East Coast Budget Reflects Accelerated Church Plant Schedule

Post a Comment » Written on May 8th, 2009     
Filed under: News
YORK, PA (May 8, 2009) – Delegates to the 119th Annual Meeting of the East Coast Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church celebrated growing momentum towards a 2020 Vision that was cast at last years’ gathering.

In 2008, the conference endorsed an eight-point vision to expand the conference through church planting, churches cooperatively planting ministries, church revitalization, and leadership development that integrates both character formation and competency development.

Superintendent Howard Burgoyne says the conference’s commitment to the vision is reflected in the two budgets delegates approved. The 2009 budget was revised upward to just over $1 million, an increase of 16 percent from the originally approved budget and 11 percent from the actual 2008 budget.

Delegates also approved a budget of $1.1 million for 2010, an increase of five percent. Churches new to the conference in the last 10 years represent 22 percent of giving, Burgoyne said. Overall giving to the conference has increased 44 percent since 2007.

The 2009 and 2010 budgets will support the planting of three to four new churches each year. Legacy funds held by the conference from churches that have closed will help fund the new starts.

Peter Sung, associate superintendent and director of church planting stated, “By God’s grace, we’ll plant more churches in the next three years than we’ve planted in the last 30 years.”

One part of the conference vision is to plant more than 40 churches by 2020. Sung announced that he has 24 potential church planters that he is cultivating and evaluating for future projects.

Burgoyne asked delegates to return to their churches and discuss the possibility of raising the conference budget even further. He presented a “3-2-5 Challenge” that calls for churches over the next three years to grow their average conference giving of 2.5 percent to five percent for the conference.

“To understand my burden, you need to grasp that God has already placed in my heart and mind a vision that calls for your full support,” Burgoyne said. “God already knows the amount of money that is under our stewardship – even in this difficult economy.

“The miracle we need is not that the money would magically appear,” Burgoyne added. “It’s already in our pockets and in your churches. The miracle is that we would actually step up together by faith to fully fund the needs of the Covenant and the conference.”

Burgoyne told delegates that money given to the conference would be poured into ministries to help grow them “on your behalf, (ministries) that will change the world – all across the East Coast Conference.”

Church revitalization also continues to grow as one of the top four missional priorities for the conference, Burgoyne said, noting that 45 of the 75 conference churches have begun conversations about their own renewal of mission and outreach within the last 18 months.

The meetings were co-hosted by St. Paul’s Wolf’s Evangelical Covenant Church and Paradise-Holtzschwamm Covenant Church, which are five miles from each other in York and Thomasville. They have the distinction of being the two oldest churches in the ECC – Wolf’s Church, established in 1763, and Paradise-Holtzschwamm in 1765. They also are two of five eastern Pennsylvania churches that have affiliated with the conference and the Covenant in the last few years.

The conference meetings began with workshops for about 100 delegates from 42 churches. A picnic dinner was served at Wolf’s Picnic Grove, followed by a worship service led by a cross-conference worship team that included a baptismal renewal and service of Holy Communion. A combined choir from the two host churches sang selections from their just completed spring cantata.

An offering of more than $1,200 was received for the conference’s mission partnership with Covenanters in Koyuk, Alaska.

The 120th Annual Meeting of the East Coast Conference will be held on the first weekend of May 2010 and will be co-hosted by Monadnock Covenant Church in Keene, New Hampshire, and Pilgrim Pines Conference Center in Swanzey, New Hampshire.

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