Midwinter Early Registration Deadline Next Week

CHICAGO, IL (December 9, 2010) – The deadline for early Midwinter Pastors Conference registration is Wednesday.

The conference for Evangelical Covenant Church ministers will be held January 31-February 4 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. The deadline for reserving hotel rooms is January 5.

The theme will continue the six-year emphasis on Covenant Affirmations and will focus on “Living Our Affirmations: A Commitment to the Whole Mission of the Church.”

John Perkins (top photo), president of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development in Jackson, Mississippi, will speak during the opening service. For more than 40 years he has spoken and written numerous books on holistic community development, racial reconciliation and leadership.

Perkins is a longtime friend of the Covenant. Sankofa journeys regularly stop at foundation offices in Jackson. The center’s mission is to advance principles of Christian community development and racial reconciliation throughout the world.

Laura Sumner Truax is senior pastor at LaSalle Street Church, a non-denominational church in downtown Chicago with a long tradition of uniting individual faith in Christ with God’s call for justice and compassion lived out in the world. Over the years, several Covenant pastors have either led the church or completed internships there.

Truax was invited to speak after several denominational leaders heard her presentation at a Duke University Summer Institute earlier this year. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of Opportunity International, an international micro-lending institution committed to improving the lives of the impoverished individuals, as well as the advisory board of Cabrini Green Legal Aid, the first faith-based legal clinic in the nation to provide criminal defense assistance for those who cannot afford it.

At the summer conference, Truax said, “Openness to the mystery and unpredictability of God positions us to exercise Christian hope, because we move from fear of the unknown to an expectancy for God to act. Christian hope is being bold enough to say that even in the midst of the darkness, God is already doing a new thing, a good thing.”

Ray Johnston (lower photo), president of Thriving Churches International (TCI) and founding pastor of Bayside Covenant Church, also will speak. Thriving Churches is a relational resource network that encourages best practices and offers support for pastoral staff, lay church leaders or any person currently serving in ministry.

Craig Gross, founder of XXXchurch.com, will speak during the closing breakfast. Gross has been featured in GQ, Newsweek, the LA Times, and the New York Times. He has also appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, and CNN. His ministry is the subject of an award-winning documentary and a new TV documentary.

XXXchurch.com mixes the seedy with the sacred in an effort to raise the often-taboo subject of pornography. In the seven years since it began, the website has had more than 70 million visitors. It also has helped pioneer software that creates “accountability partners.”

Statistics compiled by Baylor University indicate that one half of observant Christians consider pornography a major problem in their households. In 2002, a survey of pastors conducted by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, found that 30 percent of them admitted viewing pornography in a one-month period.

Covenant minister Al Tizon will lead the morning Bible studies. He is the associate professor of holistic ministry at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University and director of the Word & Deed Network of Evangelicals for Social Action in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

He authored two books that were released in 2007: Linking Arms, Linking Lives, exhorting churches to partner across the “urban-suburban” divide for community transformation, and Transformation after Lausanne, documenting the transformational movement around the world, specifically in the Philippines. Tizon delivered the Westerdahl Lectures at North Park Theological Seminary in 2008.

To register for the conference, click here and download the registration form.

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