Midwinter Conference Opens With Laughter, Song

By Stan Friedman

SAN DIEGO, CA (February 5, 2013) – The 1,200 attendees to the opening night banquet of the 2013 Midwinter Conference experienced worship, sang along to some Chicago blues, and laughed through the performances of two comedians.

The annual Evangelical Covenant Church conference will continue through Friday morning at the Town and Country Resort.

Glenn Kaiser, a pastor at Jesus People USA Covenant Church and a musician known for his gritty blues, performed a brief set that began with the classic, “You’ve Got to Move.”

Kaiser also performed on one of his unique cigar box guitars made from discarded materials, which sends a message Kaiser believes is important. “That’s what God does with our lives,” he explained. The audience joined him in a call-and-response version of “We are Surrounded by the Witness Cloud.”

Kaiser’s performance and the opening section of the evening can be viewed on CovChurch.tv

Comedian Michael Jr., who has performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as the Jimmy Kimmel show, told the gathering that before one of his performances at a prestigious comedy club, he sensed God telling him that his job was not to get laughs, but to give people the opportunity to laugh. He says that seemingly small nuance has changed his mindset.

In addition to performing at major venues, the comedian has brought his routine to places where people are broken, including a youth prison, a home for abused children and another for people suffering with HIV/AIDS, as well as a homeless shelter.

Michael Jr. also performs at religious events, and he gave the audience plenty of opportunity for laughter – and they seized it.

The audience was treated to a “two-for-one special,” when Jason Earls, Michael Jr.’s road manager and also a comedian, performed a hilarious set that drew some of the largest laughs when he shared how people behave in church when their cell phones go off during a service. Click here to see part of the routine performed elsewhere.

Before the evening started, Donn Engebretson, director for Global Advancement and coordinator of this year’s Midwinter Conference, shared updated information concerning the truck carrying much of the Midwinter equipment that was involved in an accident and flipped on its side near Elk City, Oklahoma, last Thursday afternoon. The two drivers, Covenant ministers Lisa Holmlund and Sarah Nelson, suffered only minor injuries.

Two members of the Westmoore Community Covenant Church in Oklahoma City, Gerald Hall and Dave Lewis, arrived with two of Hall’s employees on Friday and transferred the equipment, which was mostly unharmed, to a new truck. Hall and Lewis then drove the equipment to the conference and it arrived Saturday night.

The worship portion of the evening can be watched on CovChurch.tv.

Editor’s note: Photos courtesy of Mike Nyman

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