I’ll be forthcoming and honest in the sentence that follows. I love reading blogs and listening to podcasts, albeit I have no experience in doing either one. So this is exciting for me (and I hope for you too).
If you’ve read the about section you’ll know that this started as an idea while taking History and Theology of the Covenant Church at North Park Theological Seminary. This class, in not so many words, is intended to show how the Evangelical Covenant Church of America came to be, and give us insight into why studying denominational history is important.
My background in the Covenant
I came to the Covenant Church in Galesburg, IL during high school. After “Church Shopping” for a while, I came to rest at the Covenant church at the invite of a very close friend. I then attend the denominations university (North Park University) and then upon graduating, the Seminary. And the last two years, I’ve been serving in Covenant churches.
I’d say that, for me, I knew that the Covenant Church was cool. I knew why I liked it and am choosing to enter ordination in the denomination. Whereas before this class, I would say my Love for the Cov(enant Church) was because of how they’ve served me (eg. scholarships, mission travel classes, etc.) now I would say that the Covenant is cool because of the perseverance that they’ve had amidst the many obstacles that they’ve encountered. An early controversy about who is able to preach and serve sacraments where led to the establishment of what would be called “the Galesburg Rule” (Shout out to First Lutheran Church and Second Lutheran Church of Galesburg circa 1868). The decline of immigration led to a necessity for the immigrant denomination to make a change not only in name (from Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant in America to Evangelical Mission Covenant Church of America) but also in official language (Swedish to English).
The decisions and controversies were weathered by leaders who had a vision for who the Covenant Church was, who the Covenant Church is, and who the Covenant Church will be. The forward-thinking-ness of leaders such as T.W. Anderson, Nathaniel Franklin, and many more whom I’m forgetting allowed for us to be the church we are today, and when I think of the class, that word that comes to mind is ‘trajectory’.
With trajectory, from a specific point we end up at a certain spot. While we can trace events of the the founding of the denomination (like the revival movement that sweeps Sweden), the organizational meeting in 1885 begins the trajectory of Mission Friends congregations saying, “We’re better together”.
In posts that follow, both blog and in podcast, I hope to continue tracing this trajectory of the Evangelical Covenant Church.
To learn more about the Evangelical Covenant Church now, or to find a Covenant Church near you, click here.
The featured image is of the Galesburg Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant Church in America circa 1916. This congregation of Mission Friends was established in 1868, and will celebrate it’s 150th anniversary in August 2018. You can learn more about them here.
The image was gathered from the North Park University Archives.