Gary Walter Re-elected to Second Term

IRVINE, CA (June 22, 2012) – Delegates to the 127th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church unanimously re-elected President Gary Walter to his second term today.

Two ambitious undertakings have highlighted Walter’s leadership – Organizing For Mission (OFM) and Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision.

The ongoing Organizing for Mission (OFM) project has sought to crisply define the mission of the church, identify the mission and ministry priorities to guide the denomination in pursuit of the mission, and evaluate the structural capacity required to accomplish the mission in the present and for the future.

A 20-member task force drawn from Covenanters around the country has analyzed the Covenant’s growth pattern over the past 19 years and projected that over the next decade, the Covenant will grow to 1,000 congregations, with more than 30 percent of them being populations of color or intentionally multiethnic; an average weekly attendance of 250,000; 2,500 credentialed clergy, and one million lives impacted globally through international partnerships and initiatives.

The OFM report identifies five key mission and ministry priorities:

  • Start and strengthen churches
  • Make and deepen disciples
  • Develop leaders
  • Love mercy—do justice
  • Serve globally

One of the key results of the project has been the appointment of former Great Lakes Conference Superintendent Richard Lucco to serve as executive director for ministry development for the denomination. Lucco is helping to guide the implementation of OFM.

Covenant Kids Congo is a historic collaboration among the denomination, World Vision Congo, World Vision U.S., and the Congo Covenant Church (CEUM) to focus millions of dollars of resources in the area of Gemena in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project is designed to spur economic growth, develop infrastructure, improve health care and hygiene, provide access to clean water, expand agriculture, and improve education and literacy.

To fund the project, Walter has exhorted individuals and congregations throughout the Covenant to support child sponsorships, following a model of $40 each month per child and continuing that pledge of support in ensuing years. The immediate goal is to generate 10,000 sponsorships throughout the Covenant, with a long-term goal of 25,000 sponsorships.

All Covenant congregations are being encouraged to host Hope Sundays sometime this fall, providing an opportunity for congregants to learn more about the initiative and sponsor a Congo child.

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