Readers Share Their Thoughts

Post a Comment » Written on January 22nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
By Don Meyer

CHICAGO, IL (January 22, 2008) – 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.

Fire Damage Minimal, Shelter Residents Return

Linda Forbes of Chicago, IL, writes: I am so glad that these folks were able to return to the shelter. Before I even knew it was the JPUSA shelter, I was praying and had asked my parishioners to pray as well. God is so good. Praise God that the shelter is useable and blessings on those who minister in this way. This weekend their service will quite literally be saving lives as the temperatures drop into the danger zone. We will continue to pray for JPUSA’s ministry.

Marsha Johnson Harrison of Phoenix, AZ, writes: Sorry to hear about the fire. Let us know if we can do anything to help. My husband specializes in removing smoke damage from building structures using baking soda, and he works with many restoration companies.

Violence in Kenya Creates Widespread Sense of Fear

Carolyn Lennard of Omaha, NE, writes: Is Thomas Halgren, missionary, living in Kenya now or in France or the U.S.? What is happening in his area of Kenya?

Walter Nomination Draws Expressions of Support

Steve Weihsmann of Duluth, MN, writes: Gary is a gifted storyteller. How wonderful if part of his story is that he serves as our president.

Susan Osterlund of Huntsville, AL, writes: The Osterlunds would like to send our congratulations and warmest regards to Gary, Nancy, Amy, Alissa and Lauren Walter. We are very happy to hear of Gary’s nomination and proud to be part of their family. This is a big year for the Walters.

Marilyn Moore of Somerville, MA, writes: In 2002 I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Walter when helping with registration for The Feast in Keystone, Colorado. I was immediately impressed with his passion for ministry and helping each of us to understand our task. God has provided a fine man to take the helm of the Evangelical Covenant Church and I look forward to being at the Annual Meeting to vote for him.

Jeremy Elseth of Forest Lake, MN, writes: Great selection! I am excited of where this will go. Gary Walter is bright. He is a great leader.

Sue Rode of San Diego, CA, writes: I am thrilled, as are all of us at Clairemont Covenant Church! Gary will be an excellent, Christ-centered leader of our denomination as proven over the many years of his leadership. We pray for peace in his decision, abundant support and wisdom as he carries out his tasks ahead, and encouragement to his family as they continue to share Gary with others. We are here to help Gary in any way.

Brian Wiele of Olympia, WA, writes: Great choice! Gary will be a blessing. Thanks for all your work.

Former Covenant Camp Due for $4 Million Overhaul

Gerri McGill of Redmond, WA, writes: My grandfather, Carl Grant, built the cabin across from what was the Auxiliary Hall, and it was still standing the last time I visited the place about two years ago. I remember staying there with my grandparents, Carl and Singne, for the conferences that they attended. Thanks for the story.

Paul Sahlin of Burlingame, CA, writes: I grew up in Tacoma First Covenant and spent some time every summer for the first 20 years of life at Covenant Beach. The Tabernacle for the first 20-plus years was a large dance hall that burned Christmas week about 1955. Glad it’s being preserved.

Jeffrey Jones of Biwabik, MN, writes: I enjoyed the story about Covenant Beach. I enjoyed visiting Camp of the Cascades several years while on vacation. It is a great camp and God is doing amazing things there. However, I will always have fond memories of Covenant Beach and Circle C Ranch. I accepted Christ at Covenant Beach during the summer of 1973 at the age of 9. I went on to become a Covenant pastor. I still have a postcard of the tabernacle, which I received in September 1973. It is from my counselor. I have not seen him since then. I have kept this postcard as a reminder of my call to ministry, which in part began at Covenant Beach. He wrote, “Dear Jeff, be sure to read your Bible and pray every day. You’re going to have to be a witness now that you’re going back to school. God bless you and be sure to stick to the Lord (Phil. 4:4-7). Your Counselor, Kevin Maxfield.”

Karen Stein (Almquist) of Walnut Creek, CA, writes: It’s great to see some updated pictures of Covenant Beach. I remember being a camper there in the 1960s, singing “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” in the old Fireside Hall. The campers seemed to be loud enough to raise the roof. I never dreamed they’d bust out the walls instead! I also remember early morning swimming lessons, the smelly old beach at low tide, and the jets from SeaTac almost directly overhead during the sermons. I always try to spot the little valley from my window seat whenever I fly in or out of Seattle. Ah, the old days!

Worshipers ‘Listen In’ to Pastors’ Dialogue Sermon

Jody Moreen of Naperville, IL, writes: I enjoyed reading about the pastor dialogue sermon. More Covenant churches should follow this example. I have attended suburban Covenant churches in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio since I was age 10 and rarely were there any members other than Caucasian. I always felt deep inside that this did not look like God’s church as he intended. Going to North Park was eye opening to me at age 18 – meeting and going to class and living in the dorms with persons of various ethnic backgrounds. It was a new experience since I grew up in exclusively white suburbia. Last year my husband and I began attending another Christian church (not Covenant). We relish the wonderful diversity of culture in this congregation. Their Christmas Around the World musical the past two years was fabulous – it featured a grandpa taking his kids on an air balloon ride to see Christmas around the world, landing in different countries. The theme was that the gospel message of Jesus Christ is universal. Once you embrace worshipping with diversity as my husband and I have, you do not desire to go back to the other way. I think Pastor Greg should consider writing a book on this topic.

Charitable 7-Year-Old Artist Named ‘Kansan of Year’

Gerald Swenson writes: Dear Emma, thank you for your local (Kansas) charitable work! It means so much to those who have lost so much. I am the former pastor to Bethesda Covenant Church in New York City – we ministered to the poor nations within the United Nations. Can you imagine a family trying to live today on a $1 per month and then being hit with a natural disaster? Your work makes a big difference to those who lost everything and to those who had nothing and lost even more. I would say that your work is excellent and expressive. Africans would say “beautiful.” Sri Lankins would say “wonderful.” Enjoy your gift.

Barbara Rankin of Fremont, CA, writes: I grew up in Greensburg and graduated from Greensburg High School in 1960. Seeing my hometown destroyed is heartbreaking. It is stories like Emma’s that makes us realize that God brings beauty and love from the “ashes” of destruction. God bless you Emma, and all who have given so much to the people of Greensburg. From the words of a song, “I love those dear hearts and gentle people who live and love in my hometown.”

Pat Ellis of Leneexa, KS, writes: Loved this story. What a heart!

Johnna Wheeler of Irving, TX, writes: This is precious! Having been raised in Greensburg, my personal thanks to Emma for modeling the gospel!

Church to Leave Place Used for Worship Since 1795

Les Nordlund of Mercer Island, WA, writes: This is a historic validation of our country’s transition from a church-colony to a church-state and to our present separation of church and state. I think the local Congregational Covenant Church should negotiate a community decision to use the building for occasional worship upstairs by government employee families and by government committees downstairs – thus retaining the historical function in a small way.

Call to Adopt Leads One Family on Incredible Journey

Steve and Gail Haug of Omaha, NE, write: As we read this story from our apartment in Odessa, Ukraine, in the midst of our own adoption process, we are thankful for the Hansons’ faithfulness to God’s call. Their willingness to venture into unknown territory has paved the way for other families, ours included, to adopt from Orphanage #4.

Faith Focus in Debates Viewed as ‘Breakthrough’

Frank Riley of Orange, CA, writes: I really appreciated this story. What I find so refreshing about Dr. Kuehne is his ability to take a step back and view the realm objectively, for instance, applauding Sojourners and taking them to task at the same time, and fully noting the criticism of candidates, but giving the other side. Yes! We need more of this.

CWR Funds Already Employed in Kenyan Relief

Sue Rode of San Diego, CA, writes: Thank you Covenant World Relief for cutting through red tape and being there immediately when help is needed! To be so ready to give is as Christ would do – and wants us to do. I pray for the safety of your workers there in the midst of it all.

Minnesota Youth Treated to ‘Wisdom of Age’

Nancy Reed of La Coruña, Spain, writes: What a wonderful idea! I love this example of discipleship, “passing it on”. Blessings on the church and its generations.

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.

In Grief, Parents Reach Out to Encourage Others

George Novak of Salt Lake City, UT, writes: Stories of hope such as this ongoing one make me proud – and humble – to be a Christian.

War: Reflections Provide Deeper Insight

Laci Schreyer of Brainerd, MN, writes: Darrick is the most caring and passionate man I have met. He helped me through some hard times while I was training for the U.S. Army. Thank you.

Paula Ronning of Two Harbors, MN, writes: This awesome chaplain is my dear cousin! Thank you for serving our country and, most importantly, our heavenly father. Love ya!

Lynch: It’s All About Grace

Laura Stevens of Phoenix, AZ, writes: Well said!

Mike Holmgren: His Life Reads Like a Good Book

Stephen Hunt of Springfield, VA, writes: I really enjoyed this story. It briefly but fully gave a recap of his tenure in Seattle. I would have enjoyed the inclusion of a “Mike Holmgren coaching history” as an addendum. It is always interesting to see how the NFL coaches got to where they are now.

Ministry Touches Lives of Young Cancer Victims

Valerie Gomez of Arlington, TX, writes: Mario Gomez happens to be my father, though I have not heard from him in a few years. I will appreciate any information that helps me be in contact with him. I’m currently in Iraq.

Sankofans Explore Slavery’s Past in Mount Bayou

Irene Dove of Chicago, IL, writes: I loved this story. My family was from Mount Bayou – I am the first generation born in Chicago. My grandmother, who was born in January 1912, told me my great-grandfather George Riginal was the pastor there and owned a grocery store. His parents were with the first group of free slaves that settled there. Thank you for this article.

Multi-Ethnic Ministry Seeks to Reach ‘Whole Person’

Debi Watson of Tacoma, WA, writes: This was a great article. I hope there is a follow-up article to let people know where they will be establishing their church. There are many in the Tacoma area that are not in church because of all of the weirdness and need a place to worship that is real.

Business, Pleasure and God: What a Job!

Beverly Marley of Jacksonville, NC, writes: So true! Mike Hollis is not an ordinary man, no doubt. He is a very unique individual that has changed the lives of more people than he will ever know. I had the opportunity to play volleyball for Coach Hollis at Campbell University in late 1989. Wow! He will never know how many kids he has affected because many of us (his old players) are now coaches – and to be our best, we have to give part of what he gave us. His work is truly exponential. He will always be a dear friend and a great mentor.

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