Annual Meeting Early Registration Deadline Nearing

Post a Comment » Written on April 4th, 2007     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (April 4, 2007) – Delegates to the 122nd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church will have the opportunity to make history as they vote on the nomination of Debbie Blue to become the first executive minister of the newly created Department of Compassion, Mercy and Justice (CMJ).

Blue currently serves as director of adult ministries in the Department of Christian Formation. To read more of her qualifications and nomination, please see “CMJ Nominee.” To read a moving account of Blue’s childhood and faith journey, please see “A Painful Journey.”

Delegates will gather June 21-24 at the Red Lion Hotel on the banks of the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon, to pray and worship, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, and to conduct the business of the church. This year’s theme, “Rivers of Justice, Bridges of Mercy,” is based on Amos 5:24: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (TNIV)

The early registration deadline is April 21, to qualify for discounted rates. Early registration fees are $215 for delegates, $135 for general conferees, $55 for retired pastors, and $45 for students. Registration materials were mailed to churches in late March.

Once the early registration deadline has passed, the following registration fees and deadlines will apply:
•    Before June 8 – delegates, $245; general conferees, $155; retired Covenant pastors, $65; North Park Theological Seminary students, $55.
•    After June 8 – delegates, $295; general conferees, $185; retired Covenant pastors, $85; North Park Theological Seminary students, $75.

For more information about registration and other annual meeting events, visit the online 122nd Annual Meeting section of the ECC website or email either annual meeting registrar Andrea Lawson or annual meeting manager Fredrik Wall. Information also is available by calling 773-784-3000 or faxing 773-784-4366.

In addition to voting on Blue’s nomination, delegates will also consider the re-elections of executive ministers Gary Walter, Department of Church Growth and Evangelism; Curt Peterson, Department of World Mission; and Ruth Hill, Women Ministries, to serve four-year terms.

Other highlights include approving 14 new congregations as well as ordaining, commissioning and welcoming the transfer of ordination of 55 ministers.

Business agenda items include approval of denominational financial reports and the 2008 Coordinated Budget, as well as several proposed changes to the Covenant Constitution and Bylaws. The Christian Action Commission is scheduled to present a resolution on battling pornography.

Andrés Bunch Lopez will preach during the opening worship service. He is the pastor of El Pacto Christian Church in Bogotá, Colombia. He has planted eight new churches in the past 14 years. Project and short-term missionaries also will be dedicated. The eighth annual retired ministers and missionaries banquet will be held prior to the service.

On Friday evening, Pastor Ray Johnston and Bishop Sherwood Carthen will preach. Johnston is the founding pastor of Bayside Church and president of Developing Effective Leaders, an organization that sponsors leadership training seminars. Bishop Carthen is the senior pastor of Bayside of South Sacramento and founder and director of Our Family Community Foundation. He also is the chaplain for the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings. During the evening service, representatives from each conference will present the names of individuals for whom Covenanters are praying as part of Bringing My World to Christ initiative.

Saturday evening, Kurt Miericke, outgoing superintendent of the Southeast Conference, will preach. He has been superintendent for 16 years.

Each of the evening worship services, as well as the Sunday morning ordination service, will be broadcast live over the ECC website. Instructions on how to log onto the live broadcasts will be found on the website at the time of the annual meeting.

A reception Saturday evening will honor newly elected administrators as well as administrators and missionaries who are concluding their service, including David Johnson who is retiring after serving as president of National Covenant Properties for more than 30 years. The reception will be held immediately following the worship service.

Phil Stenberg, senior pastor of Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis, will preach during the ordination and commissioning service Sunday morning. This year, 37 ministers will be ordained to word and sacrament, six to specialized ministries, 11 will transfer their ordination to the Covenant, and one will be commissioned.

During the business sessions and worship services of the annual meeting, Covenant Kids Ministries will provide care and activities for delegates’ children. Cost for the four-day program is $65 per child, ages six months through sixth grade. Students entering grades seven through twelve are invited to volunteer as counselors and helpers for Covenant Kids Ministries.

Other highlights include a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday that is sponsored by the Association for Covenant Clergy Women, as they conclude “Stones of Remembrance: 30 years of Story.” The reception will honor the first recipients of the ACCW Anderson/Nordlund Missionary Grant, the Priscilla Pastorate Grant, and the Mordecai Award. The silent auction for the second half of the commemorative arts stones also begins during the reception.

The Covenant Ministerium will conduct its annual meeting on Thursday. In addition to worship and the business meeting, North Park University Professor Paul Koptak will present a continuing education seminar on “Preaching from the Prophets,” focusing on Hosea.

Seven workshops are planned for Friday:
•    “Exploring Covenant Affirmations,” led by Bruce Lawson of the Department of Christian Formation, and Mary Miller, director of the Making Connections Initiative at North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS).
•    “Building Bridges, Sharing Faith,” facilitated by Soong-Chan Rah representing NPTS, and Edward Delgado and Lisa Orris, representing the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism.
•    “Kick-Start Your Giving: Practical Helps for Church Finances,” led by Bill Clark, director of strategic giving.
•    “Veritas – Telling the Truth about Revitalization,” led by John Wenrich of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism.
•    “Covenant Mercy and Justice Ministries in Colombia,” led by Andrés Bunch Lopez, Beatriz Argüello Valencia of the Covenant Foundation, and Covenant missionaries Gary and Mary Lou Sander.
•    “Forming Disciples: Helps for the Journey,” facilitated by Steve and Marti Burger, representing the Department of Christian Formation.
•    “CMJ: Connecting the Dots in the ECC,” led by Debbie Blue, candidate for executive minister of the Department of Compassion, Ministry, and Justice.

Participants are encouraged to take advantage of the special discounted group rates for lodging that have been arranged at the Red Lion Hotel on the River – Jantzen Beach by calling 800-733-5466, and at the Oxford Inn & Suites, by calling 800-548-7848. To receive the special discounted group rates, guests should mention they are with the Evangelical Covenant Church at the time the reservation is made. Participants are encouraged to use the specially negotiated rooms at these facilities as it helps support the overall costs of large meeting spaces that are an essential part of the annual meeting.

Complimentary airport shuttle is available to the Red Lion Hotel on the River – Jantzen Beach between 5:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. – the shuttle runs every 30 minutes. Complimentary airport shuttle service can be arranged for Oxford Inn & Suites by calling 503-283-3030.

Parking is free on a first-come, first-served basis.

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