Annual Report 2012 In this issue.
Reports from: Superintendent Director of Ministry Support Director of Church Vitality Churches Church Planting Camps Discipleship Initiatives Global Initiatives Affiliated Ministries 2011 Leadership Board
1 2 3 4-10 11 12 13 14-16 16-18 19
Superintendent’s Report Jeff Anderson Healthy and Missional is the theme of this year’s Annual Conference. The life of Jesus exemplified one who was healthy in person, call and relationship with the Father. He was also abundantly clear about his Kingdom focus; he was about the mission of God. This continues to be the vision of our family of churches that we would “pursue our Kingdom priorities and purposes.” To this end the Leadership Board has set a goal of (on average) one new church plant and one adopted congregation each year. While this is an aggressive goal we believe that new networks of congregations will be used by God to provide increased possibilities. This goal is not merely part of a business plan; it is rooted in the belief that healthy organisms grow and replicate. We plant Kernels of Hope fields with the full intention that the seed sown will produce a crop far greater than the composite total of all individual seeds put into the ground. We celebrate the ring known as Lakeridge Community Church in Chestermere and the leadership of Pastor Evan Dewald. Think of church planting as the trunk of the tree with each new congregation being a new ring. The Leadership Board has also made a significant commitment to the vitality of existing congregations. The emphasis on church planting is paired with a renewed emphasis on providing a pathway to congregations desiring to become increasingly healthy in their ministry. Gerald Froese, Director of Church Vitality, is leading well the effort to guide the Vitality Pathway as part of the ECC Congregational Vitality Directors cohort. Think of congregational vitality as the branches of a tree, constantly renewed with new leaves and tips. The evidence of being healthy and missional is seen in many of the compassion and justice ministries currently carried out through our family of churches. Kernels of Hope (a partnership with World Relief Canada and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank), The Ebenezer Clinic, The Agricultural Project in Summaco, Ecuador, our Partnership with World Vision in Jenin (West Bank/Palestine), and support for Women Ministry through the Arab/Israeli Bible Society in Nazareth are all evidences of fruit born by healthy and missional congregations. Think of compassion and justice ministries as being the fruit. Under all of this, and providing nourishment to this is each person who is part of the ECCC and seeing to live as a follower of Jesus; we call this discipleship. Julia Stein, Director of Ministry Support, has been working to help us in reimagining the essential ministry of discipleship; without followers of Christ there is no chance of being either healthy or missional. Think of discipleship as the root system that supports and nourishes the whole tree. Much has been made of the Arab Spring. I would like to have us think of this as the season of the Covenant Spring! It is a time of change and revolution that comes from the heart. I hear clearly that the Spirit of God is moving in many congregations. I hear many people desiring a more full experience with God. Pray with me that we would be a people who lean hard into the healthy and missional life we are called to pursue.
Director of Ministry Support’s Report Julia Stein I have a quote from E. Stanley Jones taped to my office computer. It reads, “The business of my life, and the only business of my life, is to abide in Him. All else follows.” This quote helps anchor me on days when it feels like I’m skimming the surface of life, rootless, ungrounded, and busy. Abide is not a word we use in our everyday parlance. It’s too bad we don’t use it, because it is a beautiful word that Webster’s defines as: “To stay; to continue in a place; to have one's abode; to dwell.” If abide is related to place, how then do we abide in a person? Jesus says to us in John 15.4-5: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” If we read the verse with the definition of abide, we hear this command from Jesus. “Stay with me.” “Continue to live with me.” “Make your home with me.” “Dwell with me.” “Root your life in me.” The Canada Covenant Church does and is many things, many of which you will read about in this report, but above all we are abiders in Christ. All that we do from administration to preaching, from budgets to mission trips, from church planting to church vitality, all must be rooted in Jesus Christ. Discipleship is the process that abides us in Christ. I am grateful for the ways that our churches pursue discipleship and the conference office is eager to help. We are in a time of re-imagining how the conference office can assist our churches in the area of administration and discipleship. There are many opportunities to grow in faith throughout the ECCC. Abiding in Christ might look like attending the ALIVE conference in October to fellowship and learn. It might look like spending two months of the summer on our Summer Ministry Team. Abiding in Christ might also lead to praying for these ministries. As we grow in discipleship we will show fruit of our abiding in Him. I’m so pleased with the fruit I see in the area of Compassion, Mercy and Justice. So many people have gone to the Ebenezer Clinic in Haiti and many others have given to our Kernels of Hope project. To make ourselves more accessible to our family of churches we are setting dedicated office hours. Those hours are Tuesday to Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm. To help serve our churches better I am committed to listening to your needs in the area of discipleship and being a partner in helping discipleship occur in all our churches. I look forward to connecting with the wider ECCC more in the coming year to come alongside you in ministry.
Director of Congregational Vitality Gerald Froese As Director of Congregational Vitality, my main mandate is to resource our churches in assisting them to step into and journey along a pathway that is healthy (pursuing Christ) and missional (pursuing Christ’s mission) in our world. The major benefits, and reason I encourage each of our churches to step into this pathway is… Common language -every participant shares the common language that is used and creates a stronger understanding of their church. Self assessment –each participant gets to speak their thoughts and hear one another’s perspective of how they view their church according to 10 objective healthy missional markers. This exercise values each person’s voice and perspective. Shared experience – evaluations at each workshop indicate that a true highlight for participants is the opportunity to have meaningful, honest, safe conversations about their church. Relational covenant –this creed, which is created individually by each church, informs the whole congregation about what they value, and how they will seek to live together. [How to walk hand in hand when they don’t see eye to eye]. Since our last AGM meeting, Gateway (Prince Albert), Melfort, and Erickson Covenant churches have taken the first steps of hosting a veritas seminar and creating a functioning vitality team. Gateway has also completed a relational covenant. Emmanuel (White Rock) has completed the church wide survey called ‘Pulse’, and a strategic ministry priority plan. Our denomination and conference have effective tools to assist our churches who feel stuck, or have lost their passion for mission, or would like a candid conversation about their church in a safe environment. Engaging this pathway will infuse new energy and focus, and excitement and growth. The best way to test this strong claim is to ask those people in the churches on this pathway.
Church Reports Alberta: Faith ECC, Breton
As we look back over the past year we are again thankful for God’s faithfulness through a year of change and transition. On May 15, 2011 we bid Pastor Dan and Kerri Olson and their family farewell as they felt God calling them from Breton to Waverly, Nebraska to pastor a Covenant church there. This was a difficult event for many in our body but we are thankful to God for Pastor Dan and Kerri and their strong ministry in Breton over the last ten years. During the summer months we were blessed with different speakers who brought us the message each Sunday. Through the Outreach Canada website, we met Pastor Kathleen Horwood, a pastor with training in transitional ministry. As we began to explore the possibility of her coming to Breton, we felt that God was leading us to call her to be our interim pastor. On August 1, 2011 Pastor Kathleen Horwood moved from North Battleford, SK to Breton to begin her ministry here. We are so thankful for how God once again provided us with such a gifted pastor. Pastor Kathleen’s interim role ended January 31, 2012 and she is now pastoring the College Park Covenant Church in Saskatoon. A search committee began their work in June to determine who God had for us as our next pastor. Pastor Jeff Gooderham was recommended to the congregation for our new senior pastor and the congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of extending the call which was accepted by Pastor Jeff, Alison and their family. Pastor Jeff started as our new pastor on February 1, 2012. Praise the Lord! As we look back over the year we are very thankful for God’s providence for us as a church. Some of the normal things that occur for churches during a transition time, such as a drop in attendance and giving, did not occur here in Breton. We do not take credit for this but give God the glory and praise. We are also thankful for all 3
those of our body who served so faithfully this year so the ministry could continue. For, even as the transitions mentioned above were occurring, the regular ministries of the church continued on. As we now look ahead, we desire to have the Kingdom of God grow here in Breton. We desire to see people more committed to being disciples of Jesus Christ. We are prayerfully seeking God as we chart the direction He has for us. We give thanks to God for his faithfulness and how He has led our church through the past 76 years and specifically throughout this last year.
Hope Community Covenant Church, Strathmore Hope Community Covenant Church has had a fruitful time of exploration and affirmation this past year. In 2010, Council had determined there was a need to investigate the vision and direction God has in mind for our body. Throughout the year, various groups from our congregation were involved in several visioning meetings with Ken Thiessen, from Power of One Consulting, and were able to make concrete statements of what Hope is about and who we serve. Most of our discovery affirmed Hope’s DNA is what it has been from the beginning and gives us a clearer direction toward intentionally living out our values: to be welcoming and accepting; offer ministries to feed spiritual hunger and transform lives; provide outreach and service locally and globally; and be a body, full of joy because of our freedom in Christ, who live authentically. This process has helped us to be more self-aware and is energizing us to live into who God has called us to be. ~Amy Wegner
Kensington Road Church, Calgary
2011 was an eventful year for our community. We continue to seek to be faithful to Jesus in the trendy beltline community of West Hillhurst in Calgary. We have made numerous inroads with our community through Stampede Breakfast, Bake Sale for Justice, Summer Soccer Camp, Community Good Friday Service and serving breakfast bi-monthly at Inn From the Cold. We also sought to grow spiritually through our Journey through Lent program: a four-part class on sexuality entitled Becoming Human and Vantage Point 3 Emerging Journey study group. As a church focusing on revitalization we have been challenged by the departure of three key young couples in late spring. This was a challenge to the process of renewal in our community. Though challenged by this we have encouraged one another to revisit and focus on two key themes from our vision statement. 1. The deepest desire of KRC is to make a difference in our world by sharing God’s love. 2. We recognize that a living and vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation for spiritual growth. Fellowship is a key part of our life together. Despite the challenges, we saw four baptisms, we were witness to three weddings of folks from our community, continue to have our worship ministry led by a group of amazing youthful and talented musicians and we have a positive and energetic leadership group. There is much to be thankful for. ~James Wheeler
Malmo Mission Covenant Church
~ We have a small core of volunteers leading a monthly Bible Study in the Hobema prison which is being very well received. ~ We had our first ever baptism by immersion IN THE CHURCH SANCTUARY this October. Four people were baptized this year. ~ Babies everywhere. We’ve been practicing church growth by procreation and now our nursery is too small. We need to reconfigure our space or tell people to stop with the babies. ~ Youth activities are growing. Our Wednesday night youth Bible Study & Supper was over forty kids last week. More volunteers please. ~ We sent some of our youth down to Haiti on a missions/service trip. They came back changed. ~ We started up a seniors group in the town of Wetaskiwin, giving our elderly a place to gather for study, prayer, and fellowship. ~ Mustard Seed Ministry. Feeding hungry people in Edmonton finds us flush with volunteers and dollars. That’s cool. ~ Healing. We’ve seen some amazing miracles happen. Real physical answers to prayer. ~ We are in a search for personnel to come alongside us here and enhance what God is already doing in youth, discipleship, & families. ~We have the sense about us that God is busy doing some amazing things that we couldn’t have come up with if we tried. ~Randall Friesen
“This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.”
Psalm 118:23 [NLT] Rosebud church has again experienced a year of God’s favor and blessing – in the richness of our corporate gatherings and through the ministries of our members/ friends. God be praised! Each September we welcome a new class of students to the Rosebud School of the Arts and, through the established compassion ministries of our church and the regular practice of our faith, we have opportunity to encourage and support these students. The Arts students enrich our worship through their involvement in our services and we have the privilege of nurturing and caring for them while they study here. The Canadian Badlands Passion Play, located in Drumheller, AB, continues a rich tradition of sharing the story of Christ with tourists to our area and nearby friends. The Passion Play relies heavily on Rosebud talent for leadership in various capacities and this past year again many of our congregants were part of the cast of over two hundred. Another dramatic avenue that some of our congregants were involved in this past year was a unique production dealing with the ills of human trafficking. The production of “She Has A Name” played to sold out venues in Calgary and Red Deer and elicited much positive media attention. The show will tour across Canada this year and some of our folks will again be involved. In this justice vein, some from Rosebud have received preliminary AVA training and there is strong interest in doing something to assist those suffering abuse. The cause of mission has been recently highlighted in our church as members participated in trips to Mexico, China, and Rwanda. The good news of Jesus was shared and some very basic needs were addressed by these ventures. ~Ray Wall
Sanctuary Community Church, Edmonton
God is GOOD! He continues to be gracious to us at Sanctuary as we continue to strive to become a healthy missional church in north-east Edmonton. At this time last year Pastor Gerry Froese was our Interim Pastor. It is with great pleasure to say that he was installed as our Lead Pastor on Sunday, February 26th. What a blessing he and his wife Judi are to us! Our values “Come! Connect! Contribute! Commit!” have become Sanctuary’s words of invitation to those who have graced our doors this past year. People have come, connected and are now contributing and committing to being a part of our church. At the AGM last year Sanctuary was awarded the Neil Josephson Award. We used this award to develop a team, called Core 72, which is committed to the ministry and mission of Sanctuary. This team will continue to be developed and will eventually become members of the
church. Our Conversation Sundays held 3–4 times each year allow the congregation to have input into what is happening in the church. At our first one this year we asked people to reflect on 2011. People reflected on how welcome and accepted they feel, the community events held, how people have come forth to join us in God’s work at Sanctuary, and how well they are informed about “what’s happening” through the weekly e-mails and bulletins. This year we are committed to having 4 major Community events, making a decision regarding the relocation of the church (we have outgrown our present space) and hosting the AGM. Last year 7 people were baptized and we look forward to others committing their lives to Christ on Palm Sunday. Ezekiel 47:1-12 gives us the imagery of God’s growth and blessings for Sanctuary. ~Emma Brinson
British Columbia: Balfour ECC In Balfour, I see us growing in discipleship. I am thankful for the spiritual growth I have seen in Balfour. I also believe that small groups are one of the most powerful ways to grow in our relationship with Jesus and in our relationship with other Christians. I find it so encouraging that most of my Balfour brothers and sisters are involved in at least one midweek group. This fall we had over ten small groups gathering throughout the week. I look forward to seeing more small groups form in 2012. We have also grown as a church through sermon series covering key passages of Matthew’s Gospel and Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. In addition to the adults, our children also continue to grow through Sunday school, learning the basic beliefs of what it means to follow Jesus. I see us growing closer as the family of God. One of my favorite things about the Balfour church is our fellowship. That’s not to say things are always perfect, but by in large, we are a community of believers who genuinely care for each other. Sensing this connection, five people have joined as members of our church. In short, we like to spend time together. Whether it’s gathering for a Bible study, family meal, or church fundraiser, we like to get together. I am thankful for how close we remain as a church. But above all, I sense God preparing us to grow in Mission I have always been thankful for the missional heart of the Balfour congregation. Whether 40 children for Kid’s Camp, building a playground, or hosting over a hundred people for our Christmas and Easter services, we continue to reach out to our community. I am also thankful for the many stories I hear from people, explaining how they shared the good news of Jesus Christ with people in their lives. Whether it is next door neighbors, co-workers or friends, it seems like we are constantly talking with people about Jesus. Out of these efforts, four people were baptized in 2011. In the
coming year we will work to cultivate our missional hearts even more, through “missional Church” classes, evangelism seminars, and much prayer for our surrounding community. I desire to see the kingdom of God grow in Balfour and more of our neighbors living into their new life in Christ. ~Jason Ashley
many, many children! The nursery is redone and welcomes babies each Sunday. Our annual VBS in the summer of 2011 was joyful and planning for 2012’s is well on the way. Our hearts and activities are centered around the discipleship of our children, encouraging evangelism from their learning as they go out each day.
Emmanuel ECC, Surrey
March 2012 will bring Gerald Froese back to our church for a weekend of “Veritas”….rebuilding and refocusing. We look forward to both Gerald and Tom’s guidance in becoming the missional church that God sees us being. Each member is charged with learning his/her strengths, gifts and abilities and how he/she can serve God, the church family and wider community.
Greetings from South Surrey, British Columbia; it has been a fruitful year of ministry here at Emmanuel, praise be to God! The Lord has been tremendously gracious as we continue to grow and serve together as a church family. This past year has been one of excitement and adventure as we continue to discern the good works that God has prepared in advance for us His workmanship to do. Looking ahead to 2012 and celebrating our 25th anniversary, we will be focusing on developing a strategic ministry outlook for the coming season of our life together. We would welcome your continued prayers for our church over the coming days toward this end. May God grant us all that we need in order to press on toward the goal. As we look back on our church family one year from this day, we can again celebrate God’s goodness to us as we marvel at all He will have guided us through by then. ~Keith Chow
ECC of Erickson We are grateful to be the Covenant Church family in the Creston Valley of BC, taking in His word and serving our Lord, each other and our community. We send our hearts and prayers to the greater community of the Covenant church in Canada with this report. We bade farewell to Doug and Korleen Stapleton in the spring of 2011 after many years together with us; the congregation, both individually and communally, continues to keep them in our hearts and prayers. We then welcomed Tom and Tennille Greentree with their boys, Ethan and Micah, as our interim pastor; Tom, as of Feb. 19, 2012, was called and accepted as our permanent full time pastor. He is supported by a leadership team and many in the church family helping lead Children’s Ministry, Youth Group and Bible Study, Adult Bible Studies, Men’s Bible Study and breakfast, Women’s Ministry, Music team, Care Ministry, elder care home outreach, an expanding Library and more. We began the year with many committing to a one year Bible reading; voices can be heard discussing their daily reading….with excitement. The church is undergoing growth, including 9 baptisms in the late summer of 2011 and an enthusiastic group of young and old(er) awaiting their baptisms with the upcoming summer weather. A focus of our church has always been the love, care and development of our children; our Sunday Kids Zone is bursting with energy, enthusiasm, singing and
In asking the church family for words to describe our walk today…..it’s “excited, hopeful and learning”.
ECC of Nelson How do we as a church, either as individual gatherings, as (in our case) a multi-site church, as a conference of churches, or as a denomination of churches, help those who are far from God, come close to Him? How are we equipped to journey with individuals as they discover and grow in Christ? How are we ready to share either verbally or tangibly, the Good News of Jesus with our neighbour? These are some of the questions we are wrestling with as leaders and pastors here in Nelson. We have seen many changes here in the past few years that have come out of that wrestling. This past year (2011), after many, many hours of prayer and discernment, we combined our two worship services into one single worship service on Sunday mornings. That significant change was not without some pain, but now after almost 6 months we are seeing growth and unity that eluded us before. We have a greater sense of community, are moving collectively in a direction of discipleship, and are being challenged to look beyond our walls in prayer and ministry. Our youth ministry, under the leadership of our Associate Pastor Chris Wiens and a strong team of volunteer leaders, is growing both in numbers and in momentum. We have more small groups starting and growing than at any time since I have been here. Are the challenges over? Not when we gather as broken, sinful people. Not when we seek to be God's hands and feet in a broken world. Have we come to the end of the changes here in Nelson? Probably not, in fact, almost assuredly not. But in all we do we desire to be responsive to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Has everyone been happy with the changes? Uh, unlikely, but that is never to be our highest calling. Are people growing in their faith? Yes! Are marriages and families experiencing healing? Yes! Are we a place of refuge from the storms of life for people? Yes! Do we have a mandate from God? Yes! Our mandate is to guide people to Christ and to a transformational relationship in Him. We strive to be both a 6
Great Commandment and a Great Commission church. We're glad we're in it together with our brothers and sisters across the Covenant. ~Arden Gustafson
Green Timbers Covenant, Surrey We begin with praising God for an exciting and fruitful year for Green Timbers!! It has been a year in which we have joined in on the theme of the Covenant by “Organizing for Mission.” There was one big difference though. The ECC process produced a 50 page document that described how we as a denomination would pursue our corporate mission while GTCC was able to do the same thing much more succinctly. It only took us five pages The goal of our process was to determine how we could best structure our church to achieve our newly formatted mission statement considering the gifts, talents and passions with which our church has been blessed. Our new mission statement reads that we seek to be “Cultivating God’s values in the world by nurturing a community of disciples committed to building relational bridges into our life circles, our neighbourhood and the global village.” To do this we will develop two primary ministry teams (in addition to the directors on the Leadership Team) that will focus on the two halves of that mission. We have now launched a “Nurture Team” and a “Building Bridges Team.” Please pray for us as we attempt to live into this new structure and empower our congregation to accomplish our mission. Another big step in organizing for mission was the hiring of a second pastor. Ileana Garcia-Soto was hired as the Pastor to Youth and Families with a couple of other job descriptions thrown on top of that. As a Community Service Worker supported by the Fullerton Fund she will also play a big role in outreach and ministry to the community including coordinating the use of our building as a weekly depot for serving 200-300 families through the Surrey Food Bank.
Junction ECC This past year the Junction church turned the big age of six! A few new Christians, growth in prayer, love, theology, boldness, humility and grace are a few things that come to mind when thinking about what Jesus has done in our midst this past year. Our church has continued to care for those in our community through our benevolence and Food Bank ministries. We also continue to provide a weekly Kraft Dinner lunch to the local high school and have been consistently having around 70 youth out on Thursdays. Please keep this ministry in prayer – so much potential! Anyone want to be a youth pastor for no money?? For the first time at the Junction we had an intern. Jeff Park is sensing a call to pastoral ministry and has been getting a small taste of what that is like. It was sad to see many of our regulars, over 20 people, move this past year for work in other cities across Canada. As a result of these moves our church was definitely different and we are now left with a fairly small Sunday 7
school. But God has also been kind to us by bringing in many new people from the area to fill in all the holes. We still have a small Sunday school but now we have a large group of college and careers! ~Jesse Lerch
Wynndel Community Covenant No report submitted
Manitoba: Faith Covenant Church, Winnipeg In seasons of fruitful ministry and growth as we have experienced over this past year, it can be tempting to remain where we are, hold on to the moment, and stay in this good place. But, the community of Faith Covenant Church believes in continually taking steps together – we trust that God desires ongoing growth in faith, hope, and love. As our faith family has increased we have taken up the work of finding ways to make space for all those new to FCC, both in physical space through a reworking of our sanctuary, and in participation and involvement in ministry through expanding service, formation, and giving opportunities. In keeping with the “next step” motif, our congregation voted in affirmation of a proposal to plant a second Covenant church in Winnipeg. This significant “next step” will open up significant new opportunities for those who are a part of the planting core group, as well as those who seek to fill the leadership and service gaps left by those who have moved from FCC to the plant. It is our hope that this new church community will present Jesus Christ well in another area of the city, and we are excited about the potential dynamics of a new ministry partnership with another Covenant church within the city God has called us to be a blessing to. ~Gavin Jensen
Minnedosa Covenant Church 2011 was a season of change like no other for our church family ! We accepted the change requested by Dean the Youth Pastor to move back into private life and then we accepted the Pearson’s calling to Wisconsin ! It seems to us that God used both those men and their families to tend his garden while they were with us. The garden was left in very good condition. Pastor Dan prayed for babies and they keep coming and coming ! It is a joy to see more people of all ages gathering together throughout the week to share in God’s grace and all that he has provided us. We have had some problems in 2011. We needed to begin using the balcony seating… too many people… we needed to add more mailboxes… too many people… we needed to get more offering envelopes… and had a concern about not enough parking ! These are wonderful problems ! We moved our little house off of the lot beside the church and are ready to think about how to expand both the main building and our presence in the community. We had Andy Gilkinson join us with talent galore as our Youth Guy and were blessed to have our invitation to the Hill family accepted to come and serve as our pastor later in 2012. Could the next chapter of our book be titled “ The Hills come to the Valley”? ~Ray Baloun
Valley ECC, Durban On Sunday, December 18th, at a small farmyard at the end of a narrow hilly road, we gathered with families from across our valley to share a live nativity performance. Our church family had presented the live nativity several times in the past, but this year was different. Our team of organizers recruited members of our church family for the manger scene, for the outside angels, and for the shepherds. But this year, other valley churches were invited to participate in the marketplace area and add to the whole town of Bethlehem experience. Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, United, Pentecostal, Mennonite, as well as some of our own church family created marketplace booths selling breads, trinkets, crafts, hot chocolate, and candles. As guests arrived at the farm, they were transported from the parking area to the barn by horse drawn sleighs. Roman soldiers guided the groups to the outside fire where angels announced the birth and the shepherds gathered. The guests were then led through the darkness and entered an area of the barn with cow and donkey. In a quiet, dimly lit corner, Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus (a real baby!) huddled together in the cool winter air. A solo, accompanied by guitar, and a short poem of Jesus birth/life focused the attention of the group. As the guests pondered the scene, a verse of ‘O come, let us adore him’ was sung by all. The group was then led into the noisy and busy marketplace with opportunity to buy food/trinkets with copper coins (after taxes were paid!). Throughout the evening, between 350 and 400 guests from across our valley experienced the live nativity presentation. The response from the guests was overwhelmingly positive and many shared how meaningful the experience was for them. For our church family, the opportunity to work together with friends/neighbours from other churches to share the good news of Jesus’ birth was also very positive. After all, the birth of Christ IS good news of ‘great joy’ for ‘all the people.’ ~David Johnson
Fort Frances ECC In Fort Frances we are a small group. A number of the congregation has struggled with health issues and maintaining certain types of programming has been difficult. However, that doesn’t stop God from doing things. One of the things I enjoyed immensely was a sermon series outlining different scriptural emphases of different movements of God throughout history since the time of Christ. It was my desire that the congregation has an appreciation for their own historical faith roots and also develops a greater appreciation for the faith roots and contributions of others within Christendom. In a practical way, this means we continue to partner with others in kingdom work. A new partnership this spring saw us hosting a group that we call Refuge. The initial step was to provide lunch for teens from the high school each Monday during the school season in an environment where teens could feel safe. For Christian teens, it is a place to experience that they are not alone as a Christian, it is a place where they can express their faith, and also where they are free to bring their non-Christian friends.
In the spring, the group started out as a handful, and then grew to numbers in the 20’s by summer. In the fall, we started again and the numbers have reached to an average high of 50 -60 kids. Most to all the food is donated by individuals that are involved. Recently, a prayer time was added following school. We are not sure if this will take off but are encouraged. Recently, one of the leaders was considering canceling the prayer time for the day when a teen asked if there would be a prayer time after school. That afternoon, some teens gathered to share and pray about personal issues that are far outside the realm of most people’s experiences. We thank you for your prayers and continue to ask you to pray for us as we seek to show Christ’s love within a partnership that in many places probably would be seen as a miracle in of itself. ~Ken Johnson
Lighthouse Community Church, Sarnia It seems like only yesterday that we welcomed the ECCC to Sarnia! What a great time in the life of our community. In many ways, the AGM was an experience of Lighthouse at our best. People came together, using their gifts, to extend hospitality and openness to people. It was a tangible expression of our love for God being lived out in significant community through service. There were many other expressions of Lighthouse “at our best” in 2011. Our kids, students and adults all found unique ways to grow deeper in Christ and push further into mission in the world. Highlights included: Kids Camps, Wilderness trips, Retreats, meals served at the Inn of the Good Shepherd, small groups, stories shared, people cared for, and worship experienced. Last fall, our Leadership Team spent a few days away and in the process discerned that as we head into this next season, God is calling us to focus on two ministry priorities: intentional evangelism and Biblical integration. It has been fun to see stories emerge and lives changed as these focus areas have begun to receive attention. We pray that this will only continue. Returning to last year’s AGM, Lighthouse was blessed to see and experience what it means to be a part of the ECCC. At the end of the day, the local church is the conference and the conference is the local churches. We were blessed by the stories of faithful contextualized ministry across Canada in ECCC churches and pray that this would only continue. We are excited by conference growth through church planting and revitalization and look forward to seeing how God will work in and through the ECCC in 2012. We are thankful partners in expanding God’s Kingdom in Canada. We look forward to seeing you in Edmonton (or Rainy River) in May!
Off Lake ECC, Emo The Off Lake Evangelical Covenant Church is located at the junction of Hwy 600/615 and Trans Canada Hwy 71. Google Finland, Ontario then click satellite and you can see how far in the country we really are! For several years now we have been trusting in God financially to see us through and He has done just that. For 2011 we held our first VBS in several years and invited two young ladies 8
from Child Evangelism Crusades to come and put on the program for us. More children attended than we expected again, God is so good. We continue to partner with the Fort Frances Covenant Church to host a week long bible camp in the summer. Forty-six children attended, nineteen were first timers and each received their very own bible. At least eight young girls gave their hearts to the Lord (a whole cabin full). The fall of 2011 saw two of our members fly off to Guatemala to help build 20 houses for the impoverished. Our church paid for two of them and one was dedicated to a recently passed member of ours, Bill Brown. Our church also began showing Christian movies once a month in October. For our second movie, a couple of non-christian young men walking across Canada came upon our small church just in time to join us for the popcorn and “Revelations”, and had a great time. For our Christmas movie we chose “The Nativity” and we had a family of five join us who also do not regularly attend church. Our ladies group is small but mighty. We held teas, potlucks and game nights, helped the community at various functions and knitted and crocheted and quilted items that have gone to many places around the globe. We also rolled and shipped sixty pounds of bandages to the Congo. Two women who live near the church but do not regularly attend came to sew the strips together and told us to call them again! They have attended church a few times since. ~Joe Orr
Rainy River ECC
Throughout the course of 2011 the congregation in Rainy River experienced God’s wonderful faithfulness, love, mercy and grace to which we in turn praise Him and give Him glory. We thank our Heavenly Father for the many adults, families, youth, and children in our midst as we continue to follow the Lord’s leading and direction. Our new home of worship reveals a wide variety of exciting dynamics and challenges as we continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom on how the building used. We are thankful for the opportunity to minister to our community not only through weddings and funerals but also special events such as a Senior’s Exercise Group, Training Events, and a variety of other events. During one Bible Study on Wednesday night, as we were discussing the world’s perspective of Christians, she remarked, “I know the world views Christians as people who are hypocrites and only out for themselves, however, since coming here and getting to know people as I see them in the town all I have ever experienced is God’s love working through them.” As a congregation we are also extremely thankful for a group of students came up from Michigan and completed some projects in and around the church. We look forward to seeing the hand of God at work in our midst in the years to come and are thankful for the many prayers and support from our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. ~Kors Pater
Saskatchewan: Blackstrap Covenant Church, Dundurn Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. ~ John 13:35 9
Blackstrap Covenant Church took on a new challenge this last year. We teamed up with Laddie and Shelly Wesolowski to help support their business’ Christmas project, TLC@home. For the last 7 years Laddie and Shelly have been providing Christmas boxes for students at Princess Alexander School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Each box contains a toque, mitts, toothbrush, coloring books, socks, fun snacks, and an age appropriate gift. Two years ago, Laddie and Shelly asked for help packing and delivering all the boxes, so a family from Blackstrap Covenant Church lent a hand and got the job done. This year the entire church got into the act, buying items for the boxes and helping pack them all up. When all was said and done their were 183 boxes delivered to the students. Princess Alexander School is in the heart of the poorest part of Saskatoon and has more families living below the poverty line than any other school in the city. This was obviously a worthwhile project; however the kids at Princess Alexander were not the only ones to benefit from our involvement. This project created an excitement within the church and every week someone was calling me asking what other items were needed for the boxes. HELPING EACH OTHER HELP OUR COMMUNITY emerged as a theme as the church rallied together to finish this project off. The project even received some local media attention and Laddie and Shelly were featured on the Saskatoon CTV evening news. So ... thank you Laddie and Shelly for helping us love our community and helping us love each other. ~Steve Menshenfriend
College Park ECC, Saskatoon College Park Covenant Church has gone through a lot of transition in 2011. Several young families have joined our congregation. This increase has warranted new Children’s programming that has included a new pre-school church group on Sunday mornings along with the nursery and Jr. Church programming that has already been under way. A special intergenerational service, with opportunities for individuals and their families to participate, was hosted as a kick-off event for the new “church program year” in the fall. Through the first few months of 2011 the candidate process continued for a full time Children and Family Minister position. Colin and Kelly Bruins, from Stettler Alberta, applied for this position as two individuals applying for the single position. Kelly became the Pastor of Music ministry coordinating music teams, and special music ministry for the church. Colin became the Children and Family Pastor overseeing children’s programming and intergenerational networking within the congregation. Colin and Kelly started at the end of July. During the season of lent, many individuals used their creative skills to create pieces of art that represented a marker on the 12 stations of the cross. This display was set up in the church sanctuary as a means for those in the congregation to contemplate Christ’s journey to the cross approaching Good Friday while celebrating his New Life on Easter Sunday. The church’s bi-weekly food bank distribution ministry continued to serve 25 families in 2011. Many of the families are in the College Park area in Saskatoon and have
established relationships with those in the church outside of the food bank distribution. The annual Christmas banquet was one way where the congregation and those connected to the food bank were able to interact with each other. A bi-weekly summer BBQ gave other opportunities for the church to be incarnational with God’s love in the College Park area. College Park Covenant Church continues to serve Saskatoon through its clothing depot ministry. During the first Tuesday of every month the church opens its doors to Saskatoon for people to walk through and choose items of clothing free of charge. Several God moments of people finding the right clothes at the right time have been documented. Ivan Norlander, a founding member of our church, and faithful servant who has looked after Custodian duties the last 37 years retired from his position. A celebration Sunday was hosting in early 2012 to honor his dedicated service. It was with sadness College Park Covenant church said farewell to Brandon and Jessica Shurr and the rest of their family. College Park Covenant Church was able to bless Pastor Brandon and his family on their final Sunday in mid December in preparation for their journey to Bloomington Indiana. Brandon and his family will be working with the denomination to plant a new church there. With Brandon’s departure, Rev. Kathleen Horwood has come on board as the interim Senior Pastor. A search committee has been formed to look for a permanent senior pastor. ~Colin Bruins
Gateway ECC, Prince Albert A pivotal event that took place in 2011 was our Veritas Seminar. We were blessed to be able to have Gerald Froese from the ECCC come and help us begin to work through some of our fears and anxieties as a small and aging congregation. The Veritas seminar left us with a sense of hope for the future. This does not mean our journey ahead is going to be smooth sailing, but we at least have an idea of where we want to go and the obstacles we will need to overcome. As we focus on the future of reaching our community in the name of Jesus Christ, there are some small changes we need to begin to make to help others feel more welcome. God is also bringing more and more of our neighborhood youth to our church through the Kids Club program. We have a good time with activities, a meal, games, and crafts. It has been fun to grow and develop in fellowship with one another while serving the kids at Kids Club. ~Seth and Stacia Michael
This has been a year of great opportunities for Melfort Evangelical Covenant Church. These opportunities have not come by accident. They have been appointments arranged by our God whom we love and serve. What He required of us in 2011 included faithfulness, sacrifice, and hard work. Nevertheless, as we were faithful in the ministry He called us to, our God remained faithful in providing for our needs.
One of our key opportunities was taking the time to talk about what makes a healthy, missional church and we did some personal and corporate evaluation along the way. We also took the opportunity to get together with another church of like faith in our community. This past summer we shared a series of messages and combined congregations for four services to worship and mutually encourage each other on Sundays that traditionally have low attendance. The success of this venture has spurred us on to combine for four services again this coming summer. A long overdue opportunity to gather at the original Brockington site (built in 1913) to be reminded of our heritage saw many come for a time of worship and fellowship. Of course, we could never forget the opportunities that we had to be in contact with our community through our children and youth ministries. The kind of impact these ministries have in our community is remarkable. Each night that these events are held the majority of those who come through our doors are not regularly with us on Sundays. For some reason God is blessing us by drawing many to us even though we could be looking for ways to go to them to share the good news of Jesus Christ. These are great opportunities indeed! ~Gary Gilkinson
Norquay ECC 2011 has been a good year. Much ministry has gone on as we continue to seek God together in the life of our church and community. At the end of Feb, the annual Snow Daze event went well as many students from Covenant churches came to focus on God and fellowship together, led by our youth pastor couple Benjamin and Genevieve Galay as well as many faithful volunteers from our churches. In April, the Youth also participated in the ‘30 hour famine.’ Kids Club took a break from its usual weekly schedule , instead meeting once a month with various volunteers that sought to teach and build relationships with ages Kindergarten to grade 6 students. In May, Pastor Dan and Sally went on a trip to Israel with others from the Canadian Conference, where they learned much about the context of the life of Jesus as well as justice and social issues that face Christians in the area today. In June, at the Annual Meeting of the ECC, our pastor Dan Larson was ordained to Word and Sacrament in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Junior Camp went well under Doug Nelson’s direction and with much great help from many from the church. Rick and Livia Dahlin had a very successful hamburger sale fundraiser for camp that allowed the church to give additional scholarships to students that could not otherwise afford to attend camp. James and Judy Nelson led Day Camp in August with 40 students from grade 1 to 8. This is always a great time for students to connect after the summer activities and lead into the fall schedule. ~Judy Nelson
Avenue Community, Toronto, ON
Avenue Community is the newest church in our family of ECCC churches. We are exited to have John Cho, Derrick Tam, Jaisy Tam and Sam Williams partner with us in ministry. They are all part time staff who lead and work in their community of Toronto. John Cho is the lead pastor. He is pictured to the right with Jeff Anderson and Glenn Peterson at the signing of the church plant agreement. We are exited to have this new church join us in the mission and ministry of the ECCC.
Lake Ridge Community, Chestermere, AB Wow what a year it has been At Lake Ridge Community Church. It was only year ago we as a small group of people with a few kids were gathering in a living room talking about what a Church could look like in Chestermere. We were talking about values like generosity, authenticity all centering around God’s story. We were having way too much discussion around what our name should be. (sure am glad the “Our Church of the Sacrificial Lamb.” didn’t work out) What a ride. In the last 12 months that group has served at fairs in town, cleaned up yards, helped move families, visited hospitals, listened to the needs of the ethnic community, loved our neighbors and oh ya started meeting regularly for worship. We have grown in our understanding of what it means to be hospitable to others (allowing people to be themselves in our presence) and have had Jesus surprise us with his presence on several occasions. Last week when I received the count for Sunday night service I was so pleased to see that our #’s show that 1/3 of our church are children, and as I look at those in the chairs I see several people who were not attending church before coming to Lake Ridge. This really is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Like I said it has been quite a ride. On a personal note it’s humbling to know that God is doing his work when as a church planter I have never felt more insecure in my own leadership. I have learned that the only way to be a good leader is to be a good follower. I’m grateful for the leadership Christ has given to us and am prayerful that we will continue to listen for what he wants us to put our hands to next. ~ Evan Dewald
Mission Emmeaus Covenant Church, Gatineau, QC
It has been a 4 years since the Lord has opened the door for us in Gatineau with the Gatineau Church Plant. We would like to thank you all for your prayers and support. We are extremely thankful to God for his grace during 2012. Let me admit with gratitude that the Gatineau church Plant has been possible because of your warm friendship and your faithful prayers. 2011 was a bit a challenging year financially and also making the whole church plant challenging for us as a family.It is not easy to work on secular job and plant a church. I know most of you will agree with me. Since we lost our facililty where we were meeting it has been difficult to find another place due to limited funds. Presently we are meeting in my home and occasionnally in a public school. I have to admit with honesty that the results received for now are a bit frustrating. This is not what we expected when we moved from Toronto to plant a church in Quebec. Quebec is not an easy place to work. We need you to stand with us in your prayers for such time as this. 2012 will be a discernment moment for us as a family. We will not if we will continue here in Quebec or move elsewhere. Today we are expecting with faith and joy what God has in store for us for the mission in Quebec in 2012. Our goal for 2012 is to impact the community in Quebec. ~Onesime Kubanay
Camps Covenant Bay Bible Camp
Better Together - a theme I have been thinking about for a while. The bible speaks often and has many examples of this; one body many parts, a chord of three strands and the Emmaus road. Two individuals grieving the loss of their Rabi walked together and after their encounter with Jesus, their Rabi, who walked with them, asked each other; “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”. This has begun to shape my prayer for the 2012 season. That people as they journey together recognize that God is in their midst and that they are better together – they are better with God. 2011 has very much been a year of growing though not in ways one might hope or expect! We learned that the numbers of campers we have in a given year is impacted by environmental, social and of course economic factors. We see related industries such as tourism, youth sports and recreation have similar trends as us. Long story short there is far more that is out of our control as it relates to camp attendance than the little we can control. So we must do really well at what we can control and let God take care of the rest! This past year our numbers were down and our construction plans were delayed a full year, we had bed bugs and after the August Long weekend we were not able to be in the lake due to health advisories. Needless to say some of us like the men on the Emmaus Road were a little discouraged. But, God showed up and did his work. Campers accepted Christ as their saviour. Students reaffirmed their commitment to Christ. Couples found hope in their marriages, Youth found healthy friendship and courage to choose something better than drugs, alcohol, sex and/ or cutting. God showed up in powerful ways and it would have been easy to hang our heads in discouragement and miss all that he had done. When the summer wrapped up I very much had the same feeling as the Emmaus travelers – “Were not our hearts burning within us while…” God is so good and I am so grateful for his continued favour. This year we have done some restructuring as a group of volunteers and staff that will allow us to accomplish more. We now have a volunteer guest services manager, administrative assistant and we hope to hire a volunteer property manager. In addition we have hired Natasha Westerhoud casually to work on projects related to promotion and programming she has also been a big help. We are growing and in order to continue we need to improve and expand what we do. This means more hours of work. I am so grateful for Jerry Haukedal, Judy Hart, Barbra White, Jenn Ellis and Natasha Westerhoud as they make up our year round staff. Thank you for your support, prayers and encouragement. Your commitment to the mission of Covenant Bay is wonderful and I appreciate very much. Let’s walk together, perhaps “our hearts will burn within us while…” ~ Jon Drebert
Covenant Heights Bible Camp No report submitted.
KCBC A review of our 2010 camping program resulted in discussion, prayer, exploration and decisions. It became clear that in terms of facility, staff, and program, changes were needed to increase outreach and impact. The result was a partnering with Pines Bible Camp, located outside of Grand Forks, for intermediate and teen campers. In spite of detailed planning, as with any major change, some bumps were felt. Staff recruitment for Pines required a week of pre-training, and our previous volunteers could not meet that commitment. One KCBC counselor was graciously folded into the Pines staff. Some intermediate and teen youth were reluctant to make the switch. Most of the Washington youth had already elected to attend a different camp in the USA due to the number limitation of the Dutch Harbor campground. The result was that fewer intermediate and teen campers attended. Junior camp was well staffed with the mentoring of a new junior camp director. In spite of expanding the ages for this camp, numbers were down. An additional stressor was the increased cost of camp insurance. Through the changes and challenges the Lord faithfully blessed with: record breaking campership funding ($3877) used to financially ensure camp attendance continued, donations of food, two children professed faith and committed to follow Christ, and a staff counselor who established personal daily devotions. We covet your prayers as we seek God’s guidance in working through changing roles for staff, campers and our camp board. 12
Summer Ministry Team
In 2011 the Summer Ministry Team did a fantastic job ministering to the churches and camps across the ECCC. Dave Rae (Minnedosa/Winnipeg/Nelson), Hanne Johnson (Durban/Winnipeg), Erin Anderson (Dundern), and Quinn Johnson (Minnedosa) made up the team (pictured below). They started in Nelson, BC for training and made it all the way to Covenant Heights Bible Camp in Manitoba before they headed back the other way. They spent time in Edmonton, Prince Albert, Dundurn, Chestermere, Strathmore as well as Covenant Bay Bible Camp. They each reported that the summer stretched them in their faith and deepened their love for God. Be on the lookout for the next team to roll through town in the big green monster Suburban. ~Julia Stein
CBC Legacy Scholarships
The CBC Legacy Fund Bursaries are $500 awards given each year to students of the Canada Conference who are enrolled in theological, biblical, or discipleship programs that equip men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ through spiritual formation, biblical knowledge, Christian service, and intentional community. The CBC Legacy Awards Committee is excited to award these grants to an exceptional group of students who are studying throughout North America and abroad. This year we have helped send students to Briercrest College, Trinity Western University, Canadian Mennonite University, Providence University College, Capernwray, and Moody Bible Institute. Applications are posted every fall on the ECCC website. The following students received bursaries this year: April Hamm (Norquay) Providence University College Christian Wood (Green Timbers) Trinity Western University Hanne Johnson (Durban) Providence University College John-Erik Gustafson (Nelson) Capernwray Justin Frei (Breton) Canadian Mennonite University Karl Johnson (Durban) Providence University College Kayla Knopf (Strathmore) YWAM Miriam Mast (Rainy River) Moody Bible Institute Rebeckah Enarson (Banff Park Church) Capernwray ~Sally Carlson
Life Together September saw us move from the home we had found back in summer 2010 to the 100 year old apartment where we now live and call home. With the move came changes to who was living in Life Together: Sam Peterson, Luke Watt, and Garrett Erskine (all of Winnipeg) are living in the home. We also have had the privilege of having Kristina Blackwood and Karissa Durant share in some of the rhythms of our community while living outside of our home, adding much needed diversity. Life Together in Winnipeg has definitely had some rough moments over the last eighteen months but the feeling now is that we are moving into a very good spot as we look forward to partnering more intentionally with the Covenant churches in Winnipeg and as we transition into what will hopefully be a longer term renting situation. We continue to struggle with balancing work and the rhythms that we value and see as important for us to be pursuing, but as we have aged a little and matured we are hopeful for how we will grow over the next year. We are also quite thankful that as it stands today the only major change for us this year will be moving to a different place of residence, which will be a healthy move for us to a place we are able to call home. The fall for us will not bring a totally fresh start in terms of members of Life Together, and so we hope to continue to grow together and deepen our roots in the city of Winnipeg as we seek to live as Christians within urban Winnipeg. ~Greg Jensen
Global Initiatives Ecuador Greetings to all the brothers and sisters of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada. It is an honour each year for Andy and I to plan and lead a Canada Covenant mission trip to Ecuador. Having spent nine years as missionaries in Ecuador we have a love and passion for the people of that country and we delight in sharing that with people across the Covenant who join us each year to serve, to learn, and to experience Godâ€™s working in the lives of people of another culture. In 2012 we had a total of 19 Canadians, two Merge Ministry helpers from the U.S., and one from Mexico, and then one other Ecuadorian leader who joined with us to serve in a jungle community of the Oriente known as Pacto Sumaco. Pacto is the Spanish word for Covenant and this village was named for the faithful Covenanters who helped relocate the remnant of stricken refugees who survived a disastrous earthquake in 1987 which destroyed their home village. As a result, this village has relocated to an isolated area that only had a road built to it less than five years ago. Due to the isolation, broken family systems and lack of leadership, the community has floundered. Although there is a Covenant church in the community, they cannot afford a trained pastor and lack lay leadership. They only have an elementary school and so children must leave home to attend secondary school or drop out. The literacy rate is low and although the government provides a literacy program and a public health unit, the teachers and nurses never seem to make it out to this remote area. 14
One of the greatest economic needs for the community is to diversify their cash crops and learn environmental and sustainable agricultural practises. Two years ago, our group, in partnership with the Ecuadorian Covenant church, partnered to help build an agricultural training center. Since then, Covenant World Relief has given funds to the community to start a mushroom cultivation project. These funds have paved the way for training, a large sterilizer, and a walk-in cooler. The community has formed a cooperative of about 20 families who will be cultivating the mushrooms in backyard greenhouses. We toured the community and learned about the process and worked on the agricultural house by putting in windows, tiling the counters and floor in the kitchen and plastering gable walls. We also worked on upgrading a bathroom block for the elementary school and put down a rock base for a new classroom. The ECCC group with some local friends.
Our group enjoyed interacting with the community people and we also participated in worship with them four times during that week and heard incredible testimonies of people continuing in faith in the light of past suffering and difficult life circumstances. We shared a bit about ourselves and our life struggles as well, and it was humbling and eye opening as we were challenged by their simple faith. A highlight was our English and Health classes in the elementary school each day as well as the children’s program for about 50 children each afternoon. We played games, did face painting, dramas, sang songs and told stories and did crafts and coloring. The pigs in the story of the Prodigal were a hit!! Our team members were awesome! They worked together with cheerfulness and enthusiasm and just kept flexible and positive when things were “different” than what we’re used to. We hope to continue our connection and communication with Sumaco so that other Canadian Covenant teams could follow-up with the work that has been started in that community. Why not join us next year!? ~ Andy and Jenell Pluim
Haiti The partnership between Eben-ezer Clinic and ECCC continues to bear fruit. We have seen God at work in so many ways in the past year through the ministry of Eben-ezer Clinic. Many times we have thought, “it’s not possible”, but God has provided in ways that cannot be explained and has blessed us. Everyday patients arrive from great distances seeking treatment here because they cannot afford treatment closer to home. People know that if they arrive at Eben-ezer Clinic, they will be treated with dignity and respect. The cholera treatment centre (CTC) continues to operate receiving patients from many surrounding communities. There have been few days when there has not been at least one patient being in the CTC. Since the cholera breakout in November of 2010, we have treated over 4,000 cholera patients and we are committed to staying open with the help of ECCC for the foreseeable future. Diabetes is a growing disease among Haitians and is normally considered a death sentence as most cannot afford the expense of insulin and medications. Through Eben-ezer Clinic, 56 diabetics are receiving free or subsidized care meaning they can continue to live a productive life. The partnership has also grown through many ECCC churches that have sent teams down in the past year to learn and work with our Haitian brothers and sisters. We hosted groups from Sarnia, Strathmore and Malmo. Each year, new churches are joining this ministry and sending teams of their own, which is very exciting to see. Please continue to keep Eben-ezer Clinic – its staff and board, as well as the community of Haut Limbe in your prayers as they continue to face the many challenges of providing healthcare in Haiti. ~Janelle Peterson 15
Nineteen individuals toured through Israel and Palestine last May with the ECCC. Jeff and Erik Anderson led the group. We learned from our guide, Waleed, who helped open our eyes to the biblical history all around us. This trip was more than tourism, it was a spiritual journey in the steps of Jesus. The Bible came alive in a new way as we made our way from Jerusalem to the wilderness, Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem and more. Along the way we met Israelis and Palestinians who talked to us about the conflict between the two. It was encouraging to meet Arab Christians who are working towards reconciliation at Bethlehem Bible College. It was heart breaking to walk through Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum in Israel. Time and time again the people asked that we remember them in our prayers. We laughed with children in Jenin where more than 20 kids are sponsored by ECCCers through World Vision. This partnership helps develop an impoverished area in the West Bank. Part of the project includes empowering women to make a living. We learned how to make couscous from these womenâ€”some of us even joined in! As a result of the Study Tour, a donor saw a need for a vehicle that the instructors at Galilee Bible College (a subsidiary of Bethlehem Bible College) and working with another Canadian Charity the Alive group plus a major donor raised enough money to allow the purchase of a good used vehicle.
The ECCC group on the Sea of Galilee
The trip was meaningful in many ways, but perhaps the most significant was the realization that this is where Jesus came in human flesh to reconcile the world to himself. In a place of such conflict, the message of reconciliation and peace is needed more than ever. It is the hope of the ECCC that as we continue to partner with friends in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Jenin, that the message of reconciliation would become a reality. We trust many will see this as a step in their faith journey and consider participating in the Jenin Child Sponsorship now and in joining the next Israel/Palestine Study Tour in May, 2013.
Affiliated Ministries Corrections Canada This was a busy year for Corrections Canada as the Harper Government won its first majority many changes were set in place to ensure Public Safety. This included increasing capacity at Federal Institutions to accommodate some of the legislative changes. One of those changes meant getting rid of the Accelerated Parole Review (APR), this was a rule that allowed first-time non-violent offenders to be paroled at the first sixth of their sentence without appearing before the Parole Board. The Government's "Tough on Crime" Bill still continues to be felt across the country. Chaplaincy is affected in that as capacity increases so does the need for spiritual services so we're anticipating a growth in chaplaincy hiring. Thanks to Superintendent Jeff Anderson, who participated in a chaplaincy study to find ways to enhance the relationship between the Correctional Service of Canada, the Faith Community from which chaplains are contracted, and the chaplains themselves. This study took over 12 months and resulted in recommendations for an Enhanced Partnership Model that would serve to do that. Jeff has had an interesting look into the world of Corrections. Here at Edmonton Institution for Women (EIFW), the changes have been felt in various ways. As you're probably 16
aware, women process their reality differently than men do. So when the APR was removed it meant those who anticipated being released had their hopes dashed resulting in heavy emotional breakdowns. Ours is a multi-level facility with a population capacity of 129, we've sometimes exhausted that capacity by 10-12 residents. This has resulted in pressures of population management and the added needs that accompany this. Today our count is 115 but that will change. I have a corps of volunteers that enhance my ministry for which I am grateful. In addition to the volunteers I have an associate chaplain and between the two of us, the ministry to all faiths is well facilitated. Apart from regular Sunday Chapel services we offer a variety of programs to assist and challenge participants during their time of incarceration. We offer volunteer led programs like Alpha, Bible Study, Worship Dance, Prayer, one-on-one Sojourning and in the area of artistic development we provide Choir and Music lessons. I spend the bulk of my time in one-on-one counseling as you can appreciate the need across the country for men and women alike to help these folk come to terms with their poor formation that has led them to choose criminal behavior. As the anticipated changes are being implemented we have several needs that I will bring to your attention. We release women to the communities where they have committed their crimes and this brings several challenges for these women. After spending time in the institution and learning new skills and different ways of applying those skills and, for some a new faith connection, there is great apprehension felt as they approach their release dates. We need to help these women find a new community from which to live out their transformed lives. We receive women from the Prairie Region, including Western Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories and Yukon. We need to find healthy faith communities for them upon release. Here in Edmonton we have a Women's' Reintegration Chaplain, whose role is to assist ex-offenders transit safely into the community. She is the only one in the region and we release a small percentage of women to Edmonton. To church pastors and outreach ministry leaders please consider getting involved in prison ministry? We have Covenant churches in all the cities where we have Federal Institutions so there are opportunities to get involved and if you need more information on how to do this please contact me and I'll gladly facilitate workshops or simply come to your churches to provide information for you. We thank those that are already involved in ministries of Compassion and Justice and challenge those who have not yet gotten involved to start thinking in that direction. ~Snowy Noble
The Committee on Ministerial Standing is a group of five ordained Canada Covenant clergy who interview and make recommendations regarding candidates for credentials in our denomination. The Committee also seeks to monitor the continuing education, Covenant Orientation Program and the credentialing paperwork needed to complete the process. In 2011, we were very pleased to recommend Dan Larson (Norquay) and Ray Wall (Rosebud, AB) as candidates for Ordination to Word and Sacrament (OWS). Dan and Ray were ordained to Covenant ministry at the Covenant Annual Meeting in Denver, CO in June. We thank God for Dan and Ray and their ongoing ministries in the Canada Covenant. Interviews and recommendations have been completed for Julia Stein (ECCC, Winnipeg) for Ordination to Specialized Ministry (Discipleship) and for Ramone (Snowy) Noble (Chaplaincy/Edmonton) for Commissioning and we look forward to the completion of this process at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church in June in Irvine, CA. Our committee also completed a number of other interviews to recommend/monitor the credentialing of other Canada Covenant clergy. Regular interviews need to be scheduled to renew licences and to monitor the Covenant Orientation requirements. This requires a significant amount of paperwork and follow-up to keep files/forms current. We are very thankful to have Julia Stein in the ECCC office to help us with this process. Our Committee for 2012 includes Kristen Waldschmidt (Strathmore, AB), Josh Rude (Sarnia, ON), Andy Sebanc (Surrey, BC – ECCC Ministerial Chair), Jeff Anderson (ECCC Supt.) David Johnson (Durban, MB – Chair – COMS) ~David Johnson
Women Ministries Another year has passed; it’s been a good year. We as a Church have redefined what our ministry and purpose looks like and the image of 5 smooth stones (David/Goliath) summarizes the tasks we have before us. Are you familiar with them? Check the ECC website to find them listed. Where do you think WM fits best? As I give a small window into what WM looked like this year a huge thank you goes to the women in our conference for their open-handedness and caring. It is a great privilege to be your “hands and feet” to assist and encourage in a multitude of ways. So – just some of what happened…the Faith and Outreach Grant made it possible for Sanctuary WM to invite women to the study “Breaking Free”, by Beth Moore. A young woman from Strathmore was assisted on her journey to training through YWAM. Dina Katanacho in Palestine received funds to assist women through the Nazareth Bible Society. Check out her amazing story, written by Darlene Anderson, on our website. Jenell Pluim, our Ministry Coach, and Karen Bailey, AVA, have teamed up to offer workshops and training to clusters of churches. 17
And – newsflash! - two of our women will be in Arizona this month to be trained as facilitators for “Mending the Soul”, a support group and the next step for healing in both AVA (Advocates for Victims of Abuse) and those who have suffered through a life in human trafficking. And - Triennial is coming! Women from all over will gather in San Diego in August of 2013! WM has created a scholarship fund of $500.00 each for 3 women who have never attended before. Spread the word! Ladies - be sure to join us during the AGM! Much more is in store and we need to hear your thoughts, to influence the final outcome of the projects, and for some of you to join our team! ~Trudy McCintosh
Kernels of Hope Kernels of Hope continues to make a huge difference in peoples lives who are struggling for survival. 2011 turned into our best year ever as we banded to together with both real and virtual farmers to grow crops and enrich lives ! Our Partner World Relief Canada worked through the CFGB with an implementing local partner in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help people resettle their farm land by supplying seeds and tools for their crop and even fishing equipment to help feed themselves and others. The ECCC is a small denomination but we have big hearts and large vision for mercy, compassion and justice issues. We are not just talking about them we are doing something about them ! God enriched our yields and vision so much this year that WRC had to call and say that the 3 year project is already funded! They want us to help on a new project! They haven’t had to make that type of call before. We have decided to move on to a similar project in the Congo. The long association of the Covenant Church and the Congo makes this a nation many Covenanters know and care for deeply. Thank you so much to all of you who have been able to help achieve and exceed our goals in any fashion over these years of the Kernels project. Grow with us again in 2012. We are extending God’s hand here on earth to those in need in such a win, win situation ! ~Ray Baloun
2011 ECCC Leadership Board Glenn Peterson (Chair)
Christin Dewald (Vice Chair)
Linea Lanoie (Personnel Committee)
Prince Albert, SK
Norinne Sullivan (Secretary)
Ray Wall (Finance Committee)
Rich Drinovz (Personnel Committee)
Sally Carlson (ECC Executive Board Liaison) Norquay, SK Jeff Anderson (Superintendent)
Julia Stein (Dir. of Ministry Support)
Bruce Reimer (Financial Consultant)
Gerald Froese (Church Revitalization)
Published on Apr 3, 2012