Churches Applying for Membership

OMAHA, NE (June 28, 2018)—Delegates to the 134th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church approved the following candidates for Ordination to Word and Sacrament, Ordination to Word and Service, finalization of transfer of ordination, as well as consecration to missionary service.




Iglesia Esperanza Viva
Kent, Washington
Pastor: Esau Del Arca
Average Attendance: 130

In 2014, a Spanish-speaking ministry within a local King County church planted Iglesia Esperanza Viva (Living Hope Church). As it grew, the church began meeting weekly at Kent Covenant Church. After becoming familiar with the denomination’s vision and support for diverse ministries, it began the process of joining the ECC. The congregation continues to hold services at Kent Covenant Church.

Communitas Evangelical Covenant Church
Spokane, Washington
Pastor: Asher Ernst
Average attendance: 165

Communitas was started in 2011 as an evening “church within a church” at a historic Presbyterian Church USA in downtown Spokane. The church always intended to plant as a separate congregation and did so in 2017 with 45 adults and 20 children. At the time, the congregation was looking for a denomination that embraced a desire to combine rigorous discipleship and biblical justice in a relational-oriented setting. The congregation connected with conference staff, who offered to coach the church. The congregation now meets Sunday mornings at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Spokane. The average attendance is 120 adults and 45 children. It has a strong ministry toward refugees, which includes an afterschool homework club for English language learners and a partnership with World Relief.




Iglesia Cristiana Shalom-Elohim
Petaluma, California
Pastor: Edwin Guzman
Average attendance: 142

Iglesia Cristiana Shalom-Elohim began in 2013 with two families meeting at the pastor’s house. Within one year, rapid growth forced the church to relocate twice. The church is seeking a third site due to increasing growth.

Navegando Con Jesús Iglesia Del Pacto
Torrance, California
Pastor: Margarita Monsalve
Average Attendance: 80

Navegando Con Jesús Iglesia Del Pacto launched as a Covenant church plant in partnership with the Covenant and PSWC in 2011. The church exists to reach the lost in the city of Torrance. Navegando takes a holistic approach to restoring people by introducing them to the Gospel and providing job skill training.

Iglesia La Jornada
Concord, California
Pastor: Jorge and Marlen Ramos
Average Attendance: 140

Iglesia La Jornada launched as a Covenant church plant in partnership with the denomination and PSWC in 2014 under the leadership of Pastor Fil and Juana Nesta. It launched out of the Nueva Esperanza Covenant Church in Antioch. In 2018, Jorge Ramos was called to serve as pastor of the contemporary bilingual church.



New Abbey Covenant Church

Gurnee, Illinois
Pastor: EJ Ravago
Average Attendance: 40

While serving as an associate pastor at a Baptist church, Pastor EJ Ravago felt the call and need to plant a church in the town where he’d grown up. After two years of praying and planning, New Abbey launched its first service in 2016. The church gathers at the local American Legion, which is located between Waukegan and Gurnee. There are sharp contrasts between the socio-economic levels and racial demographics between the two towns. A significant part of New Abbey’s vision and existence is to navigate all the complexities that shape and divide these communities. The church hopes to provide a context where true diversity and reconciliation can happen.

Peacemakers Korean Covenant Church
Schaumburg, Illinois
Pastor: Rev. Choi, Min Ho
Average Attendance: 15

Peacemakers Korean Covenant Church is a community of Korean immigrant Christians whose primary language is Korean. Church membership consists mainly of first-generation Korean immigrants from the 1970’s, second-generation Korean immigrants from the 2000’s, and third-generation Korean-Americans born in the United States. On September 9, 2015, three families gathered together to establish the church, calling Rev. Min Ho Choi of the ECC as its pastor. In April of 2016, the congregation merged with Gyu Ja Shee church of the ECC. The church has partnered with the Covenant Church of Schaumburg since April of 2018, sharing the same church building.

Dodam Covenant Church
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Pastor: Sung Ryong Kwak
Average attendance: 30

Dodam Covenant Church is a Korean-speaking congregation whose members’ ages range from early twenties to early seventies. The church launched in early 2006 with a group of about 30 members who were passionate about reaching Korean Americans and others in the Chicago area. Currently Dodam meets at Northwest Covenant Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

New Vision Covenant Church
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Pastor: Kwang Sun Cha
Average attendance: 125

New Vision Covenant Church started in early 1976. The church’s mission is to reach non-Christians and make them disciples of Jesus Christ. New Vision’s strategy for local evangelism is to try to plant another Korean American church, with the hope that they will be able to partner in world missions more effectively. One of their primary goals is to educate and transform the lives of young people.




The Vine Covenant Church
Austin, Texas
Pastor: Mark Charbonneau
Average Attendance: 210

With only 14 percent of the Austin community connected to a local congregation, The Vine seeks to draw people to Jesus through significant friendship, sacred experiences, and generous compassion. The church was founded by two pastors, Mark Charbonneau and Ted Thulin, in 2016. Over the past three years, The Vine has grown from that original group of 25 to over 200 people attending the Sunday service each week.




LifeChurch Livonia
Livonia, Michigan
Pastor: Brian Nanninga
Average attendance: 230

LifeChurch Livonia is located in an urban community outside of Detroit. Brian and his wife, Jaime, felt lead to move to Livonia in 2014. At that time, Brian entered a network of churches planted by the ECC (LifeChurch Network) to begin LifeChurch Livonia. LifeChurch Livonia currently meets at a local middle school. Attendance continues to grow, and there are multiple commitments to Christ on a monthly basis.




House of Praise and Worship
Hartford, Connecticut
Pastor: Joel Cruz. Sr.
Average Attendance: 150

The House of Praise and Worship was launched on January 6, 2002, and held their first service in the house of a church member. Due to rapid growth, the church has had to move multiple times due to continuing growth. The congregation now meets at Richard J. Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford. The congregation is praying and looking for a place that they can permanently call the “House of Praise and Worship.”

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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