Boston Marathon Connects Older, Newer Congregations

Post a Comment » Written on March 9th, 2007     
Filed under: News
HOPKINTON, MA (March 9, 2007) – The Boston Marathon has connected one of the older congregations in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) with one of the newest.

Community Covenant Church in Hopkinton is a 100-year-old congregation, and Highrock Covenant Church in Arlington was started eight years ago and joined the ECC in 2001. The two churches are separated by roughly 34 miles – just a little longer distance than the marathon (26 miles, 385 yards) – but the two congregations have not had the opportunity to work together.

That changed recently when Highrock Pastor David Swaim read a Covenant News Service story in the online Covenant news report that stated Community Covenant had two numbers available for people who wanted to run in the world-famous race on April 16. The church would give the numbers to runners who promised to use the opportunity to raise money for scholarships to send Community Covenant children to Camp Squanto. The camp is part of Pilgrim Pines Conference Center and Camp in Swanzey, New Hampshire, which is operated by the East Coast Conference.

Swaim encouraged one of his Highrock congregation’s parishioners, Ben King, a Harvard medical student, to apply for a number. A Community Covenant committee recently awarded the numbers to King and another of the congregation’s members, Hubert Park.

“It’s my first marathon,” King says. “We’ve run short distances before to stay in shape.” He’s already begun training, and says the exercise is helping him deal with the anticipation of another upcoming event – next week he learns where he will do his residency.

Although some 20,000 people run in the marathon, entering the event is difficult because of the large number of individuals eager to secure a place. In addition to the $150 entrance fee, the applicant also must have run a qualifying time at a previously certified marathon. Because Community Covenant already had the numbers, King and his friend do not have to qualify or pay the fee.

Community Covenant pastor Bruce Johnson says the fundraising will help the children of both churches. “As we raise funds for our kids to go to Squanto, we anticipate having enough money to set up a few full scholarships for Highrock kids,” he says, adding, “Highrock is so new to the Covenant that they have yet to get to know our great East Coast camp.”

Johnson says he hopes Covenanters from across the country will make pledges for the cause. “While each of our churches will be seeking supporters for these runners, I hope we can appeal to other East Coast Covenanters as well as Covenanters nationwide who see this as a fun investment in Pilgrim Pines,” he says.

The church began offering the numbers last year, but only one person applied. The woman, who traveled from California, raised $1,500.

The marathon organizing committee gave the numbers to the church, which had raised camp scholarship funds for 34 years by offering parking for a minimal fee to race participants and onlookers. Last year, the city consolidated parking elsewhere and asked the church not to open its parking lot.

For more information or to pledge financial support, email Community Covenant or call 508-435-3723. Pledges also may be made to King by calling 617-869-3062. To learn more about the two churches and their ministries, visit their websites at Community Covenant and Highrock Covenant.

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