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 covenantharbor.org. 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.


Living Again

Spring took its time reaching the upper midwest. March was “in like a lion,” but out like a bear. Even so the signs of life, the longer daylight, the warmth, the flowers, are reminding us of beauty and of joy in simple pleasures.

Many religions have long understood spring as a metaphor. Some have seen it as a metaphor of cycles, circular time, and sameness — for philosophies of reincarnation. The Christian faith has seen in spring a sign and metaphor for resurrection, for new life coming from the dead. The analogy should not be stretched too far. Trees that bud are not resurrected, they are coming out of dormancy — we see that in the animal kingdom too, among some mammals that hibernate for a period of time during winter.

Each cycle of the seasons move time forward. Trees get bigger and taller. Animals, including human beings, advance through stages of maturity. And then, eventually, life dies. The tree does not bud in spring, but becomes a dry trunk.

The amazing good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be simply deduced from the cycle of seasons and the life-cycles of trees and animals. It must first be declared and lived and spoken by God as an act of self-revelation, in a way that we can understand. This good news is that Jesus was dead, all the way dead. He was not hibernating, he was not in a deep coma, he was dead. Then God raised him back to life in a body that will never die again. That is good news for you and me because of what God promises in the words spoken through Jesus Christ, that by faith in him we also can share in his eternal life, we also can rise from the dead in new bodies that will never die.

The hints of spring cannot replace God’s special, spoken and revealed Word. This Word lived in the flesh of Jesus Christ, is preserved in the Old and New Testaments, and is experienced directly through the presence of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in and renewing the minds of believers. His Spirit dwelling in us is our deposit on eternal life, the guarantee of the promise. Be thankful for the seasons and for what spring means to the cycle of life, but be ever more thankful for what God has done to make that which is dead and that which will die, to live again forever.

Spring and Celebration

We are now deep into 2015, our 125th Anniversary Year. We launched our celebration on February 15 with a short film showing the origins of our tradition. On March 8 the Rev. Dick Lucco brought the word, preaching on Zaccheus and our call to be like Jesus in taking notice of others. Holy Week began on Palm Sunday, March 29, featuring a liturgical dance by a team of women and then a song by the children. April 1, missionary Ryan Karp of Chosen People Ministries took us through “The Messiah in the Passover” and led communion. Good Friday and Easter were also special worship times.

The celebrations continue. On April 26 we are holding a “Welcome Baby” shower for Josiah Johnson, born to Pastor Greg and Shannon Johnson. On May 10 our youth are hosting a special Mother’s Day breakfast (FREE) and then are leading worship with Pastor Greg. On May 17 we are having our special “Church in Mission” emphasis with our outreach pastor, Henoch Fuentes. On June 7, Central Conference Superintendent Jerome Nelson will be our guest preacher, along with a guest choir, for the celebration of Pastor Greg’s ordination and Pastor Jonathan’s graduation with a Ph.D. All of these events are on Sunday mornings and open to the public. Come to the party!

125 Years of Worship and Service

We hope you will join us this year as we celebrate 125 years as a congregation. The year-long celebration begins February 15, “Covenant Heritage Sunday” and continues through the 2015 Christmas season with special speakers, parties and picnics. Keep yourself posted with announcements on this website. The “biggest” plans are for June 7 with a guest choir and conference Superintendent Jerome Nelson to help us celebrate Pastor Greg’s ordination, the August 30 family and community picnic, and November 7, the banquet with denomination President Gary Walter, but a lot will be happening between times. Stay tuned!

New Year, New Opportunities

As January unfolds our church is gearing up for its Annual Meeting on February 8. Hard work is being done on our budget as the leadership has a cast a new vision for the pastoral office at Elgin Covenant. We are hoping to make the role of Associate Pastor for Youth and Family full-time. This means an increase in our total budget over 2014, but we believe God is setting this challenge before us. In the weeks leading up to February 8 it is our turn to discern what this means in each of our households.  This is the focus of the January-February newsletter; you are invited to launch and read that for more details.

ECCEsketch Jan-Feb 2015website Newsletter

We are thrilled by the service that Pastor Greg is bringing to our church in the Associate role, which under the plan, he will continue to perform half-time through the summer, assuming full-time responsibilities on September 1. Our desire is that by investing in this role we are helping make the church continue to be a place that is welcoming to families who can be confident that their kids are receiving a foundation in faith through the Sunday morning and midweek activities.