Founded in 1916 in uptown Charlotte as First Reformed Church, Holy Covenant is a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC) — one of the United States’ traditional Protestant denominations born of the merger of four historic American communities of faith. In fact, we trace our heritage in the US as far back as the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. These Congregationalists, and the many people who followed them, sought the liberty to believe and worship God as their conscience dictated. Several hundred years later, the UCC continues to believe that God is still speaking to God’s people — and we continue to build on our tradition of being The First to celebrate and honor the gifts of all of God’s people: women, people of color, LGBTQ and more.
Ordained in 1981 at Royal Lane Baptist Church in Dallas TX, Nancy has focused her life on advocacy for those Jesus identified as the last, the least and the little ones. Early in her career she served as a missionary to Liberia, teaching at Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary. Returning to the United States in 1990, she worked with young families in crisis as Chaplain Coordinator for Baylor University Medical Center and as Family Coordinator for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. She founded CityChurch: A Baptist Community of Grace in Dallas (now known as Church in the Cliff), before moving to North Carolina in 1999.
After serving Holy Covenant as Interim Pastor, Nancy was called by the church in 2004 to accept the role of Pastor. Beyond her ministry within the congregation, Nancy has long served as a strong advocate for LGBTQ concerns — expressed in ongoing community leadership and as a former member of the Board of Directors for Time Out Youth (2006-2010). With African-American colleague The Rev. Dian Griffin Jackson, Nancy has addressed white privilege and racial relationships in joint preaching and seminar leadership. A founding member of the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice, Nancy served on the Executive Committee as team lead for Environmental Concerns. She has partnered with Greenpeace, the Charlotte Chapter of the Sierra Club and NCWarn on a variety of environmental protests, issues and concerns.
Nancy earned her BA from Baylor University and her MDiv and PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. A popular speaker, preacher and retreat leader, Nancy has written and edited for several publications, and served as Secretary of the Southern Conference of the UCC and a member of the board of directors. With her husband Dale, Church Administrator for Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Nancy has two young adult daughters. For fun and wonderful solitude, she enjoys working in her exuberant perennial flower garden.
The Rev. Fredrick D. Robinson
Fredrick earned advanced degrees from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (Master of Arts in Religion and Christian Thought), and Chicago Theological Seminary (Master of Sacred Theology in Social Transformation). A 2014 Fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary, he was recently selected as an “Emerging Theologian” for the Freedom Center for Social Justice’s 2018 conference on Liberating Theologies. In addition to his work as Associate Pastor, he is Executive Director of Mecklenburg Ministries, Charlotte’s oldest interfaith network, whose mission is to build bridges across differences.
Fredrick is also the former pastor of the Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta as well as the former Moderator for the Cabin Creek Missionary Baptist Association. Prior to arriving at Mt. Gilead in May 2006, he served as the 11th pastor of the Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church in Cordele, Ga., as well as the chairman of the Gum Creek Missionary Baptist Union, a division of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, Inc.
An accomplished, award-winning journalist, he has over 20 years of experience as an editor and writer where he has covered the following issues: Faith and values, the family, the black church, state and local taxes, business development and entrepreneurship, the criminal justice system, education, politics, and welfare reform. He has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Patheos, Black Enterprise, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, and the Atlanta Constitution. A native of Atlanta, he has been married to Felicia Renee Williams for 30 years. They have three children, Fredrick Daniel Jr., 26; Kyra Ashley, 20; and Jordan Michael, 18.
Mr. Shea Watts
As Director of Music Ministries, Richard “Shea” Watts is responsible for the supervision and coordination of all musical programming, including working with the worship committee and other Holy Covenant instrumentalists in the creation and planning of our worship services. Also, as music director, Shea’s central focus is around maintaining the following priorities of 1) congregational involvement and engagement in worship leadership, 2) providing music that enhances the worship theme, 3), increasing skills and abilities of all musicians through education, 4) inclusiveness, and 5) musical excellence and diversity.
Prior to joining the staff at Holy Covenant, Shea served on the music staffs of The Church at LifePark, Seacoast Church and Newspring Church, as well as a Youth Director at Covenant Presbyterian Church. He has a passion for crafting and facilitating singable worship experiences where people can connect with the divine and within the congregation. He also is a published songwriter and hopes to write fresh expressions of worship music with robust, life-giving theology.
In addition to music, Shea is also a Ph.D. Candidate in Theology and Culture at Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL, where his research focuses on the body by looking at religious/political experience as ritual. This academic side gives him a passion for preaching, writing, and teaching about theology. A former blogger for HuffPost, Shea is also published in The Journal Of Hip Hop Studies and The Berkeley Journal Of Religion and Theology.
The support staff and “keeper of all things necessary, unnecessary, and questionable”, Dawn has served Holy Covenant since 2009. Dawn earned a BSB in Finance from University of Phoenix, and is multi-talented in organizing church financial resources, coordinating vendors and schedules, creating outgoing communications on various media, and overall managing church administrative activities. She’s helpful with dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s as a final step in many church projects and processes. To members, she is willing to “be the bridge” to keep people connected and to get them where they need to go. Dawn is often the first point of contact for people who are new to the church, and is an advocate and champion of both the UCC and Holy Covenant’s mission for equality and inclusion.
Dawn has a soft spot in her heart for animals of all kind, loves to garden and has taken an interest in supporting pollinators of various types. She’s committed to recycling and repurposing everything she can, and connects people and things with those in need within our community. Her husband Jimmy & son Kyle will vouch for that!