KANSAS CITY, MO (June 26, 2015) — Delegates to the 130th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church welcomed nine churches into membership this morning, reflecting a cumulative membership of 728 and a cumulative average attendance of 865 individuals.
Following are the new churches, grouped by conference.
Berean Covenant Church in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Pastor Willie G. Comer Jr. — approximate attendance: 60
Berean Covenant Church was planted in 2009. Ministries include a midnight basketball league, a Young Moms program for teen and young adult mothers and their children, and a Summer Youth Feed program.
Centro Cristiano El Poder Del Amor in Berwyn, Illinois
Pastors Elias David Garcia and Maribel Garcia — approximate attendance: 35
Centro Cristiano El Poder Del Amor ministers to an increasingly large Hispanic community. Ministries include domestic violence advocacy, healthy relationship workshops, and an annual Toys for Tots drive. The church is transferring into the denomination from the Disciples of Christ.
City of Hope Covenant Church in Bolingbrook, Illinois
Pastor Andreton Jones — approximate attendance: 50
City of Hope held its first preview service in October 2010 and officially launched on Easter Sunday 2011. Ministries include mentoring students at a local high school, offering a sports camp for disadvantaged youth, and holding Serve the City, an event that includes a 3,000-bag food drive and random acts of kindness. The church also is starting Hope City Community Development Corporation.
The Ninth Hour in Chicago, Illinois
Pastor Richard Kohng — approximate attendance: 50
The Ninth Hour was planted as a non-denominational congregation in 2010 and meets at the historic Salvation Army Temple Corps on the city’s under-served near west side. The church hopes to become a community of activists who stand for justice and are motivated by the love of Jesus.
The Rock Christian Church in DeKalb, Illinois
Pastor Jerry Wright — approximate attendance: 120
The Rock Christian Church was founded in May 2004 as a non-denominational congregation with 12 devoted members. Ministries include Women of Shekinah, Prayer Warriors, Prison Ministry, AWANA, and Marriage Ministry.
East Coast Conference
Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland
Pastor Sheridan Todd Yeary — approximate attendance: 205
Douglas Memorial is located in the Upton/Druid Heights community of Baltimore. Once a vibrant, professional neighborhood, many of its current 11,000 residents now live below the poverty line. Built in 1857, the church was a historic Methodist Episcopal Church. Current ministries focus on Christian education, social justice, seniors’ ministry, men’s ministry, strengthening families, and a number of community partnerships. The church is joining the Covenant because of common core values, similar polity, shared commitment to urban ministry, as well as its diversity.
Iglesia Evangelica Siloe Covenant Church in Kansas City, Kansas
Pastors José and Lupita Sanchez — approximate attendance: 75
Siloe Covenant began ministry in 2010. The church has a strong ministry to women, an active ministry to children and youth, and a vibrant music and performing arts ministry. The congregation also has a summer camp ministry.
Pacific Northwest Conference
Bridge/Puente Covenant Church in Salem, Oregon
Pastors Carmen Bensink Lewis and Scott Bensink Lewis — approximate attendance: 50
Co-pastors Carmen and Scott Bensink Lewis planted Bridge after graduating from North Park Seminary. Trinity Covenant Church in Salem—Carmen’s home church – has provided people, prayer, and financial assistance. Bridge was planted to be a body that connects and serves both the Spanish- and English-speaking communities in Salem. Bridge meets in a bilingual elementary school and intentionally welcomes both Spanish and English speakers.
Pacific Southwest Conference
Bayside Covenant Church in Galt, California
Pastor Phillip Escamilla — approximate attendance: 225
Bayside Covenant Church in Galt was planted by Bayside Covenant Church of Granite Bay. The church opened Easter 2010. Over the past three years, the church has been the only one in the community to sponsor a weeklong vacation Bible school for kids in the summer. The church also has sponsored cleanup days for the city’s schools, provided support to the Pregnancy Resource Center, and food banks in the community.