ST. PAUL, MN (June 17, 2010) – Since its founding 125 years ago, the Evangelical Covenant Church has emphasized spreading the gospel internationally. To honor that commitment and help celebrate the denomination’s landmark anniversary next week, Covenant leaders from around the world will participate in the celebration, which begins Thursday and concludes with the traditional ordination service Sunday morning.
“We’re especially honored to be joined by these international leaders who partner with us to make more disciples among more populations in a more caring and just world,” says President Gary Walter. “Their sacrifices and dedication are inspirations, not only to the people in their own countries, but to Covenanters everywhere.”
Delegates and others attending the Annual Meeting will have opportunities to meet the leaders.
- Elia Piñeyro is president of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Argentina. He pastors a congregation in La Plata, Buenos Aires.
- Marcus Sobarzo is president of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Chile. He is a former president and the current treasurer of the Confraternity of Hispanic Covenant Churches (CIPE). He also is pastor of the Covenant Church of Concepción and works at the University of Concepción. The denomination has been heavily involved in helping survivors of the earthquake and tsunami that struck the country earlier this year.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
- Dr. Rev. Mossai T. Sanguma, president of the Covenant Church of Congo (CEUM). He serves as associate professor of missiology at the seminary in Kinshasa, Protestant University of Congo (UPC), and is coordinator of the Association of African Missiologists in Francophone, as well as the Africa/visiting professor of Missiology and Ethnicity at the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology in Central African Republic. Sanguma and his wife, Jeanne Sabuli, also began a program in Congo involved with Higher Education for Advanced Leadership Skills (HEALS) at UPC. The Sangumas have five children.
- Elenga Liwawa Lievain, CEUM vice president, has served for more than 20 years as a teacher and more recently as director of the Songbolo Bible School. During his six years as vice president, he has served as the CEUM coordinator of Theological Education and was recently chosen to coordinate the Department of Ministry. He is the chief editor of a project to update a Lingala language New Testament commentary originally written by Covenant missionary Gordon Christensen. He is also pursuing his master’s degree in theology at the Protestant University of the Ubangi. He is married with seven children.
- Carlos Montenegro is president of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Ecuador. He also pastors the Covenant church in Cayambe, El Nazareno. He previously served Covenant congregations in Tulcán and San Gabriel.
- Henry Burbano is vice president of The Evangelical Covenant Church of Ecuador. He also serves as the secretary on the CIPE Executive Board.
- Rev. Dr. K. Paul Devakumar is founder, president and senior pastor of India For Christ Ministries (IFCM) Covenant Church, which has more than 3,000 members in 200 churches. The IFCM headquarters is in Bangalore. Devakumar started IFCM in 1988. He was ordained in 1995 by the Federation of Evangelical Churches of India. Devakumar has ministered to people in 54 countries. The partnership with the Evangelical Covenant Church began in 1998 when Devakumar met Jim Gustafson, who was then the executive minister of the Department of World Mission. In 1999, Devakumar participated in the first Asia Evangelical Covenant Consultation at Udon Thani, Thailand.
- Rev. Dr. Steven C. David, moderator of Hindustani Covenant Church and senior pastor of St. Andrew’s Hindustani Church in Pune. HCC is a growing church with 111 congregations and 18,500 members in 12 states of India. He serves as chair of St. Luke’s Medical Society and works with Covenant Social Service, which addresses poverty and related issues. He also works with Solapur Well Service, providing safe drinking water in draught-prone areas.
- Rev. Jyotirmaya Deep, development projects officer for the Hindustani Covenant Church in Mumbai, who also works with Covenant Social Service.
- Sunil Sardar is the founder of TruthSeekers International, a ministry committed serving the 7000 million lower-caste and Dalit peoples throughout India. Sardar and his wife, Pam, have started more than 400 churches.
- Rev. Yasushi Shimizu is president of the Japan Covenant Church. Shimizu graduated from Covenant Seminary in Tokyo in 1986 and began serving as pastor of Matsuda Covenant Church, a position he still holds. Since 2001, he also has served as the director of the Odawara Christian Center, a facility of the Japan Covenant Church that hosts a cafe employing people with emotional disabilities, a shelter for women in crisis, and several Bible studies.
- Gamaliel Adame is president of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Mexico as well as president of CIPE. He previously was the director of Youth for Christ in Mexico for 11 years. He currently serves a local congregation in Oaxtepec, Morelos.
- Rev. Julian (Juhn) Peji is president and senior pastor of the Jesus Evangelical Covenant Church. At present, he is working among the poor in Nagpayong, Pinagbuhatan, which is one of the thickly populated communities in Pasig, where his church, JECC, is conducting preventive health care seminar for children and adults. They also have sponsored occasional medical and dental missions as well as training that assists women with micro-finance projects.
- Rev. Abraham Kier has served as president of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Sudan (ECCS) and Ethiopia since April 2007. He was elected as an evangelist in 1996. After completing high school in 2000, the church sent him to Baro Bible School in Ethiopia, where he graduated in 2004. He was elected superintendent of the Akobo Conference in 2004 and served for three years. In February 2006 he was ordained to Word and Sacrament. He loves to read the Old Testament and he is a strong preacher against corruption.
- Elizabeth Koat has served as chairwoman of the sub-conference in Fugnido Refugee Camp since 1996. She was ordained as deacon in 1999 and promoted to work in the conference as one of five on a Committee for Women Ministries (CWM). She was elected as director of women ministries in 2004 and is the first woman to win two terms in the ECCS history.
- Bertil Svensson is the mission director of MCCS and general secretary of the International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches (IFFEC).
- Ulla Svensson is the pastor of Södertälje Missions Church. Ulla and Bertil previously served in Ecuador as missionaries of the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden (MCCS).
- Rev. Göran and Agneta Zettergren are associated with the Svewnska Missionskyrkan also known as the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden, which Göran serves as president. He has pastured in three churches in Sweden and served as superintendent in western Sweden. The couple has two daughters.
- Vernon Wu is chairman of the Chinese Evangelical Covenant Church, director of the Executive Board of the China Evangelical Seminary, and chairman of the Asia Covenant Mission Committee. He also is senior pastor of Kangho Covenant Church.
- Rev. Khampan Sudcha is associated with both the Lower Isaan Foundation for Enablement and The Church of the Grace of God, also known as the Thailand Covenant Church. He also serves as pastor of the Roi Et Church of the Grace of God. He and his wife, Tipawan, went to Roi Et following their marriage to plant churches in the lower Isaan region of Thailand, leading a team of Thai and American missionaries in church planting and community development.
- Tipawan Sudcha serves as financial manager of the Lower Isaan Foundation for Enablement and as secretary for the Thailand denomination. The couple has two children and one grandson.
- Nujon Singpila serves as president of the Sustainable Development Research Foundation, an indigenous Thai, Covenant-related non-profit organization that is involved in church planting, leadership development and holistic ministry in at-risk communities in the four main geographical regions of Thailand.
- Isaac Coronel is president of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Uruguay. He also serves as a church planting missionary with CIPE in Uruguay. He previously pastored a local church in La Plata, Argentina.