ANNUAL REPORT 2013
Partners in the Gospel Reports include: ECC President ECCC Chair Superintendent Director of Ministry Support Director of Congregational Vitality Director of Church Planting CBC Transition Board Churches Church Plants Camps Affiliated Ministries Global Initiatives
The Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada
April 2013 TO:
Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada Grace and peace to you as you gather in the bond of Christ.
Found faithful. That has been the simple desire of this movement called the Evangelical Covenant Church since our founding in 1885. There are five mission priorities around which we seek to be found faithful in following the heart of God into the world. Together, we start and strengthen churches, make and deepen disciples, develop leaders, love mercy - do justice, and serve globally. That mission is only possible because of the combined efforts of the congregations in your region, together with all of the 850 churches that make up the ECC today in the United States and Canada. Because of our strong partnership, we have accomplished much. We have grown for twenty-one consecutive years, nearly doubling in size during that time. We continue to become a more reflective mosaic of the kingdom of God, with 27 percent of our churches congregations of color or intentionally multiethnic. We are blessed with an increasing number of younger pastors, women and men of all backgrounds, who find the Covenant a setting worthy for their very best service. Every year, leaders from scores of churches are resourced through seminars and training events held in every corner of the denomination. This summer, women from across the Covenant will gather for Triennial XIV, our denominational womenâ€™s conference. Globally, we are in more countries than ever before, bringing the hope of Christ in word and deed to thirty-eight countries through a growing missionary team and strong international partnerships. We are making great headway on our goal toward sponsoring 10,000 children through Covenant Kids Congo, powered by World Vision. More sponsors are needed, but this unprecedented partnership is already impacting communities in DR Congo because of the faithfulness of the people who make up the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information, stories, videos, and downloadable resources on all that is happening with the ministries and initiatives of the Covenant around the world, please visit CovChurch.org. In addition to this regional gathering, weâ€™d love to have you join with hundreds of others June 2730 in Detroit, Michigan, for the Covenantâ€™s 128th Annual Meeting. I am grateful to serve this movement in partnership with people like you. Everywhere I go, I encounter people who want nothing more than to be found faithful. May it ever be so. In It Together,
Gary B. Walter, President, ECC
Dear Delegates and ECCC friends, It is my privilege, on behalf of the Leadership Board, to welcome everyone to the 109th Canada Conference AGM in Melfort, Saskatchewan. In addition to meeting as a Conference, we will be joining with Melfort Evangelical Covenant Church, our host, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their faith journey. Our constitution demands that we meet annually and the process is guided by rules, by-laws and policies. We will discuss the what, how, where and when of conference business but sometimes though; it is good to ask the “Why?” question. “Why is it that we are meeting?” I’ll offer a response that I believe speaks to the heart of the matter. We are meeting to celebrate what Jesus Christ has done, is doing and is going to do in the local churches of the Canada Conference. The wonder of it all is that by grace, he is bringing this to pass through the lives of faithful, humble and willing servants who desire to see God glorified through their local churches and ultimately, the Conference as a whole. God is at work in our Conference and I can’t wait to hear more about it. I look forward, in conjunction with my fellow Board members, to hearing more from Him in our time together this May. Peace and grace, Rich Drinovz
ECCC Leadership Board Rich Drinovz
Emmanuel ECC, Surrey, BC
Rosebud Church, Rosebud, AB
Nelson ECC, Nelson, BC
Melfort ECC, Melfort, SK
Sally Carlson Larson
Liaison ECC Executive Board
Member at Large
Gateway ECC, Prince Albert, SK
Member at Large
Avenue Community, Toronto, ON
Jeff Anderson Superintendent/President
The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. Acts 9:31 This text comes after the conversion of Saul. They entered a new season where the previous dynamics changed. For their part the early church lived in what commentators call a time of “deep reverence” for the Lord. This coupled with the work of God’s Spirit resulted in a time of growth. It is significant that the work of the Spirit in converting one who was seeking to persecute the church coupled by the Spirit’s ongoing encouragement are factors over which the church had no control. One could even say that the Spirit put the desire in their hearts to have a deep reverence. The text also points to lives that were oriented toward God and the commitment these early disciples. Reflecting on phrases like “make and deepen disciples”, “start and strengthen churches”, “love mercy and do justice” and “develop leaders”, do we believe these are more than just phrases? Do we see them as part of seeing the work of the Spirit and join in that work leaving the true results to Christ as head of the church? How do we discern the present season and in light of that discernment how are we choosing to live? I wonder if we are seeing “peace” in our time. Not peace from persecution but peace as increased wholeness: Peace in believing that ministry seeks to strengthen and start churches; one does not preclude pursing the other. Peace in believing that the past discipleship ministry of CBC and the present focus a new commitment to discipleship are not competitive but complimentary. Peace in believing that we can both set goals and leave results up to the Spirit that must give life and health. Peace in believing that we can have true two way partnerships with global ministries where we learn from and share with our partners. I am thankful that in this season of peace God has provided leadership for the task ahead. To the Leadership Board of the ECCC I say thanks for the way you listen, challenge and encourage. To the staff members (Julia, Glenn and Gerald) I say thanks for being willing to work hard at team while also working diligently in your area of focus. To the pastors and leaders of local ECCC congregations I say thank you for those times when you give feedback, question and encourage the work we do together as a community of churches. Four specific items of note from this past year: Our longstanding partnership with the Ebenezer Clinic in Haiti has been challenging. We have ceased funding for operations but at the same time invested in a medical audit and encouraged the development of a new board. We are hopeful that we can resume funding soon. Relationship is the basis for this ministry and I am confident it will sustain us through this difficult season. The CBC transitional board has been working hard to ensure a good legacy through the development of a new foundation. You will hear more at the AGM!
Joining the Spirit where he is at work, working hard and working together has been clearly seen in the Covenant Kids Congo partnership with the wider ECC family and World Vision Canada. Particular thanks go to Julia Sandstrom for her work on this project. Our long stated desire to see church planting take root is at hand. These young works are just that, young. We commit to walk alongside them in the years ahead. For those who are at the AGM I pray we will together seek to discern God’s Spirit and the path we are to walk in this next year.
Julia Sandstrom Director of Ministry Support As you read this report, I pray that you will be blessed by the stories of our partners in the Gospel. The churches, the camps, the global initiatives, and more are all part of this partnership of ministry we call the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada. Some of those partnerships are our own and we have much to celebrate within our conference. Churches that are growing, churches planting other churches, churches discipling people in the way of Jesus Christ, this is good work. We also have much to celebrate in the partnerships we have outside the conference. The work we have done with World Vision Canada is remarkable. They have partnered with us in order to allow us to partner with the larger denomination. These are good relationships that rely on one another. As I’m typing this my left ring finger is wrapped in Steri-Strips. I just discovered this ingenious medical tape after having five stitches removed from my finger yesterday. On the evening of Palm Sunday I was preparing a leg of lamb for marinating. The meat on the bone was being particularly stubborn. Unfortunately, I am more stubborn. When the knife was done maiming my finger my first thought was, “This is bad”. Sure enough the cut was deep enough to require a trip to urgent care. My husband was able to leave work early to take me to the hospital, sit with me until 1:30 in the morning, and take me home. Why do I tell you this tale of kitchen gore? Two things come to mind. First, a year ago I didn’t have a husband. Bryan did not even live in Winnipeg. It’s likely I would have had to drive myself to urgent care -bleeding finger and all. My partnership with Bryan allowed him to step in and provide something I could not provide for myself. Our partnerships across the ECCC allows us to do ministry in a dynamic way. I see this when established churches send funds to new church plants. I see this when our global partners teach us what the Gospel is accomplishing in other parts of the world. I see this in the Lenten Reader: people providing insights for others on the journey. The examples could go on and on. The second reason I tell you this story is because it vividly reminded me that our best partner in the Gospel is Jesus Christ. I was cutting the leg of lamb for a Passover Seder. The lamb is a symbol of sacrifice and protection. Jesus was betrayed after eating the Passover Seder. He became the sacrifice and protects us from the consequences of sin. I found it ironic that my own blood was spilled while preparing such a symbolic meal. A meal that celebrates deliverance by God for us. Not of our own doing. How grateful I am that our best hope for partnership in ministry is Jesus, the one who went to the cross that we might live. This report is full of stories that will remind us of our partners in Canada and beyond. The driving force is not our creativity, or passion, or even our love for God and others, it is Christ himself. I am grateful to be a partner in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Gerald Froese Director of Congregational Vitality With this annual meeting I will have completed 3 years of service as director of congregational vitality, this year at 30% time. Although most of my time is focused on connecting with churches on the vitality pathway I have also enjoyed working with churches in transition and deeply value the mentoring relationships with pastors in our conference. I’m grateful to be a part of a family of churches, a conference and a denomination, that are committed to supporting congregational health as God’s dream for all our churches. The Vitality Pathway includes steps like Veritas and Epic workshops, Vitality teams and Behavioral/Relational covenants. Additional components include PULSE survey [a vitality assessment tool for the congregation] Co-op [coaching for pastors leading revitalization], and One [a strategic ministry planning tool.] In the article ‘A place that offers Life’ Daniel P Smith and Mary K. Sellon provide this reflection on church vitality: “When we talk about congregational renewal, we mean a renewal of the people’s ability to notice and experience God in their midst, a renewal of the congregations desire to partner with God in achieving God’s aims in the world. No pastor, no program, no resource can make renewal happen. On the other hand, almost any pastor, program, or resource can help renewal unfold when the people of a congregation deeply desire a new and better life and are willing to do what it takes to get there. The hard part can be developing that desire. As long as life together is satisfactory there is little impetus for change.”
for us. My hope is that participating in this inspirational and resource packed retreat will become a norm for each of our vitality churches. It’s a huge joy to see churches grow into new life, health, and excitement... that’s our dream for all of our churches through Congregational Vitality, but I must add that it can’t happen without incredible focus, commitment, and determination. Each church presently on this pathway would attest to the effort and the work it takes to break old patterns and begin to create new ones. Again, the only reason I know for sure that there will be little benefit for a church to step into this pathway is when they are satisfied with the way things are. In order for us to want to change personally and as a church there has to be a sense of pain, dissatisfaction –desire for more or better. May God continue to grow a ‘holy dissatisfaction’ in us so that we will pursue him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Glenn Peterson Director of Church Planting In Luke 10, we are confronted by some significant missional realities: Jesus appoints and sends his followers, he sends them out in community to places He was going to go, he conveys the urgency of this mission with the reality that “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”, and he challenges his disciples to “ask” for workers and “Go!”. I resonate with this text and believe it informs our mission as disciples still today.
I believe the ECCC is in an exciting and urgent season of ministry. Our renewed commitment to start churches acknowledges Jesus’ call on our lives to be sent ones, appointed for the task of spreading and growing the Kingdom of God. In the last 12 months we have seen increased Emmanuel (White Rock), Prince Albert, Melactivity and mission as we are partnering with fort, Balfour, Erickson, Breton, and Durban leaders, existing churches, and the broader de[scheduled for April] have taken some of the nomination to follow Jesus into new communiabove steps on the vitality pathway. In addition ties and new places that He wants to go. We are two of our pastors along with vitality team living into our God given vision to start 20 members attended the Navigate conference for churches in the next 10 years. Vitality Churches in Minneapolis last fall, a first
In the last year we’ve seen the beginnings of Avenue Community Church in Markham (Toronto), Ontario. This adoption/plant led by John and Tammy Cho and an excellent team of leaders is faithfully pursuing God’s call in the Greater Toronto Area. Similarly, 2012 saw the start of Holy Community Covenant Church led by Gavin and Liz Jensen who along with a faithful launch team are becoming a vibrant neighborhood presence in the West End of Winnipeg. Lake Ridge Community Church celebrated their second birthday as they continue to build strong relationship with the community of Chestermere, AB. Please pray for these friends and followers of Jesus as they embody Jesus’ call in Luke 10. As Director of Church Planting, I live with a consistent and growing sense of urgency for the work and mission of the gospel in Canada. I am thankful for the risk and faith of the ECCC to create a new leadership position, the generosity and commitment of Lighthouse Community Church where I serve as lead pastor to release me part time to this broader work, a growing grassroots commitment from existing churches to support, partner and take ownership of the work of starting churches, and the consistent support and encouragement of my family (Bekah, Ella, Soren, and Jonas) as we seek to live out God’s call on our lives. In his book,The Permanent Revolution, Alan Hirsch points out that the church that Jesus intended “...was specifically designed with built-in, self-generative capacities and was made for nothing less than worldtransforming, lasting, and, yes, revolutionary impact.” Jesus told his disciples to pray, go, and do the work of the harvest. May we continue to live out our identity as disciples of Jesus as we start churches and make disciples across Canada and the world!
ECCC Pastor Transitions: (May 2012-April 2013)
Joel Bruan to Kensington Road Church, Associate Pastor Roger Gilbert from Hope Community Covenant Church Erik Hedberg to Emmanuel ECC, Associate Pastor Mark Hill to Minnedosa ECC, Lead Pastor Dan and Sally Larson from Norquay ECC Marc Vanderluys to Malmo ECC, Associate Pastor Kirsten Waldschmidt from Hope Community Covenant Church to College Park Covenant Church, Lead Pastor Phil Wright to Sanctuary Covenant Church, Associate Pastor
Want to know about the ECCC all year long? We send out a weekly prayer e-mail that is often packed with news from churches and the conference. If you want to receive the weekly prayer e-mail, it just takes one e-mail from you to CanadaECC@gmail.com. Tell us you want in and we’ll make sure to add your name to the list. You can also connect with us on Facebook and on our website: www.canadacovenantchurch.org
Covenant Bible College Transition Board I want to tell you a story. It’s a story that gives evidence that God HAS worked, IS working and WILL work in and through his people. It’s a story that many of you are a part of. It’s a story that we are convinced is not done yet! In the spring of 2007, Covenant Bible College Canada closed its doors. CBC Ecuador ceased its operations at the same time and CBC Colorado had closed the year before. It was a time of deep grieving for the conference, thousands of past alumni, staff, supporters and future potential students. Grieving has a way of taking its own time and it continues to be a process for many. Since the closure, the property for all three campuses has sold (with miraculous timing and circumstances) and in the last few months, all corporations have been closed. Through the property sales, all obligations have been met - and then some. The ﬁnancial legacy of Covenant Bible College is now 1.9 million dollars. Though the legal documents of the college made provisions for simply passing on remaining funds to the conference, the CBC Transition Board began asking God what he had in mind for this story now. David Johnson, Arden Gustafson, Larry Peterson, Audra Reinhardt and Kirsten Waldschmidt are serving on this board (with Jeff Anderson and Julia Sandstrom in advisory capacities) and the discernment was that the story is not ﬁnished. In consultation with a lawyer, we have pursued re-designation from a charitable organization to a Foundation. We are hoping this legal transition will be complete in the next six months. We have hired Julia Sandstrom part-time to help us keep the ball rolling on the details along the way. The Foundation will function as a granting vehicle - in line with the original mission of CBC - to equip men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. The Foundation will also oversee the prudent investment of the fund so that this support for discipling followers of Jesus will be available to our children’s children. To that end we are excited to be entering into an agreement We with an excellent management ﬁrm in the next month. The CBC Endowment Fund reserved for bursaries to students remains intact and over 40 students have received scholarships for discipleship education programs since 2007. The Foundation will make a variety of grants available to registered Canadian charities. The Canadian government requires a disbursement quota of at least 3.5% each year - and this has already been in play since the College closed. A number of discipleship initiatives have been supported since 2007 such as the Summer Ministry Team, Life Together houses, Israel/Palestine study tour, the and various workshops. In addition to the CBC Endowment Fund bursaries, the future grants from the Foundation will be awarded to: ✤ the ECCC conference, ✤to local ECCC churches, ✤and to affiliated ministries (such as the camps) who apply for aid in equipping men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. We are looking forward to announcing the Foundation’s name at the AGM in May! God has a way of weaving our stories together - both the fruitful ones and painful ones - into a beautiful tapestry of hope. Chair, Kirsten Waldschmidt
Rainy River, ON Rainy River ECC
Greetings to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Covenant Churches in Canada, it is truly a blessing to share with you the Lord's remarkable work here in the Rainy River District. First and foremost, thank you for allowing the congregation at Rainy River to host part of last year's annual meeting, we count it a real honor and privilege to have had that opportunity to be the satellite location. In 2 Timothy chapter 4 the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." Last year our study through 2 Timothy was an amazing encouragement for the church as we were encouraged to continue to allow God to use us as His instruments for the building of His kingdom through not only preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, but to be people who love God and love others. At the end of June -right after elementary school finished- we held a Vacation Bible School and witnessed close to 25 children coming each day, many from our community, to hear the magnificent truths from Godâ€™s Word. Equally amazing were the many teachers and helpers who allowed God to use them to minister to the kids. We praise God that close to fifty per cent of our congregation, young, older, and in-between, attends Sunday School and it continues to be a wonderful time of building up the body of believers through teaching from Godâ€™s Word. One of the significant components of our Sunday School time is our opening sessions where have tackled various serving projects, had times of personal testimony, updates from missionaries, and a time of prayer and fellowship. A summary of 2012 would not be complete without mention of a Short Term Mission Trip to Guatemala in November where many of the participants were not only from our congregation but from other churches in the Rainy River District. Under the leadership of Mark Mast a group set out to build homes for poor Guatemalan families, helped out in an orphanage, leading a children's Bible program and gave out much needed supplies such as toothpaste, towels, soap and of course some tasty treats for the children. One of the highlights each year is the dedication of the new homes. With the families present, the workers who built the home, each dedication is a celebration of what God can do in and through his people especially focusing on what God has done through His only begotten Son. ~Kors Pater, Pastor
Minnedosa, MB Minnedosa ECC 2012 will be a memorable year for many wonderful reasons. We are grateful for the interim pastoral ministry of Murray Carter who, along with Florence, served our congregation faithfully. We are especially blessed that the Carter’s continue on with Murray now serving as the Pastor to the Seniors of our church. Congratulations to youth pastor Andy Gilkinson who was married in August. We are very pleased to have Andy and Heather caring for our children and youth. The other staff change is that our new pastor, Mark Hill, arrived with his family in Minnedosa this summer. Here are few highlights of the ministry and service of our church folks this past year: Hundreds of hours were committed to remodeling the parsonage and its yard. Youth events, Bible camp, Sunday School, Kids Blast and CHIC were important events in the spiritual formation of our young people. Summer events included the Sunday School picnic, working to pay off our building debt during a FunFest fundraiser, and VBS. An outstanding Global Mission Conference (with a soon-to-be-famous international pot-luck) anchored our fall events. Just before Advent, we exceeded our goal in shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Each of these ministries and programs of the church requires planning, enthusiasm, and implementation. We are grateful for committed saints who are passionate about reaching others and growing God’s Kingdom. We are so appreciative of our Conference, its staff, and its churches. Thank you for your partnership in proclaiming the Gospel. ~ Mark Hill, Pastor
Prince Albert, SK Gateway Covenant Church This year, Pastor Seth and I welcomed three foster children into our home. These kids are beautiful, special and amazing. God is teaching us much through them. But they also require more work, disrupt things, and cry out for attention. We believe that this is what the ministry of a healthy, missional church looks like. So we are asking questions as a congregation – are we willing to do THAT work? To create that kind of space? To try something entirely new? To feel disrupted and uncomfortable in “our” church for the sake of the gospel? That is the work of vitality. As part of that work, Gateway recently hosted a dessert night to unveil a specially commissioned work of art. Two artists in our congregation, Mary Jane Graham and Alecia Stevens, prayed, discerned, and painted for months to create a depiction of Gateway’s biblical story. We’ve been journeying along the Vitality pathway for a couple of years and this marked a significant step for us. Our Vitality committee has named Luke 5:36-39 as our biblical story, “Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Alecia and Mary Jane worked hard to depict this story in Gateway’s context. What do you see in the painting? Gateway continues to face the revitalization challenges presented by new wine and old wineskins. Our Kids’ Klub is a vital and growing ministry to the kids in our neighbourhood, but it is difficult to find enough volunteers from our aging congregation. Our vitality work risks losing momentum. We
struggle to find time to pray and discern together in the midst of our busy schedules, including too many meetings at church. We are trying to focus on our central, God-given mission and let the rest go. But it can be tough to let go of those old wineskins that have worked for so long. There are some new things happening at Gateway. We purchased a brand new sound system that we are just learning how to use. It will help us to have more musicians take part in our worship ministry. This summer we are planning to join with other churches in Prince Albert for ecumenical worship and fellowship. We’ve been preaching through the “narrative lectionary” this year, which takes us through the entire story of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. It is exciting to see God encountering Gateway’s story with God’s story. We are consistently being challenged to be open to the new things God is doing. You can pray that we will be able to take those steps of faith, leaving behind the old wineskins because God is making new wine in our midst. ~Stacia Michael, Pastor
Breton, AB Faith Covenant Church Praise the Lord for such a blessed year! We’ve had a lot of things to be thankful for within FCC: from participating with Covenant Kids Congo, hosting a Community Block Party and planning a Men’s Fishing Trip with the men of our church family – we’ve been able to connect more with individuals’ interests and needs. We were blessed to take a team down to Ecuador to do community outreach and construction in the remote town of Sumaco, along with Jenell and Andy Pluim. They had wonderful connection with the local peoples down there, and team members were varied ages from 12 to 50. Our Men’s Fishing Trip in September allowed husbands, sons and fathers to connect to one another up in Calling Lake. (Even despite extreme “blustery” weather, to have a great time all together!) On a teaching note, we’ve had wonderful turnouts for our Sunday school classes this past year, with our classes growing, and volunteers stepping up to participate in teaching them. The VBS was well-planned and a lot of fun! We followed the “Sky” theme that God cares for each one of us, and had a blast with 40+ kids coming out each day. We’ve been so thankful for such dedicated Board members, and have had two new congregational members step forward to be part of our team. We’ve welcomed our new board members and filled with thankfulness for our prior members’ faithful years of service. One of our most unique events this year has been our Community Outreach Block Party; this took place at the end of September, and involved lots of food, games, fun houses, church tug of wars, arm wrestles and more! It’s been a big year of changes. The year started out with a lot of heartbreak and funerals, adjustments to the role of a new pastor, yet filled with joy and rejoicing in seeing God working within our Church family. Our heart for this year has been wrapped around church connection, growing discipleship and Christ transformation for each member of our FCC church family. We’re thankful for your prayers and continued support into this next year together. ~Jeff Gooderham and Marc Lantz, Pastors, Nikki Rickman, Administrative Assistant
Erickson, BC Erickson ECC Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 NLT) This is the song in our hearts and the praise on our lips: Give thanks. God is good. His faithful love endures forever. At the Erickson Covenant Church, we are giving thanks for the many ways our good God is at work among us. God’s Goodness in Growth and Change We are experiencing good growth as new people join our fellowship, new ministries are developed and new leaders are trained. “New growth” would be the phrase that captures 2012 the most. Admittedly, we are in the “crazy” stage of growth, so our need for leadership development and missional focus is very high. Here are just a few highlights. Permanent Pastor: Early in 2012, the congregation voted unanimously to call me (Tom) as their pastor, changing my position from interim to permanent. This was a blessing for our family, and has enabled us as a congregation to move forward from a time of transition into a time of growth. Youth Ministry: We are gathering our youth, including many unchurched youth from our community, for regular youth activities. This is new, exciting (and stretching) for us. Children’s Ministry: In order to respond to our numeric growth of children and families, as well as to anticipate more growth to come, we called Jo-Ann Ewing to be our Pastor of Children and Family Ministry, starting early in 2013. Jo-Ann comes with years of ministry experience, and has been serving our congregation for years as a volunteer. Baptisms, Memberships and Leaders: We celebrated four baptisms last fall, as well as welcoming in ten new members last year. We have seen many more people stepping up into leadership. Movie Nights: We are hosting local movie nights, both family-friendly features as well as movies that stimulate conversation about earth-care stewardship. Both are terrific bridge-building events. God’s Goodness through Generosity As we grow in community, God is growing our generosity. Our heart for his mission is expanding, and we are catching Jesus’ vision for us and for the work he wants to do through us. For example, we were thrilled when 21 Congo Kids were sponsored from our church. We were also happy to report that our financial giving had increased 32% in 2012 over 2011 giving, more evidence of God’s work among us. God’s Goodness on the Vitality Pathway We are committed to becoming more healthy and more missional, pursuing revitalization as a church. On this Vitality Pathway, we are so thankful for the dynamic partnership between our local church, the Canadian conference (Gerald Froese as Director of Congregational Vitality) and the Evangelical Covenant denomination (John Wenrich). The coaching, support and training we are receiving as a congregation through personal coaching, regular visits, and the Veritas weekend (Gerald), as well as the Navigate conference (ECC) has been outstanding and effective. We are experiencing God’s goodness through our Covenant family. Our Vitality Team is leading us well and we are gaining in health and missional momentum. Does this mean that everything is smooth sailing? No, we are experiencing the turbulence of transition and are often trying to find our feet and discern God’s direction in the midst of it all. But God is at work and God is good. And we are thankful. ~Tom Greentree, Pastor
Church Plants Avenue Community Church Toronto, ON It has been just over a year since Avenue Community signed the Covenant Agreement on April 1st, 2012. It’s not an April Fool’s joke and we are not trying to fool anybody. It was a great day for Avenue, as we had felt and now know that we were joining a great community in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Let us take you along the journey we’ve been on. We had originally planned to move into a public school in September 2012 in North York, Toronto, but learned in late August that the Toronto District School Board was raising the rent for Churches 800%. This was a huge blow and something we could not afford so we were scrambling to find an alternate location. Our parent church was gracious and allowed us to stay until the end of October, but even with the extra time we could not find anything. After much prayer and discernment, we felt God leading us out of the North York, Toronto area and into Markham, a city just north of Toronto and the most diverse city in Canada. Just two weeks before we had to move, we were led to a perfect location at the Holiday Inn Markham, and it was even cheaper than the school would have originally been. What a blessing! And with just one day before the move, we found the perfect office space that is located just down the street. It was unbelievable, and it all fit under the budget we had set! God is good! We had been praying, planning, and preparing for this move since the signing with the ECC, and on December 1st, 2012 we planted into our new neighborhood. We started our plant with a core group of 65 people, and after one month of tweaking and working out the kinks, we faithfully launched on January 1st, 2013. The transition to our new home was smooth, and the community is excited to be part of God’s call to build His Kingdom by planting Avenue Community Church. The last several months have been good as we have seen a steady stream of visitors coming in and coming back. Our pastoral team remains passionate and motivated. The leadership is united and discerning well. The community is growing in faith and in number. The church continues to be involved in local and global missions and outreach. It’s an exciting time for Avenue and it’s only the beginning! We realize that all this would not have been possible without God and without the support of the ECC, especially our ECCC brothers and sisters. We want to thank you all for your prayers, support and guidance. I hope that you can see and continue to be part of what God is doing in Avenue and in Toronto. THANK YOU! ~John Cho, Pastor
Holy Community Covenant Church Winnipeg, MB There is something mysterious that takes place in Kingdom work and in the growth of the Church. Jesus spoke of a seed that, when planted in the dirt, germinates and sprouts, much to the bewilderment of the farmer who planted it (Mark 4:26-29). A little over one year ago, Faith Covenant Church (Winnipeg) planted a seed, commissioning a group of people – largely young adults – to begin the life and ministry of a new church in Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood. In the initial months, this seed group dedicated themselves to meeting together in homes, discussing what they believed God was calling them to, and praying for one another and their neighbours. For many, this season began a difficult shift in thinking – from understanding church as the place where they personally met with God, to understanding church as the community into which God was drawing people so they might know Him more. We took up the name Holy Community Covenant Church, believing it a good description of our sense of calling: to be a unique fellowship dedicated to sharing “not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too” (1 Thes. 2:8). Throughout the summer months, HCCC focussed our energy on continuing to build relationships with neighbours in any way that seemed normal and natural: hosting meals for neighbours, volunteering at community fairs, participating in tree-banding programs, lending a hand to (or receiving one from) neighbours on home renovation projects. We believe that these growing relationships are the mysterious underground happenings that result in a surprising and good harvest. We gathered monthly for worship, seeking to tell the story of God’s goodness found in Scripture, and to celebrate it with friends and neighbours. We began gathering weekly for worship (outside of homes) in December, just in time for the Advent season. Slowly but surely, we are figuring out how to do that part of life together, though there were certainly bumps along the road, in those first gatherings (ie. professional wrestler, the Ultimate Warrior, making an appearance on the projection screen in the midst of a tearful and heartfelt testimony; unexpectedly sharing worship space with seventy-five Ethiopians who are making dinner; etc.). Now, after a year together, we’re beginning to see that it’s true: God is good. The seed is mysteriously sprouting. Our little church is growing as people are finding a home in a community organized around the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ~Gavin Jensen, Pastor
Lake Ridge Community Church Chestermere, AB If I were to sum up Lake Ridge in one word for 2012 it would be GENEROUSITY! This past year I have seen the people of Lake Ridge live out our value of generosity in very tangible ways. We supplied the town with 12 great block parties that allowed neighbours to eat together. We helped a single mom and her kids move into a new, safe home and gave them a great Christmas. We have provided meals and care for those in the hospital, grieving, welcoming babies, sick and just having a bad week for people within Lake Ridge and the community of Chestermere. Our church people volunteered and community events and on their own as God has prompted them. Community is built when people serve together and it has been a privilege to watch that happen within our people this year. We also continue to draw young families to Lake Ridge. The kids take over the gym on Sunday nights and dance up at the front during the music portion of our worship story. It is a joy to watch them together and continually be reminded that in Mark 10:14b Jesus said - "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of God." At Lake Ridge the little children have come and are continuing to do so! When we first came to Chestermere we prayed as a group we would be able to meet people where they are at in their lives and be able to accept and love them in that moment. I have come to learn over the recent months that there are a lot of hurting people in this town. A town that when we first moved here looked as though it was a middle to upper class working town made up of people who had good and easy lives. After being here almost two years I have come to realize that behind the doors of these houses are hurting people who need Jesus. Please be in prayer as I care for these people and walk with them in their dark moments and that I will continually be reminded that Jesus is at work in their lives.
2013 Candidates for Ordination Pastoral candidates for Ordination to Word and Sacrament in the Evangelical Covenant Church: Jason Ashley
Balfour ECC, Balfour, BC
Green Timbers ECC, Surrey, BC
Gateway ECC, Prince Albert, SK
Gateway ECC, Prince Albert, SK
Lead Pastor & Dir. Church Planting
Lighthouse Community, Sarnia, ON
CBC Legacy Bursary Recipients Following is a list of students who received funds from the Covenant Bible College Scholarship Endowment in 2012. Andrea Marsland
Trinity Western University
Columbia Bible College
Providence University College
Rainy River ECC
Millar College of the Bible
Faith ECC (Breton)
Kaleo/Briercrest Bible College
Briercrest Bible College
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Providence University College
Rainy River ECC
Moody Bible Institute
Green Timbers ECC
Trinity Western University
Providence University College
Faith ECC (Breton)
Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute
CHIC 2012 ~ What Students and Leaders Experienced Morgan Janzen (Hope) - 'Chic was a place where I was reminded that I am not alone in my walk of faith. Meeting followers of Christ, that are my age, from all over the continent was an amazing experience and learning about God from different perspectives was also important for me in developing my own faith, all of this plus fun concerts and activities made for an amazing trip, worship and concerts helped fill the God sized hole I have in my heart.' Josiah Dewald (Lake Ridge) - 'It was fantastic. I met alot of people and improved relationships with old ones. It was awesome. Not to mention the music WAS EPIC!!!' Corinne Stoter (Hope) - CHIC 2012 was my 3rd CHIC experience, all of which have been as a leader. At CHIC I observed students experiencing God in new ways, outside of their normal, every day settings. I saw the same students begin to understand the role and scope of the church outside of their local congregation. I observed them building relationships with other students who are on a similar journey, something that greatly encourages them as they continue on their personal faith journeys.
Affiliated Ministries Women Ministries “ God is always at work around us... he pursues a continuing love relationship with us …he invites us to become involved with him in his work.” Henry Blackaby.
God, who graciously invites us into relationship and into working alongside him! He’s in what was and he’ll be in what’s yet to come, and it is good! ~Trudy MacIntosh, WM president Canada
It was at the WM AGM when I first learned of human trafficking through a presentation by Michelle Miller from REED, in Vancouver. There I also learned that Women Ministry of the Covenant has a legacy of getting involved in easing pain and rescuing slaves both in Asian countries and at home. Covenant women are a feisty lot, a force to be reckoned with. This past year we gave support to the crew of “She has a name” as they took their heart wrenching play across Canada and created awareness. I trust they left many in their wake with a perspective forever changed. We’re thankful that we could have a small part in this. We’ll soon hear about more from Glendyne Gerrard from “Defend Dignity” in Regina. On the prevention side, WM offers “Connect”, a resource for local churches with tools and information to fight trafficking in their own communities.
Camps Covenant Heights Bible Camp
We deeply believe in advancing God’s kingdom through women. To celebrate this and to freshly inspire, worship and enlarge our hearts we offer “Triennial”, Retreat for a thousand women, every three years. This is the year! We are so pleased and thankful that we’ve been able to extend scholarships for full registration to eight women. Our Conference supplied 5 of these scholarships; WM saved up for three. It’s awesome! I hope many others will join us to celebrate, network, and love on each other. San Diego, here we come!
Preparations have begun for the 2013 camping season including the exciting possibility of bringing back a fall retreat! We look forward to all that God has in store for us and would love to see you out there as a camper or staff! Like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/CovenantHeightsBibleCamp or stay connected through our website www.covenantheightsbiblecamp.com
Greetings from Covenant Heights Bible Camp. 2012 was another year of seeing God’s goodness and faithfulness at CHBC!
As usual, CHBC ran four camps (Family Camp, Jr. Camp, Intermediate Camp and Teen Camp) during the month of July. Although CHIC played a difficult role in the recruitment of staff and campers, we still saw just under 150 campers and 40 staff impacted by their time at camp. We are so grateful for our staff (most of them volunteers) that come out and spend their vacation working at camp – cabin leaders, speakers, nurses, cooks, lifeguards, and directors. Also, a huge “thank you” to our supporting churches: Norquay Covenant Church, Valley Covenant Church (Durban), Minnedosa Covenant We have prayed for and supported Dina Katanacho, Church and Faith Covenant Church (Winnipeg) for Director of the Arab-Israeli Bible Society in Israel. It all of their support, work, and prayers. This is a has been a joy to partner with this little fireball of a ministry we are doing together! woman as she reaches into her dangerous corner of the world with the gospel. In May we get to meet her A very special “thank you” is due to Gail Baloun. in person! Can’t wait! We also band together to sup- Gail has stepped down from the camp coordinator port our Special Interest Missionaries who get to position after several years of service. We knew Gail dream a little with money given to make a project a was a huge asset to the camp, but are just now bereality. You’ll find their stories and prayer requests ginning to see all the little details that she took care on our website. of behind the scenes. Thank you, Gail!
Last year held more than that and we’re so thankful for all of it. Thanks be to our great, kind, merciful
ship. It is God through his people that fulfill the mission of Covenant Bay. 2012 has been another successful year of ministry at ~Jon Drebert, Director Covenant Bay. Here are some highlights for you.
Covenant Bay Bible Camp
Programming We hosted our first winter youth retreat. Students had a great time playing outside, encouraging one another in their faith and being challenged by our speaker Natasha Westerhoud. Students had a lot of fun and learned that camp can be a pretty warm place especially in the heated cabins! Family Fun and Service continues to grow. Most of this yearâ€™s participants were not from Covenant churches. It is good to be reaching out! Also the community turn-out for Thanksgiving Feast was incredible. Day Camps also grew by leaps and bounds this summer as our daily average attendance doubled. We are excited about what God will do this coming summer and who from our churches and community will come and learn about Christ! Capital We have continued to work hard at improving and maintaining our facility. With an aging facility it seems the maintenance increases each year. This past year we had two breakdowns with our septic lines, one from the washhouse and one from the kitchen. Pray as the board continues to look at waste water treatment options for our future needs.
Kootenay Covenant Bible Camp Our camp year of 2012 was blessed with a full registration plus an extra couple of large tents needed. Registration came in at around 50 campers this year. The weather was great. We were also blessed with many excellent volunteer workers, speakers, kitchen staff and cabin leaders. As you may know, we are only running a camp for our Junior campers ages 7 to 12. The Teens and Intermediate campers have now been integrated into Pines Bible Camp. Unfortunately and tragically Pines Camp was devastated by a terrible wind storm which caused massive damage to the camp and the loss of life of one of the campers from Grand Forks. Fortunately no other deaths or injuries resulted but the damage was extensive to the facilities. Since then, many groups and individuals have participated in replacing and rebuilding all the damaged cabins and buildings. Tragic was the loss of life of a young camper and our prayers continue to remember his family and friends and the administration of the Pines Camp. Some blessings have come from the storm though, and many of the facilities at the camp have been upgraded. Many new cabins have been added. One cabin was built by our men from Nelson/Balfour/ Junction Churches at the Menâ€™s Retreat this year. The new kitchen, dining hall and meeting centre is wonderful. Many new trees have been planted. We will continue to partner with Pines Bible Camp for the Teens and Intermediate camping.
We made good progress on the prayer trail and have nearly finished the picnic shelter. Our wash house has new tiles on the floors and on the showers. New auto shut-off sink and shower faucets were installed. With these and many other projects, a big thanks goes out to the volunteers from your church that worked so diligently and gave of themselves so We continue to struggle with keeping the cost of camping to an affordable amount, especially for our generously. families. Insurance continues to top the list of exIn 2013 our major project will be a climbing wall. panding cost. Fortunately we have never had to This will improve our programming and increase make an insurance claim in our decades of camping. the number of rentals. We have budgeted $30,000 The board is currently researching ways of providfor this project. It is our aim to invite our commu- ing a week of camp experience for $200 or less. nity as well to give to this project and help create Lord willing, we look forward to providing another new donors through this. Your prayers and support Junior Camp this year on July 15th to the 21st at are greatly appreciated! Dutch Harbour Camp, Kootenay Lake. Mission Covenant Bay exists to promote a growing relation- ~Rick Dickieson, Treasurer ship with Jesus Christ by providing opportunities for fellowship worship and instruction in disciple-
Global Initiatives Covenant Kids Congo
In 2012 the Evangelical Covenant Church launched Covenant Kids Congo, Powered by World Vision. The unprecedented need of the Congo, combined with the unprecedented partnership between World Vision and an entire denomination was huge. In Canada, we were not sure if this was a project we could participate in due to the regulations of the Canada Revenue Agency. It was a long process that saw several organizations come together to make Covenant Kids Congo a reality in Canada. As of April 2, 2013 World Vision Canada reports that Canadian Covenanters have sponsored 166 children! We are 83% to our goal of 200 sponsorships. Thanks to the fact that over 70% of ECCC churches participated in hosting a Hope Sunday we are nearly to our goal. Sponsorships will be available at AGM, but are currently available through the ECCC website: www.canadacovenantchurch.org. Join us in bringing hope to the poorest of the poor.
Ecuador There were not enough people available to go to Ecuador on a mission trip in 2013. However, the trip will be offered again in 2014 by Andy and Jenell Pluim. For information, please contact the ECCC office.
Israel/Palestine We will hear from one of our ministry partners, Dina Katanacho, at AGM. She works for the Arab Bible Society as well as being a voice for justice and peace in the Holy Land. Just days after AGM concludes a group will be going on a study tour to explore the sites and hear the stories of this complicated and historically important place. We are offering an additional trip this year for young adults -it will be in August. Contact the ECCC office for more information.
Kernels of Hope It was an exciting year for Agriculture. The US had a drought and that got all the grain prices going. In much of the prairies it was hot but the prices were hotter! The average farmer in the prairies got a great colume of wheat and excellent quality and low volume of canola. It was a good quality though! The Kernels groups in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta along with all the support from virtual farmers returned huge benefits again in 2012. So many people in the Congo will be please as the get help with seed and learn how the tools can help them produce food for themselves and their families and community. Just imagine the difference that our joint effort through working with World Relief Canada and the Canadian Food Grains Bank! The $82,000 we cleared after expenses gets matched at a rate of 4 to 1 by the Canadian International Development Agency. This mean we were able to raise at least $410,000 this year! Thank you to the real farmers, The Arndts, Marvins, VanHeysts, Kowbels, Maziers, Ungers, Pankratzs, Penners, Tiedes, Van Burgstedens and, The Helping Feed the World group and the virtual farmers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from World Relief Canada and especially from the people of the Congo. The change we are effecting is true change that has the potential to put many people on their feet for more than one generation! This project continues to amaze and to humble me with the support that we draw together for such a worthy cause. We are a small group punching well above our weight division. God says to help the poor and the hungry and he is helping us to exactly that! ~Ray the Grain Guy Baloun
Haiti The past year of ministry at Eben-ezer Clinic has been a year full of joys and challenges. As with any ministry, there comes a time when it experiences growing pains, the need to re-evaluate and regroup in order to move forward in the work God has called us to do. ECCC has been involved with the work of Eben-ezer Clinic for several years now and we have invested our time, our resources, our expertise and our hearts to see the clinic fulfill its mission of serving the least of these and we will continue to do that. This summer, Eben-ezer Clinic held its first ever 2 day spiritual retreat. This retreat included clinic staff, community and church leaders as well as international stakeholders for a time of reflection and visioning. The retreat resulted in the formation of a new governance board with Haitian, Canadian, and American representation. The hope is that this new governing body can lead the clinic to a place where it can serve Haitians in even better ways. The clinic hosted 7 groups in during the winter and spring of 2012 from the following churches: Malmo, Saskatoon, Breton, Winnipeg, Surrey and Strathmore. Relationships were built, local needs were met and greater cross-cultural understanding was fostered. Each group went home changed and hopefully motivated to pray for and encourage the work of Eben-ezer Clinic. In August of 2012, ECCC missionary Janelle Peterson concluded her term at the clinic to return to Canada with her husband, Calvin Christolin. Janelle is still involved with the work of the clinic and will continue to coordinate Canadian teams to Haut Limbe for the foreseeable future. To ensure ECCC has an on the ground link to the clinic, Tammi Biggs (Covenant missionary in the Dominican Republic) has been appointed to the new clinic board and has agreed to help host and coordinate Canadian groups in Haut Limbe. ~Jenelle Peterson
Proposed Constitutional Changes Summary The following is a summary of the constitutional changes proposed by the ECCC Leadership Board to be presented at the 109th Annual General Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada. Our constitution requires that the changes be presented at an AGM one year prior to being ratified by the next AGM gathering. A full proposal of changes may be found online at www.canadacovenantchurch.org. The ECCC recently adopted the current constitution in 2010 in Calgary. After an audit by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) we found that corrections needed to be made. Some of the following are from those conversations with CRA. Other changes are proposed to bring us more in line with recommended guidelines for charities by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Section: Introduction Proposal: Remove wording of Articles of Incorporation and add Special Act. Reason: We are not an incorporate charity but were established by a special act of parliament. Section: Article III Proposal: Clarify the wording of objectives and include the Special Act objectives. Removal of sections that relate to territory. Reason: CRA requested we make our objectives and activities clearer. The territory section will contain the territory information. Section: Article III Proposal: Add the following â€œThe ECCC is operated without the purpose of gain for its members, and any profits or assets of the ECCC will be used solely to promote the objectives of the ECCC.â€? Reason: This statement is required by law. Section: Article IV Proposal: Addition of information previously contained in Article III. Reason: To place the wording in the proper article. Section: Article V Proposal: Remove point V.5.2 as it is stated in current point V.5.4 Reason: The remove redundant wording. Section: Article VIII, X, XI, and bylaws Proposal: Change Superintendent/President from an ex-officio member (voice and vote) of the Leadership Board to an advisory member (voice, not vote). Reason: This has already been made law in Ontario and we anticipate it will happen in other provinces. Additionally, we believe it is good governance.
All delegates are asked to see the full proposal online at www.canadacovenantchurch.org.
109th AGM Schedule Thursday, May 2 7 pm worship Friday, May 3 9 am Ministerium Meeting, Women Ministries Meeting, Men's Gathering Noon - Lunch 1 pm - Delegate Sign in 1:15 pm - 109th AGM of ECCC (part 1) 5 pm - conclude meeting 5:30 pm - Supper 7:00 pm - Worship Post Worship - Youth Worker's connection Saturday, May 4 9 am - 109th AGM of ECCC (part 2) Noon - Lunch 1:30 pm - Seminars 3 pm - break 6 pm - Banquet and Entertainment Sunday, May 5 Morning worship at Melfort Evangelical Covenant Church
PO Box 34025, RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T5T5 Phone: 204-269-3437 Fax: 204-269-3584 www.canadacovenantchurch.org CanadaECC@gmail.com
This report was prepared and edited by Julia Sandstrom