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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.


We exist for others

e-News • December 2016 • www.midwestcovenant.org

 

The Light of Christ

Behind the blow-up Santas and the comfort of twinkling lights is a world in need of a savior. Fortunately, the yuletide season provides ample opportunities to share the love of Christ with those around us. We caught up with a few of our Midwest Conference pastors to learn how their churches are making the most of this holiday season to spread the light of Christ within their communities.
 
What is your church doing to bring the light of Christ into your community this Christmas season?
 
Life House started collecting blankets, socks, cold weather gear and bottled water for H.O.P.E. (Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement) in November. This project that started out as seasonal will now be a year-round project for the church. – Pastor  Win Houwen, Life House Cov, Longmont, CO
 
We are working as a team with the local police station and fire department to donate 800 toys as Christmas gifts to kids in the city. – Pastor Wuifor Portillo, Alfa y Omega Cov, Carthage, MO
 

Hope Covenant Church goers are carolers on parade! During Advent, we have shined the light of Christ in two separate outreach efforts—community Christmas caroling and a downtown El Dorado Christmas parade. Both events were a huge hit and fun for our church!! – Pastor Amber Carroll, Hope Cov, El Dorado, KS
 
Siloe Covenant is partnering with the Salvation Army to provide toys for area children from low-income families. – Pastor Jose Sanchez, Iglesia Siloe Cov, Kansas City, KS
 

This Christmas, Abyssinian Christian Church took on a service called “SOW,” Serving Beyond Our Walls. We are sowing seed monies into agencies of compassion:  Realities for Children, Homeless Shelter, Battered Women, and Columbine Elder Care. We raised $2000.00 for end-of-year gifts of $500 each. Our donations can go much further together than alone. This makes Christmas that much more special to ACC. – Pastor David Williams, Abyssinian Christian Church, Fort Collins, CO

To share the light of Christ with our community this Christmas, we went Christmas caroling to the local Health Care Center. We will continue to share Christ's love by joining with another church to go caroling again with our youth before Christmas. Our church also offers "A Night in Bethlehem" on the last Wednesday of Pioneer Club of the year. There are many kids (and families) who are a part of our Pioneer Club programs that have no other points of contact with a church. Finally, we join with a few other churches in town to offer a space to lament during the holiday season at our community Blue Christmas Service. – Interim Pastor Linnea Ek, ECC, Wakefield, NE

First Covenant Fort Dodge has been sowing the seeds of evangelism during this Christmas season. We hosted a church potluck and invited our mostly unchurched neighbors to celebrate with us. Those who came heard the gospel message, witnessed Santa kneeling at the manger, and 100 children received the gift of a Teddy Bear. Funny thing about Christmas joy. The more joy you give out, the more joy you receive back. – Pastor Allan Redenius, First Cov, Fort Dodge, IA

We know that this is just a sampling of all that Midwest Conferences churches are doing to serve their communities. Thank you for your faithful partnership throughout the year!

Gathering in Shared Mission

Brian Wright, Pastor of Christian Formation, LifeSpring Covenant Church, Loveland, CO
 
It has been well said that the church does not have a mission; rather, the mission has a church. God’s mission to redeem the world is an open invitation for us to join with Him in the work He is already doing. That means God’s mission is a wide space for the church to engage in together. It is in that spirit that the Colorado Front Range Mission Leaders gatherings take place, exploring the various spaces of God’s mission and how we might come alongside His work in our local congregations.
 
The gatherings take place for a half day on a Saturday during the fall and spring and are open to lay and staff mission leaders in Covenant churches along Colorado’s Front Range. At the meetings, we begin by providing space for churches to share brief updates on what is happening in their mission and outreach ministries. During this time, we often find that churches have found spaces to collaborate on shared mission opportunities and best practices can be shared and explored.
 
The rest of our time together is centered around a topic that relates to the church and local/international mission. Speakers from various organizations are invited to give us background on a missional area and then help us explore ways that the local church can join in this area of mission. Past topics have included:
  • The Church and the Refugee Crisis
  • Compassion and Justice Ministries
  • The Use of the Web and Technology in Missions
  • The Church and Immigration
  • Choosing Ministries and Missionaries for Church Support and Participation
  • Developing a Missional Identity
  • Missions in Mexico
  • The Church and Islam
  • Missions in Africa
We would love to see these gatherings spread to different geographic areas across the Midwest Conference! If you’re interested in joining in one of these gatherings or if you’d like to explore how you might begin developing similar gatherings in your area, contact Brian Wright at brianw@lifespringchurch.org or Tom Melander at tjmeland@gmail.com. May these gatherings be another way that we are in it together to see more disciples, among more populations, in a more caring and just world.

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.

MINISTRY MATTERS, SO WE DEVELOP LEADERS.
Midwinter Conference is an opportunity to connect with our colleagues in Covenant ministry, to share interests and ideas, to encourage and be encouraged, to reflect and be inspired, to laugh and have fun. We invite you to be restored and re-energized, and to reaffirm God’s call on your life.

If you have never been to a Midwinter, this will be a time to meet colleagues and develop those all-important relationships in ministry. If you are a long-time attender, we know you will not want to miss our time in Louisville together. Register today!


Did you know...?

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

Birth
Anastasia Sophia was born November 29 to parents Darrell and Kate Cooper. Darrell serves as Associate Pastor at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Lindsborg, KS. Welcome, Anastasia!

Passing
Retired pastor Gary Ridout passed away Sunday, November 27. During his years of ministry, Gary served the Evangelical Covenant Church in Savonburg, KS, and the Bensonvale Covenant Church in Omaha, NE. We praise God for Gary's life and ministry to MWC churches!

Retired pastor and former Northwest Conference Superintendent Paul H. Erickson died Tuesday, December 20. In addition to serving as pastor and superintendent, Paul served on several regional and national ECC boards. During his ministry, Paul served at Faith Covenant Church in Colorado Springs, CO. We praise God for Paul's life and legacy!

Save the Date!
In spring 2017, Midwest Conference and National Covenant Properties will be hosting a financial seminar designed for church pastors, treasurers, church leadership and staff to ensure they have the tools and resources available to provide good financial reporting and to effectively understand and communicate the financial budget to stakeholders. This seminar will be hosted in three locations throughout the MWC:
  • March 4, 2017 - Hillcrest Covenant, Prairie Village, KS
  • April 1, 2017 - Arvada Covenant, Arvada, CO
  • May 13, 2017 - Celebration Covenant, Omaha, NE
Be on the lookout for additional details!
 
Do you have big news to share? Contact office@midwestcovenant.org to have your important event published in the e-News.

MWC Presents...

Thank you to those who volunteer their time to serve on the MWC Executive Board!

Name: Brenda Sawyer
Position on board: Treasurer
Current church: Celebration Covenant, Omaha, NE

What do you enjoy most about serving on the Executive Board? Being involved in missional work that exceeds anything I could do on my own. A role that draws upon specific gifts God has been developing in me to be used for His glory. It is so rewarding working with a team that carries common purpose and passion where we are all stretched and grow continuously together. I like that our purpose is clearly biblical and well-defined with a written mission statement calling churches from five states to work together in changing lives and making kingdom difference in our communities.

Where are you sensing God’s leading in the MWC? Though it sounds unprecedented, I sense God leading the MWC to have 100% of our conference churches participating and supporting financially in our mission. Finances tell a story about the heart and condition of our conference churches. God is the provider and source of these finances so we are only giving back to Him what is already His, displaying our gratitude in a spirit of joy. I get excited about inviting pastors, financial influencers and lay leaders to see how important this message is to disseminate with excitement while exploring ways to communicate and develop generosity within our churches. We need to encourage and share financial stories with each other as we give and receive the fruits of supporting this mission financially.

In what ministries do you serve in your local church? Preschool/kindergarten teacher, Financial Team Advisor, Phase 2 Expansion Building Team, Parenting the Love & Logic Way class facilitator

Tell us about your family. Taken in San Diego this summer, this photo displays our daring individuality while reminding us there are common details and passions complementing us as a family. In some way, all the members of our family have an artistic or creative talent along with an appreciation for diversity. Brian, my husband of 25 years, participates on worship team, plays guitar and drums and writes music. We met in college in guitar class our freshman year of college. Evan (17) is a senior who will be going to college next fall for film-making and animation. Kenzie (15) is a contemporary and jazz competition dancer considering physical sports therapy as a career and loves to sing rap. Dallas (7) is an aspiring engineer fascinated with Legos and building things. I enjoy singing and listening to a variety of musical styles believing it to be a powerful way to connect to each other and God.

What is your favorite Bible story and why? Samuel’s early introduction and service to God. Hannah prayed for a baby, promising to raise him so he would be of service to God. This model of “unselfish” desire and love is one I take very seriously in dedicating and praying over my kids. Raising a child up in Christ is a life-changing lesson in what it means to truly love. As we trust God and see our parenting part as a privilege for a short while, it extinguishes fear and frees us to allow God to have His way in whatever calling and purpose he has for their lives, whatever the risk and wherever it may take them. To unselfishly pray “have your way with this child” and encourage that child or youth to be an instrument for Christ, whatever their young age, is very special to God’s heart. Kids, unlike adults, tend to place no limits or boundaries in reaching the lost and improving our world.

Do you have a favorite song? In Christ Alone, particularly the Owl City version.

Churches working together to transform lives and communities by starting new churches, strengthening existing churches and developing missional leaders.http://midwinter.covchurch.org/

From Our Superintendent

Friends,

During Advent we have great cause for celebration as we rejoice in the coming of a long-awaited savior. On the very first Christmas, Jesus entered humanity bringing the tangible presence of God into the lives of everyday people. In Jesus, we see the wonder of God’s great love as the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
 
As you gather to celebrate Christ’s birth, I pray you will know the hope that is God with us and take this truth to the world around you. May the joy of Christ’s birth be real to you this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!





Tammy

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1.14

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

In fall 2016, the Evangelical Covenant Church launched a Covenant-wide effort to be “People of the Book” together. A campaign is also planned for spring 2017. We encourage you and your church to join us on an unforgettable journey–to reignite our passion for the Scriptures. Sponsored by Make and Deepen Disciples.
 

Bible Study Resources Needed

Resonate Discipleship Experience, located at Covenant Cedars Bible Camp in Hordville, NE, is working to build a library of Bible commentaries and other study materials for use by students. If you have any such resources that you would be willing to donate to the Resonate program, please contact Director Jim Eaton at jim@cedars.org.

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.
 

Covenant World Relief is responding to the tragedy in Aleppo. Please join us by praying for those trapped in Aleppo and giving to support local partners who are responding in the midst of the crisis. Your gift will support emergency relief including food, water, blankets and medical care.


Upcoming Events

Cluster Meetings
Iowa
Jan 5, 11:30 am
First Cov, Mason City

Blue Valley
Jan 11, 8:30 am
ECC, Clay Center

Omaha
Jan 19, 9 am
Le Peep Pepperwood, Omaha

Smoky Valley
Jan 19, 8:30 am
Countryside Cov, McPherson

2017 Annual Ministry Celebration
April 28-29 Community Cov, Lenexa, KS
Delegate Instructions
 

Covenant Orientation

2017 Midwinter CO classes are now full. Additional 2017 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.
 

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

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Copyright © 2016 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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