125th Anniversary Celebration Plans Nearing Completion

ST. PAUL, MN (June 22, 2010) – Materials and advance staff began arriving yesterday and today to wrap up final details in preparation for this week’s 125th anniversary celebration as part of the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

A larger-than-normal number of delegates, conferees and other participants are expected for this historic gathering that officially begins with Thursday evening’s opening worship service and concludes with the traditional ordination service on Sunday morning.

A number of activities precede the start of business sessions, including meetings of the Covenant Ministerium and the Executive Board on Thursday morning and new delegate orientation that afternoon. Executive Board committees are scheduled to meet Wednesday.

A special learning experience called E2: Engage and Equip opens at 3 p.m. on Thursday with a variety of activities and exhibits offered throughout the week. These interactive learning experiences are designed to engage and equip Annual Meeting delegates and attendees, both lay and clergy, for strengthening the whole mission of the church.

Elements within the learning experience area include a World Café, a Rip and Roll volunteer opportunity, a special historical section called Our Journey Together: A Covenant Family of Faith, a prayer room, and World Marketplace.

Other sessions as part of the E2 experience include a discussion of prison reform and ministry with the incarcerated, world mission opportunities, a look at evangelism called Bridging Conversations, and a special three-part presentation by Jim Hawkinson that explores the continuing Covenant story, among others.

Covenant Bookstore will be offering some 150 titles for browsing and purchase online through special computer kiosks offering free shipping during the event.

Our Journey Together: A Covenant Family of Faith was created under the direction of Anne Jenner, archivist and director of the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections at North Park University, assisted by Kajsa Anderson and Joanna Wilkinson.

The exhibit includes dozens of historical artifacts from the Covenant archives, including Erik August Skogsbergh’s pulpit from the organizational meeting of the Covenant in 1885.

“This walk-through multi-media exhibit tells the history of the Evangelical Covenant Church in a wonderful text written by Covenant historian Phil Anderson,” Jenner explains.  “We have even created some hands-on interactive opportunities like using the original embossing presses incorporating both the first and second seals of the Covenant and singing along to hymns played on the pump organ used by Covenant hymnist and traveling evangelist J. A. Hultman, known as the ‘Sunshine Singer.’ Visitors can contribute information and digital photos from their churches to an online timeline.”

Exhibit content includes the telling of stories using historic documents, mementos, photographs, small artifacts, and videos from many areas of Covenant life, providing an opportunity to reflect on the spiritual life and work of the denomination’s forebears and get a glimpse into how the archives works to preserve Covenant history. Accompanying photos show two of the items on display.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Commission on Covenant History, which was established by the Annual Meeting in 1935 for the purpose of preserving, maintaining, and interpreting the historical records of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Current areas of focus are historical perspective and analysis, acquisition of material with a special emphasis on oral histories and ethnic voices, records retention and collection management, and public interaction and accessibility to historical records.

Another highlight of the weeks’ activities is Saturday’s family festival and picnic on Raspberry Island located near the hotel. Saturday evening, immediately following the worship service, Bob Stromberg will present a benefit comedy show.

For complete details, visit the 2010 Annual Meeting area of the Covenant website.

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