Readers Share Their Thoughts

Post a Comment » Written on May 15th, 2007     
Filed under: News
By Don Meyer

CHICAGO, IL (May 15, 2007) – Hardly a week goes by that we do not receive a few comments from readers on stories published as part of the Covenant online news report.

We will share from time to time some of those responses generated through the “comments” link attached to each published story. This kind of feedback is very helpful to our Covenant News Service staff as we seek to identify and publish stories of great interest to a broad spectrum of online readers of this report.

Following are comments relating to recently published stories, edited in some cases for length. To read a particular story of interest, click on the headline.

Alaska Pastor Takes Issue With Article on Suicide

Vicki Marxen of Oshkosh, WI, writes: Thank you so much for publishing this excellent letter by Grant Funk on the Covenant Newswire. Even without seeing the article he was answering, I can see that the disagreement about the rate of suicides in the area is another example of the Christian worldview clashing with the culture. For the sake of Jesus Christ and His reputation, may we all stand firm.

Robert Broline of Mercer Island, WA, writes: Well-spoken. This article should receive national publication.

Bob Songer of Salina, KS, writes: The lack of a true relationship to Jesus Christ can be carried over to other problems other than suicides. Out of my home group, we all have an adult son or daughter who thinks they need a relationship with another person, over a relationship with Jesus Christ. Time and time again, they fail in life and those relationships.

Daniel Seagren of Muskegon, MI, writes: Grant Funk “hit the nail on the head” with his invitation for a dialogue on suicide, not only in Alaska, but everywhere. Personal experience plus biblical insight are inseparable in the struggle against suicide and other problems.

George Brown of Roseville, MN, writes: To God be the glory for Mr. Grant Funk. From this letter he appears to walk the walk. I pray that God will bless him and continue to work through him to bring as many as God wills into His kingdom. I sincerely hope that Alex will be touched by Mr. Funk’s words and his heart pricked to seek out Jesus Christ. Also may this letter touch the hearts of all who read it as it did mine. Thank you for sharing it.

Concern Remains Over Treatment of Immigration Marchers

Dan Rahm of Iron Mountain, MI, writes: I take issue with the statement made by Mr. Contreras when he said, “The church has a responsibility to stand alongside people from numerous countries who have entered the United States illegally.” I don’t know how you interpret “illegal,” but I call it wrong behavior and the church should not be condoning it; instead, it should be insisting that there are penalties to wrong behavior and those penalties should be enforced. The crowd should have dispersed when ordered. We, as Christians, are required to be subject to the governing authorities and abide by our laws.

Glen Heikes of Lindsborg, KS, writes: My first thought is, why am I asking for trouble? The other side of the story is that when I was a foreigner in a foreign land, and if I had demonstrated against that foreign government, I feel that I would have been in very deep trouble. Enough said!

Faith Totushek of Buffalo, MN, writes: Evangelicals I encounter do not have a good understanding of the complications and factors involved in immigration reform. The anxiety about the border security distorts our understanding of the broader issues at stake around undocumented people. The factors deal with the difficulty in getting paperwork before coming, the fact that the immigration system is out of date and in need of reform, the fact that jobs are available and workers are needed, the factors around families who are separated for sometimes 20 years trying to get the necessary paperwork (how long could you go without being with your spouse or children?). I think the church also does not accurately apply scripture to the issues around immigration. We are quick to use passages such as Romans 13 about obeying government and applying them to those here without paperwork. We forget that we must first examine the log in our own eye – what are we doing that is contributing to the issue? If we did that, then passages such as Leviticus 19:33-35 would sting us with prophetic confrontation and invite us to repentance and action.

Curtis Jennings of Longview, TX, writes: According to the protesters who broke into my house: You are required to let me stay. You must add me to your families’ insurance plan. You are required to educate my children. You are required to provide other benefits to me and my family. If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house, carrying signs that proclaim my right to stay in your home.

Kenneth Robinson of Tucson, AZ, writes: Curious that the people of Israel were invited into the land of Egypt by the Pharaoh himself, whose word was law. In that context, would that not make them legal residents? In the scriptures, aliens were those without countries, without place. In our current illegal immigration nightmare, at least as it is experienced in the Southwest, the opposite situation is in play. People who have their own countries are entering uninvited into our own. They break our laws, making claim to something that is at our discretion to give, but not theirs to presume to take. Having a heart for people is commendable. Having a heart for the well-being of our country is as well.

Mark Harder of Elgin, IL, writes: We need to let go . . . and forgive. You cannot preach one gospel of acceptance and not the other of forgiveness. Yes, I know that even Jesus got angry, but he did preach forgiveness. The police were in the wrong, but fear might have taken over and thus led them to act the way they did. Regarding immigration policy, I believe that we need a better system of dealing with illegal immigrants.

Carlson Re-elected as Midwest Superintendent

Lloyd Ahlem of Turlock, CA, writes: Congrats to Ken. Enduring ministries are the strength of pastoral work. The fast shuffle from church to church is not a great achievement in most cases. Thanks Ken for good, long-time service!

Regheta to Attend Leadership Event in Budapest

Carole Cruson of Golden, CO, writes: Leonid and Leanna, we are happy to hear about your ministry and influence in a needy work. I will be sending a check to ECC for your Lusanne work and have already supported Leanna’s trip to Triennial XII this summer (through Arvada Covenant Church) . Blessings on you and your family.

Karen Williams of Minneapolis, MN, writes: It was especially precious to me to read about Leonid’s involvement in the LCWE continuation. My husband and I worked on that conference in Lausanne in 1974, assigned by the Billy Graham Association. The Regheta’s are our church’s special interest missionaries for the Evangelical Covenant Church for this year. I will also be meeting Leanna at the Triennial XII in Chicago in August. It is such a small world when you know the Lord Jesus. He brings us together and gives us a taste of heaven. Thank you for this report and the opportunity to be a part of meeting the needs of those serving the Lord in such strategic ways.

Student Leads Effort to Fund Needs of Kenya Children

Anne Lindahl Bassett of Chicago, IL, writes: Way to go, Alex! Jed and I are so proud of you for what you have done!

North Park University Nearing Decision on New Campus Pastor

Glen Heikes of Lindsborg, KS, writes: This looks like reverse discrimination. Are there no male of the species applying? Isn’t our seminary producing anyone qualified for the position?

Editor’s note: one of the three candidates, Judy Howard Peterson, earned her M.Div. degree from North Park Theological Seminary, having graduated in 1992 from North Park University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Minnehaha Offering Online Christian Ethics Course

Mary Christenson of Richfield, MN, writes: I think that this is great. I lead a small group and help lead outreach for our church. I’m also seeking more schooling, to learn what I need to learn to share Christ more. Thank you for offering this. I will take this online class in the fall.

Two Congregations Consider Joining Ministry Efforts

Harvey Drake of Seattle, WA, writes: What a bold and creative way to see the church move ahead in that community in the 21st Century. My hat is off to Interbay for having the audacity to do something that is highly uncommon, but is equally poignant. My hat is also off to Quest for being open to share in ministry with another congregation in this way. May our denomination be encouraged by the cogency of these two congregations becoming one for the sake of the kingdom. Especially when everyone has a need to be the captain of their own ship.

Op-Ed Piece Supports Conservation Initiative

Mark Carlson of McMinnville, OR, writes: Thank you presidents Palmberg and Clapp for continuing to raise awareness of this pressing issue. Creation care is truly an aspect of stewardship that the Church tends to forget about.

Congregation Experiences Worship in New Way

Amy Mark of Berkeley, CA, writes: I love that more and more churches are doing things like this. I wonder if we might consider altering the language of “cancelled worship services.” Is the kind of service that is done on these holy days not worship? Is it not congregational response to who we have understood God to be? In a very real and true sense, churches are not canceling worship services, but engaging their congregations in new and creative expressions and experiences of worship. Carry on!

Editor’s note: shortly after receiving this writer’s perspective, the story was reworded appropriately. Thanks to this writer for such a thoughtful observation.

Funeral Service Sunday for Vernon Robert Kraft

Mike Gillett of Woodstock, CT, writes: Rev. Kraft was extremely influential in my spiritual formation. I was raised at the Hope Evangelical United Brethren church in Sacramento, California. This predated his Covenant ministry. His wonderful wife Bev would play the piano for the kid’s ministry. I remember fondly singing at the top of my voice over her shoulder and her speaking words of encouragement with such a great smile. Rev. Kraft really emphasized the need to know Christ. He would invite special speakers to the church. I remember one speaker who had the kids all come up and sit on the platform with him – it did cause me to really pay attention. I could go on and on thanking the Lord for the dedication and love of Christ I experienced through his ministry.

Nyvall Lecturer Captivates Audience With Choice of Topics

Howard Burgoyne of Cromwell, CT, writes: While the opening line says that the two topics are “incongruous,” nothing could be further from the truth. The triune nature of God is the foundation of human sexuality – the capacity and desire for intelligent intimacy, sexual distinction with equality, and fidelity in relationships as the essential quality of loving loyalty. Lauren Winner’s work on these two topics should clearly merge into a deep appreciation of both the mystery of God and of human sexuality. I deeply appreciate her work and witness.

Age No Barrier When it Comes to Youth Work

Mick Murphy of Hutchinson, MN, writes: The statement that Mary Lou Shaffer is “89 years young” is a ridiculous cliche that downplays the wisdom that comes with having lived so long. She is 89 years old – old enough to have a rich heritage of faith, old enough to appreciate all the seasons of a person’s life, old enough to offer her time and energy to the youth of her church, and old enough to be celebrated, not relegated to a more comfortable demographic term.

Covenant Companion Wins Eight Top National Awards

Karl Hallsten of Sierra Vista, AZ, writes: Congratulations to the Communications team for consistently high quality journalistic achievements. The range of rewards from content, to design, from long articles to feature columns is well-deserved. While my church home is now with the UCC, I keep monitoring the ECC website and publications. Thank you for your rich contributions to the wider church.

Older Stories

Occasionally we receive comments about stories published some time ago. Most often, readers come across them while topically perusing search engines or when visiting the online Covenant News Archive maintained by Covenant News Service. We appreciate reader comments at any time about any story that has appeared as part of our online Covenant news report.

Memorial Service Friday for Eugene A. Hagberg

Cecil and Marvis Carlson of Norman, OK, write: Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Eugene A. Hagberg. We knew the children when he was pastor at Essex, Iowa. He gave comforting words at the service of my father in 1950. May God bless all of you.

Afghanistan’s One-of-a-Kind Easter Sunrise Service

Lloyd Ahlem of Turlock, CA, writes: Politics, economic forces, money, entrenched special interests, none of these are primary in determining God’s direction of his great salvation project for this cosmos. This service was a refreshing hint of the fact that the resurrection surpasses all in world events.

President’s Newsletter Now Online

Karen Hinz of Elkhorn, WI, writes: Thanks for putting the President’s Newsletter online. As a pastor, I have received the newsletter for years. But I have always felt that more people should have access to this Covenant news format, partly to hear the “voices” of our leaders, and to feel connected to the variety of Covenant ministry.

World Mission Calls Karen Hallberg to New Position

Jim Condap of Swanzey, NH, writes: The Department of World Mission has made a great choice. Karen is a true servant of the kingdom. Her gifts and abilities will benefit many as she begins this new calling.

Covenanter’s PBS Series to Focus on Parents, Kids

Karen Hearl of Lincoln, CA, writes: Congratulations Donna! Donna will be a super seminar presenter at Triennial XII August 9 – 12 at the Hyatt McCormick Place. Moms – this is a good time to interact with Donna and learn some new creative ways to communicate Christian values to your family.

Sallman Paintings on Display at Graham Center in Wheaton

Liz Wheeler of Chicago, IL, writes: First Covenant Church in Iron Mountain, Michigan, has a wall mural and canvas painting by Sallman that was installed in 1952. We had one expert from Anderson University out to inspect it; the piece needs to be restored and we need information on how to do that. Is there someone from the Sallman art collection or the Johnson Archives who might give us some direction?

Book Sets Advise African Pastors in Areas of Ministry

Sharon Held of Lafayette, IN, writes: We loved this story. Tom, Don, and Martha are all special in our book! Our great God uses them all together to keep his word getting to his people. Our praise and honor to him.

CBC Offers Additional Insight into Decision to Close

Gordon Christensen of Plantation, FL, writes: I have been with the Covenant church for nearly 70 years and I have never known a mountain we could not climb together. God has the resources within the Covenant – I am believing prayer and unbounded enthusiasm would still win the day!

Debbie Blue Nominated to Head New CMJ Ministry

Angelita Cochran of Waukegan, IL, writes: I have known Debbie Blue all her life, and as a first cousin I can attest to the fact that she is a leader and takes on any and all tasks very seriously. I’ve not had the opportunity to actually see her operating in her present role as a Covenant leader, but I have seen her in many other life roles, and I can attest that in any given situation she gives her all. I am glad to have had an opportunity to share in her successes.

‘World Cup Bigger Than Super Bowl,’ Missionaries Discover

Cheryl Swift of Roseville, CA, writes: This was a very interesting article. We are heading to southern Germany (Munich) this summer and I would love to visit some Christian missionaries or pastors in that region. We are definitely praying for them because of the pessimism and doubt that is so evident throughout Europe.

Three Women Find God’s Call to Sri Lanka

Krishnadevi Seneviratne of Torrance, CA, writes: This story was very touching. I am a Srilankan citizen still, though I reside in California. Our country is a wonderful country, but covered with lots of corruptions. It’s sad in a way. I am a very strong member of an evangelical church, and I thank God that I became a Christian. I seek God. I know that Jesus Christ is the best thing that has happened to us. You are God’s children. May God bless you.

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