New Missionaries Introduced at Annual Meeting Opening Service

KANSAS CITY, MO (June 25, 2015) – Missional discipleship abroad and locally was the focus of tonight’s opening worship service of the Evangelical Covenant Church’s 130th Annual Meeting.

0625 Missionary with flag

Soudinh Penkhay, missionary to Thailand, carried that nation’s flag into the worship service.

A parade of 35 flags representing nations where Covenant missionaries serve led off the evening. Among those carrying the flags was the president of the Congo Covenant Church, Rev. Jules Mboka.

New missionaries were introduced onstage to the gathering. President Gary Walter noted that, “They are not going out by themselves. They’re doing it as part of our family.”

Following the introductions, many of the attendees surrounded them in different parts of the meeting space and prayed for their ministry.

The evening’s speaker, Jo Saxton, exhorted the worshipers to witness to others by incarnating the gospel and telling their personal stories of how God has touched their lives rather than just passing along information. “God is on the move, but we have to be willing to be part of that,” she said.

Saxton was born to Muslim parents from Nigeria and raised in London. A friend shared the gospel with her when they were children and sparked Saxton’s faith.

0625 missionary being prayed over

Alex Viana, missionary to Mozambique, is prayed over during the worship service.

She went on to serve pastorates in England and the United States before going to work with 3DM, a movement that works “to change the world by putting discipleship and mission back into the hands of ordinary people.”

Also an author, Saxton confessed that living the words she speaks and writes was often much easier said than done.

After the service, a reception was held for three “ordinary people” who have modeled “missional discipleship” and are transitioning out of their roles as executive ministers. Longs lines formed in one of the exhibition halls to greet Debbie Blue, executive minister of Love Mercy and Do Justice; Curt Peterson, executive minister of Serve Globally; and Evelyn Johnson, who has served numerous roles in the Covenant, most recently as interim executive minister for the Make and Deepen Disciples mission priority.

It also was an evening for many of the delegates and others to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Throughout the exhibition hall people stood with friends holding up their mobile phone screens to show pictures of children and grandchildren.


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