By Bryan Malley
NORTH MANKATO, MN (May 5, 2011) – Delegates to the 2011 Northwest Conference Annual Meeting elected Mark Stromberg as the next superintendent last Friday. The meeting was held at Crossview Covenant Church.
Stromberg has served on the conference staff for the past 10 years, the first two as director of administration and church development, and then as associate superintendent. He will be installed during the 126th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Estes Park, Colorado, June 28-30.
Noting the impact various Covenant institutions have had on his life, Stromberg told delegates, “I am pleased to know that I will have the opportunity to give back to those who have given so much to me. While many of us are grateful for what we have experienced in the past, our eye has to be looking forward to the next chapter. The best way we can honor those who have given so much to us is to ‘pay it forward.’ ”
The superintendent-elect’s comments echoed the meeting’s theme, “Mission Friends: The Next Chapter.” Also in keeping with the theme, the conference debuted a series of videos highlighting unique ministries in nine conference churches. Each video features interview segments with church staff, lay leaders, and pastors – intermixed with video footage from the churches highlighted – telling stories of transformation and innovation in ministry.
The videos are designed for use throughout the year in new member classes, worship services, and various adult education venues to help congregations better understand and engage the work of the conference. Delegates were given copies of the videos, which are also available on the conference website.
Delegates approved the proposed budget of $1,114,893 to support these ministry priorities.
The worship team from Crossview Covenant led attendees in worship during the Friday evening worship service. Delegates also recognized and prayed for five ordination candidates and The Gallery Covenant Church of St. Paul, Minnesota, which is joining the denomination.
“There is an intangible value in simply being together with other brothers and sisters in Christ on the same mission,” said the church’s pastor, Brad Kindall. “As The Gallery was officially welcomed into the Covenant, I was reminded we are not alone. We are surrounded by such a ‘great cloud of witnesses’ in the Covenant and in the Northwest Conference.”
Jim Fretheim, retiring conference superintendent, shared a message examining truths that “Jesus is, in fact, Lord of all.” Fretheim challenged attendees to consider that what they say has eternal significance.
“How strong is the cord between your resurrection faith and the real life ministry of your church?” Fretheim asked. “What are we going to do with the opportunities to witness that come before us as a church?”