Midwest Conference Receives Three New Churches

Post a Comment » Written on May 2nd, 2008     
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OMAHA, NE (May 2, 2008) – Changes to the format of the 122nd Midwest Conference Annual Meeting inspired delegates and general attendees, says conference Supt. Ken Carlson. Community Covenant Church and Celebration Covenant Church co-hosted the event.

For the first time, the conference offered only one workshop – a modified version of the Veritas church vitality workshop.  “It was very well received,” says Carlson. More than 100 pastors and lay members attended the workshop, which was conducted Friday afternoon and led by John Wenrich, director of congregational vitality for the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC).

Wenrich also preached during the Friday evening worship service at Community Covenant Church and encouraged the gathering to use new methods to carry the timeless message of God’s saving grace. A member of First Covenant Church in Omaha inspired the gathering with her story of growing up in a non-Christian home and the journey of faith she has been on for the last six years. More than 300 people attended the Friday evening service, many of the worshipers coming from surrounding churches.

There were 136 voting delegates, representing 50 of a possible 82 churches. They recommended three churches for membership in the denomination: New Day Covenant Church in Boulder, Colorado; Iglesia Cristiana Getsemani in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Abyssinian Christian Church in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Doug Ferguson, pastor of Celebration Covenant Church, expressed his gratitude for the denomination as well as the support of local Omaha churches. He told delegates that he had never heard of the ECC until associate superintendent Rick Mylander invited him to a Midwinter Conference. It was there, he said, that he “discovered the denomination he had been seeking.”

Two special offerings were taken to help replenish the ministers’ crisis fund and provide funds for Alfa y Omega Covenant Church in Carthage, Missouri, which needed to rent a cherry picker in order to remove a tree that fell on a house next to the church. The Hispanic church needed the financial help after an ice storm knocked the tree, which was on the church’s property, onto the neighboring house.

Carlson said ministers and their families have increasingly used the fund for a variety of needs, including career assessment. Tom Glossi also encouraged pastors to make use of the conference’s Sanctuary Ministry, which provides care for pastors. The three-faceted ministry includes non-reporting support, spiritual direction and cluster groups.

Delegates approved a budget of $767,463 for 2009, reflecting an 8.5 percent decrease from the current budget. The decrease was needed due to a decline in church giving to the conference.

Members of First Covenant Church in Mason City, Iowa, and pastor Tammy Swanson-Draheim, showed the “76 Trombones” scene from The Music Man film as a novel way of inviting delegates to “the original River City” for next year’s annual meeting.

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