Volume VII, Number 1 Trinity Season 2002
Quarterly Publication of the Church of the Advent

In the Next Pew
Pam and John Covert
Pam & John Covert
Smoke Signals
Published Quarterly by the Communications Committee
30 Brimmer Street, Boston, MA 02108

Fax: 617-523-0302;

Virginia Pierce

Anastasia O’Melveny
Anthony Oberdorfer
B. Hughes Morris

Joseph D. McLellan, Jr.

June A. Knowles
Diane Gould
Ann Evans
Michael Dawson, Editor

The Science Club trip set off from S. R. Butler High School in Huntsville, Alabama. The young man, just 17, stood with the box of chocolate chip cookies his mother had packed for him, and asked the young lady if he could sit next to her. She, just 15, and eyeing the cookies, said yes. And so began the saga of the Coverts-John and Pam. They've been together for the most part ever since. Next September 2 they will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary!

They're both from military families, although John's family was more peripatetic than Pam's. He was born in Yonkers, then moved to Fortress Monroe (in Hampton, Va.), Fort Leavenworth, Falls Church, Va., (where he was in the junior choir at St. Patrick's Church), Würzburg, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, and Huntsville, Ala. From there college at Georgia Tech seemed a logical progression. Pam was born in Savannah and spent three years in Birmingham before Huntsville; she started college at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, then the University of Georgia, ending up at (where else) Georgia State.

They started their married life in Atlanta, Ga. It was in Atlanta at the Church of our Saviour, that John was introduced to high church under that scion of Anglo-Catholicism, the Rev. Roy Pettway. Fr. Pettway gave Pam her confirmation instruction, and John served as an acolyte there for seven years. In 1979 they moved to the Boston area; Acton is now home for them and their cat, Neutron. In 1985 they found the Advent's ad in the Globe and visited occasionally. Karin Knox told them if they liked this they should come every week; and so they do. They made the Advent their parish home on Palm Sunday, '92 after only sporadic church visits for 17 years.

Whatever John does, he does it thoroughly. One has only to see him on the softball field at MIT cheering on his undergraduate fraternity brothers to know that. John is a member of Phi Kappa Theta, and the alumnus advisor to the MIT chapter for several years. The fraternity was exclusively Roman Catholic until a year before John joined in 1968, and other members include JFK, Ed McMahon, and the Pope! John and Pam often bring MIT undergraduates to the Advent with them; some have even returned.

Pam's a medical technologist at Emerson Hospital; in addition to that she loves reading, walking, gardening (she's on the Flower Arranging Guild at the Advent), and cooking. But, always she's John's cheering section. Together they enjoy travel (France, Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, Egypt, the Holy Land), theater, and roller blading (!!!). Their trip to the Holy Land made itself evident at the Cathedral series on Peace in Palestine recently, as John attended wearing his kaffiyeh, given to him as they left the hotel for a foray; the hotel told him to keep it in the glovebox if he saw Israelis, and to wear it for meeting Arabs. Those who were huddled on the porch escaping the rain at the last Parish Picnic as we broke into impromptu Broadway hits know another of John's passions. He sang Gilbert and Sullivan with the Sudbury Savoyards for thirteen years; he now sings with a G & S group at MIT.

He said recently (to a friend who was trying to encourage him into the priesthood) that if he were ever to become a priest, he'd be a good professor of theology, a middling preacher, and lousy at pastoral work. But he works tirelessly for the Advent. He set up our domain and web site seven years ago, and has continued to volunteer large amounts of time to keep it current-every Sunday's bulletin is posted (usually by Sunday afternoon), along with acolyte and lector schedules--just a small part of the parish information to be found there, along with links to the Diocese and the national church. His theory about the web site is one of simplicity. The fact that there are no fancy dancing graphics makes it easy and fast for the site to load, so one can check mass times or acolyte schedules quickly. And the large proportion of text to pictures makes it easier for software serving the blind; as John says, "we're in the business of making the blind to see." John also coordinates the 11:00 coffee hours (brace yourself when you see him bearing down with his antiquated PDA) and is a stentorian lector; together they're processors at the Solemn High Mass. Recently John has found another niche; at our last procession outside he borrowed one of the headsets from the hearing assist system so that the congregation processing outside could be coordinated with the organ inside.

Ann Evans