CHICAGO, IL (May 7, 2018) – The newest executive directors of two Covenant Retirement Communities say the opportunity to combine their faith and work have motivated them throughout their careers.
Peter Milbourn is the newest executive director of Covenant Village of Colorado in Westminster, Colorado. Bob Howell serves in the same position at Covenant Shores Retirement Community in Mercer Island, Washington, near Seattle.
It is almost as if Milbourn were destined for the position. He grew up living behind the Holmstad Covenant Retirement Community in Batavia, Illinois. His grandfather Harry J. Ekstam, a Covenant minister, served in three administrative capacities there. The Harry J. Ekstam Assisted Living Center at the Holmstad is named for him.
Milbourn’s mother worked at the Holmstad and for Covenant Ministries of Benevolence for 30 years. “It was kind of the family business I went into,” Milbourn jokes.
Milbourn has a picture of his grandfather on his office wall. “Every day I try to live up to who he was for what he brought not only to the Covenant but also to the churches he served,” he says. “He is who I model my life after. I hope that the people who knew him will see him in me.”
It wasn’t the path that Milbourn initially thought he would take. He graduated from North Park University with a degree in youth ministry and biblical theological studies. He served as a youth pastor at a Covenant church and planned to attend seminary.
“But then I felt like the Lord showed me I was supposed to go in a different direction.”
That path led to Batavia, where he took care of his grandparents for several years before entering the publishing business. Yet he longed to get back into ministry with the Covenant.
That opportunity came when he took a position with Covenant Village of the Great Lakes in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Over the next several years, he worked at several Covenant Retirement Communities.
“I love being able to be part of a faith-based organization,” Milbourn says. “It’s more than a job.”
Being able to integrate his faith as he serves the staff and residents at the retirement communities is what makes Milbourn excited about his job.
Howell expresses similar sentiments, saying, “I love the opportunity to be a leader in this kind of environment that is God-centered.”
He adds that his faith orients his life and leadership style. “I can live expectantly that God is going to do something. I can focus on the day and trust Jesus for tomorrow,” he explains. “That gives me an orientation of being part of something that is bigger than myself with the resource of the God of the universe. I certainly don’t always go there, because like a lot of people, I like to control things, but God has been so faithful. I talk to my staff about Exodus—we have to trust God to lead us. He will provide us the manna for the day.”
Howell previously served as executive director at two CRC locations in California: Covenant Village of Turlock and the Samarkand in Santa Barbara.
Before joining CRC, Howell worked for Crista Senior Living for 25 years, including 10 as senior vice president.