As you know, our church has held several congregational meetings over the past few months. We needed
the church membership to make important decisions about financial issues, property maintenance and policies related to the pandemic. It might seem like calling a congregational meeting for a single decision is inefficient, but we believe in the wisdom of our polity, that giving church members authority to make decisions enables more effective ministry and builds unity within our fellowship.
The same is true in the larger church body to which we belong. Each June, members of Covenant
churches from across North America gather for the Covenant Annual Meeting where we hear updates from denominational ministries, elect national leaders, approve budgets and discuss theological issues.
The past two meetings have been disrupted by the pandemic, but we hope this year’s gathering in Kansas City will get things back on track.
I plan to attend the meeting (conveniently being able to stay at my parent’s home in nearby Olathe) and
look forward to seeing ministry colleagues and helping the Covenant move forward in our shared ministry. If you are interested, portions of the meeting and evening worship should be available to stream through the Covenant website. I would also encourage you to pray for delegates and denominational leaders as we work through the agenda.
This year’s Annual Meeting will be significant for a number of reasons. First, we will elect the next
president of the Covenant. Tammy Swanson-Draheim, currently Superintendent of the Midwest Conference, has been nominated and would be the first woman to serve as president. We will also elect new leaders of Ordered Ministry, Serve Globally and Ministries of Benevolence. Each of these roles will help shape the Covenant in the coming years.
Delegates to the Annual Meeting will also approve candidates for ordination. This joyful occasion is
the final step for pastors to receive life-long ministerial credentials in the Covenant. In addition, many other pastors and missionaries will be approved for license or commissioning as they begin their work in Covenant churches and ministries all around the world. Sadly, we will also consider removing credentials from a pastor who has been suspended by the Board of Ministry for violating guidelines related to same sex marriage.
Each decision made at the Annual Meeting matters to our shared ministry, but even more important is
the unity we seek to promote through this gathering of believers. The Covenant is a congregational church that values the contributions and wisdom of each local church, just as Broadway values input from each of our members. While Covenant churches operate independently, we choose to join together for the sake of broader and deeper ministry.
All this reminds us that we are not alone. What we do each day and week at Broadway weaves into a
much larger tapestry of Covenant ministry. We support missionary and relief work across the globe. We have a hand in educating young people in Chicago and caring for people in faraway places. We help support camps and retirement communities. We enable evangelism and ministries of compassion throughout our nation.
We can’t do these things on our own, but through our connection to the Covenant, Broadway can reach
far off places and touch the lives of people who may never come to our city. In the same way, other churches can feel a connection to our ministry here in Rockford.
Please join me in praying for the Covenant, for delegates to this year’s Annual Meeting and for those
who serve the larger church. May we all serve Jesus together with an abiding commitment to sharing His love and message with the world.