choirs at Church of the Covenant since 1985. Over the years, she has directed performances of many of the choral masterpieces, including Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Mass in G; Saint-Saens’s Christmas Oratorio; Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, Faure’s Requiem, and Rutter’s Requiem and excerpts from his Magnificat. In addition to the classical choral repertoire, she incorporates a variety of musical genres into the typical church service, including contemporary sacred music, spirituals, popular music, and show tunes. Barbara happily works with singers at every level of experience and ability. Indeed, she has a particular knack for recruiting the musical neophyte, working with them to develop their singing voice and ultimately generating wonderful singing tone and ability. With a degree in piano performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Barbara is an accomplished organist and pianist who performs with unparalleled depth, precision, and musicality. Finally, she works with the children’s choir at Church of the Covenant, skillfully training these very young children (some as young as three years of age) to use proper vocal technique, sing in an ensemble; and develop an appreciation for music and music performance. Prior to coming to Church of the Covenant, Barbara directed large adult choirs in Africa (Lusaka, Zambia) and Central America (Tegucigalpa, Honduras). Before moving overseas with her husband, she was music director at Redeemer Lutheran Church in McLean, VA; District Heights Presbyterian Church in District Heights, MD; and First Christian Church in Alexandria, VA. In addition to her responsibilities at Church of the Covenant, Barbara privately teaches piano, organ, and voice.
Karen Freeman was born in La Paz, Bolivia. She moved to Arlington, Virginia at the age of 4 and has lived here ever since. She graduated from Yorktown High School in 2001 and has now come to join our Administrative team here at the Church of the Covenant. She is fluent in English and Spanish and has a passion for serving the Lord.
Leon has been the faithful custodian at Covenant for the past 17 years. He works around the schedule of the many activities and events held at the church. Whether it is a drink spilled at the last meeting or trash and recycling, Leon cheerfully keeps us looking good.