Readers Share Their Thoughts

CHICAGO, IL (June 21, 2011) – Every week we receive comments from readers on stories published as part of the Covenant online news report.

Readers have the opportunity to post personal reflections and responses that are attached to individual stories, and can also post comments on our Covenant Facebook page.

Reader feedback is helpful to our Covenant News Service staff as we seek to identify and publish stories of interest to a broad spectrum of readers.

Following are comments gleaned from recent stories, edited in some cases for length. To read a particular story of interest, click on the headline.

Two Covenant Youth Honored for Contributions

Terry Peterson writes: We have watched Gretchen grow up and it’s so exciting to see her grow in the Lord and her caring for others. So happy and proud of her.

Nancy Reed writes: Congratulations! Way to go!

Sue Smith writes: Very cool news! These two are well deserving of such an honor! Congratulations Sam and Gretchen.

Funeral Service June 2 for Gladys Fryhling Wickman

Meagan Gillan writes: Gladys was a model for me in my earliest days of leadership in the Covenant as someone who was a committed ministry spouse, but who answered the call to serve her greater denominational family. Her dynamic and sweet spirit were inspiring and encouraging and her devotions at board meetings were deep and moving.

Paul Lundquist writes: Gladys was my teacher at Minnehaha Academy. I remember once when another teacher kept me after school as punishment. Gladys saw me sitting in detention, took pity on me, brought in a box of cookies and sat with me while I waited for my punishment to end. We ate cookies together and chatted. I will never forget the look of shock on the other teacher’s face when he came in to find the student he was trying to punish, instead laughing, chatting, and enjoying cookies with Gladys. She was a giant of a person to me. God’s love glowed in her and flowed from her. We all loved her and were blessed to have been touched by her life.

Two Services Scheduled for James R. Hawkinson

Timothy Eric Hawkinson writes: To all in our covenant family: I can speak on behalf of our entire family when I say that we are so grateful for your love, support and prayer. Together we all are the family that my grandfather lived his life in service of and we are grateful to God for him and for you as well. We are, after all, in this together and our God is faithful and good.

Guylla Brown writes: Peace to his memory. I am grateful to have known him. His actions matched his words.

Daniel Johnson writes: The prayers of all of us at Hilmar Covenant go out to Alyce, Jim’s “kids,” and all of their families in the passing of this wonderful man who has meant so much to all of us in the Covenant family. His knowledge and wisdom about Covenant things will be greatly missed. Hilmar always held a special place in Jim’s heart, and we at Hilmar Covenant are deeply saddened by his death – even as we rejoice in his heavenly homecoming.

David Noreen writes: The host of Jim’s friends will miss the gifts freely given to the Covenant church in his ministry for the Lord. In our collective memories, he will be recognized together with those he often recalled as “contributors to the faith.”

Jim and Bev Swanson write: We will miss Jim greatly. An affirming friend and wonderful example. It’s interesting that at this time we are reading together an article each day from Glad Hearts, which he edited a few years back. He kept us connected, and will continue to do so.

John Notehelfer writes: Just heard the news of Jim’s heavenly homecoming celebration! It is hard to absorb that he is no longer with us. It leaves a void. Jim had a special place for all of us who were “adopted” into the ECC family, whose roots were not Scandinavian and who came out of other Christian traditions – our Notehelfer family being among them. His embrace was genuine; his appreciation of what others brought to the table always so appreciative and affirmative.

Steve Bilynskyj writes: On behalf of the Covenant Ministerium, I offer praises to God for Jim’s life and for his faithful service to everyone in the Covenant church through his ministry with Covenant Publications. Like so many of us, I was blessed by Jim’s personal encouragement. He is a shining example of a true Pietist.

Karen Palmberg writes: What a special man of God! I am so blessed to have known him. He and Alyce have blessed our family so many times over the years and I am so thankful for the heritage of faith they have lived out for not just their own special family, but for the Covenant family at large.

Chris Icenogle writes: When I think of Jim my lasting impression will always be that of Jesus to Peter at breakfast by the lake. Jim was like that with me, giving me hope and affirming a new calling to ministry. Jim was loved by many because he loved one-at-a-time.

Andrew Burnett writes: Jim was an authentic Mission Friend, alight with the joy and grace of Christ in a way that was truly infectious. In external orientation we had some great instructors who taught us about the history and identity of the Covenant. But knowing Jim at Salem and Rice Creek was an orientation in itself into what the Covenant is all about. What a wise and winsome brother in the Lord!

Mark and Karin Youngberg write: With a voice that is once again resonant and powerful, I imagine Jim presenting his gift of song with the Heavenly Host! Though we will most certainly miss the infectious smile in his eyes and the warm “Great to see you!” greeting, I know we are able to look forward to meeting Jim again.

Marlene Carlson writes: Jim was my first “real” boss at the Covenant Companion office in the early 1970s in the pre-digital era. I have to give him credit for keeping up with the advances in technology – last year he emailed me a letter with his scanned signature in place, acknowledging my dad’s passing. It was letter-perfect, per usual. I was always impressed with Jim – we were all sure he could do ANYthing. He was an inspiration to stay interested, active, and informed. He was a man of wisdom, deep faith, and loyalty to the cause of Christ and his church.

Bruce Finfrock writes: Shocking to hear of Jim’s passing, but comforting to know he is with our Lord. What a wonderful friend and role model. He will be missed.

Don Lindman writes: A wonderful, kind man and a great friend! He was a tremendous encouragement in my early years of writing, and he will be remembered for as long as memory doesn’t fail us for his stories.

David Mark writes: Jim loved World Mission and gave Mexico a lasting and beautiful gift. It was his visit and encouragement that moved Mexican Covenant leader Miguel Ortega to create and publish a daily devotional entitled Hoy Con Dios that was modeled on the Covenant Home Altar. This publication has been widely used in Mexico, among Spanish-speaking Covenanters in the U.S. and throughout Latin America for many years.

Paul and Elizabeth Larsen write: Jim was more than a leader in the Covenant. He was an institution. His celebration of life, wide reading, witty and insightful speaking and writing can never be forgotten.

Royce Eckhardt writes: Jim’s passing leaves a large hole in our Covenant legacy and identity. He embodied Covenant Pietism at its best.

Chet and Jean Larson write: Jim will be missed, not only for his leadership in the Covenant, but also his wonderful sense of humor and positive outlook.

Phil and Jonna Axelson write: Our first memory of Jim was of him sitting on a log at Mission Springs, lovingly counseling a young junior seeking God. That vision affected our early ministry and lifetime of service. Jim was a humble giant, full of wisdom and delightful stories. His contributions to the hymnal commission were many and so valued! We miss him already.

Ted Ahlem writes: For as long as I can remember, Jim was someone I enjoyed seeing and couldn’t wait to see again. He had a way of making one feel good. He’s probably singing “The Lord’s Prayer” to Jesus right now.

Herb Freedholm writes: Among his many gifts as a pastor, a writer, and an administrator, we all knew him as a storyteller. He had a marvelous gift for telling the stories that captured the spirit and the essence of our roots as Mission Friends. But more than being a storyteller, Jim was the story. In his person he exemplified the spirit of what has made the Covenant unique throughout its history.

Weborg Preaches Final Sermon in Seminary Chapel

Stacey Greeley writes: Smiles. What a lovely, deep, profound, yet simple man. We are all richer for his faithfulness!

Peter Bernshausen writes: I was a guest student (from Germany) at North Park Theological Seminary for only two semesters (2003/2004), but in those 10 months, Prof. Weborg’s teaching, preaching, writing, as well as the conversations I enjoyed having with him impressed and inspired me with a lasting impact on my faith and ministry as a pastor in Germany. Thank you so much, John, and may God bless you and reward you richly for your service among generations of students and scholars alike.

Dennis Carlson writes: God bless you, John Weborg, and thank you for all the years of service in helping shape and form both hearts and minds of those called to shepherd the people of God!

John Larson writes: Only John Weborg could make my Systematic Theology classes pastoral! Thank you, too, for helping me and countless others in their spiritual formation, for your loving spirit, compassion and wisdom.

Dick Nystrom writes: Thank you for helping us to better understand what it means to be ‘Alive in Christ, Alert to Life,’ the connection between word and action.

Paul and Cheryl Bengtson write: I am so appreciative of your teaching, grace, and friendship. You have served . . . the Covenant and the Church at large in so many ways. Thank you for “being there” for so many, for so many years.

Doug Gilliland writes: I was only at NPTS for a year, but John greatly blessed my short time there. He always took time to talk with me and embodied the faith. I pray that he will live a long life and be able to devote some time to writing to benefit future Covenanters. He has a lot to say to all of us.

Bob McNaughton writes: Now, there is a man! He came to us from the cornfields of Pender, Nebraska, and in the breaking of the word and of life he winsomely, clearly and powerfully gave shape, texture and vibrancy to more than any of us can know. Thanks be to God!

Martin E. Marty writes: I’m a member of the Weborg fan club, but didn’t realize until I read the replies here that he was born in Pender, Nebraska, a few miles from where I was. West Point, my town, played them in sport, but I was too small to threaten the giants of Pender. The first time I appeared in print ever anywhere was in the Battle Creek Enterprise, reporting in autumn 1941 that Pender had beaten us. More important than such light-hearted comment is my opportunity to ask God’s benisons on a colleague in ministry/teaching. Thanks for a good life, now, ad multos annos!

Andrea Johnson writes: Wish I could have heard the sermon in person. It has been many a year since I sat under his teaching, but the Word continues to ring in my heart through his images, questions, and ideas.

George B. Elia writes: I thank God for having given the Covenant church such a gift for our times in John Weborg. John is one of those all-too-rare persons who are what they preach. His life among us has been a demonstration of discipleship. I have no doubt the Covenant church will continue to be blessed for years to come because of John’s ministry to a whole new generation of pastors.

David Sundell writes: John, in his gentle and perceptive way, breathes new life into the majestic traditions of the whole church. His living out of theology, his grasp of historic connections, and his depth of spiritual vitality incorporates a comprehensive understanding of what makes the Christian life tick. He has helped many of us see light even in the dark valleys of the soul.

Daley Awarded NPU’s First David Nyvall Medallion

Ralph Youngman writes: It must have been a thrilling thing to have been there for this momentous event. I was thrilled just reading about it.

Suddenly Homeless – What Happened to the Dream?

Elaine Clauson writes: All the news articles today (May 17) are wonderfully inspiring. The pieces on the street worship service with homeless people at the Jordan Center in Los Angeles and the Milwaukee pastor’s role in a play about Sojourner Truth show the Covenant Church BEING the Church. Thank you!

CWR Funds Aid Drought Victims in Kenya

Pete Ekstrand writes: Thank you CWR for enabling the Kenyan Covenant Church to reach out to the Maasai in need in this way. These compassion partnerships are a great joy for us.

Paul Macharia writes: Thanks CWR. You are “God’s extended hand” in his world.

Elaine Ekstedt writes: Roseville Covenant in Minnesota has some unique ties to the Covenant work in Kenya, and we are especially appreciative that the larger Covenant family is coming alongside our brothers and sisters there.

John Kareithi writes: This is awesome. May God bless and continue to strengthen the ECC so as to keep on helping the needy.

John Njaramba writes: This is a great event and we greatly appreciate CWR effort and mission to cater for the community severely troubled by drought.

For the Beavers Family, the Miracle Continues

Barb Rodriguez writes: I’m a member at Arvada Covenant and had the privilege of meeting Rodney’s dad at St. Anthony’s in Denver. Many people at Arvada Covenant have been asking about the Beavers recently, so thank you for this update. We praise God with the Beavers family and Westmoore Covenant and continue to pray for their ongoing recovery.

Patty Miller writes: I had the honor of meeting your lovely family while you
were hospitalized at St. Anthony’s Hospital and also at the Acute Care Hospital. I am a member at Arvada Covenant Church . . . and our church prayer chain prayed for all of you faithfully. You all are truly a miracle. There is no mountain too big for God. May God continue to bless you.

Stromberg Elected to Lead Northwest Conference

Mark Andrews writes: Congratulations to the new superintendent and the entire conference. It’s so exciting to read about the progress you are all making in developing new ways to both “do” and “be” the church.

Herbert Hedstrom writes: Congratulations Mark! The (former) youth of the Glenview diaspora (and their parents) are proud of you.

Chet and Jean Larson write: Congratulations to Mark Stromberg on his election as superintendent of the Northwest Conference. We know that God will bless and prosper his leadership in the conference. Thanks to Jim for his leadership.

Gillan Nominated to Lead ECC Women Ministries

Andrea Johnson writes: Last time we talked was on the bus from Triennial to the airport last year. I’m thrilled to hear of your nomination! God is good.

Pamela Christensen writes: Blessings to you, Meagan! It’s fun to look back over the last few years of your journey and smile at what God has done and is continuing to use you for. I know he will have a willing and passionate servant in you to change and enrich lives among the Covenant.

Elaine Davidson Henderson writes: What a thrill to see you leading the women of the Covenant. I will be praying for you as the Lord brings you to mind. Thank you for your friendship and commitment to women of all ages and to Christ. You will be a positive and capable leader and one who will rely on the Lord to empower you, enlighten you, and guide you along the way.

Five-Year Wait for Permanent Home Comes to an End

Nancy Reed writes: Congratulations and God’s blessings!

Logging the Miles to Benefit Homeless Support Ministry

Andrew Winter writes: I’m honored to be a part of this run. It continues to amaze me what a person is capable of doing, and how they can use their talents in such great ways.

Memorial Service Conducted for Jon Collins

Timothy Stohlberg writes: When I was in high school, Jon came to serve as youth pastor at my home church. He was intense, inquisitive and intellectually engaged. He liked good books, football and lively conversation. I am glad I knew him.

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