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of the Evangelical Covenant Church


Churches working together to transform lives and communities by starting new churches, strengthening existing churches and developing missional leaders.


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e-News • February 2017 • www.midwestcovenant.org

Delegate Instructions

Vision Tour (for pastors and ministry staff only)

As we start a new year, we are excited about our shared dreams and resources for this next decade. We believe God is giving us all we need to fulfill His vision for the Midwest Conference! To that end, we will be hosting lunches in all of our regional clusters throughout February–April. These discussions will have a three-fold focus:
  • Our new MWC vision footprint
  • New mission giving guidelines
  • Generosity tools for the local church
Hopefully, you will be able to attend the lunch scheduled in your region; most lunches will run from 11:30-1:30. Look for more details on specific times and locations from your cluster leaders. You can also join us for any of the following locations/dates:
 
          Kansas City                                 Kansas, Salina
          Feb 8                                            Feb 9
 
          Nebraska                                     Colorado
          Feb 14, Wakefield                         Feb 22, Living Hope, Colorado Springs
          Feb 15, Lincoln                             Feb 23, Centennial, Littleton
          Mar 1, Omaha                               Apr 5, LifeSpring, Loveland
                                                                Apr 6, Ascent, Louisville
          Iowa, Carroll
          Mar 2

When you receive the invitation from your cluster leader, please RSVP to them so we can make plans to host you for lunch. Or, if you decide to attend a different date/location, notify the conference office at office@midwestcovenant.org and we’ll make arrangements.
 
We are grateful for your leadership in our shared ministry of the Midwest Conference.

Ministry Development Workshop - Registration Open

Join us March 27-29 our third Ministry Development Workshop, hosted by Midwest Conference, Freedom Fire Ministries, and Love Mercy Do Justice, to be held at Hillcrest Covenant Church in Prairie Village, Kansas.
 
If you are planting a church in an urban context, serving in an under-resourced area, or seeking ways to develop community partnerships, this workshop will give you practical tools for sustainable ministry. Check out what participants from previous workshops have to say:
  • Instead of feeling "locked out" due to lack of resources, I sensed God opening doors of opportunity through the training I and my colleagues received.
  • An excellent way to either jumpstart or revitalize your ministry and be inspired by the diverse environmentall that God is doing in pockets all over the country!
  • This is a solid investment of time. I highly recommend it for all leaders!
More information can be found here. Register soon to take advantage of the limited number of spots!

Pan Y Vino Anniversary Celebration

Pastor William Lopez, Pan y Vino Covenant Church, Prairie Village, KS

On January 22, there was great celebration as Pan y Vino Covenant in Prairie Village, Kansas, celebrated their third anniversary. This was a celebration filled with gratitude toward God as more than 250 peoplepeople from the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Colombia, all united in the same placegathered to exalt Jesus, celebrating, singing, praying. Acknowledging the visit were our friends Pastor Jose and Lupe Sanchez (Siloe Covenant, Kansas City, KS), Pastor Wuifor and Vilma Portillo (Alfa y Omega Covenant, Carthage, MO), Pastor Larry Williams (Hillcrest Covenant, Prairie Village, KS), and Pastor Allan Serrano, MWC adjunct staff for Hispanic churches. Pan y VinoMore than a Church, We are a Family.

We look forward to welcoming Pan Y Vino into membership at this year's Annual Ministry Celebration and Gather 2017!

Financial Training for Church Leadership

How do we align our church budget to our ministry plans? What do I need to know about ministerial compensation and taxation? What does healthy generosity and stewardship look like?

Get answers to these questions and more when you attend this financial seminar designed for church pastors, treasurers, church leadership, and staff, hosted by Midwest Conference, National Covenant Properties, and Start and Strengthen Churches. A $15 fee covers lunch and snacks. Early bird registration is required to receive a copy of your church's financial dashboard and an assessment of internal controls (see area flyer for details). Choose from one of the following workshops:

March 4, 2017 - Hillcrest Covenant, Prairie Village, KS
Informational flyer - Prairie Village
Early bird registration deadline:  February 10
General registration deadline:  February 27           
Register here


April 1, 2017 - Arvada Covenant, Arvada, CO
Informational flyer - Arvada
Early bird registration deadline:  March 10
General registration deadline:  March 27
Register here

May 13, 2017 - Celebration Covenant, Omaha, NE
Informational flyer - Omaha
Early bird registration deadline:  April 21
General registration deadline:  May 8
Register here

Youth Pastor Serves as MLK Day Keynote Speaker

Jeremy Elseth, Youth Pastor at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Lindsborg, Kansas, served as the keynote speaker at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Celebration at St John's Missionary Baptist Church in Salina, Kansas. Click here to read about Pastor Elseth's passion for racial reconciliation as he honors the work of Dr. King and recognizes the work still to be done.

Cultivating Caring Community

Judy Davison, member of LifeSpring Covenant Church, Loveland, CO

Cultivating caring community is ingrained in the very DNA of LifeSpring Covenant Church, and for over 15 years, Loveland’s Angel House program has been a part of that DNA. Ever since Kristen Ellis and Barb Mattson shared a community vision of local churches working together to open their doors to provide food and shelter for homeless families with children, LifeSpring members have been steadfast in volunteering their time and talents to give hope for a better future to families in need. Providing healthy meals, hosting the overnight stays, helping with setup, teardown or laundry, all while sharing a welcoming smile and a listening ear, our volunteers have helped to transform lives. This transformation is best told by one of the families recently served through the Angel House program:

I’m a single mom with a beautiful, two-year-old son. I came into Angel House just to see if there might be an opening at that time, and there was—they could take us the day I said I would move out of the house I’d been staying in! One door closed, a new one opened. I felt relieved and scared. I didn’t know how it would be—if my son would like it, if I would be able to parent the way I wanted to, if, if, if. Lots of unknowns to face. 

I was scared someone would tell me that all of my ideas on how to improve our situation were wrong and that I’d have to do things I didn’t believe in to get us in a better place. But it wasn’t that way at all. We moved in and had so much support around us. And the wonderful thing was that the worry about whether we would need to move or find another place to stay was gone. I could relax about shelter and just work on what I needed to do. It provided an element of consistency for me and my son when so much was unknown and variable.

This month, with moving help from LifeSpring and Disciples Ministry volunteers, this family exchanged an unknown variable for an address they can call their own as they moved into their new home.

Volunteers helping to transform lives and communities . . . one family at a time.

Truckloads of Hope

As many young adults transition out of the foster care system, they find themselves without the resources and support systems necessary for a successful transition. In effort to ease this transition for youth in Omaha, Nebraska, local agencies collaborated to develop the Youth Mart, a donation center that houses donated toiletries, housewares, clothing, and furniture to help former foster children get started in their own homes. But without a support system, these young people often have no way of moving into their new homes.
 
Enter the Truck Brigade. Led by Adam Gaines, a group of men from Community Covenant Church in Omaha organized to volunteer their time and trucks to support these young men and women. Once a month, the Truck Brigade picks up furniture items from Youth Mart and helps young people with the heavy lifting. In addition, the Truck Brigade picks up furniture donations from area donors who are unable to transport their donations to the center. Gaines says, “Truck Brigade was started as a spirit-led initiative to fill a need for foster kids who aged out of the system. We fill the role of ‘parent,’ ‘aunt/uncle,’ or ‘neighbor’ these young adults don't have by delivering furniture and household items they might not be able to get. The ministry is all volunteer-based—we don't have any funding, just the desire to help those in need!”
 
Partnering agencies deeply value the efforts of Truck Brigade volunteers. Brandy Gustoff, Program Manager of Jacobs’ Place Transitional Living at the Omaha Home for Boys, says, “I can’t even put into words what these gentlemen mean to the collaborative. They come rain or shine. They come beyond what they’ve committed to for the month. We could not get donations where they need to go without their support. They are amazing, gracious gentlemen.”

The Truck Brigade—delivering truckloads of hope to the young people of Omaha!

Annual Covenant Attendance Report

Your church should have recently received material for completing the annual Covenant attendance report. Although the health and vitality of an individual congregation is not determined solely by the number of attendees or members or your local income, data collected through this and other reports helps the denomination identify trends, understand present realities, and plan for the future. Statistics make it possible to compare church trends and make recommendations to congregations on everything from ministry areas, to facility needs, to insurance options, etc.

If your church has not yet submitted your annual Covenant attendance report, please make time to do so today.

Did you know...? 

A lot is happening in the Midwest Conference. Catch up on recent changes and events below!

Recognition
Congratulations to Grace Place in Berthoud, CO, for being named 2016 Business of the Year by the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce! We are thankful for your ministry to your community!

Staff Changes
Congratulations to Tom Cousineau on his retirement from Executive Director of Covenant Heights Camp and Retreat Center in Estes Park, CO. Tom will continue to serve the camp as Project Manager for the building of the Summit House Activity Center. We are thankful for Tom's many years of service to the conference!

Covenant Heights welcomes Scott Shaw as the new Executive Director. Learn more about Scott here. Welcome to the Midwest Conference, Scott!



Claire Teague recently joined the staff at Christ Community Covenant Church in Arvada, CO, as the new Youth Director. Welcome, Claire!

Heidi Wiebe concluded her service as Interim Pastor at the Covenant church in Ceresco, NE, at the end of December, and Lyle Person is now serving the church as Interim Pastor. We thank both pastors for their service during this time of transition in the church.

Covenant pastor Dan Shelton is serving as Interim Pastor at Wheaton United Methodist Church in Wheaton, MO.

Katie Martinez of Crossroads Church in Loveland, CO, was promoted from Associate Pastor to Executive Pastor. Congratulations, Katie!

Tim Hawkinson, who has been serving as Interim Pastor at Renew Covenant Church in Carroll, IA, was called to serve the church as Pastor. Congratulations, Tim!


 
Do you have big news to share? Contact office@midwestcovenant.org to have your important event published in the e-News.

Churches working together to transform lives and communities by starting new churches, strengthening existing churches, and developing missional leaders.

From Our Superintendent

Friends,

As you read this, ministry leaders throughout the Midwest Conference and the denomination are gathered in Louisville, KY, for the annual Midwinter Conference. Please pray for our MWC pastors and ministry staff to be encouraged and inspired through this week of connecting and learning.

In the coming weeks, MWC staff will be hosting lunches for pastors and ministry staff throughout the conference. After many conversations and much prayer, we are excited to talk about how we believe God is leading our conference to take bold steps over the next 10 years. We look forward to connecting with you at one of the lunches in your area. 

As you consider God’s plan for your own ministry in the coming year, be sure to check out the many great training opportunities occurring in our conference over the next few months. If you are serving in an under-resourced area or looking to develop community partnerships, I would especially encourage you to attend the Ministry Development Workshop in the Kansas City area March 27-29. Sign up soon to ensure your spot. 

Thank you, churches, for your ongoing partnership in our shared ministry.

To God be the glory!





Tammy
 

Superintendent's Letter to Churches

Click here for this year's Superintendent's Letter to Churches Gathered in Annual Meeting. Please share this letter with your congregation through whichever means works best for your church as you prepare for your annual meeting.
 

Covenant Community Bible Experience

We encourage you and your church to join this Covenant-wide effort to be "People of the Book" together.


July 15-20, 2018
University of Tennessee
MWC CHIC Liaison:  Jim Eaton
mwcchic@gmail.com

Donations

We invite you to consider a special gift for the mission of the Midwest Conference. Visit Midwest Conference Donations.
 

Prayer Calendar

Download the Nov 2016-Feb 2017 Prayer Calendar, also available on our website
 

Free m&m's!

Pastors, Superintendent Tammy would enjoy meeting with your leadership team to share about the MWC Mission & Ministry. She'll even provide a tasty visual that will encourage leaders to learn the conference mission statement! Contact Tammy at mwctammy@gmail.com to invite her to an upcoming meeting.
 

Please join Covenant World Relief by praying for those trapped in Aleppo and giving to support local partners who are responding in the midst of the crisis.


Upcoming Events

Cluster Meetings
*See Vision Tour article for dates with MWC staff

Metro Denver
Feb 9, 10:30 am
Applewood Comm, Golden, CO

Lincoln
Feb 15, 11:30 am
First Cov, Lincoln, NE

Omaha
Feb 16, 9:00 am
Le Peep Pepperwood, Omaha

Northern Colorado
March 2

Front Range Missions Meeting
Mar 25, 9:30 am - 1:30 pm
Centennial Cov, Littleton, CO
 

Training Opportunities

AVA (Advocacy for Victims of Abuse) works to provide language and vocabulary to congregations and their leaders so they can speak effectively about abuse and work to prevent it wherever it happens. If you are curious about AVA, register for one of these upcoming training events:

Feb 4 - Arvada Cov, Arvada, CO
Feb 11 - Celebration Cov, Omaha, NE
Feb 18 - ECC, Albert City, IA


Events run 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. For more information contact Deb Bonsall 402-380-1984, iiafdeb@gmail.com (for CO or NE training) or Jeri Wenell 712-358-0025 (for IA training).

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING
Covenant Cedars Bible Camp is hosting Mental Health First Aid, an 8-hour training designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. 

Feb 10 - 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

The camp has rooms available for Thurs, Feb 9, at no cost. For registration and questions, contact Becky Buhr at
becky@cedars.org or 402-757-3241.
 

Covenant Orientation

Click on the class name to register.

Vocational Excellence
May 8-12, Barrington, IL
Nov 13-17, Long Prairie, MN

History of the ECC
June 5-9, St Paul, MN

Theology of the ECC
July 10-15, NPTS, Chicago, IL

Mission & Ministry of the ECC
July 10-15, NPTS, Chicago, IL

Additional offerings coming soon!
 

Employment Opportunities

Seeking employment? See if any of these opportunities within the denomination are right for you.

NEWLY CREATED POSITION
Crossroads Cov in Loveland, CO, has recently added the position of Campus Pastor. Interested applicants should view the opening on CovConnect and contact Superintendent Tammy to discuss the position in further detail.

Alert Cov in Leonardville, KS, is searching for a Youth/Worship Pastor. Job description available on the ECC website.

Covenant Heights Camp & Retreat Center is hiring for spring and longer term kitchen positions. Weekly salaries and room and board included. Contact Greg at Greg@CovenantHeights.org or 970-586-2900 for more information.
 

What's Happening?

Are you celebrating an epic moment in the life of your church? Email office@midwestcovenant.org with pictures of your event to be shared on Facebook and/or in the e-News!
 

Spanish Translation Needed

The MWC would like to provide essential notifications in Spanish, when possible. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining a volunteer task force to help with this need, please contact the conference office at office@midwestcovenant.org or 888-871-3020.


Personal Retreats Available

Covenant Heights Camp and Covenant Cedars Bible Camp offer lodging and meals to full-time church staff of the Midwest Conference for personal retreats and family weekends at no cost. Availability is dependent upon season and camp schedule. For more information, contact Covenant Heights Camp at 970-586-2900 or info@CovenantHeights.org and Covenant Cedars Bible Camp at 402-757-3241 or info@cedars.org.

Twin Lakes Bible Camp provides free use of Haven 23, a house with full amenities, to anyone in ministry. Take advantage of this opportunity to relax and refresh! Contact 712-297-7714 or info@twinlakesbiblecamp.com for more information.
 

Quick Links

 

e-News Bulletin Insert

Click here for a printable version of this newsletter for your Sunday worship bulletin.
 

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Copyright © 2017 Midwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, All rights reserved.


Phone: 402-334-3020 or 1-888-871-3020
E-mail: office@midwestcovenant.org
Website: www.midwestcovenant.org
The Midwest Conference is a mission association of Covenant churches in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, western Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming
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