REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
“…blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted
by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are
always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
This passage stimulates a mental image for me of the 150 churches in the Pacific
Southwest Conference (hereinafter referred to as PSWC). It is a PSWC tree with each
branch a unique congregation clustered with other branches (a geographical area), but
all interrelated in a common biblical mission (the trunk).
We have seen and heard of the fruit bearing of many PSWC churches during 2007. Monthly reports from
the 25 church plants on appropriations have repeatedly included stories of lives changed through the
power of God as made known through their ministries. Over 40 ministry stories shared during fifteen
miniCelebrations in geographical clusters between late September 2007 and midMarch 2008 have given
testimony to God’s wondrous deeds through churches of all ages, sizes, ethnicity, and geographical areas.
Other stories shared in the monthly Quick Connect, on the web-site, pswc.org, and in pastor cluster
gatherings bear witness to this fruit.
What we can’t see, however, is the root system, which is critical to the long-term
sustainability of this wondrous fruit bearing tree. Over 43,400 worship attendees
including pastors, staff ministers, lay leaders, and other congregants of all ages form
that root system. It is their trust in the Lord, their confidence in Him, that nourishes the
whole body and produces fruit for His Kingdom. Simply put – no root, no fruit!
During the past year, I have reflected on one concern in particular that emerged during
the denomination’s Vision 2020 dialogue. That concern was expressed in the question
“Do we have the spiritual capacity to maintain the current missional momentum in the
Evangelical Covenant Church?” There was a strong call for a scriptural basis for our
vision for mission and continued emphasis on forming mature disciples. As noted in the final report from
our Vision 2020 Task Force to the Covenant Executive Board, “historically we have stayed close to the
text, open to the Holy Spirit, and close to each other. This has created a robust spiritual life.”
The development of a root system characterized by a “robust spiritual life” is a MUST to advance Christ’s
mission in the PSWC as we navigate the waters of phenomenal change, both now and in the future. We
will need to expand and enhance our biblical and theological capacities to undergird and sustain the vision
for mission to be a mosaic of churches working interdependently to transform lives and communities.
Our human efforts will be short-lived if we don’t have a divine reason for what we are doing. To reach
people with the gospel in these changing times will require that we take seriously our call to obey both the
Great Commission and Great Commandment and maintain the creative tension between evangelism and
compassion and justice ministries. We must be credible witnesses.
The PSWC exists to discern God’s Kingdom building movement and align our resources to support
opportunities for planting, adopting, and developing healthy, reproducing congregations. Our strategy is
to facilitate connections among pastors and congregations within geographic clusters and develop
partnerships with and among congregations, conference centers, and Covenant institutions in our region
to advance Christ’s mission. The ministries cited in this report reflect this reason for existence and our
Since 1993, this mission region has been actively engaged in advancing Christ’s mission through church
planting. The faithful prayers and sacrificial giving of individuals and local churches have enabled
planting 66 of our current churches in the last 15 years, 7 of which were launched in 2007. Eight of the
66 new plants have multiplied themselves through the planting of one or more churches. Twenty-seven
congregations that existed prior to 1993 have also singularly or with another church supported one or
more church plants. This, I believe, is evidence of a deepening conference-wide root system of healthy
churches led by healthy, growing leaders obeying the Great Commission. Spiritual vitality is a key to the
church planting movement, both for the supporting churches and the new church planters.
The challenge is ever before us to develop congregations that will engage people in an intentional growth
process to become radical followers of Christ. The denominational emphasis on congregational vitality
resulted in three Veritas seminars during 2007 in the PSWC. These seminars followed by customized
coaching for participating churches provide a means for pastors and congregational leaders to assess the
overall health of their local body. But, beyond assessment is the work of outlining strategies for next
steps. It is noteworthy that in the “Life after Veritas” downloads on John Wenrich’s blog,
covchurch.org/blogs/vitality, the first steps suggested include “allowing Jesus to be the center of your life
and cultivate a deeper dependence on the Holy Spirit.” Personal spiritual growth is foundational to
vitality. Ministries such as Getting to Great for Teams, coaching for transition teams and pastoral search
committees, mentoring/coaching for pastors, and retreats for worship pastors and youth workers have
been means to support this personal development in 2007, focusing on both the heart and head. The
Christian formation emphasis will be increasingly incorporated into ministries supporting congregational
vitality as the Christian Formation Commission collaborates more with the Church Development
Commission. The Resource Development Commission enhances the movement toward vitality as they
help pastors and congregants grow as stewards of God’s resources, both individually and as a community
of faith. The ministries designed to fulfill the stated purposes of PSWC Women Ministries --
“connecting women in all seasons of life, equipping women for growth and service and affirming women
in their significance as daughters of the Living God” contribute greatly to growing the healthy root system
of our churches.
Being Credible Witnesses
Persons who have basic life needs and/or the need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ are being
touched through ministries of our PSWC churches. The use of “What Does The Lord Require?,” a
curriculum developed by Churches Planting Ministries of The Evangelical Covenant Church, and other
biblical studies as beginning steps in discerning the why of these ministries before discerning the how has
been encouraging. Participants attending the Church Outreach Resourcing event in Pasadena in June
2007 were challenged to explore their theology of the city before planning specific ministries. Learning
the “whys and hows” of advocacy was the focus for over 25 pastors and PSWC staff attending an
Esperanza USA conference in June 2007. Specifically, they explored issues of health care, housing, and
immigration that continue to shape the lives of our Hispanic brothers and sisters.
Since our Celebration 2007, over 100 persons from 27 churches have participated in a Journey to Mosaic
trip. Through these trips, they had the opportunity to open their eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to the
experiences of persons unlike themselves. After a recent March 2008 J2M trip that included North Park
Theological Seminary faculty, Greg Yee, our associate superintendent noted “If we don't give our pastors
insight and tools to address the realities of race, it is like sending them out to war with a pocket knife.
The gospel has the power to break down the walls of race, gender, and class. Pastors need to intimately
know about this demolition plan. If they don’t, they will be left giving testimony to a powerless gospel
that more often reflects comfort, convenience, and flash, rather than the hard and unglamorous work this
really entails.” These comments were specifically related to the potential influence that seminary faculty
have in preparing pastors, but I want to note that ALL (pastors and laity) need to know the demolition
plan. Journey to Mosaic is an accessible means to begin learning. This is an experience that can grow the
root system of the PSWC tree.
Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
"Pastoral excellence involves holistic Christ-centered development, life long vocational and Biblical
formation, and regular occasions of renewal and re-visioning that sustain healthy enduring ministry."
This purpose of Sustaining Pastoral Excellence, the Department of the Ordered Ministry program funded
by the Lilly Foundation, is a purpose shared by the Pastor Care and Support Commission and the PSWC
Ministerial Association. In 2007, these two separate PSWC entities collaborated to plan and implement a
wide range of support services including retreats for retired pastors, pastors/staff ministers/spouses,
persons seeking to revision their call, worship pastors, youth pastors, and cluster point persons and
support for the pastoral spiritual direction network, Committee on Ministerial Standing, and Care Pastors.
As of March 15, 2008, there are 361 credentialed pastors in the PSWC under this care and support
umbrella. Thirty-six of these persons are in the inactive category and 41 are retired ordained pastors. Of
the 159 persons licensed for pastoral office or local ministry, 139 are enrolled in Covenant Orientation
administered through the Chicago office and 15 are enrolled in Covenant Orientation in Spanish
administered through a joint effort of our office with CHET.
A listing of pastoral changes in the PSWC for those credentialed with the Evangelical Covenant Church is
attached as Appendix A.
Our camp and conference centers, Alpine near Blue Jay, CA, and Mission Springs near Santa Cruz, CA,
are settings in which the PSWC has expanded its influence with many groups to advance Christ’s
mission. In 2007, over 30,000 guests at these centers were immersed in experiences that provided the
opportunity for God’s presence to be known in new ways. Lives have been transformed for over 82 years
at Mission Springs and 50 years at Alpine.
Alpine’s 50th anniversary celebration in September was an occasion at which testimonies were heard of
these life-changing experiences. The mortgage burning celebration in January 2008 was evidence of the
faithfulness of donors whose own lives or those close to them had been transformed through Alpine’s
ministry. The prayers and sacrificial giving of many provided the confidence needed to navigate the
troubled waters of the bridge crisis at Mission Springs. To God be the glory for the vision cast by the
founders of these centers for renewal and growth!
CHET, the Hispanic Institute for Theological Studies, is another example of expanding influence.
Initiated through the vision of and funding from First Covenant Los Angeles as it ended a century of
ministry in 1989, CHET has grown from serving 15 students in its first classes to over 400 students this
winter quarter. These students (all part-time attending evening or weekend classes) are from many
denominations. We welcome Edward Delgado as the new President and pledge our ongoing support to
maintain CHET as an accessible, affordable means to prepare Hispanic men and women for ministry.
Envisioning the Future
During this 106th Annual Business Meeting of the PSWC, we will commit time to “wondering together”
about the year 2020 in the PSWC. 2020 is only 12 years away. Based on the growth trajectory of the
last 12 years, we could expect the PSWC (if there is no alteration in boundaries) to include:
o 275 churches of which 108 would be churches planted in the next 12 year period
o 74,000+ worship attendees
o 60% of the churches (165) would be serving a specific ethnic group other than Euro American
or be multiethnic (no one group more than 80%)
o 16 churches would have 1000 or more in attendance
But, these projections are based on an assumption that other factors will remain the same. This, of course,
is a risky and probably false assumption. Globalization, with the growing interconnectedness through
expanded flows of information, technology, services, and people throughout the world, will shape and
reshape our context. Our task together is to prayerfully discern, “What current trends and/or emerging
trends will affect the PSWC churches in the next twelve years and how can we most effectively adapt
methodology yet maintain the same, life giving message? Included among those trends might be:
The demographic shifts – Projections for California’s population in 2020 are that it will be 40% white,
39% Latino, 14% Asian, 6% Black, and 0.6% Native American. Projections for other states in our region
are less dramatic shifts, but reflect a lessening of any one group as a dominant culture.
Communications technologies changing the way we live – An increasing number of people today know
more about people they interact with digitally than about people they interact with face-to-face. Virtual
communities are an overflow of typical, ongoing social networking.
Christianity will increasingly be dominated by the Southern Hemisphere – It is believed that 60 percent
of Christians today are people of color outside Europe and North America. They dominate the spread of
the Christian movement in 2008.
Immigration and emigration movements are exploding – People are increasingly living outside their
country of birth, but they may still be living among people of their dominant culture. Newer generations
of Americans will increasingly live outside the United States to pursue personal and career interests.
The aging population – In California, 14.7% of the population is projected to be 65+ by 2020 compared
to 10.6% in 2000. In Arizona, the projection for 2020 is that approximately 25% will be over age 60.
The West, in general, is cited as the area where significant shifts in the median age will be experienced.
Information-based systems are growing – Information-based organizations are displacing the old
command-and-control model of management. We are moving from centralized to decentralized to
distributive systems for organizations. Distributive systems are networked organizations that empower
And, the list could go on and on… Join me in praying for discernment as we seek to grow a root system
during the next twelve years such that the PSWC tree continues to bear fruit for advancement of the
On behalf of the PSWC staff, I express appreciation to you of the PSWC churches for your faithfulness
on the frontlines and your commitment to working interdependently. We, in particular, commend you for
the faithful financial support of our common mission during 2007. Undesignated giving in 2007
increased by 5% with an additional $384,000 designated giving from local churches for specific projects,
primarily church planting and J2M. With strengthened individual donor giving and local church gifts
through the Advancing the Mosaic Fund Drive, the PSWC income reached an all-time high of $2.19
We also thank those who have given sacrificially of time, talent, and treasure in service on the Executive
Board and Commissions to provide oversight for our common mission together. Your commitment to our
common mission, willingness to go the “extra mile”, and prayer support are noteworthy.
And, personally, I express appreciation to the PSWC team of full-time, part-time, and contracted staff I
have the joy of leading. You are an unbelievably productive team with a deep passion for Christ’s
mission and love for the PSWC that is contagious! The joy of team was, however, mixed with sadness as
we released Walter Contreras from the team to serve the Department of World Mission beginning August
2007. We thank God for Walter’s vital role in advancing our vision to be a mosaic of churches.
Finally, I thank God for His provision of the prayers and words of encouragement “just in time” that
come through my husband, Phil, our sons and their families, and our extended family and friends.
Deeper in Christ…. Further in Mission! This phrase on the home page of the Covenant’s web-site,
covchurch.org, is not just a motto. It is a mandate. We must go deeper in Christ and grow the root
system to support ongoing fruit bearing – going further in mission! As people gather in 2020 to celebrate
the fruit of the PSWC tree, may we, the root system now, be remembered for our trust in God and our
pursuit of increased spiritual capacity to further the mission.
Evelyn M.R. Johnson
Changes to Pastor/Staff Minister Roster during 2007/early 2008
Lead Pastors leaving positions Rodney Walker – Hope Community Covenant
Aaron Flores – Canvas Covenant Church – Church – Pasadena
Santa Ana Lead Pastors installed
Mike Foell – Crown Valley Covenant Church – July 2007 – Cameron Wu Cardona – Grace Covenant
Laguna Niguel Church – South San Francisco
Peter Foster – Rivers Edge Covenant Church – September 2007 – Kevin David – Cornerstone
Brentwood (church closed) Covenant Church – Turlock
Kreig Gammelgard – Oak Hills Covenant Church – October 2007 – Brian Lopez – Bayside Covenant
Vista Church – Placerville
Terrence Kenney – Emanuel Covenant Church – November 2007 – Rolando Leiva – Ministerios
Northridge Belen – Vallejo
Rick Krasky – Redeemer Covenant Church – January 2008 – Matt Marzluft – Village Covenant
Orangevale Church – Azusa
Richard Parrish – New Hope Covenant Church – February 2008 – Aaron Gonzenbach – Crossroads
Peoria, AZ Covenant Church – Concord
Charles Patrick – Sunago Grace Covenant Church – February 2008 – Anibal Vasquez – Primera Iglesia
Compton (church closed) del Pacto – Bell Gardens
Ray Spann – Good Shepherd Community Church – March 2008 – Andrew Wollitzer – Berkeley
Tracy Covenant Church – Berkeley
Doug Grimes – Community Covenant Church -
Goleta Staff Ministers installed*
April 2007 – Sid Smith – First Covenant Church –
Credentialed Staff Ministers leaving positions Oakland
Cary Brooks – Bayside Placerville – Placerville April 2007 – Evan Kolding – Stockton Covenant
Bobby Coverston – Mountain View Covenant Church – Stockton
Church – Mission Viejo June 2007 – Lisa Holmlund – Montecito Covenant
Barbara Pettit – Pasadena Covenant Church – Church – Santa Barbara
Pasadena September 2007 – Greg Oppenhuizen – Cornerstone
Joel Rude – Redwood Covenant Church – Santa Rosa Covenant Church – Turlock
Interim Lead Pastors serving * Other staff persons were added in 2007, but the
Fred Carter – Grace Covenant Church – Spring listing above includes only persons installed by a
Valley Conference staff person.
Bob Kennedy – Oak Hills Covenant Church – Vista
Jason Powell – New Hope Covenant Church – Deaths of Covenant credentialed
Peoria, AZ pastors/missionaries and spouses of
Wes Swanson – Turlock Covenant Church – Turlock pastors/missionaries
Paula Warren – Church of Philadelphia Covenant – March 2007 – Paul J. Johnson
San Jose April 2007 – Elmer Pearson
Will Waters – Alum Rock Covenant Church – San April 2007 – Vernon Kraft
Jose May 2007 – Nancy Nelson
January 2008 – Emory Lindgren
Church Planters starting in 2007/early 2008 with February 2008 – Marie Carlson
residency and/or launch of church plant March 2008 – Lloyd Tornell
Jeff Budd – San Jose Area
Gabriel Quiroga – Camino de Vida Covenant Church Other
– Tucson August 2007 – Walter Contreras from PSWC staff to
John Fanous – Edgewater Covenant Church – Department of World Mission, ECC
Pittsburg November 2007 – Ed Delgado to President of CHET,
Rolando Luna – Comunidad Familiar Cristiana Bell Gardens, from Department of Church Growth
Covenant Church – Redwood City and Evangelism, ECC
Randy Sherwood – Bayside Covenant Plumas Lake –