Palmberg Delivers Final State of the Covenant Address

Post a Comment » Written on June 25th, 2008     
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GREEN LAKE, WI (June 25, 2008) – President Glenn Palmberg told delegates to the 123rd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church today that he was grateful to have spent the last 10 years serving a denomination that remains rooted in its core beliefs and continues to push for compassion, justice and mercy.

His report was the last of his presidency to an Annual Meeting. Palmberg announced his resignation last year, and he will officially end his tenure at noon September 1.

“You, my sisters and brothers in Christ, have often encouraged, sometimes challenged, and always inspired me with the depth of your faith and the energy of your witness,” Palmberg said. “I have been proud to represent the Covenant in the wider church, as we have made common cause with others for the sake of God’s call to do justice and love mercy.”

Palmberg reviewed each of the Covenant’s ministry departments, citing key accomplishments and advances in the various areas. He also praised the work of the many affiliated Covenant ministries, noting the value they add to ministry in ways not always obvious. He also took the opportunity to dispel at least one popular myth – that Covenant hospitals drain financial resources, prompting some to question why that work is continued. Truth is, Palmberg noted, the hospitals actually contribute to the shared ministry support of the denomination, providing significant dollars in support of core ministries and world mission initiatives.

He also shared some surprising news. Leadership was informed last Friday that the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program has been granted another $835,000 from the Lilly Endowment. Lilly expressed the hope this will be part of a continuing relationship. For more information on the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence initiative, see SPE.

Palmberg expressed disappointment that some churches are contributing to outreach programs other than Covenant World Relief. “That’s not a bad thing, but this is our family.” He encouraged Covenanters to consider working through Covenant World Relief, pointing out that 95 cents of every dollar goes directly to ministry initiatives.

He commended the denomination for the strides it has made and its commitment to serving all people with the gifts of all people. “As a church, we are pressing forward in racial and ethnic diversity towards the goal of a body that reflects even more closely the kingdom of God,” Palmberg said. “We are moving ahead on gender equality, toward the day when all of God’s children are free and affirmed to express, with all their gifts, the call of God on their lives.”

When people ask him why is retiring now, he says he responds that at last he will have the opportunity to go to church with his wife, Sharon – “something I haven’t done much the last 18 years.” He also said he has two other important reasons – and immediately flashed on the large screens a picture of his two grandchildren.

Concluding his remarks, Palmberg quoted from Philippians 3:12 – “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

“This is my own continuing course, even as it is for our church,” Palmberg said. “We press on to make the goal our own because Christ Jesus has made us his own. Thank you for the great privilege of serving Christ and our church together with you over these 10 years. May God bless you as we continue to run the race together.”

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