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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.

e-News • July 2015 • www.midwestcovenant.org
 

Walking Where Jesus Walked

On June 1, 2015, thirty-four travelers from the US and Canada boarded a plane for the Holy Land. Participants watched the story of Jesus come to life as they visited sites from significant moments in scripture. Lives were clearly touched as the group retraced Jesus’ steps and interacted with those walking the same paths today.
 
We were made aware that the earliest churches—house and cave churches—sprang up immediately after Jesus’ resurrection, filled with eye witnesses to Jesus’ life and resurrection. This realization on our part is a powerful adjunct to the stories written in the Gospels and Acts, previously our foundational source of faith. To interact with the physical descendants of these witnesses, to hear their oral histories, to see the actual places where Jesus taught and healed supercharges our faith and makes it much more vivid.
- Lee and Ellen Robinson, Centennial Covenant Church, Littleton, CO
 
Unlike many tour groups, we traveled to the West Bank and the Golan Heights in an effort to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today between real people with a history and story that is not always shared accurately by the media. This conflict was made even more real by seeing razor wire, walls and checkpoints that limit movement of people by virtue of their religion or ethnicity...As a history teacher, I loved walking where Jesus walked, being where he might have preached, and visiting places where miracles occurred.
- Pam Norlen, First Covenant Church, Omaha, NE
 
We were most impacted during our visit [to the Church of the Ten Lepers]. First, by how far Jesus had to walk to get to this place. Our Savior deliberately went out of his way from his regular route to seek out those that he ministered to here...Also, we were impacted by how much our Palestinian brethren showed the love of Christ to us. These people were very poor, yet they gave 34 people food and drink, and then they gave us gifts. We were truly humbled by their generosity.
- Bill and Lynda Klymochko, Faith Covenant Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba

We were struck by how rugged the countryside is and how difficult it would have been for Jesus and his disciples to get from place to place. In scripture you read about Jesus being at a certain place and then in a few verses he is in another place. But to see how far apart some of the locations were and how difficult the walking would have been to get from place to place really had an impact...We were also impacted by the people we met and heard from. It was so good to hear their stories and understand in small part another perspective than what we normally hear.
- Rod and Betty Banks, Evangelical Covenant Church, Wausa, NE
 
What we’d really like to convey to others who might be taking a future trip to Israel: You may go like us, thinking the highlight would be to walk where Jesus walked and see the historical markers of His ministry. But our highlight was seeing where He is walking today, with His people, whether they are Israeli or Palestinian, citizen or refugee, resident or tourist, wealthy or downtrodden. We saw peace seekers and forgivers of past wrongs who want to live their lives as Christ’s followers, and we want to do that, too!
- Jody and Tom McClellan, Centennial Covenant Church, Littleton, CO

Click here to read full insights from participants.


Photos throughout article contributed by Dan Olson, Bethlehem Covenant Church, Waverly, NE; Hanne Johnson, Faith Covenant Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Pam Norlen; Bill and Lynda Klymochko; Jody and Tom McClellan

Gather '15 Highlights

This year's Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church was held in Kansas City, MO. Below are some of the many ways the Midwest Conference was blessed by the event. You can also watch sessions or download the delegate summary for additional details. 

Experience Kansas City
Before the start of the Annual Meeting, delegates and guests were invited to participate in the Experience Kansas City tour. Throughout the tour, participants were introduced to several ministries that local Covenant churches partner with in serving the community. Check out what MWC participants had to say about the event:

It was striking to see the variety of ways that people and churches were working together with the same goal of "living into and grasping the plan of Jesus." Needs not always apparent to the casual observer are being met due to diligent relationship building, trial and error, and seeking gaps of need where the church could step in and help.
- Karen Holdeman, Community Covenant Church, Omaha, NE

The tour of Kansas City ministry partnerships was a powerful experience! I wish the whole ministerium could have dropped what they were doing to join us in hearing the stories of visions becoming ministries of hope and caring. We heard from ordinary folks who joined together, dreamed, worked and sacrificed...tried and failed and tried again...and now are making a difference in KC!
- Roxanna Bergfalk, First Covenant Church, Omaha, NE

A huge thank you to Sara Wrablica of Hillcrest Covenant Church in Prairie Village, KS, and many others for organizing the tour! Read more about the Experience Kansas City tour here.

MWC Pastors Ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church
Ordained to Word and Sacrament:  Mark Habluetzel of Hope Covenant Church, El Dorado, KS; Karl Helvig of Centennial Covenant Church, Littleton, CO; Greg Reiner of First Covenant Church, Mason City, IA; Allan Serrano, Director of Latino Church Planting (Midsouth Conference)/Director of Hispanic Church Ministry (Midwest Conference).

Ordained to Word and Service:  Jesse Bolinder of Harbert Community Church, Harbert, MI.
MWC Superintendent Tammy with ordinands Mark Habluetzel and Joan Hayward (SEC)

MWC Missionaries Consecrated/Commissioned by the Evangelical Covenant Church
Consecrated Missionaries:  Chris and Jenny Hoskins of First Covenant Church, Omaha, NE. Long-term missionaries to Ecuador.

Commissioned Missionary:  Max McClure of First Covenant Church, Salina, KS. Short-term missionary to the Czech Republic.

The ECC Welcomes Siloe Covenant Church into Covenant Membership
Siloe Covenant Church, the first Spanish-speaking Covenant congregation in Kansas City, KS, was welcomed into Covenant membership. Siloe is served by Pastor Jose and Lupita Sanchez.
                                                  
Children Offer Encouragement to MWC Church Planters
The children attending Gather joined in the celebration as they prayed over Midwest Conference church plants and pastors. They drew pictures and wrote words of encouragement that were then sent to each church plant. We are so blessed to see God at work in the lives of our children!

When Disaster Strikes

When I was invited to participate in the Humanitarian Disaster Institute’s (HDI) Disaster Ministry Conference in June, a variety of images and events went through my mind—the recent floods in Colorado, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the unthinkable destruction and loss of life surrounding the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Though I knew faith-based organizations had responded to each of these events, I struggled with the question, What does local church response look like when faced by disasters of massive proportions?

The HDI conference was a helpful reminder that church disaster ministry encompasses preparation, response, and recovery, and the local church can respond in ways that complement the efforts of larger organizations and governments. The church establishes relationships before disaster strikes and is present for the recovery process long after FEMA trucks leave. The conference also served as a reminder that disaster ministry is deeply tied to our call to compassion and justice. It is often through disaster that vulnerabilities and injustices in the community are revealed. By tending to areas of social vulnerability long term, the church can treat disaster ministry as more than just patching holes in the light of a catastrophic event. In turn, our participation in disaster ministry is part of our identity as Christians and one way we live out our missional call to join God in making things whole.

For more information, please contact one of the Midwest Conference representatives for the event:  Brian Wright, LifeSpring Covenant, Loveland, CO; Tracy Hilts, Living Hope Covenant, Colorado Springs, CO; Deb Bonsall, Salem Covenant, Oakland, NE.

Brian Wright serves as Interim Director of Connections at LifeSpring Covenant Church in Loveland, CO.

Alaska Partnership Project Update

The Midwest Conference is in partnership with the Mountain Village Covenant Church located in Mountain Village, Alaska, where Pastor Don Cross and his family currently serve. Last fall, Midwest Conference churches began raising money to replace the family's unreliable 4-wheeler. Together, churches raised over $4000 and the Cross family was able to purchase the vehicle below. You can read Pastor Don's update here. Thank you, churches, for your generosity and partnership!


Left to right:  Jared, Kadyn, Katelyn, Fei and Pastor Don


Your church has amazing music, a great youth program and is conveniently located. So why aren't the neighbors flocking to church? MissionInsite provides demographic information and analysis of your church's neighborhood to help you learn about the makeup and trajectory of your community. The Midwest Conference has purchased the ability for all of our churches to access this service at no cost to individual churches. We invite you to take advantage of this resource to identify ministry opportunities waiting just outside your door. Click here to get started today!

Already a registered user? Click here to register for upcoming webinars:
  • Maximizing the Power of PeoplePlot - August 19, 2:00 pm EDT
  • Orientation - August 20, 2:00 pm EDT
  • Discover Ministry Opportunities - August 27, 2:00 pm EDT

2015 MWC Fall Pastors Retreats

Eastern Retreat
Carol Joy Holling Retreat Center
Ashland, NE 
October 5-7, 2015
Speaker - Mark Novak

Western Retreat
Franciscan Retreat Center
Colorado Springs, CO
October 19-21, 2015
Speaker - Remy Diederich

Registration brochure
 

From Our Superintendent

Friends,

It is encouraging to see the many examples of churches working together highlighted in this edition of the e-News. 

This past June was the second trip that the Midwest and Canadian conferences took to Israel. It was a dream fulfilled that Kelly and I were able to participate. It was amazing to walk where Jesus walked and to ponder the biblical story with new understanding. It was meaningful to worship in ancient holy sites as we reflected on those who came long before us. It was eye-opening to see the injustices of the Israeli-Palestinian divide—to meet both Jews and Palestinian Christians and learn more about each perspective. It was a wonderful group of people on a spiritual pilgrimage with a God who is faithful from everlasting to everlasting. I hope that some of you may consider participating in the next pilgrimage in 2017.

There are many other examples of churches working together in this issue. May I ask that you continue to pray for those who are currently planting churches and for those you are sending out to plant new expressions of the gospel over the next year? This is hard work and they appreciate all of the support they get from you. 

Thank you for embodying the love of Christ as we work locally and as a region of churches to be part of what God is doing! 

To God be the glory!





Tammy
 

Donations

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

Prayer Calendar

Click to download the July-October 2015 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.
 

Upcoming Events

ML/BVL Phase 1 Paperwork
Due to MWC office August 1

NoCo Regional Church Plant Group (pastors' cluster) August 13, 11:45 am
Grace Place, Berthoud, CO

ML/BVL Phase 2 Paperwork (includes Licensing Paper)
Due to MWC office August 15

Finalization Paper
Due to mentor August 15
Due to MWC office Sept 1 (with mentor verification form)

KC Regional Church Plant Group (pastors' cluster) August 19, 10:30 am, Lawrence, KS

CKS Regional Church Plant Group To be rescheduled

Denver Metro Church Plant Group September 22, 7:00 pm
Grace Covenant Church, Lakewood, CO

Fall Interviews (Credentialing)
September 28-29, Omaha, NE
November 2-4, TBD, CO

Fall Pastor/Spouse Retreats
Eastern, October 5-7, Ashland, NE
Western, October 19-21, Colorado Springs, CO

2016 Annual Ministry Celebration
April 22-23, 2016
Crossroads Covenant, Loveland, CO

Triennial XV July 28-31, 2016

Cov Orientation Schedule

VOCATIONAL EXCELLENCE
Register for any of the following:

Sept 28-Oct 2
Pilgrim Pines, NH

Oct 26-30
Mission Springs, CA
REGISTRATION CLOSED


Nov 16-20
Lake Beauty Bible Camp, MN

Dec 1-4, 2015
Kingdom Covenant, Miami, FL
 

SPE Opportunities

Sabbath Retreat
September 27-30
Memphis, TN
Application deadline August 1

The Art of Pastoral Leadership
(experience includes all 3 dates)
October 26-28, Racine, WI
January 24-25, Chicago, IL
April 18-20, Racine, WI
Application deadline August 6


Make and Deepen Disciples

Now through June 2016 is the dedicated emphasis year for the Make and Deepen Disciples priority of the ECC. Read the latest update and check out their new video! Feel free to share these resources with your church!
 

SHIFT: The Curriculum

The ECC's Make and Deepen Disciples team has produced SHIFT: The Curriculum, a 6-week, intergenerational opportunity for the whole church. Click here for more information.


Spanish Translators Needed

The MWC would like to begin providing resources or 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.
 

What's Happening?

Is your church planning a mission trip? Celebrating an anniversary? Hosting a big event? Email office@midwestcovenant.org to have your church event posted here. Or send pictures of your event to be shared on Facebook and in the e-News!
 

Employment Opportunities

Seeking Employment? See if any of these opportunities are right for you.
 

Quick Links

 

e-News Bulletin Insert

To download a printable pdf version of this insert for your Sunday worship bulletin, click here.
 

Forward to a Friend

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Copyright © 2015 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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