It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote my “more or less weekly” column. Over that time, much has happened in our world, most prominently the June 14th attempted murders of Republican congressmen practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. I will share some thoughts on that horrific event in next week’s column, as a prelude to our remembrance and celebration of the 241st anniversary of the founding of our nation on July 4, 2017.
For this week, I want to share a brief reflection on the 132nd Annual Meeting of our Evangelical Covenant Church, which I took part in as your delegate and our congregation’s representative last week in Detroit, MI. The Annual Meeting consists of business sessions during the day and worship gatherings in the evening. Over coffee, at mealtimes and during breaks, there’s a lot of visiting, hugging and laughter, as Covenanters from around the world reconnect, rejoice and catch up with one another.
There are professional displays sharing information on all the wonderful ministries of our denomination, ranging from world mission (think: Covenant Kids Congo, Covenant World Relief, Serve Globally) to financial services (think: Covenant Trust Company, National Covenant Properties) to communication services (think: our award-winning semi-monthly magazine, The Covenant Companion), to youth ministries (think: CHIC 2018, etc.)
There was inspiring worship each night. A highlight for Charlotte and I (though Charlotte was not a delegate, she came with me to Detroit and took part in the pre-Annual Meeting event, “Impact Detroit”), was, of course, the ordination service where Pastor Jill was ordained to Word and Sacrament.
Though the Annual Meeting often deals with hard and controversial issues facing our denomination, such was not the case with this year’s Annual Meeting. Challenges facing our church were shared, but also the good news of how God’s Kingdom work is being advanced through the partnership of Covenanters in mission around the world and ministry here in North America.
A major emphasis launched at this Annual Meeting is entitled “3StrandStrong,” taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12 (“A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”) This emphasis highlights the importance of our shared calling and mission expressed through the local Covenant congregation, the Conference to which Covenant congregations belong and our denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church. You will hear more about this during our Focus on Mission time in this Sunday’s 10 AM worship.
In the coming days, I encourage you to read about the 132nd Annual Meeting online (go to gather.covchurch.org) watch some of the videos of both the business sessions and the evening worship times and check out the 2017 July/August edition of The Covenant Companion. After you do, I bet you too will be grateful for how blessed we are to be a part of God’s Kingdom movement known as the Evangelical Covenant Church!