Leaders Honored for Faithfulness to Mission

By Stan Friedman

DETROIT, MI (June 29, 2013) – Two retiring Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries and two administrators who are changing roles were honored during today’s session of the 128th Annual Meeting.

Delegates recognized the retirement of Dave and Wendy Mark, regional coordinators of Latin America and the Caribbean, and Dave and Judy Dolan, regional coordinators for Asia. Before being appointed to their most recent positions, the Marks served in Mexico, and the Dolans in Taiwan.

Curt Peterson, executive minister of the Department of World Mission, noted that the Taiwan church celebrated its 60th anniversary last October and referred to the Dolans as “precious jewels.”

Peterson added that was a characteristic of all four missionaries: “Unique, highly valued multi-faceted jewels reflecting the grace and glory of God.”

President Gary Walter also honored David Olson, whose term as executive minister of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism who has concluded his term of service with the department and is transitioning to help three conferences with church planting.

Walter recalled that when he became the director of church planting, colleague Lon Allison pulled a crumpled sheet of paper out of a trashcan and said it might be something suited for Walter. It contained an invitation to a church planting conference.

It was at that conference Walter met Olson, who was a member of a different faith group at the time. “It is very fair to say the Covenant would not be what it is today without Dave Olson,” Walter said.

Olson eventually succeeded Walter as director of church planting and then as executive minister.

“The covenant has been a great home for me for 20 years,” Olson said. “I have been so enriched by the theology of the Covenant, the relationality of the Covenant, and the mission of the Covenant.”

Donn Engebretson, who has served as executive vice president and recently has transitioned to the newly created role of director for Global Advancement.

The position will principally focus on advancing support for the Covenant’s global initiatives through church and donor partnerships, as well as resourcing congregations in stewardship planning.

In numerous ways, Engebretson had honored the tradition of the Covenant while also calling it forward, Walter said.

The gathering gave Engebretson and extended standing ovation.

“You know I’m an emotional person and you’re make me cry on purpose,” Engebretson said, smiling. He added that he is “overwhelmingly grateful” for the opportunity to serve the church.

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