Great Lakes Conference Welcomes Six Churches as Members

Post a Comment » Written on May 4th, 2009     
Filed under: News
By Don Meyer

DEWITTVILLE, NY (May 4, 2009) – Six churches were accepted into membership during this past weekend’s annual meeting of the Great Lakes Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, held at Mission Meadows camp on the shores of Chautauqua Lake.

Board members and officers were installed, an adjusted budget for 2009 was approved, and delegates celebrated numerous stories of how God is at work in local congregations throughout the conference in areas of church development, church planting and outreach initiatives.

WelcomeThe churches accepted into membership will be presented during the 124th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Portland, Oregon in June. The new churches include:
•    Life Church in the Granville area, Michigan – Pastor Steven Faulk
•    Connexions Covenant Church in Dexter, Michigan – Pastor Ron Gelaude
•    Esperanza Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan – Pastor Tomas Ivens
•    Renovate Church in Muskegon, Michigan – Pastor Dave Diller
•    Nueva Vide in Jamestown, New York – Pastor Alfonso Pagan
•    Faith Community Church in Youngstown, Ohio – Pastor Gary Marcy

Pastors and representatives of the congregations were on hand and were joined in the welcoming ceremony by representatives of the sponsoring churches.

Superintendent Richard Lucco welcomed the new churches and praised the many accomplishments in their respective ministries – several of the churches shared what God is doing in a series of “Good News’ moments sprinkled throughout Saturday morning’s business session.

New churchesAttendance at 10 new church plants within the conference averaged 1,824 during 2008 – or 182 per new plant – reports Larry Sherman, associate superintendent who works closely with the church planting program. The new churches reported 920 conversions or recommitments to Christ during that same time with giving to support mission at $66,778 last year.

Three retiring Covenant pastors were recognized, including Steven Armfield at Thornapple Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan; David Trosper at First Covenant Church in Jamestown, New York; and Paul Bengston at Forest Park Covenant Church in Muskegon, Michigan.

The 2009 annual conference budget, approved during last year’s annual meeting, was adjusted to reflect changes in the overall economy, calling for expenses of $725,000.

Given the continued instability in the national economy, it was agreed that the Conference Executive Board would be authorized to implement a temporary budget between January 1, 2010, and next spring’s annual meeting at an amount not to exceed $800,000, with a finalized budget proposal to be presented for delegate action at next year’s annual meeting.

WalterKim Carlson was introduced as the new finance officer for the conference. Chuck Beckstrom and Kimberly Borgeson were elected to the Executive Board, with retiring board member Jack Brown recognized.

Lucco and Sherman reviewed the Mission Friends initiative, designed to encourage additional individual and church giving – gifts that are over and above regular giving and commitments – to further advance the shared conference ministries in areas of church planting, development and outreach. It was noted that during the past four years, $220,000 in additional support has been realized, allowing the conference’s momentum in these areas to continue.

More than 50 of the conference’s 72 churches were represented with 90 delegates registered.

The weekend’s activities began with a meeting of the Conference Ministerium – about 60 pastors were in attendance. Don Meyer, executive minister of Covenant Communications, brought greetings from Covenant offices and shared a brief update on various Covenant ministries. Don Ostrom was elected secretary, joining other officers including Mark Mosher, president; Bob Hoey, vice president, and Bill Nyerges, treasurer. Dan Pietrzyk concluded Thursday’s activities with a training session as part of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program.

PrayerCovenant President Gary Walter spoke during Friday evening’s banquet with more than 200 in attendance. Participants spent the day Friday working in various community projects in Jamestown as well as Warren and Russell, Pennsylvania. Walter also addressed delegates during Saturday morning’s business session.

Editor’s note: top photo shows Lucco welcoming delegates to Saturday’s business session. The center photo was taken as representatives of the six new member churches gathered to be recognized. The lower photo was taken during Walter’s update to delegates. The bottom photo shows Conference Executive Board Vice President Beth Ernest offering a prayer in support of the conference administrative team including (from left Sherman), Jody Eidnes, and Lucco. Behind the staff is Bob Hoey who offered a concluding prayer.

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