By Stan Friedman
DETROIT, MI (June 26, 2013) – Some 250 members of Evangelical Covenant Church congregations from around the country gathered in Clark Park on the city’s southwest side to kick off Mission Detroit Tuesday night.
Today and Thursday, teams will work side by side with Detroit church members in activities that include assisting a mobile medical/dental clinic, provide home repairs, teach English to immigrants from at least a dozen nations, and be immersed in an experience of living on the street.
Clark Park is located near where the first Covenant church in the city was formed when people began meeting as a home group. “So we’ve come full circle,” said Messiah Covenant Church Pastor Bob Hoey when he shared a reflection with the group.
Hoey also connected the linear progression of biblical history, the denomination’s beginnings, and this week’s current mission.
He recalled Genesis 12, in which God called Abraham to leave his familiar surroundings and go into unknown territory to which God would lead him. Although Abraham’s faith was far from perfect, he was uniquely known as a “friend of God,” Hoey noted.
Since Swedish immigrants first formed the church in 1885, the Covenant church has sought to live out its identity as “mission friends” with God and with each other. It was a way of living that drew Hoey to the Covenant, he said. The Covenant is far more ethnically diverse these days, but the same commitment remains.
“I hope for the next few days you will experience the joy of being a mission friend,” Hoey said.
The joy already was evident as people gathered for barbecue, sang along with different groups that led worship, and played in the park. Volunteers also helped give away 10,000 pounds of food to people in the low-income neighborhood.
Afterwards, many of the participants left with the families who are hosting them for the coming days as they work alongside one another – as mission friends.