Two Boston Marathon Runners to Benefit Covenant Ministries

Post a Comment » Written on March 2nd, 2009     
Filed under: News
HOPKINTON, MA (March 2, 2009) – Children who are oceans apart will benefit when two Covenanters run the 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon on April 20.

The runners will be Boaz Johnson, professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University, and Heather Karlson, director of Christian education at Faith Evangelical Covenant Church. Both are accomplished marathoners who have used their athletic gifts to aid various ministries over the years.

Money they raise this year will be split evenly between the Hindustani Covenant Church in India and Community Covenant Church in Hopkinton, which uses the money for its scholarships to Camp Squanto and CHIC. Once the campership needs are met at the church, all of the remaining donations will go to the Hindustani church.

MarathonCommunity Covenant provided runners their spots in the race. Although some 20,000 people run in the marathon, entering the event is difficult due to the large number of individuals eager to secure a place. In addition to the $150 entrance fee, the applicant also must have run a qualifying time at a previously certified marathon. Because Community Covenant already had the numbers, Johnson and Karlson do not have to qualify or pay the fee.

The marathon organizing committee gave the numbers to the church, which had raised camp scholarship funds for 34 years by offering parking for a minimal fee to race participants and onlookers. When the city consolidated parking elsewhere, it asked the church not to open its parking lot.

Karlson says she had twice come close to qualifying while running the Chicago Marathon (accompanying photo), but had fallen just short. “When this opportunity came up, it was very exciting.”

She has become passionate about the issue of human trafficking, having researched the issue extensively. Shortly after the race, Karlson will teach an adult classes at her church about the topic.

The event has taken on special meaning for Johnson. After preaching a sermon at the university, he received a vision of what the life of the Biblical king Josiah can mean for people today.

Josiah was only eight years old when God began using him to change a whole society. At age 18, he caused a revival to take place in the whole kingdom of Judah.

When Johnson was eight years old, he was living in the slums of New Dehli and he saw  his friends forced into all kinds of slavery that he says was accurately depicted in the recent Academy Award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.

Johnson says he hopes the money will help raise up young leaders who will lead revival and wipe out all forms of slavery.

A veteran of several marathons, Johnson says he has never run a race this early. Due to constant snow on the ground, he has had to train indoors. One advantage, however, has been that he can adjust the incline on the treadmill to give him some preparation for the hills, he says, laughing.

People may support the runners by donating online through Covenant Bookstore or sending checks to the Evangelical Covenant Church, 5101 N. Francisco Ave, Chicago, IL, 60625. Funds for India will be distributed through the Department of World Mission.

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