Hope: Ev. Cov. MidWinter Meetings

This morning I’m thinking of the old hymn (1777) that opens “Blessed
be the ties that bind, our hearts in Christian love”.

Many of you know I”m an ordained minister and JPUSA (inner-city
Chicago Christian community where I serve with 8 other co-pastors) is
a congregation in the ECC. We, with their partnership staff and
operate a 480 bed homeless shelter, a Seniors housing facility among
many other outreaches.

The Evangelical Covenant Church MidWinter meetings this past week were
nothing short of wonderful.

The fellowship, teaching, music and peer-to-peer learning, workshops,
really the whole experience was just amazing and sweet.

I’ve attended quite a few MidWinter meetings over the years but on all
levels this one was best.

And no, it wasn’t because I was able to bring a blues concert or share
in teaching a worship segment with my deep and gracious friend Geoff
Twigg, though those were both highlights for me.

To hear, see and interact with so many good people who care deeply,
who love Jesus and desire to grow spiritually and live faithfully it’s
always a lift to know others both share your struggles as well as
recognize God’s hand in our lives and ministries.

Hope, at least one aspect of it, comes for me when I witness others in
the act of loving Jesus and one another openly.

Any of us can become cynical, calloused, jaded by so much thin
showmanship, sort of the “reality tv” stuff in the Church and
sometimes church.

I personally experienced very little of that at our MidWinter gathering.

As I participated in so many edifying moments, three especially come
to mind: the Weds. night worship and small-group prayer sessions-
circles of deeply honest ministers openly sharing, crying, praying in
faith and continuing to sit, laugh and interact with one another…
and the amazing band/choir and message last night (Thurs.) on loving
our enemies (wow… Amen and Mercy Lord!!)… followed by so many
brilliant, gifted Ev. Cov. songwriters sharing a late night open mic
event.

If anyone needs to discover whether there’s any hope for the church…
I’ve just experienced a full week of it.

Oh, and if you’d like to learn more about the ECC:

http://www.covchurch.org/

http://www.covchurch.org/blogs/

Heartfelt thanks and Kudos to the leadership and all involved this
MidWinter… it was AWEsome!

Today I’m thanking Jesus for being able to be a part.
-Glenn

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One thought on “Hope: Ev. Cov. MidWinter Meetings

  1. Thanks for your reflections, Glenn. I agree that this was one of the best Midwinters that I can remember (and I’ve been coming for 32 years!). I left today full of HOPE as well, grateful for all we heard and experienced this week, and for the "weightiness" I feel in our ministerium and denomination – men and women who truly do want to live into ALL it means to follow Jesus, and to lead our churches faithfully as well. It’s tough, but this week both encouraged and challenged me to continue strong in the calling God has given all of us. Thanks again for your amazing concert on Tuesday too; I didn’t get a chance to chat with you but it was fantastic to hear your music and testimony that night. Your lyrics got me into a reflective place, just in time for the silent retreat all day Wed. at the Loretto Center. God’s peace and blessing to you and JPUSA as you press into ministry in 2012.

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