Readers Share Their Thoughts

By Don Meyer

CHICAGO, IL (January 22, 2010) – Hardly a week goes by that we do not receive a few comments from readers on stories published as part of the Covenant online news report.

We will share from time to time some of those responses generated through the “comments” link attached to each published story. This kind of feedback is very helpful to our Covenant News Service staff as we seek to identify and publish stories of great interest to a broad spectrum of online readers of this report.

Following are comments relating to recently published stories, edited in some cases for length. To read a particular story of interest, click on the headline.

Jovins Reported Safe in Port-au-Prince

Carol Johnson-Booth of Foxborough, MA, writes: It was blessing that the Jovins survived the earthquake! I am encouraged to hear that the Jovins will be able to be there – to do whatever they see to do in the midst of the tragedy in Haiti.

Joke Romulus of Watford, UK, writes: Thanks for sharing this! Our church is supporting Martinez and our pastor was not able to contact him. Great to hear that they are okay.

Prudence Wigen of Helena, MT, writes: I think the Pastor Walter Anderson mentioned in the story may have been my dad. He was an ECC pastor who spent some time at a church in Miami after he retired. He had previously been in Bethel, Alaska, and had moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Blogger Shares Impressions of Haiti Earthquake

Mrs. Gregory of London, UK, writes: Thank you for this. I’m privileged to sponsor a child who lives west of Limbe and am encouraged to hope that the family may have survived.

Donations Best Way to Speed Relief to Haiti Relief Victims

Mike Fong of Palo Alto, CA, writes: It is a joy to read Evangelical Covenant Church communications – the writing is so, well, strong. This article addressed the concerns of us who want to help as well as letting us know what Covenant World Relief has thought through and already acted on. The online giving link is amazing. Donate via credit card, PayPal, and especially ACH (directly from your banking institution). No need to take that 1-3 percent processing fee. Thank you CWR for being prepared, responding, and being a light illuminating the current state of helping in this disaster in Haiti.

Covenant World Relief Aiding Haiti Earthquake Victims

Pam McConnell of Yorkville, IL, writes: Wonderful story. I am inspired to offer my help on site. I am an RN licensed in Illinois. I am scheduled for a vacation to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in February and have purchased my plane ticket. I would like to find an organization that would let me assist on site in Haiti during that time frame.

Sallman Painting Featured in Åland Islands Stamp

Keith Ericson of Johnson City, TN, writes: Very interesting story. While a student at Moody Bible Institute In Chicago in the late 1950s, I attended Edgewater Covenant Church. Warner Sallman attended there at that time. I found him to be the most Christ-like person I had met.

Edythe (Blomberg) Gravley of Darwin, MN, writes: As a student nurse at Swedish Covenant Hospital, we had the privilege of seeing the film of Warner Sallman painting the Head of Christ. We also took care of his mother who was a patient. He was a wonderful man. Thank you for sharing this.

Artist Provides Creative Example of Pastor’s Sermon Text

Bert Foster of Thief River Falls, MN, writes: Great story! My wife is an artist and we are also talking about ways to incorporate the arts into our worship services. Visual illustration has great power to touch people’s hearts.

Funding to Focus on Boarding School for Rescued Prostitutes

John Tanagho of Chicago, IL, writes: New Day is a beautiful example of Christians courageously and faithfully leading the way to serve girls forgotten and ignored by so many. May God richly bless this ministry, and may Covenant churches and members help make New Day a reality for those still enslaved day, but soon to be rescued.

Winds of change – How and When Is Church to Adapt?

Jim Harrelson of Osage City, KS, writes: There is no question that change is uncomfortable. I am a person who, personally, prefers the rut. But I have found that in ministry it really is either change or die. But it isn’t change for the mere sake of change. Ministry is service to others, and that ought to make it simple. The needs of people change – their outlooks, their issues, their concerns. Those who would serve them must find new ways to do that. Insisting on serving older perceived needs that no longer exist means you really serve no one. The priorities of the Gospel never change. God’ priorities never change, but how we address them must change. We are not here to serve the church. The church is here to serve the world so that it might know the saving love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. The world we must serve is the world that exists today, not the one that existed 50-60 years ago, or even the one that existed 10-20 years ago. Like the old theological catch phrase, “reformed and always reforming,” we must be “changed (by Christ) and ever changing (to serve others as Christ served us.)” That involves dying to our own desires and living for others, as he did. That’s hard and uncomfortable and absolutely necessary.

Memorial Service Friday for Keith C. Fullerton

Paul Lessard of Castle Rock, CO, writes: It would be hard to overestimate the contribution Keith made to the Canada Covenant and the larger Covenant. Always a truth teller, he brought clarity and perspective to every conversation and meeting he was a part of. His country aphorisms brought insight to more than one annual meeting, but it was his heart for those on the edges of society that truly stretched the churches he led and the conference during his superintendent years.

James Gnida
of Sherwood Park, AB, writes: Fabulous. I was a classmate of Keith’s at Ruby School and Kenville, Manitoba. My condolences to the entire family regarding his passing. May the Lord give you comfort during this time of loss.

Anne McGoran of Langley, BC, writes: Keith saw past gender, age and ethnicity; he saw you as a person needing love, especially the love of God. He modeled humble servanthood – where there was a need, he would step in.

Shane Olson of Saskatoon, SK, writes: Keith, you were a good friend of mine. You visited the Saskatoon church before Christmas and I was disappointed that I missed you. When I heard you were moving to Norquay, I was encouraged to know that it would not be long before I would speak with you again. How sad I was to hear of your passing. I thank God for you. What a great and heavenly reward you have stored up for yourself. I guess you filled God’s treasuries to overflowing and he called you home. Thank you, Keith, for being my friend, for your mentorship, and for going salmon fishing with my son and me. I will miss you.

Susan (Johnson) Knight of Middletown, CT, writes: My husband, Jim, and I wish to offer condolences to the Fullerton family. We both went to CBI (CBC) and remember the strong leadership in Canada of the Fullerton family. I would like to send a message of sympathy to David Fullerton, who was in my CBI class of 1965.

Bob and Mavis Elseth of Warren, MN, write: We very much appreciated Keith. He will be greatly missed by many!

Kernels of Hope Helps Feed Starving Sudanese

Victoria Ward of Glendora, CA, writes: I am so moved by these Covenant farmers. I teach high school world history and am a California Covenanter, so am blessed on two levels. I will indeed be in prayer for them regularly, now that I know about them. Onward and upward!

Resource for Health Care Reflection

Edwin Hallsten of Roscoe, IL, writes: I’m impressed with the current relevance of the 1993 statement. Moral issues are central to the current debate. Thank you for this reminder.

Power of Radio Ministry Evidenced in Changed Lives

Dennis Carlson of Farmington Hills, MI, writes: What a great story on Luda, the power of the gospel and the ministry of KICY! I was blessed to spend the summer of 1973 in Nome helping to build the Covenant parsonage there, so was able to hang out with the KICY crew. God bless faithful pioneers like Ralph and Gert Fondell and all those since! We are excited to be sending a work team from our church to KICY this summer. Though I will not be able to head to Nome in July, I am so glad that we can partner with KICY and the Covenant work in Western Alaska and into Russia in this way. Thanks for keeping this strategic ministry before the greater Covenant family through stories like this.

Harvey Fiskeaux
of Nome, AK, writes: I have lived in Nome Alaska for 15 years only a block away from KICY. I thank God for General Manager Dennis Weidler. I praise God for Luda and the many other staff members. God is truly using this tiny radio station to make a huge difference in western Alaska and Russia for his glorious name and kingdom. Perhaps this is the furtherance of the gospel mission that began with the Covenant Church under the influence of Karl Axelson over 100 years ago when he was sent to Russia as one of the first missionaries. He made it to Unalakleet for the winter and evangelized all of western Alaska. For many years now that influence has reached far into Russia. May God continue to bless the proclamation of his gospel over KICY.

Presidential Scholarship Program Marks 10th Anniversary

Adam Phillips of Washington, DC, writes: Ten years of strong stewardship and investment! As a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, I still am humbled to think of it. I echo Eric Strom’s comments and heeding Stephanie Stultz’s story, it’s good that all Covenanters, where they can, continue to strengthen and support the program.

Toni Schwabe of Wyoming, MN, writes: Congratulations to the recipients. I was in preaching class with Stephanie – watch out, here she comes! She is wonderful.

Carolers Provide Gift They Never Anticipated

Carla Kepler of Mercer Island, WA, writes: I was fortunate to be a part of the group of carolers that day. We have all been so concerned about avoiding political incorrectness that we tend to want to close our church doors and celebrate our Christian traditions while hidden inside, afraid to offend. Many of my friends on Mercer Island are Jewish. I love to hear how they celebrate the holidays and how families are mended and encouraged with traditions. A few years ago I invited a Jewish friend to our annual Women’s Ministries Christmas brunch where she had a delightful time. Our Lord and his family were Jewish. I’m looking forward to caroling again next year!

Holmgren Named President of Cleveland Browns

Eloise Nelson of Chicago, IL, writes: We wish Mike the very best. We got to know his lovely daughters at North Park Covenant Church several years ago. When one of his grandchildren was baptized in the church, he and his daughter sang a very tender duet together. This man is multi-talented!

Phil Carlson of Iron River, MI, writes: Cleveland’s gain is Seattle’s loss.

Six Chicago Hispanic Churches Gather for Christmas Worship

Flor Retamal of Chicago, IL, writes: Thanks for sharing our work with the Covenant family. Sorry I forgot to mention our new church “Vida Plena.” Iglesia del Pacto Grace is planting this new church and they were also part of the Christmas celebration.

No Public Services Planned for Esther Gilbertson

Karen Stein of Walnut Creek, CA, writes: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Tornell family. Esther and Lloyd were dear friends to my parents and grandparents. My husband and I had the delightful honor of spending a week of family conference with Esther and Lloyd many years ago. It was an unforgettable experience. They were both joyful servants of God.

Barn May Be Ordinary, But Christmas Eve Service Is Not

Candace Cesarz of Farmington Hills, MI, writes: What a wonderful sounding service! Thank you for sharing about it!

Heartsong More Than a Memory—A Ministry Legacy

Dorothy Moir of Punta Gorda, FL, writes: Covenant Caravan. The first teams went out in 1960-61. One team consisted of Clara Adamson, Trimont, Minnesota; Phyllis Anderson, Dawson, Minnesota; Jim Erickson, Trimont, Minnesota; Dorothy Moir, Joliet, Illinois; Irma Tufvander, Tower, Minnesota; and Tom Zarle, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. We visited 13 churches – 11 in the U.S. and two in Canada. We would stay at a church for two weeks and travel to the next church with one-night stands at Covenant churches along the way. However, Clara and I cannot recall all 13 churches. Here is what we remember, in no particular order: Austin Covenant, Chicago, Illinois; Kewanee, Illinois; Ironwood, Michigan; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; First Covenant in Spokane, Washington; Mercer Island, Washington; Calgary, Alberta; Minnedosa, Manitoba; New London, Minnesota; Rochester, Minnesota; Billings, Montana; Sioux City, Iowa; and Kalamazoo, Michigan. At least we think we were there – after all it was 50 years ago!

Older Stories

Occasionally we receive comments about stories published some time ago. Most often, readers come across them while topically perusing search engines or when visiting the online Covenant News Archive maintained by Covenant News Service. We appreciate reader comments at any time about any story that has appeared as part of our online Covenant news report.

Mega Churches – Not About Methodology, It’s About Principles

Jenifer Stevens of Norman, OK, writes: I started going to Westmoore Community Covenant church seven years ago and love it there. Prior to that, I was going to a Pentecostal church and they made me feel terrible every Sunday when I left. So, thanks to Pastors Paul and Kevin – they have helped me to realize that I am going to be okay and that God loves everyone and is here to accept us as we are. As Pastor Paul always says, “We’re the church of the messed up.” I now feel so much better about myself and that I am forgiven for my shortcomings, and that my prayers were answered when I was directed to Pastor Paul’s church. Thank God for Pastor Paul, Kevin and rest of the flock that I know will continue to grow.

Harold Spooner to Be Honored by Stony Brook

Alisha Baity of California writes: May God continue to multiply all your blessing Mr. Spooner.. What an honor to have know you during my pre years of life (YOUNG LIFE), I’ve never forgotten you and your family.. You touched my life in such a way that the love still resonates and grows into a light that I can now share with others… So friend Congradulations on all the many blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you…

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