By Stan Friedman
HINSDALE, IL (September 17, 2012) – Nearly half the families at Hinsdale Covenant Church signed up to sponsor children through the Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision project on Sunday, when the church became the first Covenant congregation to conduct a Hope Sunday.
“We had 45 families sign up and it probably will go to 50,” Pastor Jim Kramer said Sunday night. He added that the church has around 100 families.
Kramer said he is grateful for the congregation’s generosity. About 40 families already support orphans in India.
The official kick-off for the launch of Hope Sunday services is scheduled for October, but the Hinsdale Church – which has a long history of working in the Democratic Republic of Congo – offered to be the first as a “beta test.”
“We’re thankful for what God is doing through churches like Hinsdale,” said Adam Phillips, an Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) minister who is serving as a project consultant. “Having that many from the church sign up to take action is incredible for our efforts in Congo. I’m excited to see what the fall will hold throughout the Covenant.”
ECC President Gary Walter preached during the worship service, describing the partnership with World Vision and the Congo Covenant Church as “an unprecedented and unparalleled opportunity” to help people living in the Equateur Province of Congo.
He noted that the region is the poorest province in the country, which is considered to be the poorest country in the world. “It is the most remote and the most overlooked portion of Congo,” Walter said.
Covenant Kids Congo will focus on the city of Gemena, where the Congo Covenant Church (CEUM) and ECC have long ministered. This is the first time World Vision has undertaken a project there.
Walter noted that other large international aid organizations already have shown interest in the partnership and want to help with supportive projects. As a result, he added, every dollar contributed by Covenanters to Covenant Kids Congo will result in three dollars of assistance, when considering funds leveraged from other organizations.
Walter said the positive changes in Gemena will epand to include other areas as leaders are raised up and economic development spreads.
Sponsored children serve as representatives for the others in the community since all children in the community will benefit from the local development projects. Projects include systems to provide clean water, sanitation, healthcare, and new schools. World Vision expects to be active in a given area’s development program for 15-20 years.
Churches of all sizes already have started donating to the project, but will begin offering Hope Sunday events and signing up sponsors in October.
Click here to request material for Hope Sunday events.