Each spring, the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church hosts a gathering of delegates from the 110 Covenant churches in our region. This group gathered from April 27-29 to celebrate, to discuss, and to vote on various elements related to the business of our conference. This year’s meeting was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at Covenant Church of Gladstone. While the distance to travel kept our church from sending delegates in person, we still rejoice in the fellowship and in the work that was done there!
Each year’s gathering is truly a celebration, with rich worship on both Thursday and Friday evenings. The Thursday evening worship service was livestreamed, and is still available for viewing. Rev. Grace Shim, the Executive Minister of Serve Globally for the denomination preached the message during this service. Rev. Dr. Danny Martinez, our conference superintendent and leader, preached at Friday evening’s worship, but this service wasn’t livestreamed due to technical difficulties.
At the ministerium meeting of the Central Conference, which happens prior to the Annual Meeting of delegates, there was testimony from seven candidates, who will now go on to be ordained at the Covenant Annual Meeting in June. At the Annual Meeting of delegates, four churches joined our conference: Iglesia del Pacto Evangélico Grace Comunidad Pacto de Amor (Grace Community Covenant of Love) in Chicago, IL; Iglesia del Pacto Evangélico Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn Evangelical Covenant Church) in Chicago, IL; Luz de Esperanza Covenant Church (Light of Hope Covenant Church) in Campton Hills, IL; and Uptown Covenant Church in Chicago, IL.
Two churches were removed from our denominational roster, as they had discerned that their season of ministry had ended and they closed their doors. Atonement Covenant Church, located in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, became a part of the Covenant in 1998. Most recently, Rev. Karen E. Brewer served as the lead pastor at Atonement. Grace Covenant Church, located in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago, became a part of the Covenant in 1961 when two Covenant churches merged. Most recenty, Rev. Dr. Amanda Olson served as the lead pastor at Grace. Both churches were honored and celebrated at this year’s Annual Meeting.
At the meeting, delegates voted on our conference budget and received greetings from the denominational offices. They also heard reports from current church plants and from the Central Conference staff in their various ministry roles. In the budget report, delegates learned that assets have continued to grow this year with the sale of Immanuel Covenant and Grace Covenant. This strong financial base will help the conference to “Move Mission Forward” despite some financial obligations that still need to be met.
Our membership at ECC allows us to send up to 4 delegates to our conference Annual Meeting and to our denominational Covenant Annual Meeting. If you are interested in being a delegate to the Covenant Annual Meeting, taking place in June in Garden Grove, California (with a virtual option available), please contact Pastor Kristin or Pastor Stacey. You do need to be a member of our local church to attend as a delegate. Serving as a delegate is a great way to gain a glimpse into our larger body of churches. We encourage you to participate!
Our conference is made up of 110 churches in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, eastern Missouri, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You can read more about our conference and the work it does at https://centralconf.org/. If you’d like to sign up for the email newsletter from the Central Conference, you can do so by sending a request to email@example.com.