Eight years ago John Kareithi was serving as pastor of an independent Swahili-speaking church in Columbus, Ohio, when he heard about the Covenant. The denomination seemed a good fit, and he was excited to bring Revival Church into the ECC in 2010. Revival is a mostly African church with members from DR Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Kareithi immigrated to the US from Kenya in 2001.
Last winter Revival found a building that would better suit their needs than their current location. They began praying and started negotiations to purchase the property. With the help of National Covenant Properties and the sale of their building, the small church put together 75 percent of the purchase price. They still needed to raise $82,500.
As the church prayed, they began to see responses. First, a generous donor put up half of the remaining amount through a matching gift. Faith Covenant Church in nearby Westerville took up a special offering. Revival was able to raise $42,500 within a couple of months, but they were still short $40,000. They had a closing date set in late April, and it was fast approaching.
On April 15 Revival hosted a “harambe” service, which means “all pulling together” in Swahili. In the spirited worship service the congregation brought contributions forward and presented them one by one. “It was especially remarkable to see children, youth, and single mothers bring their donations forward,” says Tim Heintzelman, pastor of Faith Covenant. The service brought in more than $20,000. But with only one week to go, Revival was short a seemingly insurmountable $20,000. “As I was driving back from the church, it was as if God grabbed my heartstrings,” says Heintzelman. “I thought, ‘God you own the cattle on a thousand hills. What are we going to do here?’”
So he began sharing the need with other pastors and churches around the conference. He returned to his own congregation to ask for more help.Wally Coots, pastor of Christ Community Church, a Covenant congregation in Allegan, Michigan, joined the effort. And the money was raised.
For Kareithi the generosity from around the conference was deeply meaningful. “We have been serving in the Covenant community for a long time,” he says, “and we felt for the first time that we belong to a bigger, loving family. They are helping us, taking care of us. We are not alone!”
Revival Covenant Church celebrated its first service in their new building on May 6.
Revival Covenant Church
Weekly Attendance: 80