A SPECIAL VERSION OF OUR FYI
Dear Creekside Family –
In place of our regular habit of sending out a FYI email with some “167” thoughts and a blog article, I am instead utilizing our weekly email to write to you to from Omaha, NE, to share an update from the ECC Annual Meeting (Gather 2019) and to also share a little bit about where we are heading this Sunday and beyond.
Colette Aguirre and I are here serving as delegates from Creekside. The ECC annual meeting is the highest legislative session in our denomination. It is filled with joyous and celebrative moments like we had yesterday when we welcomed new churches into our denominational family and prayed over many pastors who have been a part of planting new churches this year all around our country. It was also a joy when we prayed over the nearly 15,000 names of unchurched people who were brought forward this past year through the BLESS initiative that is a part of our culture at Creekside.
But yesterday (and the day prior in our annual ministerium meeting) was also one of the most difficult and emotional meetings that I have experienced so far in all my years of Covenant meetings. I am so grateful for every bit of prayer and fasting that you gave unto God leading up to and through this weekend.
As you know from my previous email on this topic, there was a recommendation before the body of this annual meeting to remove First Covenant Church of Minneappolis from the roster of Covenant churches. This was an unprecedented proposal because never before in our 134 year history has a church been involuntarily removed. There have been many who have voluntarily requested to be removed. This time was different because FCCM was contesting and appealing this recommendation that was coming from the Executive Board of the ECC. The final decision on this matter was to be decided by the body of the 2019 Annual Meeting. (To be refreshed about various FAQ’s about this recommendation and the multi-faceted reasons behind this recommendation, you can click here.) A vote was eventually cast in the late afternoon yesterday that affirmed the recommendation to remove FCCM from the roster. A summary and description of that vote can be found here. Additionally, recommendations were approved to remove the ministerial credentials of two pastors who contested and appealed to the body of the Annual Meeting (including the lead pastor of FCCM).
Tomorrow morning in our worship service, in addition to our normal rhythms of worship, we are going to be taking time to do three primary things. We’re going to be sharing a bit more about the various ministry items that were covered at the Annual Meeting. This will include sharing some more details about the votes mentioned above. We’re also going to spend some time being reminded of who we are as a Covenant church. This will lead into the following three Sundays where we will be further exploring some of our Covenant Affirmations. All of this will hopefully not only provide further context around issues raised in our Annual Meeting, but also further equip us over the coming months to be able to better engage and discuss some of the harder topics that we sometimes are tempted to shy away from. And lastly, we will spend some dedicated time in prayer over all of this.
On that note, I again thank you for your prayers. And I implore you to pray even more as we go into this final day of our Annual Meeting…and in the days and weeks ahead for our denomination, our leaders, and all parties that have been a part of these difficult decisions.
With you in Christ,
PS: A reminder that you can watch some of today’s business meeting and the worship service tonight (where many new pastors will be ordained) at gather.covchurch.org