ST. PAUL, MN (June 15, 2010) – What is this movement we call the Evangelical Covenant Church? And in what ways do the Covenant’s founding principles influence and shape our future?
James Hawkinson, executive secretary emeritus of Covenant Publications and one of the denomination’s more colorful storytellers, tackles those questions and explores the influence of expanding ethnic ministries in a series of three one-hour sessions as part of the upcoming 125th anniversary celebration of the Evangelical Covenant Church.
The 125th Annual Meeting begins on Thursday, June 24, and concludes with the traditional ordination worship service on Sunday, June 27. A number of special events and activities are scheduled through the three-day meeting, including a learning experience area called “E2: Engage and Equip” where Hawkinson will present The Covenant Church: Exploring Its Story.
In reflecting on the journey from the Covenant’s founding in 1885 to the present, Hawkinson asks, “Are there any things one can point to, with some confidence, that lie at the heart and spirit of being a Christian and a Covenanter – both then and now?”
Three questions were central to the way in which the founders understood their mission – based on listening to and obeying Scripture. “Those same questions now address us as individuals and congregations of the Covenant Church, questions we have inherited from them,” Hawkinson explains.
The first session Thursday afternoon centers on a personal question: How goes your walk as a believer? Have you personally been freed from yourself and the burden of sin by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and are you evidencing his grace in your daily life and encounters?
Friday afternoon’s session centers on a communal question: Are you and your congregation committed to the whole of Christ’s body, in the Covenant and the wider church? Do you understand fully that while your faith and commitment must be personal, it is never private? That you and your congregation are only one local expression of the Christian church, bound in holy covenant to the larger Covenant you have joined and the whole body of Christ beyond?
The final Saturday session incorporates a three-member panel – Greg Yee, Efrem Smith, and Ed Delgado – representing Asian, African-American and Hispanic voices within the Covenant. Panelists will focus on a pair of missional questions: First, how has historic Covenant life, thought, and practice drawn and inspired you to become a Covenanter and support its mission? And second, how do you see investing yourself to inspire in all those to whom you minister the Covenant’s personal, communal, and missional spirit going forward?
All of the sessions, which are open to all Annual Meeting attendees, will begin at 3 p.m. each day and will provide opportunity for mutual sharing and discussion. Each session will be videotaped for later posting to the Covenant website.