After School Tutoring Begins

With the start of the fourth quarter of the 2015-2016 school year Elgin Covenant has piloted an after school program of free tutoring for mainstream high school students — in plenty of time before final exams. This program meets on Wednesdays after school.

The subjects that we have begun with are in math and science, with tutors who are retired professionals. As with all volunteers and staff at Elgin Covenant who work with minors, our tutors have been cleared by background checks.

We are looking to expand this program, including the subjects offered for tutoring, with the Fall. In the meantime you can let us know if you are a high school student in need of help to succeed in a subject. Send us an email at, put Tutoring in the subject line, let us know the name of the student and the subject area needed. We will communicate back whether we will be able to provide the assistance requested during this spring quarter.

Easter Season Special Events

The Evangelical Covenant Church of Elgin believes and celebrates that Jesus is alive. Easter Sunday is the day that churches around the world celebrate the unique moment in history when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, left his tomb behind him empty, and began to appear to his followers. What put him in the grave was that he had been crucified. This injustice at the hands of the world’s powers was something he willingly suffered in order that he might: 1) bear the weight of each our sins and sin’s curse of death upon himself; 2) show the world’s powers the extent of their own systemic depravity; 3) die as a sinless, innocent person, whom God the Father, with perfect justice, cannot allow to remain dead, for if death is the punishment for sin than a sinless person murdered in the world must be raised up again in triumph over the grave. This is good news. You can share in the victory of Jesus over death and sin by surrendering your sinful self to him, and inviting his Spirit to inhabit your body as the seal of your promise for eternal life.

Many churches celebrate the resurrection and the events leading up to it. At Elgin Covenant we have this schedule for 2016:
March 20, “Palm Sunday.” This celebrates when Jesus entered Jerusalem in order to confront the worldly powers head-on. We worship as usual at 10:30. Then at 4 PM families with children are invited to our Easter Eggstravaganza, which features an egg hunt, and the decorating of eggs, and pizza for dinner.

On Thursday, March 24, we will have a “Maundy Thursday” communion service commemorating the events of the Lord’s Supper and the night that Jesus was arrested.

On Friday, March 25, we are inviting all those interested to the joint Elgin Evangelicals Good Friday worship and communion service at Second Baptist Church.

On Sunday, March 27, we worship at 10:30. The service will include our praise team, additional choir selections and brass instruments.

We hope you will join us in this special season of worship. We pray even more that your heart is touched and opened to God’s love for you in Jesus Christ this season.

Our Theme in 2016: Solving Problems

Did you know that churches tend to have certain kinds of problems, and have always had certain kinds of problems? It is the problems that churches have that make Christians the butt of jokes and satire, like Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” on Saturday Night Live. Even though that schtick is over twenty-five years old it still strikes people as funny. In serious conversation Christians are often set apart for being “hypocrites.” It’s tough to hear, but true enough that it sticks. Many churches with over 50 years of history behind them have had their best days — more people, more programs — in the past. One big reason is that Church People have not related well to the world around them, but an even BIGGER reason is that Church People have not related well to EACH OTHER. Spiritual explorers who are searching for communities of faith in which to get involved, have seen that, noticed that, discerned that, and decided –for their own good– to move on to more nurturing environments.

When I say “churches have always had these problems” I don’t just mean “since the 1980′s.” I mean the problems go all the way back, to the stories of the Bible. After Jesus was risen from the dead, he deposited his Holy Spirit on his witnesses, and these men and women took the gospel throughout the Roman World. Almost as soon as any church got going it began to have the kinds of problems we still have today:

1) People judging each other meanly over external things, like clothes and manners.

2) Ethnic bigotry.

3) Moral bigotry — accountability deprived of grace.

4) Moral laxity — Grace deprived of a gospel of effective ethical transformation.

5) Leadership egos squabbling over power.

6) Hypocrisy — people presenting untrue pictures of themselves.

7) Generational disputes.

8) Factions. “I want what I want and I don’t care whether “THEY” get what THEY want.”

9) Theological error.

Sound familiar? It has ALL happened BEFORE. The New Testament leaders Peter, Paul, Priscilla, James and John all had to address them. That is why we at Elgin Covenant are going to make 2016 a year of studying problems in the church AND their solutions — as reported in the New Testament and applied to the Church of today.

You will learn:
1) That problems in Churches have their root causes in sin and their solutions in repentance.
2) That churches with a core culture of repentant hearts are active in the power of the Holy Spirit, while churches with a core culture of unrepentant or hypocritical hearts operate under their own power –which might work for a while, but unravels over the long term.
3) That the problems you have seen for yourself as a Christian in different church settings, in everything from hissy-fits of jealousy on the church’s margins to outright moral collapse among leaders, are not unique to your experience and do not indicate that the church you have been involved with is somehow especially bad or sick or sinful. These problems were seen by the apostles themselves, and addressed by them.
4) That just because these problems are normal does not mean they are unimportant. These problems poison the “wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3) and keep churches from flourishing as places where seekers want to test the wells — the depth and the purity of what we claim to be “living water” (John 4:10). A further note on the importance of solving these problems: I am using the Bible’s “wells” image to speak to the religious priorities of the Millennial generation in their search for authenticity. But it is not the millennials who first left the church. In the United States they are continuing the trend long-established by X’ers (mine) and Boomers, and the trend was already underway in Canada and western Europe.
5) Knowledge that these problems have been common should heighten our desire to see how they are solved in the guidance of the Spirit and the Apostles, that is, God’s Word, the scriptures.
6) Knowing that none of us are not tested beyond what is common to all , we can have empathy and grace as believers for each other across congregational and denominational boundaries.
7) The solutions to the problems come not by living perfect lives and never sinning (I John 1:8-9), but by love for one another (I John 4:7-12), since love “covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8); by broken and contrite hearts which the Lord receives as his own (Psalm 51:17); and by the power of the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us, teaching us Christ’s own empathy for the weaknesses we find in ourselves and others (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Our goal in bringing this preaching emphasis is that those who hear and participate with us will be inspired to live in God’s strength as the joyful, repentant, contrite, bold witnesses to Jesus Christ that we are called to be, within the churches we belong to, and beyond.

Christmas 2015 At Elgin Covenant

The last update on this page was in September, and our fall heated up and flew by with our schedule of 125th Anniversary events. Now Christmas is upon us. Some of our annual celebrations are already complete, but there is much more to come. We hope you will join us to mark the holy season of Advent and Christmas.

Dec. 5, Santa Lucia Coffee, 9 AM. Over one hundred people turn out for this open house every first Saturday of December.
Dec. 6, Advent Communion (10:30); kids and family Gingerbread House and pizza party, 4 – 6 PM.
Dec. 13, Night of Christmas Music featuring Jeorge Holmes, Diva Montel, the Elgin Salvation Army Brass Band and Murna Hansemann on piano, 5 PM with a cookie reception following.
Dec. 16, 5:30 PM, dress rehearsal for the Christmas Children’s and Choir Program
Dec. 20, 10:30 AM, Christmas Children’s and Choir Program
Dec. 24, 7 PM, Candlelight Christmas Service
Dec. 25, 6 AM, Julotta Christmas worship
Dec. 27, 10:30 Christmastide worship
Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Party: 6 PM, Potluck Dinner; 7 PM, Worship; 8 PM, dessert buffet and games; (videos will be show for kids as alternative at 7 PM).
Jan. 3, New Year communion, 10:30 AM.

125 Years of Ministry: Celebrations this Fall

After the SOLD OUT smorgasboard on Friday, September 18, Elgin Covenant is poised for even more celebration of its 2015 anniversary year in October and November.

On October 4, 2 PM, all are invited to Elgin Covenant for an organ concert featuring Jose’ J. Rosado, organist and Director of Music at St. James Episcopal Church, West Dundee, IL. Admission is free. A reception will follow.

On October 11, retired and former Elgin Covenant pastor, the Rev. Dr. Herbert Hedstrom, will preach at the 10:30 service. A lunch will follow. All are invited.

Saturday, November 7, the President of the Evangelical Covenant, Rev. Dr. Gary Walter, will be the featured speaker at the Anniversary Banquet. This is a ticketed event.

Sunday, November 8, all are welcome to worship which will include a visit and greeting from Central Conference Associate Superintendent Peter Sjoblom, Elgin Covenant’s “vitality coach,” with a cake reception following.

If you have any questions about these events please call the church at 847-888-2302. We hope you can join us when you can and celebrate with us 125 years of ministry in Elgin and the Fox Valley.

SHIFT into a New Gear

Our church wants to be “Disciples Who Make Disciples.” There are two sides to that: First is being disciples, that is, being intentional about learning from Jesus and his Word; second is making disciples, that is, sharing our stories of faith in Jesus with others and inviting them to receive Jesus for themselves.

SHIFT is a teaching and learning emphasis that helps us be true to the vision of being disciples. We are beginning this six-week teaching emphasis in September in our children, youth, and adult learning, and in Sunday morning worship. Each week’s lesson is self-contained. You are invited to come to what you can, and not be discouraged by anything you have to miss.

Week One: Shift Your Relationship with God, Bearing Fruit on the True Vine; John 15:1-17

Week Two: Shift Your Relationship with Others, From “Me” to “We;” Philippians 2:1-18

Week Three: Shift From Self-Fear to God-Confidence; Isaiah 6:1-7

Week Four: Shift into Empathy; Luke 10:25-37

Week Five:Shift Perspective, See As God Sees; Genesis 11:27-12:9

Week Six: Shift Into Action; Acts 10

Church Picnic August 30: KIDS CELEBRATE 125 YEARS

This year our annual church picnic is going to have some extra touches as we make it the church’s 125th Anniversary Party for KIDS. The plan is that children will have special involvements in the worship service, and the picnic itself will feature games and activities of various kinds — hopefully including a “bouncy castle” (used to be called “moonwalk”).

This picnic party is an open invitation to the whole city of Elgin. It will take place on the church campus at 1565 Larkin Avenue. Activities will begin with worship at 10:30, followed by lunch. Meats and beverages are provided, participants in the picnic are invited to bring their own picnic ware and a side-dish to share.

Student Parking Permits 2015-2016

It is that time of year when we prepare our parking lot for the new school year. We have good news for the year 2015-2016. The donations we receive for the privilege to park goes exclusively into our parking lot maintenance fund. This summer plans are underway for a complete resurfacing of the lot! Our plan is to have everything finished, including spot lines  repainted, by the beginning of the school year. If you are looking for a parking permit, please go to the tab “Student Parking” where the forms for 2015-2016 are now ready for download. Be sure to tell your friends about this opportunity to park near the west entrances of the school. Let’s fill up the lot in 2015-2016!

Camp Sunday July 5, Covenant Harbor, Lake Geneva Wisconsin

Thank you for looking us up! This Sunday, July 5, is the one Sunday of the year that we will NOT have worship at our campus, 1565 Larkin Avenue. Instead we are supporting Covenant Harbor Bible Camp this week by participating in their Summer Sundays worship. Covenant Harbor is in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. You can find more information about the camp and their summer programs at Please join us July 12, 10:30 AM, as we continue to celebrate 125 years of ministry at Elgin Covenant. While you are here, surf this site for information about our programs, and beliefs, our past, our present and our future, including pdf versions of newsletters and sermons.

Welcome: The Difference Between “Inviting” and “Affirming”

God Bless you, friend. Thank you for checking out this website!

A new post has been added  to “Hot Topics.” The Hot Topics are arranged alphabetically. Scroll down to “W” and find Welcome: The Difference Between “Inviting” and “Affirming”

All are welcome to the Evangelical Covenant Church. In today’s world, however,  words are drifting in meaning. Being a “welcoming” church has taken on implications that reflect the arguments going on in the world about sexuality and marriage. As is clear from the rest of this website, Elgin Covenant holds to what American society now calls “traditional” or “conservative” views of sexuality and marriage. (We prefer the terms “Biblical” and “God-ordained” but those are words that also spark all kinds of controversy and strong emotion.) We are an “inviting” church, we are not an “affirming” church. If you need more explanation, you may begin with the Hot Topics article.