ECC Welcomes 27 New Churches

CHICAGO, IL (June 27, 2014) — Delegates to the 129th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church welcomed 27 churches into membership this morning, reflecting a cumulative membership of 2,039 and a cumulative average attendance of 3,324 individuals.

Following are the new churches, grouped by conference.

Central Conference

Harvest Covenant Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Pastor Darnell Robinson—approximate attendance: 60.

The church is located in the city, and more than 80 percent of the families that attend are new believers and first-generation church attenders. A key ministry has been a sidewalk Sunday school. The congregation partners with Milwaukee Covenant Church for outreach events, prayer, fellowship, and shared use of their facility.

Outpour Evangelical Covenant Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Pastor Bum Yong Kim—approximate attendance: 55.

The church was started in 2009 largely by people who had experienced significant discipleship and mission opportunities while in college and wanted similar opportunities following graduation. The multiethnic congregation meets at a community center near Washington University and participates with InterVarsity to serve undergraduate and international students. It also provides small group opportunities for university faculty and graduate students.

Redeemer Life Covenant Church in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Pastor Peter Kim—approximate attendance: 130.

The church started with a handful of families meeting for Bible study and then formally launched in 2012. During their core group phase, attendees met at Libertyville Covenant Church. The multiethnic congregation now meets at the Vernon Hills Community Center.

Chicago Woori Church, in Schaumburg, Illinois. Pastor Min Ho Choi—average attendance: 50.

The church was started in 2011 as a non-denominational Protestant Reformed congregation that adhered to the Westminster Confession of Faith. From the beginning, it met in the Schaumburg Covenant Church building. The church decided it was important to be part of a larger body, and in November 2013, the congregation voted to join the Covenant, citing in part, the kindness shown them by the Schaumburg church.

St. Paul’s Covenant Church in Franklin Park, Illinois. Seeking a pastor—approximate attendance 45.

The congregation was founded more than 110 years ago as a German Evangelical Church. St. Paul’s later became part of the United Church of Christ. The congregation voted to join the Covenant because it believes the denomination to be a better theological and supportive home. The church collaborates with other local churches in ministries such as a food pantry run by an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America congregation. The church recently formed a youth group, and the students attended a retreat at Covenant Harbor Bible Camp during the winter.

St. Peter’s Faith Health Covenant Church in Calumet City, Illinois. Pastor Queen O’Neal—approximate attendance: 25.

Pastor Leedora Johnson founded St. Peter’s Rock Church in 1981, and Pastor Queen O’Neal founded Faith Health Promotional Ministries in 2005.  The two later merged. O’Neal is ordained in the Covenant and is a student in the ACTS doctor of ministry program. The church has a strong emphasis on health education and maintenance as part of its outreach.

East Coast Conference

Metro Hope Community Covenant Church in New York, New York. Pastor Jose Humphreys—approximate attendance: 80.

The church began with weekly gatherings in 2007 with a desire to be a multiethnic congregation in East Harlem. Hope House, an intentional community, also is part of the church. Its ministry includes hosting conversations around racial reconciliation and peacemaking.

Great Lakes Conference

Sanctuary Columbus, in Columbus, Ohio. Pastor Rich Johnson—approximate attendance: 180.

Pastor Rich Johnson started the church in 2010 with a vision to be intentionally multiethnic in an urban section of the city. More than 70 percent of regular attenders are in a small group. The church also has a ministry to Somali immigrants.

LifeChurch of Mt. Juliet in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Pastor Eddie Pool—approximate attendance: 100.

The church is active in the community with activities that range from serving free meals at the local ballpark to children and their families to volunteering at the local homeless mission. It also hosts midweek children’s activities.

Midsouth Conference

Gretna Covenant Church in Gretna, Louisiana. Pastor Page Brooks—approximate attendance: 31.

Gretna Covenant Church, formerly Gretna Presbyterian Church, is located in a very diverse neighborhood on the west bank of New Orleans. More than 100 years old, the church has ministries that include helping at the local food bank, pregnancy center, Samaritan’s Purse, a living nativity, and vacation Bible school.

Centro Cristiano Las Buenas Nuevas Church in Houston, Texas. Pastor Domingo Alejandro Carrizo—approximate attendance: 150.

Pastor Alejandro Carrizo and his wife, Vilma, planted the church in 2005. It is a largely Hispanic congregation that includes people from many different South and Central American countries. The church is located in southwest Houston, in an area of mostly low-income African American and Hispanic residents. The church seeks to join the Covenant because they believe it is important to be part of a larger body.

Midwest Conference

Christ the Servant Church in Olathe, Kansas. Pastor Lee Jost—approximate attendance: 45.

The church began in 2010 as a plant from Hillcrest Covenant, the conference, and denomination. The church has partnered with many local organizations and has an especially strong ministry to offenders and ex-offenders.

Grace Place in Berthoud, Colorado. Pastor Clay Peck—approximate attendance 1,000.

Peck planted the church in 1996 in the small bedroom community 40 miles north of Denver. It has become a regional church. The church is known for its men’s ministry, creative outreach ministries to people in need, and a strong adoption and orphan care ministry. The church has decided to join the Covenant so that the congregation might have healthy accountability, protect the future of the church after the founding pastor leaves, and to participate in planting churches.

Renew Covenant Church in Carroll, Iowa. Pastor Jeff Grote—approximate attendance: 100.

Grote had lived in the community for several years and believed it needed a new church. The congregation began with two families. The congregation is very involved in the community and has seen many people find a new life-giving relationship with God.

Restoration Covenant Church in Arvada, Colorado. Pastor Ryan Ashley—approximate attendance: 100.

Ashley had served on staff at several Colorado Covenant congregations and felt the call to plant a new church. They first met in the building of the Covenant congregation Heritage Community Church and has since moved to the Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities.

Northwest Conference

New City Covenant Church in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Pastor John March—approximate attendance: 50.

The multiethnic church in the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis has been meeting since Easter 2010.

MainStreet Covenant Church in Mound, Minnesota. Pastor Jeremy Berg—approximate attendance: 67.

The church’s new building features a café and a community room with space for bands to play shows. Berg says that he is hoping the church will begin hosting open mic nights, hot topic discussion forums, an after-school youth hangout, a place for community groups such as book clubs to meet and a local artist quarters. Berg said the idea for a church acting as a community-gathering place came from his experiences when he was involved with youth ministry in Mound. In 2005 he began using music events to connect with Mound Westonka High School teens.

Pacific Northwest Conference

City of Rain Covenant Church in Kent, Washington. Pastor Andrey Khilchenko—approximate attendance 70.

The congregation is the first Slavic church in the Covenant but also is attracting and ministering to non-Slavic members as well as it seeks to be “A Place of Grace for All Nations.”

Headwaters Covenant Church in Helena, Montana. Pastor Seth Dombach—approximate attendance 36.

Life Covenant Church of Helena started the congregation in 2008 and they have been meeting weekly since 2009. Once a month, they participate in a community service project. These have included painting at the Montana Youth Homes, planting flowers at the YWCA, and building trails with Prickly Pear Land Trust, working with the Red Cross on a blood drive, or writing to soldiers serving far from home.

Hope Covenant Church in Lake Stevens, Washington. Pastor Bill Walles—approximate attendance 98.

The church works with several partners in the community, including Lake Stevens Middle School and the Lil’ Hungry Hearts program. It is seeking to partner with other community organizations as well as international ministries in South America, Asia, and Europe.

Emmanuel Bible Church in Seattle, Washington. Church Chair Patricia Kloster—approximate attendance: 450.

The historic church serves the local community through its “Port and Anchor” coffee shop, community garden, counseling center, and scholarship funds as well as through other ministries.

Yakima Covenant Church in Yakima, Washington. Pastor Duncan MacLeod—approximate attendance: 60.

The church is transitioning from the PCUSA because “Our belief is that our new affiliation with the ECC will provide an environment where we can continue to seek Christ together while maintaining a witness of unity in spite of our diversity of theological viewpoints.”

Pacific Southwest Covenant Church

Filipino-American Covenant Church in Sacramento, California. Pastor Manuel Tabujara—approximate attendance: 67.

Originally started to reach the largest Asian ethnic group in the Sacramento area, the congregation has grown to be a multiethnic church.

Gracia y Paz Covenant Church in Chula Vista, California. Pastor Jorge Garcia—approximate attendance: 70.

Gracia y Paz began in August 2010 with about 25 people. The Spanish-speaking church seeks to be “an oasis, a place of refuge where people can find peace and that the abundant life in Christ is possible.”

Marin Asian Community Church in San Rafael, California. Pastor John Song—approximate attendance 70.

The Pan-Asian church was started in 1980 by a group of Asian Americans who moved to Marin from San Francisco and met in several locations prior to where it worships currently. The church supports multiple local and international mission organizations. The congregation is joining the Covenant to be part of a larger body of churches that actively supports Asian American churches and leaders.

Recreate Church in San Jose, California. Pastor Abel Orozco—approximate attendance: 70.

New Life Covenant Church of San Jose has partnered with Recreate to provide financial and administrative assistance. The church meets at a local school gymnasium in a racially diverse, low-income community. Its ministries include Saturday tutoring for low-performing students, adult English as Second Language classes, and middle school youth events.

Southeast Conference

Kingdom Covenant Ministry in Atlanta, Georgia. Pastor Alvin Hall—approximate attendance: 55.

The church was planted out of Kingdom Covenant Ministries in Miami, Florida, in 2010. The school meets at the BEST Academy School. Its ministry seeks to share the gospel holistically.

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