Robert Owens Eager to Step into New Role

Post a Comment » Written on March 14th, 2007     
Filed under: News
OVIEDO, FL (March 14, 2007) – Robert Owens, the nominee to succeed Kurt Miericke as superintendent of the Southeast Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, says he looks forward to deepening and broadening the outreach of the conference.

Owens has been the conference’s assistant superintendent since 2001. The Conference Executive Board recently nominated Owens to fill the position. Delegates to the Southeast Conference Annual Meeting in April will vote on his nomination. If elected, he will be installed during the June Evangelical Covenant Church Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, and take office September 1.

Owens“I’m excited for the possibility to be a part of our conference living out the five-fold test,” Owens says. The test was laid out by the denomination’s Executive Board earlier this decade:
•    Population: Is the ECC reaching more people in more populations?
•    Participation: How are we sharing life together in Christ at the denominational, conference and local levels?
•    Power: How are positions and structures influenced by the perspective and gifts of diverse populations?
•    Pace setting: With additional gifts, burdens, and expertise in our midst, what ministries are we now able to undertake and strengthen?
•    Purposeful narrative: How do the stories of new backgrounds become incorporated into our overarching history? How do all of these streams flow together into one story moving forward?

Owens quotes 1 Corinthians 2:9 as he adamantly maintains that the conference’s future is dependent on participating in what God already is doing:  “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – these things God has prepared for those who love him.” He adds, “We must let the Holy Spirit guide us.”

The nominee has long been known for his passionate personal faith. “I want to lead by spiritual example,” he says.

Owens has been a pioneer both in the conference and the Covenant. In 1994, he organized New Life Covenant Church, one of the first African American churches to be planted in the denomination. Miericke recalled, “This was not to be an ordinary church, but a mission in a geographical area of abandoned houses, economic instability and a haven for crime.”  The church experienced dramatic growth in ministry and has undergone several building programs.

Owens was elected to the Southeast Conference Executive Board in 1996 and later became the first African American conference chair.

This year, Owens earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in New Church Development from Columbia Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1994 from North Park Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from California State University and a Master’s Degree in public administration from Pepperdine University. Previous ministry experience includes serving as pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Compton, California.

Miericke praises the Conference Executive Board for nominating Owens. “I’m deeply happy about this because of the continuity of ministry,” he says. “He’s worked very hard and has done a tremendous job.”

Gary Walter, executive minister of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism, says he looks forward to the conference’s future. “Robert’s leadership is much anticipated,” he says. “His varied ministry background gives him a wealth of insight.”

ECC President Glenn Palmberg says he is also excited about Owen’s selection. “He has a long and deep commitment to the Covenant, along with the vision to move ahead in ministry. He has great plans for building on what has already been accomplished in the conference.”

One major change already is under way. The conference office will be moved from Oviedo to Atlanta and will be located in a building owned by New Life. The transition should be completed by September 1, Owens says.

Editor’s note: In the accompanying photo, Owens is shown speaking with one of the military personnel providing security in the aftermath of one of the many storms that devastated large portions of Florida in recent years.

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