Faith Covenant’s Unique Hope Sunday Event

2 comments Written on December 5th, 2012     
Filed under: Featured Churches, Hope Sunday, News & Updates
Faith Covenant Church in Sumner, WA is taking a very unique approach to their Hope Sunday event this week. They will be presenting a play titled “Hope for Every Tribe, Every Tongue, Every Nation.” This play was written by members of their church and will be presented to the community December 6-8. Faith Covenant is relatively new to the denomination; joining just last year. We hope to be able to provide you with an update next week. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out an article from their local newspaper detailing their event here as well as one in World Vision Magazine here.

Update as of 12/20/12:

Written by Mary Hendrickson, pastor of Faith Covenant Church

Several months ago a vision began to form at Faith Covenant Church in Sumner, WA. As the Spirit worked through several people simultaneously, an amazing plan took shape. We knew that Christ was asking us to reach out to “the least of these,” specifically the children of the Congo and also the children in our community. Advent was shaped around that vision, including texts that called attention to the needs of the children, as well as liturgy that illuminated those texts through the lighting of the Advent candles.

Perhaps most extraordinary was the story of the production that was created, then produced and performed—“Hope For Every Tribe, Every Tongue, Every Nation.” From the beginning of the visioning, through the preparation of the actors, the shadow actors, the singers and instrumentalists, to the connections made with Pastor Zabusu and local Congolese missionaries, we experienced “Holy Spirit chills” many times. When else would we miraculously receive 22 perfect costumes that simply appeared, and djembe drums that filled the worship pastor’s office? When do two perfect actors—a little girl and her mother from Zambia—agree to play the Congolese family though their connection to us? And how was it possible that Zabusu was available and delighted to play the part of the pastor? When Zabusu shared right before the performances that he himself had had an exact vision of the production in 2010, we actually became nervous about how active the Spirit was.

So let me share how this has all turned out; well at least, so far. A week before the production, the local newspaper decided to do an interview with the writers of the play—Kalen Griffin and Dacey Tidwell, the two pastors involved — myself, interim lead pastor, Lisa Eastman, interim worship pastor, as well as Jeremy Metzler, choir director. After talking with us for over an hour, he not only expressed his excitement over the production, but also indicated that he and his fiancée might very well begin attending our church. A few days later, a full-page article on the play was run in the paper. This article was circulated at World Vision by employees who attend our church, leading to interviews with two of their executives involved in the Covenant Kids Congo project. We don’t yet know where that is leading, but we do know that around 40 children are now going to be sponsored by our congregation.

It was and is critically important to us that we not forget the needs of our local children. One of the questions that we’ve asked ourselves is why there is not a way to sponsor them, when we have such wonderful opportunities to help foreign children? In the quest to figure out an answer, God did yet another unexpected thing. I received an e-mail from one of our congregants who is a teacher at our closest middle school. She let me know that the local Food Bank had informed them that there would be no take-home food for the “backpack kids” (low-income) for the five day Thanksgiving weekend. My reaction was intense, and I immediately sent out an e-newsletter letting the congregation know, and giving them the Food Bank list. Fifteen hours later, we had enough food to fill 110 bags for three schools, plus enough left over to take a truckload of food to the Food Bank! Loaves and fishes relived, to be sure.

The unexpected consequence to our response was the immediate opening of the door of ministry in our public schools. Their trust of us suddenly was complete, and in the last few weeks, we have connected with the elementary school a block away, “adopting” the first grade, been given opportunities for hands-on ministry through tutoring and other help, and have had the privilege of gathering gifts for families who wouldn’t otherwise have a Christmas. In doing this ministry, we have learned that the elementary school has 30 homeless children! This was stunning to our congregation, as was the request for 60 hygiene bags that were to include basic items such as toothbrushes, deodorant and soap. One person in our church asked, “Wait a minute…HYGIENE BAGS? Don’t we send those to disaster relief?” Our congregation is quickly becoming aware that for many in our own community, life is indeed a “disaster.” After the holidays, I have the opportunity to meet with several school counselors and a district coordinator to develop our partnership more fully. Praise God! We have the mandate to take care of “the least of these,” and our production and Advent focus was simply a beginning for us.

One last story…I mentioned the Zambian pair who played the Congolese family in our production. In the play, they have almost nothing and are desperately in need of a sponsor. Unbeknownst to us, in their lives here in Sumner, they were and are in exactly the same circumstances as our characters in the play that represent great need right here at home. A few days ago, we received a call from the mom, who wondered if there was any way that we could help provide a Christmas for her daughter. What an amazing development! Through the production, we had the opportunity to sponsor Congolese children, which we did, but now we had the chance to put in action the message of hope of the production for its stars. You should have seen the reaction from our people to the request! There will probably not be room enough for the blessings that are coming their way through the generosity of our people.

What does it mean to meet the needs of “the least?” It means that we can sense Jesus’ smile, we can experience the joy of the recipients of our gifts, we can build relationships with our new denomination, with our community, schools, World Vision, and with the people of the Congo. Most of all, we receive the privilege of being Jesus’ hands and feet to the children He loves so much. May we all answer His call to do so.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

2 comments “Faith Covenant’s Unique Hope Sunday Event”

On the eve of our play, we are praying that Christ be glorified in this production, in the Congo and in our community.  We are amazed at what God is doing in our church and community and how He has provided for us in amazing ways.  Today we welcomed Pastor Zabusu to the Pacific Northwest.  We are truly blessed to have him with us for the next 4 days.  Praise be to God!
“Praise to the Lord, for He has heard my cry, my heart trusts in him, for He is my strength and shield!”  

Report This Comment

We are excited as well to see the ways in which God has opened doors for your church as you present this amazing opportunity not only to your church but also those in the community. We will keep you in our prayers!

Report This Comment

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog