12 Churches Welcomed into Membership

Post a Comment » Written on June 26th, 2009     
Filed under: News
PORTLAND, OR (June 26, 2009) – Delegates to the 124th Annual Meeting welcomed 12 churches with a cumulative membership of 863 and a cumulative average attendance of 1,643.

Following are the new churches, grouped by conference, including a brief history on each. To see additional photos, visit New Churches.

Great Lakes Conference

Connexions Covenant Church, Dexter, Michigan. Pastor Ron Gelaude—approximate attendance 130.

OneRon Gelaude and two other families started the process of starting the church on September 23, 2007. In their first nine months, they saw four conversions and two recommitments to Jesus Christ. In 2008, they experienced 26 conversions and recommitments. They currently meet in the Mill Creek Middle School cafeteria. The Great Lakes Conference started Connexions with the assistance of two “friends of the Covenant” churches—Kensington Community Church and The River Community Church. The congregations provided financial resources and connections with people. Connexions Covenant Church is especially known for a strong emphasis on compassion and for its multiple mission projects to the New Orleans area.

Renovate Covenant Church, Muskegon, Michigan. Pastor David Diller—approximate attendance 180.

Forest Park Covenant Church parented the congregation, sending Associate Pastor Dave Diller as the church planter. Renovate desires to live out its name as illustrated in Jeremiah 33—“to see God’s restorative and creative potential in all things, people and places.” Renovate held launched February 10, 2008. The church meets at a local high school.

Esperanza Covenant Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pastor Tomas Ivens—approximate attendance 120.

Esperanza—the name means hope—is the first Latino church in the Great Lakes Conference. The church started in July of 2006 and had their first public worship service in March of 2007 on the campus of First Covenant Church in Grand Rapids. Two other churches also have helped support the congregation – Thornapple Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, and Yorkville Community Church, a non-Covenant congregation. Fifty families that have begun to attend. Through these families, 80 new believers have come into the church over the last two years. In partnership with other community agencies, Esperanza provide domestic violence prevention programs, backpack and toy distribution, and food baskets.

Life Church: An Evangelical Covenant Church, Grandville, Michigan. Pastor Steven Faulk—approximate attendance: 153

Steven Faulk and his family moved to the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area in June 2006, after serving on the staff of Faith Covenant Church in Farmington Hills. The church has met in the gym of a local elementary school. Life Church is impacting the community through two weekly worship experiences, small groups, and a weekly ministry to children and youth.

Nueva Vida Church, Jamestown, New York. Pastor Al Pagan—approximate attendance 50.

Nueva Vida is a largely Hispanic, multiethnic congregation that began as a small group in 2006. The congregation desires membership within the ECC because the Covenant welcomes “us as we are.” The church currently meets at First Covenant Church in Jamestown. Its outreach includes a prison ministry.

Faith Community Church, Youngstown, Ohio. Pastor Gary Marcy—approximate attendance 75.

Since it’s inception in 1817 Faith Community Church has experienced much change and many mergers. In 1934 the Reformed Church merged with the Evangelical Synod and the church became The Third Evangelical and Reformed Church. Again in 1957. the Congregational Church merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church to form the United Church of Christ denomination. More recently, the church voted to consolidate with Pilgrim Collegiate Church and in 2000 was renamed Faith Community Church. In 2006, due to theological differences, the congregation voted to leave the United Church of Christ and sought affiliation with the ECC. Faith Community Church is located in the southeast corner of Youngstown. The city is changing ethnically and economically as real estate continues to deteriorate and business opportunities decline. The population is mostly un-churched or Roman Catholic. The church’s large facility enables it to hold traditional church activities as well as provide meeting space for AA meetings and a food pantry. Faith community also is involved in other community and international outreaches such as Habitat for Humanity.

North Pacific Conference

Alive Covenant Church, Poulsbo, Washington. Pastor Daron Jagodzinske – approximate attendance 80.
TwoThe congregation worships as a community once a month, gathers as “house churches” weekly, and serves the local community on the third Sunday.

Dundee Covenant Church, Dundee, Oregon. Pastor Art Matheny—approximate attendance 120.

In 2007, Countryside Community Covenant Church in Sherwood, Oregon, commitment to plant a new congregation in Dundee. Matheny was called as the church planting pastor. Located in the heart of the Oregon wine country, Dundee is a community of 3,000 people with towns of 20,000 on each side of it. Countryside committed both people and financial resources to the starting of the new church. They have already seen many people become followers of Christ, and are finding creative ways to make a difference in their community.

Common Ground Covenant Church, Meridian, Idaho. Pastor Tom Bowen—approximate attendance.

Common Ground began its ministry as an independent, unaffiliated congregation. Prior to organizing as a church, the leadership contacted the North Pacific Conference. After meeting with Superintendent Mark Novak and Associate Superintendent Don Robinson. they participated in many conference and denominational events. The congregation subsequently determined they wanted to become an Evangelical Covenant Church.

Pacific Southwest Conference

Fountain of Life Covenant Church, Long Beach, California. Pastor John Teter—approximate attendance 130.
ThreeFountain of Life Covenant Church began as church plant in April 2006 with John Teter as the church planter. Many of the launch team members were from the campus ministry at nearby Cal State—Dominguez Hills, where he had served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The church was planted in Long Beach to demonstrate “God’s commitment to those who live on the margins.” Journey Covenant Church in Torrance, California, parented Fountain of Life. The church meets at Hamilton Middle School in North Long Beach, a challenging urban community with significant gang violence.

Great Exchange Covenant Church, San Francisco, California. Pastor Sean Curtis—approximate attendance 125.

A small group from Great Exchange Covenant Church in Sunnyvale, California, started meeting in the Sunset District of San Francisco in 2004. Within months, more then 60 people were gathering together. A preview service was held in October 2004, with 100 people in attendance. Weekly services started on Easter Sunday 2005. The San Francisco congregation did not have a pastor for the first three years, but the parenting church provided leadership, support, and coaching for ministry leaders. Curtis was called to be the Sunnyvale pastor in the summer of 2008. Great Exchange meets in Dolores Park Church—the original First Covenant, San Francisco—on Sunday evenings.

Southeast Conference

Tarpon Community Church, Tarpon Springs, Florida. Pastor Peyton Johnson—approximate attendance 400.

The Presbytery of Tampa Bay planted the church in 1994. In, 2000, the first permanent building was completed on a 36 acres campus. In 2005, the congregation moved into a new Worship Center. In the past several years, Tarpon Community Church has been through a difficult journey of discerning God’s direction regarding denominational affiliation. After much prayer they decided to leave the PCUSA. The church decided to join the ECC after researching the denomination and meeting with its leaders.

Editor’s note: The accompanying random photos were taken during the welcoming portion of today’s business session. The lower photo shows Don Davenport of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism offering prayer on behalf of the 12 churches accepted into membership.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog