President’s Report Highlights Morning Session

Post a Comment » Written on June 15th, 2006     
Filed under: News
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (June 15, 2006) – In his report to delegates attending the 121st Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church, President Glenn Palmberg highlighted the ministries of the denomination that are impacting the world in areas of compassion and justice, as well as personal evangelism.

Describing the identity of the denomination, Palmberg said, “We are evangelical people who do compassion and justice ministries.”

He noted that the denomination’s church planting expertise is being recognized around the world, and that others are seeking to learn from the Covenant’s work.

Glenn R. Palmberg Palmberg shared several stories of how local churches are impacting their neighborhoods by combining social action and personal evangelism, including helping a school change the lives of children with the worst discipline problems in a local school, and the lives of former drug addicts who now are ministering to people struggling with addictions.

One of the men had turned his life to the Lord and now drives a van that takes him to different parts of the city to minister. Police who knew him as a dealer stopped the van because they thought the former addict was using it as a front to sell drugs. When they searched the van, all they found were bibles, Palmberg said. The police then congratulated the man on the turnaround in his life.

Ministries of Covenant churches also continue to help the denomination to grow and change its ethnic makeup. “We are on this road and we are not turning back,” Palmberg declared.

In beginning his report, Palmberg honored the president of the Congo Evangelical Covenant Church, Mossai Sanguma and his wife, Sabuli. Poor infrastructure and other problems in the African nation make Sanguma’s job “one of the more challenging jobs I know about,” Palmberg said.

Despite the hardships, Palmberg said, the Congolese church continues to grow. He added that the churches there and in other countries have important lessons to teach the Covenant in the United States and Canada. “They are our hope,” he said. “They bring to us an opportunity to learn how to be faithful in the midst of incredible hardship and suffering.”

The work of the Covenant also must include serving the United States as the country becomes increasingly polarized over issues of immigration, among others, Palmberg said, adding, “We are not to be guided by politics; we are to be guided by our Savior.”

An example was Anne Lindquist, a former member of the Executive Board who also was involved in numerous ministries before her death in February. “Anne Lindquist is what this Covenant church is all about,” Palmberg said to applause. To learn more about Lindquist, read the recent Covenant Companion story online at Anne Lindquist.

The financial report by Covenant Treasurer Dean Lundgren, which followed the president’s report, echoed the themes of the president’s address as he told of continued growth in the denomination.

“The Covenant continues to be among those denominations growing most rapidly, if not the fastest growing,” said Dean Lundgren, treasurer. He credited the growth to several factors that include: “the growth in the number of ethnic churches, continued church planting, an increase in the number of large churches and the strong base of existing churches.”

That growth was reflected in the specifics of his report:

  • Ethnic attendance has grown more than three times the rate of the Covenant as a whole and make up 21.2 percent of all denominational churches.
  • During 2005, reported attendance increased by 4,091 individuals (2.6 percent) to 160,915. Over the past 10 years, attendance is up 57,700 (55.7), and more than 35 percent of attendees are attending a Covenant church that is new to the denomination in the last 10 years.
  • Membership also increased, with 7,975 people joining Covenant churches. Denominational net membership increased to 115,811 from 1,301, a 1.1 percent increase.
  • The Covenant continues to be one of the highest denominations in per capita financial contributions to the local church. Giving to local Covenant churches increased 9.8 percent to $264 million for an average of $1,640 per attendee. That giving enabled the Coordinated Budget to break even for the tenth time in the last 11 years.
  • Covenanters provided “outstanding financial support” to Covenant World Relief (CWR), hurricane relief and tsunami relief. Giving to CWR in 2005 was $1.4 million for a three-year total of nearly $3.5 million. Hurricane and Tsunami relief totaled $2,284,947.
  • Covenanters donated $123,000 to the Keystone Challenge, $191,000 to China Mission, and $1.223 million to the Paul Carlson Partnership.
  • From 2003 to 2005, Covenanters have given a total of nearly $7.77 million to CWR, hurricane relief, tsunami relief, Keystone Challenge, China Mission and the Paul Carlson Partnership.
  • In World Missions fields, missionaries and national coworkers supported more than 277,814 members in more than 2,624 churches. There are now 2.4 members in World Mission churches for every member in the United States and Canada. There are 3.6 World Mission churches for each domestic church. The large number is attributed in part to including the Sudan Covenant Church, which has 314 churches with 53,000 members.
  • Total assets under Covenant management exceeds $2 billion, and more than 5,000 employees serve in Covenant ministries and institutions. Total revenues exceeded $600 million in 2005, while total long-term debt was more than $700 million.
  • Last year was a record year for Covenant Trust Company and Covenant Estate Planning Services with more than $32 million in new business. During the year, Estate Planning and Covenant Trust distributed a record $17 million to local church, regional conference and denominational causes.

Dr. David Parkyn was presented to delegates as the recommended candidate to become the ninth president of North Park University, replacing David Horner who resigned in September 2004. Balloting was scheduled to take place following the noon meal break.

Parkyn told the delegates his strong Christian faith was formed largely as a child growing up in Guatemala among the poor. A teacher and administrator at several higher education institutions, Parkyn added that “Learning is most noble when used to benefit others.”

To learn more about Parkyn, please see David Parkyn.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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