Archive for September, 2015

Voices of Influence

3 comments Written on September 28th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

imageCathy Kaminski is lead pastor of Trinity Community Church in Cincinnati, OH. Image-bearer, trouble maker, and a work in progress.

What are the voices we listen to? All around us there are people, products, organization, communities, media speaking into our lives. Some conscious, some subconscious, some loud and blatant, others subtle and quiet. But what are the ones we listen to? Which have influence and shape how we see ourselves? How we see God? The world?

I would love to say I’m aware of every voice I choose to let impact my life and faith, but that won’t be so honest. But hey, we all have to start somewhere. There have been times in my life, whole seasons, when I was completely unaware of how some voices influenced me and others I simply ignored. Many people experience this and it looks different for everyone. Some in defining their worth, others their aptitude. We listen to voices that tell us we need more stuff. We listen to voices that define happiness. For me, I listened to the ones that told me how I could and couldn’t serve God and the church.

However, for all the voices that limit us or seem to put parameters on our worldview, there are the prophetic voices that speak truth. Some people in our lives point us to a larger picture of God. They invite us to lay down our preconceived notions and trust for something bigger than our current understanding. Continue Reading »

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LORD, Help!

2 comments Written on September 22nd, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

druDrusilla (Dru) McLeland is starting her final year of seminary at Northern Theological Seminary, Lombard, IL Campus. This fall, she is doing her internship as a “female pastoral presence” at The Evangelical Covenant Church of Hinsdale with Pastors Paul Allen and Lars Stromberg. She and Paul have been married for twenty-nine years and have one daughter, Kathryn.



One of things I continually strive for is a healthy life balance of being and doing.  In pursuit of this, I am working on adopting seven daily practices:

  1. Make my bed.
  2. Make a short “to do” list.
  3. Spend time reading the Bible, reflecting, journaling and praying.
  4. At least thirty minutes of exercise.
  5. Do something for my home.
  6. Connect with one other person outside my family.
  7. Do something creative.

As I think about this list, I realize it could become a formula for life balance but it might not actually lead to a balanced life.  My “formula” was challenged when I read an article from The Gospel Coalition, “A Call for a More Reflective Christianity.”  (click here)

I think one of our roles as pastors is to create sacred spaces and call people away from the busyness of life to reflect on God.  I have found that it’s easier to provide a formula or a plan of action than to spend time reflecting and being.  Sometimes I feel guilty about spending time in quiet reflection and solitude, but unless I practice this, how can I lead others to do it? Continue Reading »

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The Story of Rizpah

1 Comment » Written on September 16th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Evelmyn photoEvelmyn Ivens was born in Mexico and moved to the United States during her teenage years. Graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in 2013 with a MA in Theological Studies and works at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) in Chicago. Evelmyn has lived in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. She’s passionate about issues of immigration, hunger, poverty, and human trafficking.

One of the great things about working at CCDA is the access to many books, not too long ago I was working on a project and had the opportunity to read Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism. It is one of those books that you want to highlight most of it, yes, it is that good and I highly recommend it!

Almost at the beginning of the book, in chapter 2 to be more exact, Allan Aubrey Boesak introduces Rizpah (2 Samuel 21: 1-15). I honestly, didn’t remember this name from my reading of the Bible or from my Old Testament class, yet Rizpah has become one of my favorite Bible characters. The story of Rizpah it is not found in the most peaceful context, on the contrary, it is a story of violence but in the midst of all, radical reconciliation happens. In chapter 21 the kingdom of David has been facing famine for the last 3 years, and as a king and powerful as he is, David asks the Lord for an answer. The Lord says, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death.” When Saul was king (Josh. 9) there had been a treaty with the Gibeonites to live in the territory of Israel, amongst them. The story assume Continue Reading »

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If These Walls Could Talk

2 comments Written on September 9th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Abby Jones is the pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Stromsburg, NE. She earned an MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary in 2012. Abby and her husband, Jeff, have four daughters- Stella, Lucy, Mabel and Harper.

Have you ever used the expression “if these walls could talk”? Sometimes I think that the walls in a pastor’s office could tell the kinds of stories that make for great movies and best selling novels. They could tell beautiful stories of redemption and courage, where good people in bad situations overcome difficult odds. These are the kinds of stories where the Spirit’s presence is undeniable and God’s purposes revealed in new and significant ways. Still, there are thicker and darker moments that hold confessions of grief, envy and doubt. In those moments, people let go of secrets and dissonant emotions in wavering whispers.

The walls of my office are no different. While they could easily divulge about laughter and celebration, they could also tell a great deal about the hearts of the people that come through the door.

But of all of the things Ive heard, theres very little that has surprised me, and theres been nothing beyond Gods forgiveness. There’s been no story, experience or admission that I could not turn to God’s grace to cover. Continue Reading »

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In Honor of the First

6 comments Written on September 1st, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories

Jo Ann Deasy is an ordained Covenant pastor currently serving as the director of institutional initiatives and student research at the Association of Theological Schools in Pittsburgh, PA.

Hughes-TremperOn Monday, August 24, 2015, we lost one of the pioneers of women’s ordination in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Sherron Hughes-Tremper, the first woman ordained in our denomination, passed away at the age of 70 following a full life of ministry dedicated to those on the margins. (To read her obituary click here here)

Sherron did not spend many years pastoring in Covenant Churches. The path was too new at the time and churches were not ready for her gifts and calling. Instead, she found other paths, chaplaincy, the United Methodist Church. Yet she remained committed to and connected to this denomination, despite the pain that came with being ordained into a community that could not find a place for her.

I am a not sure when I first met Sherron. My clearest memory of her is at the Covenant Annual Meeting held in 2008, the 30th Anniversary of Sherron’s ordination. I was honored to work with Carol Lawson in the Department of Ordered Ministry and Ruth Hill from Women Ministries on a video marking the occasion. The video included honest reflections of women serving in ministry in the Evangelical Covenant Church, both the joys and the struggles, as well as statements of support by several denominational leaders and faculty members. Continue Reading »

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