KANSAS CITY, MO (June 26, 2015) — Delegates to the 130th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church today approved changing the status of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska from a “field” to a full-fledged conference of the denomination.
The vote ratifies an earlier decision by delegates to the conference’s Annual Meeting on March 27 to make the change.
The conference will now be self-governed, said superintendent Curtis Ivanoff. He noted that the change also reflected the great progress the conference continues to make in becoming self-supporting. To mark the occasion, he presented moderator Amanda Olson with an ivory gavel carved by pioneer Alaska Native pastor, Harry Soxie, when he served on the Diomede Islands, the eastern-most part of Russia in the early 1900s.
The change also means that Ivanoff, the first Alaska Native field director, becomes Alaska’s first conference superintendent.
Alaska became the Covenant’s first world mission field in 1889, four years after the denomination’s founding. In 1972 its governance was transferred to the Department of Home Mission (predecessor of Start and Strengthen Churches ministry area).