CHICAGO, IL (February 13, 2014) — New criteria for the T.W. Anderson Award and the decision to present it on the opening night of worship at the Annual Meeting reflect the Covenant’s desire to further highlight the role of laity in the denomination, says Evelyn Johnson, interim executive vice president.
The Covenant has presented the award to an individual or couple at each Annual Meeting since 1985 to honor the only layperson ever elected president of the Evangelical Covenant Church.
The new criteria require that the person “(a) has evidenced a life of commitment and dedication to Christ and His Church (b) has been a member of the Covenant Church for at least 10 years; (c) has not served on a denominational Covenant board; and (d) has provided outstanding service to the local church and community for over 20 years.”
The biggest change, Johnson says, was the decision to require the nominee to be a member of a Covenant church for at least 10 years rather than 25. “We want to acknowledge that many who have served faithfully are in Covenant churches that are less than 15 years old, so the former criteria did not embrace the service of laypersons in the church planting movement,” she says.
The award previously was given during one of the business sessions at the Annual Meeting. “We shifted to presenting the award during the opening service because we want to give greater visibility to the involvement of laypersons in the Covenant’s story,” Johnson says.
The Annual Meeting will be held June 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. It is part of Gather 2014, which also will include Experience Chicagoland and the Ministerium Annual Meeting.
The deadline for nominations for this year’s T.W. Anderson Award is April 1. The nomination form can be downloaded or filled out online here.