PHOENIX, AZ (June 24, 2016) — Twelve new churches from seven conferences were welcomed into the denomination this morning during the 131st Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church.
Lakeridge Community Church in Chestermere, Alberta
Pastor Evan Dewald, approximate attendance 110
Lake Ridge started in 2010 with a small group of people attending Hope Community Church in Strathmore, Alberta. They had a growing vision to serve a nearby town, Chestermere. The following year, several families sold their homes and moved into the area, a costly commitment, as home prices were 20 percent higher in Chestermere than in neighboring areas. They began meeting in homes and serving at public city events. Members of the congregation serve on every major board (including the city council), started a citywide welcoming program called Mighty Neigbourly; and their annual soapbox derby is a huge hit among kids and adults alike.
Holy Community Covenant Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Pastor Gavin Jensen, approximate attendance 60
A small group of members from Faith Covenant Church in Winnipeg sensed the call to plant a church on the city’s west side. Holy Community’s identity is based on its commitment to truth, hospitality, growth, and generosity. It has continued to partner with Faith Covenant and is appreciative of the conference and denominational ministries such as Covenant Kids Congo and Kernels of Hope, which has allowed the church to extend its ministry beyond its neighborhood.
Avenue Community Church in Toronto, Ontario
Pastor John Cho, approximate attendance 110
Onnuri Korean United Church, an independent congregation founded in the 1970, launched Avenue Community Church with 25 members and an $11,000 budget. The church sought a denomination to affiliate with and began discussions with the ECC in 2011. In January 2012, they decided on the name Avenue Community Church. In recognition of their roots, they choose the name “Avenue,” which is a main street near Onnuri.
Chugach Covenant Church in Anchorage, Alaska
Pastor Dan Krause, approximate attendance 130
Chugach Covenant has met weekly for four years. Dozens of people have come to faith and even more have rededicated their lives to Christ. The church has a strong presence in the military community. Currently the church is ministering to a small group of women who have recently been freed from prison and are living in transitional housing.
New Life Covenant Church of Palatine in Palatine, Illinois
Pastor Joon Hwang, approximate attendance 95
New Life Covenant Church is a multiethnic, contemporary, and Spirit-filled church. It was planted on May 1, 2011.
GREAT LAKES CONFERENCE
LifeChurch Southfield in Southfield, Michigan
Pastor Alan Tumpkin, approximate attendance 300
After hosting a successful radio show, Alan Tumpkin and his wife, Marcia, started a weekly Bible study. The group grew from 20 to 50 members within a year. The new church was parented by LifeChurch Canton under the leadership of Alex Rahill, and was supported by the Great Lakes Conference. The first weekly service was held in October 2011.
New Community Covenant Church in Buckhannon, West Virginia
Pastor Justin Powers, approximate attendance 250
New Community Church is the first Covenant church planted in West Virginia. The church was launched in 2012 with about 30 people on a back porch. Justin Bowers and his wife, Carrie, are originally from Buckhannon. They returned in 2012 under the care and coaching of the late director of church planting for the Great Lakes Conference, Larry Sherman. This region of West Virginia had not seen a new church plant in roughly 30 years. Its ministry to children and families regularly sees 50 to 60 children on a Sunday morning. Appalachian Impact, a ministry providing hope for at-risk students through mentoring and summer community camps, has impacted approximately 70 students in the past three years.
Ascent Community Church in Louisville, Colorado
Pastors Bill Stephens and Jim Candy, approximate attendance 850
Ascent is gaining a strong reputation as a generous and welcoming presence. Local police and fire chiefs are leaning on the church to help meet the needs of the community.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST CONFERENCE
Kaleo Covenant Church in Beaverton, Oregon
Pastor Troy Hoppenrath, approximate attendance 100
Kaleo Covenant Church was formed in the fall of 2010. Initially, the church worshiped together with Summit View Covenant, and the two churches eventually merged. Since then, Summit View has completed its ministry, and Kaleo retained its identity as a new church plant. Its name comes from the Greek word meaning “to call or invite to something of significance.”
PACIFIC SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE
Grace Life LA in Los Angeles, California
Pastor David Choi, approximate attendance 45
Grace Life LA is located in downtown Los Angeles and launched in 2012. Among its outreaches, the church has a ministry to families living in an emergency shelter that also has a program for locating long-term housing. It is renting space from the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society. Last year, nine attendees traveled to North Korea.
Communida Familiar Cristiana Covenant Church in Redwood City, California
Pastor Rolando Luna, approximate attendance 80
Pastor Rolando Luna was serving as a worship and marriage pastor in Redwood City when he sensed God’s call to plant a church. The church began with a core group of eight people and now meets at Peninsula Covenant Church.
The River Church Community in San Jose, California
Pastor Brad Wong, approximate attendance 450
The River Church Community is a 19-year-old multiethnic, intergenerational congregation, whose makeup is 40 percent Caucasian, 40 percent Asian American, and 20 percent African American, Latino, Indian, or biracial. Their ministries include Shalom Iglesia, a Spanish-speaking church plant that was launched by Servant Partners; the Healing Path, a ministry that focuses on the healing of emotional wounds that keep individuals from experiencing the love of Christ; ministries for children and youth; and regular retreats led by licensed spiritual directors aimed at helping busy Silicon Valley residents nurture their inner life. After 19 years of being independent, the church looks forward to the strength that comes from traveling with a like-minded tribe.