Update on Mark Novak and Ordered Ministry

CHICAGO, IL (October 26, 2015) — On Friday, ECC president Gary Walter released the following statement regarding the status of Develop Leaders executive minister Mark Novak:

As previously noted, Mark Novak is on a temporary family medical leave to care for his wife, Marilyn, as he described earlier in a memo to the Ministerium (see below). The Board of Ordered Ministry, with the concurrence of the ECC Executive Board, has identified Curt Peterson to fill the role on a temporary basis until Mark returns. Mark hopes to return shortly.”

Peterson, who recently concluded his service as executive minister for Serve Globally, is very familiar with the work of Ordered Ministry through his previous Covenant responsibilities. He is also a former chair of the Board of Ordered Ministry.

October 13, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I want you all to be aware of the events in my life over the last two months. The second weekend of August found me in Neurological Intensive Care with my wife, Marilyn. Since that time she has endured numerous biopsies, MRIs and so many other tests that I can’t count them all. At this time she remains under doctors’ care in Seattle where we continue to seek answers to her medical issues with very few answers. We do know that the lesions in her brain are inoperable causing Parkinson-like symptoms. She requires 24-hour care into the unforeseeable future so we are grateful that these events happened in Seattle close to our family. They have been an incredible support already. She is currently at Covenant Shores working with rehab as we await further developments.

I will be on a short-term family medical leave at least through the rest of October in order to give myself completely to Marilyn’s care while we hope for a more definitive diagnosis and course of treatment from there.  The staff in Develop Leaders – Ordered Ministry have been incredible during this difficult time and are, as always, ready to assist you in any way they can. My email will be redirected to them during this time. You may also call them, or consult with your conference office.

I covet your prayers for Marilyn and for our extended family as we struggle through this rude intrusion into our lives. I also ask you to pray for an answer to her condition for it is impossible to fight what you can’t identify. The medical team at the University of Washington Hospital has been wonderful and have dedicated themselves to helping us find the answers we need. And to all those who have learned of these events and have sent notes or texts of encouragement, thank you! We feel incredibly supported and are learning to take one step at a time, trusting God with each new day.

Sincerely in Christ,

Mark Novak

Executive Minister




  • My 20 year old daughter has a rare brain disorder called auto-immune encephalopathy…it took a long time to get her diagnosed properly. If anyone else reading this is struggling with neurological and psychiatric symptoms that may ellude your local doctors you may like to look at AEAlliance.org…go to the Clinical Care blog and click on the Grand Rounds video to explain this disease. I would be happy to correspond with folks and share what I have learned concerning this rare brain disease.

  • Mark, we are faithfully bringing Marilyn, yourself, and your family up in our prayers and thoughts. May God’s presence of peace still your soul. May God give the medical team discernment in her treatment. We pray for God’s hands of lovingkindness bring healing to Marilyn.

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