(June 25, 2020) – Oceanhills Covenant Church in Santa Barbara, California, has been raising funds for the past eight years for Covenant Kids Congo, a partnership between the Evangelical Covenant Church, World Vision, and the Covenant Church of Congo. Recently the congregation passed the $1 million mark in support of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Oceanhills began their partnership in 2012. “After my wife and I visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and saw how far families had to walk for clean water, I wanted to do something, but I wasn’t sure how,” explains Jon Ireland, the congregation’s founding and lead pastor. “Then I heard a Team World Vision pitch on how to use the Los Angeles Marathon to support clean water. How could I say no?”
Soon the congregation got involved in the effort. In addition to the church’s ongoing ministry of child sponsorships, a small group of participants were challenged to individually raise $50 per mile, prepared to run the 2012 Los Angeles Marathon in partnership with Team World Vision. That year Oceanhills raised nearly $50,000.
These fundraising efforts have since become an annual tradition for Oceanhills, with up to 100 runners, walkers, and cyclists involved each year. “For our community, partnering with Team World Vision is the perfect trifecta: raising money for a global cause, building community, and getting fit,” Ireland says.
This spring the Los Angeles Marathon took place on March 8, 2020, before social distancing guidelines were in effect in Santa Barbara, so the congregation was able to continue their fundraising efforts this year. They raised more than $270,000, passing the $1 million mark in their total fundraising for Covenant Kids Congo since 2012.
“Praise God for the faithfulness and passion of Oceanhills in helping to provide clean water to communities in Congo,” says Curt Peterson, executive minister emeritus of the ECC’s Serve Globally mission priority. “Now the Karawa hospital and its nearby community is about to get a consistent source of reliable, clean water in addition to the Gemena and Bokonzo communities.”