Swanson-Draheim Recommended to Lead Midwest Conference

CHICAGO, IL (January 15, 2011) – Tammy K. Swanson-Draheim has been recommended to replace Ken Carlson as superintendent of the Midwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) when Carlson retires this year.

Swanson-Draheim currently serves as lead pastor of First Covenant Church in Mason City, Iowa, and has been deeply involved in conference and denominational ministries over the years.

She will stand for election during the Midwest Conference Annual Meeting in April. If approved, she will be installed during the June ECC Annual Meeting in Estes Park, Colorado, assuming her new duties on July 1 or shortly thereafter.

Swanson-Draheim completed general education studies at Biola University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from California State University. She completed pastoral ministry studies at Fuller Seminary and completed a master’s degree in management at North Park University. She received her Master of Divinity degree from North Park Theological Seminary and was ordained to Word and Sacrament in 2005.

Prior to beginning her ministry in Mason City in 2003, she served as director of small groups at Crossroads Covenant Church in Concord, California; as a teaching assistant in the Department of Spiritual Formation at North Park Theological Seminary; and as chaplain at Covenant Home in Chicago, Illinois.

She and her husband, Kelly, have two children, Michael and David.

There are a number of factors that influenced the final selection, according to search committee chair Brent Thompson, who also serves as chair of the Conference Executive Board.

“She has broad support within the conference constituency,” Thompson says, noting that the search committee sought recommendations from churches and individuals throughout the conference.

Pre-interview materials reflected a great deal of research and thought, Thompson said, especially the potential she sees for expanded vision and ministry within the conference. “She comes from the conference and understands the issues,” he says. “She presents herself well, and possesses strong conflict resolution skills.”

“There is an excellent team leading the conference and it will be a joy to work with them,” Swanson-Draheim said. “The conference has a lot of strength – a solid base from which to continue building. The two associate superintendents are much appreciated throughout the conference, with a gifted staff in place. We will need to work together to evaluate how best to move into the future and continue to gain ground – we are perfectly poised to do that.”

The potential to plant more healthy missional churches led by healthy pastors and laity is one opportunity that excites her. “We want to help people be fruitful in ministry. I also want to help advance the ministries of our denomination, especially in areas of compassion, mercy and justice.”

That commitment to serve was noted by ECC President Gary Walter, who said of her selection, “Tammy embodies what people hope for in a Christian leader: deeply devoted to Jesus, a champion of helping local congregations thrive, and passionate about making a difference in the world.”

The Midwest Conference encompasses a large geographical area with a variety of churches and leaders. “The challenge will be learning how to continue growing effective ministry in the midst of such breadth and diversity,” she observes. “I have developed a great love for the people of the Midwest and look forward to opportunities to travel and meet with our churches.”

The search process, guided by the eight-member search committee, formally began last June. Church leadership throughout the conference was surveyed during the summer with a series of committee meetings beginning last fall.

The group of more than 40 recommended names were eventually narrowed to five finalists, with interviews completed early this month. “All of the candidates were great and any of them would have done well,” Thompson notes.

“We enjoyed a great process,” Thompson adds. “Our committee was impressed with the quality of leadership in the Covenant. It was a hard decision – but, we believe we ended up with an outstanding candidate for superintendent.”

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