Faithful in service, further in mission.

faithful in service further in mission

Annual Report

01From the President

Further in mission together

gary walter

Gary Walter
President of the ECC

Reflections on 40 years of service in the Covenant

As I near retirement, this is my final report as president. Being able to serve Jesus through this church for over 40 years has been humbling and meaningful. I came to faith in high school through a newly planted Covenant congregation. The Covenant has continually nurtured my growth as a follower of Christ, and that of my family. It is the relational center for so very many of our deepest and most cherished relationships.

For all of this, to you and every generation of Covenanters before you, thank you.

Overview: Our Mission

In this Annual Report you will find updates from our various ministry areas that show the scope and progress of this partnership. Together we are “3StrandStrong”: congregation, conference, Covenant. We are reaching more lives in more ways in more places with more diversity than at any point since our founding in 1885.

This is the cumulative result of the faithful efforts of 875 congregations in the United States and Canada, attended by more than 325,000 constituents, served by 1,900 active clergy in an array of ministries, supported by committed and competent regional and denominational staff, augmented by the specialized ministries of various Covenant institutions and corporations, and extending to some 58 countries around the world.

Taking the fullness of Scripture to heart, we distill our ministry this way: We join God in God’s mission to see more disciples, among more populations, in a more caring and just world. We have then crystallized five priorities to live into that mission: Start and Strengthen Churches, Make and Deepen Disciples, Develop Leaders, Love Mercy Do Justice, and Serve Globally.

In support of those priorities are Operations, Finance, and Communications. Additionally, we have institutions and corporations that undertake specialized ministries: North Park University (including North Park Theological Seminary), Covenant Ministries of Benevolence, National Covenant Properties, Covenant Trust Company, Paul Carlson Partnership, Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (Spanish language ministry training), and Bezalel Affordable Housing.

The Covenant is sometimes described as a denomination that fights above its weight class. Our missional impact is indeed beyond what one would expect of a partnership our size. Most importantly, as you read the reports that follow mine, sense the real lives in real places touched by the grace and hope of Jesus.

Having served in three roles at Covenant Offices during a good portion of that time frame, I have witnessed pivotal initiatives and innovations that have contributed to this growth. Among these are:


Pivotal Moments: Initiatives & Innovations

Over the course of nearly 30 years and three presidencies the Covenant has experienced a consistent trajectory of growth—growing more diverse and growing more in the fullness of mission. Consider the following figures (US/Canada):

Title 1990 2017
Aggregate Weekly Attendance 94,950 224,041
Estimated Total Constituency 125,000 325,000
Number of Churches 615 876
Current Congregations Added Since 1990 391
% Ethnic Diversity of Churches 7% 32%
Size of Ministerium 930 1,880
Number and % Women in Ministerium 27, 3% 459, 24%
# Global Connections (includes CWR) 15 58

02Start & Strengthen Churches

hands raised

Partnering with the Spirit to Grow Churches

The same Spirit who plants churches is the same Spirit who strengthens churches. We have experienced a year of Spirit-filled momentum in Covenant Church Planting. In the past 12 months, we planted 30 churches—a 100 percent increase over the previous year. Alex Rahill is providing outstanding leadership. We have assessed 50 potential church planters since last Annual Meeting. In May, we hosted our first dual-language Church Planter Training Intensive in Spanish and English with 30 church plants represented. In the past year we have trained 62 planters. Currently we are in the process of revamping and updating our Church Planter Training Intensive.

Helping pastors navigate the swirling emotions of their first senior pastorate is the goal behind our First Call Retreat, which is designed for ministers within their first six months of a lead or solo pastorate. Topics addressed at the inaugural retreat included growing teams and leading transition. Fourteen pastors from five conferences attended the event, which Covenant minister Jodi Moore organized and helped lead in her role as rural ministry partner for Start and Strengthen Churches.

The success of our other initiatives can be seen in the continued growth of the participating churches. In 2017 we saw the largest attendance ever for our Navigate Conference, with 149 pastors and lay leaders from 29 churches learning together how to partner with the Holy Spirit’s work of strengthening their church. More than 400 congregations of all sizes have engaged with the Congregational Vitality Pathway since we started it ten years ago. The Vitality movement is growing in eight regional conferences with the hope for expansion into all eleven. Our Master’s Certificate of Congregational Vitality continues to equip lay leaders and pastors. We served 20 students during the 2017-2018 school year.

We are especially excited that Shaun Marshall has joined the team as our new director of congregational vitality. He also serves as adjunct faculty at North Park Theological Seminary for our congregational vitality certificate. Shaun, a gifted and emerging leader in the ECC, had most recently served as pastor of Community Covenant Church in Calumet Park, Illinois.

Start and Strengthen also has partnered with the regional conferences to fund MissionInsite, a web-based tool designed to help congregations appraise the social needs and demographic trends in their communities. It’s a powerful ministry resource available free of charge to all ECC churches.

We believe the local church is God’s basic strategy to carry out mission in the world. Through planting new churches and providing resources to strengthen existing congregations, these ministries seek to reach more people with the hope of Christ.
john wenrich

John Wenrich
Executive Minister

03Make & Deepen Disciples

group on beach

Helping People Navigate Their Faith Journey

Jake Bradley, the youth and family pastor at Good Shepherd Covenant Church in Joliet, Illinois, wrote to tell Make and Deepen Disciples that he had a problem with our new initiative, Legacy, which reimagines the way congregations approach children’s ministry. “In our first four weeks, we have twice as many parents coming to learn how to be spiritual mentors and so many kids we don’t know where to put them all!”

Legacy helps us rethink our children’s important role in God’s kingdom by coaching churches in four key dimensions: empower kids, equip parents, develop disciples, and reach out. Eleven pilot churches are implementing Legacy, which officially launched at Midwinter 2018. We are also working with Love Mercy Do Justice to develop Justice Journeys for Children, an interactive resource that emphasizes the call of Christians to reconcile every tribe and nation.

Some 5,000 teenagers have registered to attend this year’s CHIC in Knoxville, Tennessee, July 15-20. We will also have a post-CHIC curriculum for the whole church entitled “Unite.” Our hope is to unite the entire ECC around our mission priorities, just as we are doing with our youth at CHIC.

The success of BLESS, the denomination’s evangelism initiative, continues to grow. BLESS is an acronym for five missional practices: Begin with prayer, Listen with care, Eat together, Serve in love, and Share your story. Churches are encouraged to focus on one practice a week for five weeks with the goal that BLESS becomes a missional lifestyle. It helps congregations develop a “culture of evangelism” and guide individuals as they “practice a rhythm of evangelism.” Three new BLESS resources were introduced: a small-group guide, sermon samples, and BLESS for kids

Toni Schwabe, pastor of Rice Creek Covenant Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, said desire to do evangelism replaced pressure. “We emphasized the fact that we were practicing blessing people in whatever way they needed it rather than saving them as only Christ can.”

Crescendo, a coaching ministry led by Debbie Blue, Alan Forsman, and Evelyn Johnson, equips Covenant churches to unleash the ministry potential of boomers and beyond (ages 55 and older). Embrace, a suite of human sexuality discipleship resources and experiences that are in harmony with the ECC’s adopted position, is aimed at helping the ECC to flourish in love for LGBTQ+ communities. Embrace began in March with a series of webinars. The inaugural webinar with Preston Sprinkle, author of People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue, had more than 2,300 views.

We exist to partner with conferences in resourcing local churches to provide intentional pathways for persons of all ages and backgrounds to follow Jesus, grow toward Christ-likeness, and join in God’s mission. Our dream is to have exponential impact by equipping the Covenant to become a community of disciples who make disciples.
michelle sanchez

Michelle Sanchez
Executive Minister

04Love Mercy Do Justice

house repair

Building Frameworks for Transformation

Maggie, a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, dreamed of becoming a nurse to care for others. But she struggled to navigate the college application and financial-aid processes, being the first in her family to pursue higher education. She nearly gave up on her dream of college. Maggie also volunteered as a tutor to low-income students through UNIDOS, a San Juan, California-based partner ministry of Love Mercy Do Justice (LMDJ). Soon she connected with a fellow volunteer who became a mentor and encouraged Maggie, walked with her through the registration process, and celebrated with her when she entered college a couple months later.

In Tavares, Florida, Bridges Covenant Church pastor Eric Filkin had been enjoying a night downtown with his wife when a Black Lives Matter protest marched by. The couple, who are white, asked if they could join and they wound up walking alongside one of the march’s leaders, Mike Watkins, pastor of a local Christian Methodist Episcopal church. It was the beginning of a friendship that has led the pastors to pursue reconciliation in their community. With the help of LMDJ, they put on an event that brought together other pastors, elected officials, police officers, school board representatives, youth, and other concerned citizens and are pursuing together community transformation.

Maggie’s entrance into college and the community bridge-building in Florida weren’t planned, but they happened because of the framework of partnerships LMDJ has formed with local organizations and individuals around the nation.

We’re also partnering with other Covenant ministries to advance God’s kingdom among all ages and cultures. With Make and Deepen Disciples, we developed the upcoming resource Justice Journeys for Children, as well as curriculum and experiences for students at CHIC. Working with Covenant World Relief, LMDJ provided assistance to people who suffered through historic disasters in the past year. We have partnered with Develop Leaders to launch an immigration task force, and with North Park Theological Seminary to establish a Sankofa elective.

We have worked with National Covenant Properties and ECC Finance to expand Bezalel, the pioneering housing project in Dolton, Illinois, that has provided job training while rehabbing homes that are now rented at affordable rates to low-income families. The project has been so successful that a second phase was recently launched in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit, where three buildings with four living units have been purchased.

LMDJ’s work will continue to expand this year. CovEnterprises expects to launch four new social enterprises through Covenant churches and their community development corporations. A new Intercultural Development Initiative will help 25 churches assess and improve their ministries.

We look forward to expanding the framework that has opened the way for God to bring transformation in lives like Maggie’s and places like Tavares, Dolton, and Detroit.

We are committed to joining God in making things right in our broken world. Our goal is to resource and equip the local church in its call to love, serve, and work together with people at the margins toward holistic individual, family, and community transformation.
cecilia williams

Cecilia Williams
Executive Minister

05Develop Leaders

raised hands

Supporting Vocational and Personal Growth

Vocational Excellence is offered through Ordered Ministry’s Covenant Orientation and is required of all those seeking credentialing in the ECC. The class discusses professional ethics, pastoral boundaries and power, and the basics of preaching, teaching, leading, and caring well that form the core of one’s pastoral identity. In the past ten years, more than 1,200 participants have gathered in retreat settings, joining in large and small group discussions, taking part in role play and case studies, and hearing presentations from seasoned clergy teaching teams. They meet one-on-one with a psychologist from Midwest Ministry Development Center in Westchester, Illinois, as well as with a spiritual director to explore the emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of their call. Through these experiences participants have developed a better sense of their strengths and weaknesses and of the importance of self-care as they care for others. By the end of the course, ministers coming into the Covenant express their appreciation of how committed the denomination is to the care and formation of its clergy. One student, initially less than happy about another required course, stated: “In all honesty, I entered the Vocational Excellence course kicking and screaming. I was resistant to it and did not expect to receive much. Luckily, my instincts were wrong, and this course ended up being a transformational experience for me, one that I will always cherish.”

Credentialing isn’t just a checklist that a potential pastor completes. Ordered Ministry continues to adapt to the changing needs of clergy, including the rise of those in bivocational ministry and ministry as a second career. Develop Leaders staff works with individual pastors to ensure that each one who is called to vocational ministry is prepared for fruitful relationships in his or her ministry context and can be entrusted with the care of vulnerable people. Partnering with CHET (Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos) and with North Park Theological Seminary, Develop Leaders works to ensure that women and men of all ethnicities are part of teaching and coaching faculty. In collaboration with Serve Globally, staff is also helping to restructure the training, care, and credentialing pathways for those who serve as missionaries overseas.

Flourishing in Ministry has been an ongoing focus in the care of pastors. Our continued partnership with the Lilly Foundation has led to the Financial Leadership initiative, a debt-relief, coaching and financial acuity program that will help relieve one of the major stresses in a pastor’s life: financial crises. Almost 500 pastors, close to one-third of our ministerial community, have participated in a wellbeing study that has helped Develop Leaders identify areas where we can bolster pastoral health. We have had the opportunity to apply for a Thriving in Ministry grant through the Lilly Foundation, which we hope will allow us to create stronger collegial relationships and better pastoral resiliency in today’s ministry contexts.

And finally, we continue to seek areas of collaboration with other mission priorities: working with Make and Deepen Disciples to develop thoughtful responses to harassment and abuse; partnering with Love Mercy Do Justice to assist marginalized people, and joining with Start and Strengthen Churches to support Hispanic church-planting events.

We are committed to developing and strengthening healthy leaders, both clergy and lay, through multiple avenues. Develop Leaders, which includes the ECC’s Ordered Ministry, serves our Covenant pastors through credentialing, advocacy, endorsement, care, and formation. We also work to lift up lay leaders in our local churches to join with local pastors in furthering God’s mission.
richard lucco

Richard Lucco
Interim Executive Minister

06Serve Globally

carrying water

Engaging in God’s Global Mission

Disasters around the world have made it all the more apparent why we must work to bring the hopeful gospel of peace to a world in which there is so much suffering.

Human-caused disasters have spurred mass movements of refugees. Civil wars are inflicting immense suffering in South Sudan and Syria. In Yemen, nearly 10,000 people have died of cholera since 2015, triggering what the United Nations has called the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Serve Globally, working closely with partners, continues to minister to people trapped in the violence and to those who have fled far from home. Covenant World Relief’s (CWR) partners such as Medical Teams International have delivered care amid the worst conflicts. Missionaries in Europe and elsewhere work with partners to help settle refugees. CWR has helped the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan and Ethiopia to engage in reconciliation work by bringing together people of warring tribes in the refugee camps and training them in peacemaking.

Serve Globally and Love Mercy Do Justice have partnered in new ways to provide relief and recovery assistance following hurricanes that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Merge, a Global Engagements ministry, has organized teams of volunteers for relief assistance in Houston after Hurricane Harvey and in Mexico following its deadly earthquakes.

Paul Carlson Partnership (PCP) continues to focus on health care, infrastructure, and economic development in partnership with the Covenant Church of Congo (CEUM). The current clean water phase of the Congo Clinic Initiative (CCI) is PCP-facilitated as each community leads, owns, and maintains its water source. Building and repairing bridges means people can get to clinics and hospitals and get their goods to market. The new five-year Karawa Coffee Project engages nearly 2,000 farmers and rejuvenates the region’s historically successful coffee production. This year PCP and CEUM celebrated the signing of a historic Memorandum of Understanding, which clarifies shared objectives and processes.

The Center for World Christian Studies brings resources and connections of Serve Globally to North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS). In June 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Bethlehem Bible College and NPTS to foster enhanced learning opportunities with a potential for greater impact in their respective communities. The exchanges between students and faculty will deepen cross-cultural experiences in addition to academic learning.

We are committed to God’s mission and our participation in extending the whole gospel to the whole world. Through global partnerships and Covenant missionary personnel, we make and deepen disciples, start and strengthen churches, develop leaders, love mercy and do justice, and serve globally—that is, we join the rest of the global church in engaging in God’s mission.
al tizon

Al Tizon
Executive Minister

07Ministry Support

smiling on laptop

Finance and Pensions

paul hawkinson

Paul Hawkinson
Executive Director of Finance & Pensions, Treasurer

The Finance team is responsible for the overall stewardship of mission activity within the annual Covenant Mission & Ministry Budget. We also provide strategic leadership for a comprehensive array of benefits, including pension programs as well as medical and broader insurance offerings made available through our Bethany Benefits Service—now in its 25th year of faithful ministry. Our team actively participates as part of a nationwide Church Benefits Association—allowing the ECC to benefit from the best practice and scale of various denominations, working in concert to serve our collective churches, pastorate, and staff.

Over the past five years, the Finance team has also been increasingly focused on enterprise-wide stewardship and risk management, creating greater opportunities for collaboration across ~$2 billion in remarkable ECC affiliate ministries. Together, our common focus is to serve local, conference, and denominational ministry. We consider it a great privilege.

We are a grateful denomination. The 2017 fiscal year (ended January 31, 2018) represented the fourth consecutive year of cash-balanced mission activity, with a modest surplus of approximately $53,000. Solid expense management combined with faithful generosity of the entire ECC continues to sustain our five mission priorities and diverse global project ministries. Highlights of our mission activity include:



rebecca gonzalez

Rebecca Gonzalez
Executive Director of Operations

Operations has strategic oversight of Governance, Human Resources, Covenant Events, Information Services, Facilities, and general administrative functions of the ECC. These ministry services resource Covenant Offices employees and missionary personnel, volunteers serving in elected and appointed roles, conferences, affiliate ministries, and the church constituency, at large. Ministry objectives with the local church, conferences and ministry partners around the globe advance through the faithful stewardship of resources entrusted. Through our partnerships, resources, and services individuals grow deeper in Christ and go further in mission.

Ministry Highlights

  • Missional engagement improved for more than 100 employees from Covenant Offices and more than 105 missionary personnel via Human Resources and IS improvement strategies.
  • More than 7,500 people from over 550 churches strengthened their commitment to God and call, their relational bond with Covenanters, and the ECC mission through the work of Covenant Events. Indeed, engagement at Midwinter 2018 increased by 21% from the prior year, and registration at Gather 2018 (currently at 1,100 people) is tracking at 140% more than the previous year.
  • 50+ ECC leadership boards, committees, associations, conferences, commissions, and ministry partners were resourced through Operations’ support services.
  • We continue to mitigate risks and liabilities by increasing awareness, implementing protocols and procedures, engaging in trainings, orientations, and roundtable discussions on Emergency Response Readiness for both domestic and international contexts.


edward gilbreath

Edward Gilbreath
Executive Director of Communications

The ministry of Communications encompasses print and digital media and provides services to both the internal ministries at Covenant Offices as well as the ECC’s regional conferences, affiliates, and local churches. Our task is to promote and advance the mission of the ECC through inspired media, marketing, and ministry with the goal of seeing a more informed and connected Covenant community.

Ministry Highlights

  • The Covenant Companion magazine and won 8 Evangelical Press Association Awards and 12 Associated Church Press Awards, including the ACP’s first-place “Best in Class” honor for denominational magazine.
  • Unveiled the first phase of an ongoing redesign of the homepage.
  • Helped Make and Deepen Disciples launch new Crescendo, Legacy, and Embrace ministry initiatives.
  • Partnered with Advancement to reboot the CovCares Giving Guide, raising more than $120,000 toward ministry efforts across the five mission priorities.

Base Mission Financials Fiscal Year 2017

Base Mission Investment

Title Base
Approp­riations Base Mission
Mission &
Ministry Total
Start & Strengthen Churches* $1,106,439 $1,571,875 $2,678,314 $42,819 $2,721,133
Make & Deepen Disciples $1,076,510 $1,076,510 $40,919 $1,117,429
Develop Leaders** $772,224 $1,000,000 $1,772,224 $672,295 $2,444,519
Love Mercy Do Justice $595,822 $595,822 $1,917,401 $2,513,223
Serve Globally*** $1,233,996 $3,980,025 $5,214,021 $5,484,668 $10,698,689
Support: Communications $1,306,093 $1,306,093 $1,306,093
Support: Shared Services $3,471,961 $3,471,961 $3,471,961
Mission Investment Total $9,563,045 $6,551,900 $16,114,945 $8,158,102 $24,273,047

Base Mission Income

Title Base
Approp­riations Base Mission
ECC Chuch Support $8,336,772 52%
Donor Support $2,135,935 13%
Affiliate Fees & Ministry Investment $4,473,116 28%
Regular Bequest Transfers & Other Income $545,991 3%
External Communication Sales $373,166 2%
Rental Income $302,750 2%
Mission Income Total $16,167,730 100%
Fiscal 2017 Operating Surplus $52,785

* Appropriations for Church Planting (net of draw from Living Legacy Funds)
** Appropriations to North Park University & Theological Seminary
*** Appropriations for In-Budget Missionaries

08Affiliated Ministries


In addition to our mission priorities and support ministries, our affiliated corporations and institutions give leadership to specialized ministries in complex regulatory environments.

Together they live out our mission and ministry through compassionate service, wise financial stewardship, and holistic higher education. These include Covenant Ministries of Benevolence (health and human services ministries of the ECC), North Park University (undergraduate and graduate education, including North Park Theological Seminary), CHET (our Hispanic theological training center), Covenant Trust Company (assisting individuals and other entities with investment management and estate planning), and National Covenant Properties (our lending institution to churches and other entities, with investment opportunities for individuals). There are an additional 21 related camps and conference centers throughout the US and Canada.

Covenant Ministries of Benevolence

Roger A. Oxendale

Covenant Ministries of Benevolence (CMB) administers a large family of ministries recognized by national peer groups for their quality and innovation in serving the emotional, physical, and mental needs of people in their communities.

Swedish Covenant Hospital (SCH) in Chicago is situated in one of the country’s most diverse zip codes, serving people in more than 180 languages a year and advancing groundbreaking treatment. Yet it remains a community hospital integrated into the lives of local residents. Like all CMB ministries, its service begins with listening. In response to a local assessment survey, the hospital has launched an ambitious plan to train more than 400 individuals in cardiac pulmonary resuscitation and using Automated External Defibrillators (CPR/AED). Building on research that shows people who live in homes make fewer trips to the emergency room and require less hospitalization, the hospital is participating in a new program to provide housing for the homeless. In the past year, U.S. News & World Report named the Extended Care Facility at SCH as one of the best extended nursing homes in the country, giving it five out of five stars. In recent years, SCH also opened its Women’s Center, Violence Protection Program, Emergency Department expansion, and introduced groundbreaking treatments.


North Park University

Carl E. Balsam
Interim President

Innovative new programs that blend discipleship and academics continue to develop students who grow in relationship with Christ, one another, and graduate as informed citizens ready to serve greater purposes.

Through the new initiative Catalyst 606__, students in all majors leave campus on Wednesday afternoons to serve and learn throughout Chicago communities. Art students have toured mural installations in the Pilsen neighborhood, science students studied anatomy at a downtown hospital’s brain bank, and finance students experienced the Board of Trade. Vance Henry, chief of faith-based partnerships and initiatives in the Chicago mayor’s office, said, “It’s a dynamic example of how we can partner together to educate, cooperate, and create better cities for all.” CRUX, a newly launched residential discipleship program for first-year Christian students, already has helped students grow in their relationship with Christ and minister to others. This past school year, students connected with local leaders and other students through organized events, attended church together, and gave back to the community. CRUX reflects the school’s belief that discipleship and scholarship go hand in hand.


North Park Theological Seminary

David W. Kersten
Dean of the seminary

In the past year North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS) launched its Covenant Scholars program and earned a $1 million Lilly Foundation grant that will enable the seminary to establish the initiative Thriving in Ministry: Spiritually, Vocationally, and Prophetically. To participate in the Covenant Scholars, students must enroll in the Master of Divinity or equivalent degree program, live on campus, and plan to complete their studies in three years. The program is a partnership with National Covenant Properties, which has helped fund the startup costs. Money from the repaid loans will be invested to fund the ongoing program.

The Covenant Scholars Loan Program is designed to help reduce the debt load of students, which will make it easier for graduates to accept calls to churches. Qualifying students receive interest-free loans, and repayments will not exceed more than $250 a month over the 84-month term of the loan. In its inaugural year, nine of the ten available slots were filled. Recruitment for year two is underway. We are encouraged by the quality of Covenant students considering NPTS and the opportunity this program affords them in financing their seminary education.


Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos

Edward F. Delgado

When Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (CHET), the Hispanic training center for church planters, pastors, and lay leaders, was launched in 1989, organizers never imagined just how far its ministry would spread. Kenya Covenant Church pastors are benefiting from their first formal theological education using material originally created for CHET. Working in cooperation with Centennial Covenant Church in Littleton, Colorado, and Rolling Hills Covenant Church in Rolling Hills Estates, California, CHET has provided financial support as well as several instructors to the Kenya church’s students in a partnership that has brought advanced biblical training to church leaders in Kenya. The initiative’s first students graduated the two-year course at the church’s new seminary in 2017.


National Covenant Properties

Stephen R. Dawson

National Covenant Properties (NCP) is the loan source and short-term investment arm for the Evangelical Covenant Church. NCP equips Covenant churches and individuals to help grow the kingdom of God through investments and loans that drive ministry like no other resource. NCP supports growth of local and regional ministries by connecting mission-minded investments to kingdom-expanding projects. We understand that fruitful ministry requires facilities that are both inviting and effective. So we bring inspired coaching and appropriate loans to Covenant congregations and other organizations to improve their facilities.

A few ministry highlights from the past year:

01. About $35,000,000 in new loans were advanced to ECC congregations in 2017. When we say, “we lend,” we mean that all of our investors are participating in these loans that help Covenant ministries grow.


Covenant Trust Company

Ann P. Wiesbrock

A child comes to faith at a Covenant camp, a family in India drinks clean water from a nearby source for the first time, a formerly incarcerated person gets a job because of a training program connected with a local church. All of these events happen because clients choose to invest with Covenant Trust Company (CTC). This past year $7.2 million was distributed to the ministries of the ECC from the estate plans of our generous clients.

We are committed to improving the financial health of our clients so that they can have peace of mind for the future and contribute generously to ministry that is close to their heart. As we work with individual clients, we seek to understand their values and purpose, then together we create a workable plan to move forward. We help our clients create an investment plan, a generosity and giving plan, and an estate plan, all in line with their values.


Our missional impact is real lives in real places touched by the grace and hope of Jesus.
gary walter

Gary Walter
President of the ECC

09Executive Leadership


Council of Administrators


Executive Board

  • Roy E. Applequist
    Salina, KS

  • Rebecca Barnett
    Acton, MA

  • Jonathan Bonkoski
    Arden Hills, MN

  • Rachel E. Burke
    Fayetteville, GA

  • David R. Danielson
    Rochester, MN

  • Lance L. Davis
    South Holland, IL

  • Donna Erickson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Paula A. Frost
    Manistee, MI

  • Roberto V. Ghione
    Simi Valley, CA

  • Doris Granberry
    Miami, FL

  • Carl R. Helfrich
    Creve Coeur, MO

  • Jeffrey A. Houston
    McPherson, KS

  • Michael L. Jordan
    Kerman, CA

  • Joshua M. Kang
    Wheeling, IL

  • Alice S. Lee
    Missouri City, TX

  • Erick Marquez
    Montebello, CA

  • Juana I. Nesta
    Oakley, CA

  • Jenell M. Pluim
    Wetaskiwin, AB

  • Philip E. Print
    Cottage Grove, MN

  • Merideth A. Randles
    Seattle, WA

  • Victoria J. Reier
    Arvada, CO

  • John C. Stewart
    Worthington, MN

  • Valerie K. Thomas
    Bethel, AK

  • Dwain Tissell
    Happy Valley, OR

  • Michael L. Wilson
    Livermore, CA

  • Cindy Wu
    Sugar Land, TX

Thank You

Special thanks to Bethany Benefit Service for sponsoring the design and development of the 2017–18 Annual Report booklet and website.