Gary B. Walter Elected Ninth President of Covenant

Post a Comment » Written on June 25th, 2008     
Filed under: News
GREEN LAKE, WI (June 25, 2008) – Delegates to the 123rd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church today elected Gary B. Walter to serve as the denomination’s ninth president.

He will assume his new responsibilities on September 1, succeeding retiring President Glenn R. Palmberg.

“This is a day of great joy, of wonder, and of excitement,” said Brian Madvig, chair of the Presidential Nominating Committee when introducing the nomination.

GaryA 27-member Presidential Nominating Committee chose Walter from among seven finalists. “Every one of them would have led us in wondrous ways,” Madvig said. He added that all of the finalists prayed for one another during the process.

Walter has served as executive minister of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism (CGE) since 1999. Prior to being elected to that position, Walter served as the director of church planting.

Since Walter began as CGE executive minister, the Covenant has experienced 56 percent growth through church planting and initiatives to strengthen existing churches. Much of this growth has been in ethnic ministry with 22 percent of all ECC congregations now in that category.

Marva Watts placed Walter’s name into nomination. There were no nominations from the floor.

In remarks prior to the vote, Walter said, “I am humbled by the nomination, I am overwhelmed by the responsibilities.” He added, however, “It will be no burden, it will be an honor to give myself to the church that has given so much to me.”

Walter, 53, gave his life to Christ while in high school and attending a Covenant church plant. “I am a product of the mission of the Covenant,” he said.

His remarks also announced his hope for the future of that mission. Quoting current President Glenn Palmberg, Walter declared, “We are a small denomination, but not too small to change the world.”

“I also have a vision for the character of the Covenant,” Walter said. “We all want to be part of something great, and I want to be part of something great.” He explained that he prays the Covenant will live out the true meaning of greatness, but not as the world uses the word. “I want Jesus to help me understand what great really means.”

Walter said Jesus’ comments in Matthew 5:19, Matthew 18:2-4, and Matthew 20:25-27 reflect that the character of greatness is being an obedient, humble, servant. “I want that to be the mark of our greatness.”

The result, he said, “will be the entire church living out the entire gospel in the entire world.”

Walter said that although he views his election as an honor, “It really matters not who is president. What matters to our future is who is the head of this church and in all of our lives, and in this church. May it always be – and only be – Christ.”

Walter is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and North Park Theological Seminary. He previously served as a pastor at Newport Covenant Church in Bellevue, Washington, and Clairemont Covenant Church in San Diego, California. He and his wife, Nancy, are founding members of DeerGrove Covenant Church in Palatine, Illinois, and have three daughters: Amy, Alissa, and Lauren.

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