Five for Friday: Christmas Philanthropy, Cards, and Lights

By Stan Friedman

CHICAGO, IL (December 19, 2014) – Many Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos with one another that Covenant News Service believes may be of interest to others. Each Friday we post five of them. Following is a sample of those submissions—their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Covenant of any views expressed. Continue Reading »

Turning Anger to Action: What Did Alex Gee Learn?

Alex Gee wants better future for black youth in Madison. Photo by Michelle Stocked

Alex Gee wants better future for black youth in Madison. Photo by Michelle Stocked

By Alex Gee

MADISON, WI (December 19, 2014) – Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the December 17 issue of the Madison, Wisconsin, Cap Times. Continue Reading »

Updates to CovLink App Enhance User’s Experience

CHICAGO, IL (December 18, 2014) — The redesigned Covlink app features a more attractive design and now allows people to receive push notifications of videos, stories, and events. Continue Reading »

Peterson Steps Down after 37 Years Guiding Covenant Pines

By Stan Friedman

MCGREGOR, MN (December 18, 2014) — Bruce Peterson says watching young people grow in their faith and develop as leaders were his greatest joys during his 37 years as executive director of Covenant Pines Bible Camp. He is stepping down from the position at the end of the year. Continue Reading »

‘EL CHET: La Familia de La Fe’ Ya Está Disponible en Línea

karenCHICAGO, IL (diciembre 18, 2014) La versión en español del artículo EL CHET: LA FAMILIA DE LA FE de Karen Figueroa en la edición de diciembre de la revista the Covenant Companion ya está disponible en línea. Figueroa comparte su propia historia de cómo el centro hispano de formación ministerial para la denominación ha impactado su vida así como a los demás.

News Briefs: Justice Conference, Lilly Grant to Church for Minister’s Renewal

Atlanta Church to Host Justice Conference

ATLANTA, GA (December 17, 2014) — New Life Covenant Church will host a two-day conference, “Back to the Garden … Into the City: Deconstructing Walls of Injustice,” March 20-21. The church’s Center for Reconciliation and Restoration is sponsoring the event. Continue Reading »

Small Congregation Focuses on Mission Despite Own Needs

MILWAUKEE, WI (December 17, 2014) — Although Milwaukee Covenant Church, a church of just 60 members, faced its own serious budget shortfall, they were determined to raise money for Covenant Kids Congo. So they sponsored a concert featuring world-class musicians Dietrich and Megumi (Kanda) Hemann from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Continue Reading »

Churches, Employees Should Consider ACA Tax Ramifications

CHICAGO, IL (December 16, 2014) — Churches may no longer reimburse employees for, or directly pay, the cost of individual health insurance policy premiums with either pre-tax or after-tax dollars due to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, says Christina Kempe, Bethany Benefits Service Coordinator.

As a result, employees must pay taxes on whatever funds they receive from the church to pay for those plans. “Paying employees for individual health premiums or requiring proof of insurance could trigger enormous penalties under IRS law,” Kempe said.

Employers and Employees are only allowed to use “pre-tax” dollars to pay for health insurance premiums if the employer offers a group health insurance plan such as Bethany Benefits, Kempe said.

If the church wants to assist a pastor or staff member in paying for their individual health insurance policy costs, the church may raise the person’s salary above the premium costs but cannot ask for or receive documentation about those costs, and the church must include the employee’s additional compensation in the employee’s gross income, Kempe said.

For more information, visit the Bethany Benefits website or email or phone Kempe at 773-907-3376.

Open enrollment in plans through the Market Exchange or in Bethany Benefits is available until February 15, 2015. To review the difference in offering a group health plan versus individual health plans, click here.

The Bethany program provides coverage for pastors, employees of local Covenant churches and regional conferences, conference centers and camps, Covenant pastors who work for voluntary employers of the Covenant Pension Plan, and denominational offices. Medical/dental coverage is available for employees who work a minimum of 20 hours a week.











You Can Save Lives During 12 Days of Christmas

CHICAGO, IL (December 16, 2014) — Each year the PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index releases what purchasing every item in the song, “The 12 Days of Christmas” would truly cost. In 2014, the tab would have amounted to $27,673.22. Continue Reading »

Search for Serve Globally Executive Minister Begins

CHICAGO, IL (December 15, 2014) — The Covenant Executive Board has announced the initiation of the search for a nominee to serve as executive minister for Serve Globally, one of three executive minister searches that will be undertaken prior to next year’s Covenant Annual Meeting. Serve Globally encompasses Covenant World Mission, Covenant World Relief, and Paul Carlson Partners.

A position overview may be found here. To nominate someone or to express your own personal interest, please email the Nominating Committee through January 13, 2015.

Additional comment to the nominating committee may also be directed to the same email address, particularly your perspective to the question: “What is important to look for in this leader in this position at this time?”

The board hopes to identify a nominee in early spring 2015. The nominee will then be presented to the Covenant Annual Meeting for election in June. The position begins September 1, 2015.

Serve Globally is one of the five mission priorities of the Covenant, also including Start and Strengthen Churches; Make and Deepen Disciples; Develop Leaders, and Love Mercy and Do Justice.

The opening comes with the conclusion of service next summer of Curt Peterson following 12 years (three terms).

“Curt has been an exceptional leader to advance this priority. Our global partnerships now extend to some forty countries. National leaders feel connected and empowered as they advance mission in their own countries.” remarked ECC president Gary Walter. “He had been a wise, compassionate team leader of great character, insight, and fruitfulness.”

A subcommittee of the executive board will provide a recommended candidate to the full board for consideration. Also on the committee are Walter; executive director of ministry development Dick Lucco; and executive director of operations Rebecca Gonzalez.