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OCTOber 2012



How can those who are young keep their way pure? By living according to your word.” PSALM 119:9


Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.’ Ecclesiastes 12:1 A missional emphasis of Covenanters from our beginning has engaged in the Christian formation of youth and young adults. Our support for Christian parenting and the spiritual nurture of children has flourished in ministries such as Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Groups, weeks at Camp Squanto, Mission Trips, Winterfest, and the triennial experience of CHIC. North Park University has also served as an extension in the college years, where faith and learning meet. Serving on summer staff at Pilgrim Pines and mission excursions to NESM have cultivated a deep sense of service, compassion, and faith in multiple generations.

For a church to think long term, they have to begin to think and plan multigenerationally. If a church marries itself entirely to serve one generation they are guaranteed to be a widow before the next generation. Local church ministry with children, youth and families is a multi-generational cornerstone strategy for most churches as they serve their communities. Wise is the church that sets a priority on excellence in helping young people to become observant followers of Jesus, teaching them to practice everything that belongs to the way of Jesus with the truth of Jesus so they can experience the life of Jesus.

This edition of The East Coast Covenanter seeks to highlight what God has been doing across the Conference in youth ministry over the last year. As you read these stories, I hope you’ll pause to give thanks, along with your ongoing support of youth ministry in your church and across the Conference. “How can those who are young keep their way pure? By living according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9 On the move,

Have a question for howard? Email him at

Paul W. Kahn Editor / graphic design & layout / writer

Alicia Sturdy Editor / writer / photography

Howard Burgoyne editor / writer

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EAST COAST CONFERENCE 52 Missionary Road Cromwell, CT 06416 860.635.2691

Providing opportunities HOW one nEW jERSEY church is reaching out to youth with pastor susan gillespie & anne weinberg

Trinity covenant church Livingston, new jersey

Livingston, NJ

In recent years, the town of Livingston, NJ has become a very sought after town for families because of its high achieving and competitive schools. However, Pastor Sue Gillespie of Trinity Covenant recognized that as a church body they were not meeting a big part of the needs of their community. When she began to look into ways to better reach Livingston, providentially, God brought people to her. First there was M.Div student Anne Weinberg, who came to the church looking for something else when she was offered and then accepted the job of part-time Children & Family Ministry Director. And so, over the course of the summer, Trinity began taking small steps in the direction on building a family ministry. Trinity’s first VBS in over a decade was the first step. Held during the evenings, the week was “an opportunity to not only provide some fun and educational activities for our regular attending children, but also the opportunity to reach out to families in the community,” noted Weinberg. “Going forward I believe God is leading us to provide opportunities for our families to build relationships with each other as well as building their relationship with Christ. I think the important thing is to realize the truth that one is not mutually exclusive of the other. Both are needed to build up and function as the body of Christ.” The next step happened a couple weeks afterwards, when congregation member Ilene Carter volunteered to use her background in the arts to hold a drama workshop open to community kids ages seven to eleven. Pastor Sue commented, “Our community has a lot going on - but a lot of it is about achieving, about having a ‘winner.’ So this was something different - you were able to do and learn some things - but it wasn’t about winning or losing.” In the near future, Trinity Covenant is planning to begin a Kids Club that meets twice a month that will provide a way for kids to connect through fun activities centered on a


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Biblical theme. “My hope is that this will build momentum for our already existing program and perhaps also continue to be an outreach as our children bring their friends from the community,” said Weinberg. In addition, seasonal family outings are planned so that members and visitors can connect with each other. “I think it’s important that our families know that they are part of a community that seeks to come alongside them as they journey through parenting and in their relationship with Christ,” said Weinberg. “The last couple of years, our organizing principle has been ‘looking for the people that God is bothering,’” said Gillespie. “God is bothering somebody, and we would like for them to think of us when they start being bothered by Him.” But that principle has been augmented a bit since the summer’s small step successes. Now the question on the mind of Pastor Sue, Anne, and the members of Trinity Covenant is, “How can we be a church where folks can be ‘bothered by God’ while also being a great place to bring the kids?” Pastor Sue Gillespie has been on staff at Trinity since 2002, pastor since 2007. She has lived in Chatham, NJ for 24 years with her husband John, raising four sons. Credentialed ministry came later in life: Sue’s BA was in journalism and she worked in various writing and administrative jobs while raising kids until the Lord insisted on seminary! Anne Weinberg is the Children and Family Ministry Director at Trinity. She has a BA in Education and Psychology and has been in the field of education both teaching and supervising for 18 years. Anne attended Bethel Seminary and will be finishing up an MA in Children and Family Ministry in March 2013. She is married with two children, a kitten, two hamsters and a beta fish lovingly known as BatFish.

Visit Trinity Covenant Church on the web:

New City Covenant Church boston, MASSACHUSETTS

CHURCH PLANTING UPDATE by jason condon, director of church planting

Our newest church plant: New City Covenant Church The East Coast Conference is excited for the official roll-out of our newest church plant project: New City Covenant Church of Boston, led by Pastor T.C. Moore! T.C. was approved for church planting just over a year ago, and spent the past nine months in a very successful church planter residency, shared one-third/two-thirds across two very different Covenant churches: Highrock Arlington and Cambridge Community Fellowship Church.

The Next 3-4 Months: Launch Team Gathering For the rest of 2012, T.C. and his growing team will focus on launch team development, gathering 40-50 people that have a burdened heart and diverse gifts for ministry in the South End/Lower Roxbury area of Boston, “a microcosm of the city’s diversity and disparity.” Securing a worship space, developing key ministries, and fully engaging the surrounding neighborhood will continue through 2013. The full “grand opening” public launch is scheduled for Fall 2013.

PARTNER CHURCHES & MISSION FRIENDS We’re thrilled that Pastor Larry Kim and Cambridge Community Fellowship Church are the first ones to engage a conversation around partnering in this project. With other conversations already in the works, we’re praying that three to four additional Covenant Churches and other like-minded churches will also partner across the spectrum of fervent prayer, launch team members, short-term missionaries, volunteers, and financial support. This “cord of three strands” of Covenant, Conference, and Partner Congregations is vital to the healthy, missional vitality of our new-born churches!

Get to know

t.c. & osheta moore Born in Southern California, T. C. Moore grew up in central Illinois before moving to New Orleans to attend Bible college. It was in New Orleans he met, married, and started a family with Osheta Moore, who was also born in Southern California but grew up in Southern Texas. Since hurricane Katrina forced them to relocate in 2005, the Moores have lived in Cambridge with their three children (Tyson, T. J., and Trinity) while T. C. completes a graduate program in urban ministry at Gordon-Conwell/Boston. In Boston, T. C. has served on staff at Congregación León de Judá (Lion of Judah), Straight Ahead Ministries, and as a consultant for the Emmanuel Gospel Center— all while freelancing as a web and graphic designer. The Moores are passionate about building urban, Christ-centered community, racial reconciliation, and seeing lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. They enjoy watching movies, reading books, Apple gadgets, and camping as a family.

If you or your church are interested in ensuring the successful launch of New City Covenant Church, here are some great options:

 Contact Pastor T.C. Moore directly:

Boston, MA

 Refer friends, family, and neighbors to T.C. and New City Covenant Church if you think it might be a great fit!

 Pray! (send an email letting T.C. know you’re interceding!)

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This fall has brought the opportunity to celebrate five of our churches who “went public” this month whether it be for the their first services or at a new location. Check out pictures and highlights of each of the services on the East Coast Conference blog -

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• Hope Church NYC | Astoria, NY pastor/planter Drew Hyun

• Highrock Quincy | Quincy, MA pastor/planter Stephen Sharkey

• Sanctuary Church | Providence, RI pastor/planter Andrew Mook

• Highrock Harvard Square | Cambridge, MA pastor/planter Dave Swaim

• Highrock North Shore | Salem, MA pastor/planter Aaron Engler

• Promiseland Covenant Church | Bronx, NY pastor/planter Michael Carrion

For more info on the Four-Stage Launch Process, visit:


Congregation highlight BT KREIG Gammelgard | tim olsen | dakota petzold

Covenant church of thomaston thomaston, connecticut


I recently visited a church in our conference for a Sunday Worship Service. The Covenant Church of Thomaston, Connecticut is a congregation with a great deal of energy. The sermon focused on reaching beyond the walls of the church into the community as the call of Christ on our lives, and they responded to that call. After the service, a special congregational meeting was held to approve a leadership decision to hire a part time leader to reach kids from fourth to sixth grade in their town. Much of the money needed to make their dream a reality had already been raised, and the whole congregation affirmed the plan. I love the intentionality of this congregation to be so incarnational. Rather than waiting for their community to come to them, they are going to their community to serve where the needs and opportunities are great. I admire their risk taking. I applaud their bold foresight. I am moved by their love for people far from God. I saw Jesus in this church, reaching out beyond the walls of their congregation to influence young lives for eternity.

Growing up, I participated in our church’s Trailblazer program all four years at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Winnetka, IL. Friday nights from fourth to sixth grade I was at church for a fantastic evening. There were a number of kids who attended. The games were exciting, with scripture memory challenges weekly and lively bible stories were taught. I even remember a bit of the Covenant Trailblazer Song that Ms. Marion Christiansen played on the piano for us to sing along. I loved the program so much that I brought a station wagon load of friends each Friday night. None of us will ever forget the lasting impact Trailblazers had on us and our faith in Jesus Christ. I have always imagined starting a similar group for the children of our church and area neighborhood. Sunday, October 14, will be that day at The Covenant Church of Thomaston. We have prayed for God’s timing and have discussed the possibilities over the past couple of years. This summer we voted on finances for the program and have hired a leader for this children’s ministry position. Rachel Ewers is our new Trailblazer leader! We expect a vibrant and growing Trailblazer ministry. We have an active Sunday school program with the fastest growing numbers between the ages of four and twelve. The High School and Confirmation/Junior High Youth groups already meet on Sunday nights and now the Trailblazers will join them. The vision is to reach beyond our walls and include any child and family who would like to participate. The light of Jesus Christ always shines brightest when the children are invited and welcomed to church. There is a great opportunity before us so please pray for us as we pray for you. Thank you! Pastor Tim Olsen

Thomaston, CT

Here is their story. Be inspired by their obedience to the nudging of the Spirit and their external focus. May we all be so bold! - Kreig Gammelgard


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Visit the Covenant Church of Thomaston on the web:


The testimony below testifies to our amazing God, who gives us life as we share it in return! Dakota attended our church for two years and was brought by a friend. She was confirmed this past June.

Why i will live my life for jesus christ A confirmation paper by dakota petzold | Covenant chuRCH of thomaston Dakota Petzold is in the front row center of the picture

I will live my life for Jesus because he has saved me, along with so many others. He died for us without expecting us to do the same. God loved us enough to have him do that. It’s something that can never be repaid. Because his blood washed away our sins, we have been forgiven. It was the ultimate sacrifice, and because of it we all have spots in Heaven when we die. Paradise doesn’t have to be a rumor for us. I will live my life for Jesus Christ because he is the light, the kin, and the way. He will lead me through the hard times. And through the hardest of times he will carry me. Because I am his. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a girl. Let’s call her Jane. Jane like to sing and dance and was always in her own little world because she found that the one she truly belonged to was cruel - so she preferred her made up ones. One day, Jane’s mom took her to a picnic and she

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met a girl who was her age. The other girl we’ll call Molly. Jane and Molly got along so well that they eventually became the very best of friends. They could talk about absolutely anything. They were also quite alike. They both loved the color blue and Harry Potter and country and classical music. There was, however, one very large difference between the two. Molly was raised to worship the Lord – this Jesus Christ guy – and his Father, God, too. Jane had been raised to appreciate the ways of nature. One day, Jane stayed at Molly’s house for the weekend and was brought to their church. She found herself in love with the stories in the book they read from, the Bible. From Esther’s to Cain’s, they all fascinated her. She came more often and asked questions. Jane felt accepted in this new community, this church. She could relate to the other children in the youth group and began to view all of the people there

as family – brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, and many, many cousins. Jane grew in her faith as she spent more time at the church. God was all around, for better or worse, carrying his children through the hardest of times and watching them enjoy the best of times. She learned of Esther’s selflessness and of many other stories. During this time she met another almost-sister named Maria. When Jane decided to stay in the confirmation class for another year, Maria was one of the reasons she could go through with it. Without her, Jane would never have tried. And now Jane is standing in front of you and if you know me at all, you know exactly who Molly and Maria are. Hi, my name is Dakota, and I will live my life for Jesus because, over time, Jesus has become my life. Dakota Petzold

To see where all the Conference churches are located, visit:


A CHIC STORY of my own by steve hoffman


A little over two years ago, I answered God’s call on my life to move to Bedford, NH to serve as the Director of Youth Ministries at Bethany Covenant Church. There was some hesitancy on my part because I was not very familiar with the Covenant but quickly saw how it was a great fit for me pastorally and theologically. The first thing I heard about when I began my ministry an event called CHIC that happens every three years. All I knew about it was that it was a huge youth conference that I would have to spend the bulk of the next two years fundraising for. At the time, I had no idea what I was in for.

motivated, encouraged, and supported through everything they experienced at CHIC. It was eye-opening for them to see 5000 other teenagers worship God together. It was challenging for them to see and hear and experience what it meant to follow Jesus Christ. It was a blessing for them to see how they could share life together and follow Jesus together. As I told my wife when I returned home, God spoke to all of our students the exact way I was praying he would. I have a completely different youth group now than I had before CHIC.

As the summer of CHIC grew closer, I began to seek out people to hear their CHIC stories. I heard from one man in our congregation who went to CHIC in the 1950s. I heard some of my youth leaders tell their stories from CHIC ’80 or CHIC ’94. I listened to my junior and seniors tell me all about CHIC 2009. Despite all this, however, I still had my doubts about what this would do for my youth group and me. Through fundraiser after fundraiser, planning session after planning session, the one thought that kept coursing through my mind was “This better be worth it.”

God also spoke to me at CHIC. It affirmed my decision to embrace the Covenant. Having my own CHIC experience helped me see that the Covenant values teens the same way I value them. I was seeing their commitment to student ministries up close and personal and was deeply blessed by it.

Now, on this side of CHIC, I can confidently say that it was totally worth it. It was an amazing week. God used the speakers, the bands, the praise team, the seminars, the focus groups, and the relationships our students were forming to lavish his love on my students. They were challenged, convicted,

Steve Hoffman is the Director of Youth Ministries at Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford, NH. He lives in Bedford with his wife Heather and 18-month old daughter, Addison.

CHIC was worth all the effort and hard work it took to get there. Together with my students, I now have an experience, a memory, that ties me to Covenanters past, present, and future. I now have my own CHIC story to tell.

Bedford, NH

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Visit for the official recap of CHIC - featuring videos and pictures from the event.


loving incarnationally in salem by pastor aaron engler

A few Thursdays ago I got a phone call from a stranger I had never met before. A friend of a friend of a friend got wind that there were a few Iraqi war refugees living in Salem, and that they were really struggling to adapt to living here in town, mostly because they didn’t speak any English.

couldn’t show residency without a place to live, which they couldn’t get without government help. They were stuck in a Catch-22, trapped in the prison of 1990’s era Honda Odyssey with nowhere to go.

over the world like we normally do, the Overseers of our church canceled their normal monthly meeting and did something they considered more important - cleaning the toilet for a family of immigrant Muslims.

This friend of a friend had heard about our desire to serve our neighbors here in town and so he called me to ask if I’d be willing to meet one of the families. And when I found out that they lived in the Point neighborhood - the primary area of our mercy, justice and compassion focus - I knew I had to meet them.

They literally needed one place to stay for the one month of September so they could get one utility bill in their name. That was it.

We gathered together with brooms and bananas, cleaning supplies and carrots, a bed and some blankets, and in partnership with the North Shore CDC, got a family into an apartment and into a bed for the first time in weeks.

Sure enough, the minute I walked in the door, my new Iraqi friend, Ali, said he recognized me. When I asked where from, his answer was that he and his kids met me at the party in the Point on the 4th of July. The same party that the Boys and Girls Club organized and that many North Shore Highrockers staffed. Now, that’s already a cool connection... but it gets cooler yet. Turns out that Ali also invited a half dozen other families to come meet with us as well. One of which was a 32-year old refugee named Sapin. After a quick conversation, I found out that Sapin, his wife, his five-year old son, and one-year old daughter had all been living and sleeping in their van for over a week, essentially living off of bottled water and peanut butter crackers. They were eligible for refugee housing placement if they could show Massachusetts residency, but they

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And this is but a first to what I hope will be hundreds of similar stories all carrying the same theme: that a group of Highrockers wanted to Honor God by Loving Jesus, Serving Salem and Celebrating Life. Highrock Members participating at the local Boys & Girls Club

So knowing some people at the North Shore Community Development Coalition, I hoofed it down there and spoke with one of the property directors. And wouldn’t you know it, but out of the almost 300 units they manage, they just happened to have just one apartment available for just the one month of September!

Born and raised in rural Minnesota, Aaron Engler recently began as head pastor of newly planted Highrock North Shore, in Salem, MA. His wife Ariel, is a native of the North Shore.

Salem, MA

But what the North Shore CDC didn’t have were the bodies available on short notice to get the place prepared for a family to settle in. And my response was, “if you have a place, I can get the bodies.” And so that night, rather than sitting around a table plotting how to take

Visit Highrock North Shore Covenant Church on the web:


Why you should consider

Congregational vitality The question you are probably asking is, Why should we do it? Why should we spend so much energy on something that may well disturb our contentment and place new demands on our leadership? There is only one answer. You will only do this if you want to be with Jesus Christ in the mission field of today. If your goal is to preserve

The prayer of your conference staff and the entire denomination is that every church in the Covenant would be Healthy and Missional. By “Healthy” we mean pursuing Christ. By “Missional” we mean pursuing Christ’s priorities in the world. We want to serve our churches and encourage them to be where Jesus is and be passionate about passing the pearl of greatest worth to our desperate world.

If the discernment of your heart is that your church could be more effective in advancing the Kingdom of God and fulfilling His will “on earth as it is in heaven”, I invite you to consider “disturbing your contentment” and jumping into the Vitality Pathway by: • Inviting Kreig out to your church to introduce the many resources that are available. Your church could host a Vitality Breakfast with other district churches.

Kreig's korner by kreig gammelgard | director of congregational vitality

your heritage, take care of church insiders, or survive as a community institution, the vitality pathway is not for you. However, if you want to be where Jesus is, help others experience the holy, and pass the pearl of greatest worth in your life to countless people hungering for hope, then it will be worth all the effort and stress to reorient your congregational life.

• Scheduling a VERITAS Workshop to determine what God might have in store for your congregation in the new year. • Inviting Kreig to a district or area clergy gathering for a Q&A. • Gather two other regional churches (total of three) and consider an invitation to a National launch event known as NAVIGATE to begin the journey of walking the Vitality Pathway together as a “team.” This event takes place in early November every year. If you are leading (or have lead) in a Healthy Missional Church, consider: • Becoming a part of a Coaching Network to help serve and support churches in your district. • Joining a Regional Affinity Cohort of Pastors in a similar ministry context

In the end, only the gospel matters. Everything else is just tactics. From “Facing Reality:

A Tool for Congregational Mission Assessment”

by Thomas Bandy

for mutual support, resourcing, and accountability. If you want to see God breathe new life into every church in our conference and become a part of the foundation of a Vitality Movement in our Conference, I invite you to consider: •Joining the Vitality Prayer Team - a group of “prayer warriors” committed to praying for our churches health, leadership, discernment, and empowerment. This group will receive a monthly update on Congregational Vitality events and where God is on the move in our churches. God is on the move! Let’s join Him in the journey!

Have a question for KREIG? Email him at

Michelle Madsen-Bibeau (ABC clergy) to E. Hampton, CT (Intentional Interim Pastor) - 07/12

Transitions comings & goings within the conference

Eric Hedberg from Pilgrim Pines (Squanto Director) - 09/12 Adam Phillips from ONE Campaign (Faith Relations Manager) to Evang. Covenant Church, Congo Kids Project Consultant 06/12



Rebecca Eklund from Duke Divinity School (Ph.D. studies) to St. Mary’s Seminary/Ecumenical Inst., Baltimore, MD - 09/12 Jason Ulven, U.S. Navy Chaplain, from U.S. Coast Guard, MD to U.S. Navy Base, Va. Beach, VA (Navy Seals Chaplain) 09/12 Lars Wilhemson to Easton, CT (Interim Pastor) - 07/12

52 Missionary Road, Cromwell, CT 06416  (860) 635-2691 FAX: (860) 398-5071 

Lori Neff from S. Plainfield, NJ to Princeton Seminary - 08/12

T.C. Moore from CCFC (residency) to Roxbury, MA (church planter) - 10/12

Nathan Albert from North Park University (Staff Chaplain) to E. Greenwich, RI (Pastor to Youth) - 08/12

John Konieczko from Lunenberg, MA to South Carolina (UMC church) - 11/12

Dane Anderson from Claremont, CA to Bedford, NH (Pastor of Contemporary Worship) - 09/12 Kevin Lester from Napa, CA to Cromwell, CT (Associate) - 09/12

Bob Bergquist from Lexington, MA (staff) to retirement - 10/12 Paul Corner from Washington Depot, CT to Seattle, WA (First) - 12/12 Phil Brockett to UCC Church, Meriden, CT (Interim) - 10/12

Linda Williams from Bowie, MD (Interim) - 09/12


dir. of church planting:

Dir. of congregational vitality:


Finance manager:

Howard K. Burgoyne

Jason Condon

Kreig Gammelgard

Alicia Sturdy

Robin Jones

OCT 2012 - Covenanter