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By Rev. Dr. Dana Allin
ECO Synod Executive
One of my mentors early on in ministry was Bob Logan. Bob would often talk about the need for leaders to have bi-focal vision. What he means by bi-focal vision is the ability to see and focus on one’s immediate context, as well as maintaining a long-term perspective. Understandably, during COVID-19, most of our attention has been on our immediate circumstances. In the local church, your focus has been to move or improve online aspects of worship, programs, staffing and caring for your congregation and community in unprecedented ways. Denominationally, our attention has been on providing resources to help churches make these transitions, learning about legislation that can help, and seeking opportunities to care for church leaders.

While much time has been spent on these immediate circumstances, we have also been focusing on the future. We are continuing to pursue our God-given vision, including one key element that I talked about at the National Gathering (and in other contexts) - the revamping of our ordination process. 

Throughout the past 18 months, we have talked to many presbytery leaders, candidates, and pastors about our hopes for what an ordination process and outcome could look like. There is uniform agreement to have a process that is more relational, individualized, increases theological understanding and application, enhances leadership skills and ability, and ensures emotional and spiritual maturity. As we shared at the National Gathering and in smaller groups, I am thrilled that there has been such consistent agreement across the board about each of these elements...
New Ordination Process
May 21, 2020 10am Pacific
Want to find out about ECO’s new ordination process launching in 2021?
  Webinar ID: 935 4932 0916
Or iPhone one-tap : 
  US: +14086380968,,93549320916# or +16699006833,,93549320916# 
Or Telephone:
  Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
    US: +1 408 638 0968



Reopening Church - When, How, and What Changes?
When should we reopen church? How do we reopen church? What changes might we make to our ministry based upon what we are learning during this season?

Join us next Friday, May 8th at 9PDT/12EDT for a webinar with The Aspen Group, a ministry-focused design, build, furnish firm, that has put together a great resource to help churches wrestle with these important questions. Join us! Details and login info can be found below or on the ECO COVID-19 webpage ( )

Reopening Church
May 8, 2020
Webinar ID: 955 6180 0274

Or iPhone one-tap : 
    US: +14086380968,,95561800274# or +16699006833,
Or Telephone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        US: +1 408 638 0968 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782 
Welcome Kendra Norton to ECO Synod Staff!
Job Title:
Ordination and Student Advisor 

ECO E-mail: 

Bio: Kendra Norton received her BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Hope College and her M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She spent her first two years in vocational ministry serving in an inner-city church in Athens, Greece. There she had the opportunity to walk alongside the marginalized and learn how the church stands as a light in dark places. Through that season, she discerned a call to ordained ministry, and next served as the Pastoral Resident at 1st Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, NC as she completed the ordination process before joining the ECO Synod staff. Kendra is passionate about replicating disciples and loves lacing up her sneakers for a run, enjoying a cup coffee with a friend, and spending time with her husband, Tim. 

A word from Kendra: “I feel like the job description was written just for me! I can't wait to be on the front lines of seeing the Lord raise up leaders in our churches and working with a team of people who take Jesus seriously, but not themselves seriously!”

A word from Lisa Johnson, Director of Leadership Development: "We are very excited to welcome Kendra Norton to the Synod Staff and the new position of Ordination & Student Advisor. She will be working with potential students & ordination candidates in answering questions and helping them determine the right path, evaluating applications and conducting intake interviews, participating in the ordination retreats as a teacher and assessor, and walking with and advising students in their developmental journey throughout the ordination process.

This new job is highly relational and requires a passion for leadership development. Kendra has both of those plus a deep understanding of ECO and pastoral ministry. Her giftedness, passion, and calling make her the perfect person for this position. She will be quite an asset to our denomination as we continue to expand our emphasis on lay and vocational leadership development.”
Grace Church, Bethlehem, PA
Bethlehem has a seasonal emergency shelter which closed down early due to COVID-19. We did an initial “ask” for equipment that people had – which was very limited.

We didn't want to encourage our members to go against the Governor’s orders yet we wanted to respond, so we created an Amazon Registry for the needed items as well as a drive-thru drop for other needed items.
The registry was mailed to our mission pastor and items distributed through our ministry partners. It worked ! We donated 33 tents, 25 sleeping bags and 20 backpacks along with an SUV full of supplies for our homeless population who had no place to “shelter in place”. We will do another registry and drive thru as we continue to assess the needs with our local ministry partners. 
We also have a partner elementary school. Once school went “online”, the schools were able to provide a notebook or tablet to those without those items Seems like a great idea, but many of the families at our partner school do not have access to the internet. We worked with the school to provide internet hot spots so that online instruction is accessible to all of the students there.

-  Marnie Crumpler, Pastor
First Presbyterian Church of Endicott, Endicott, NY
Check out this interview Dana Allin, Synod Executive had with pastors, Rev. Janice and Rev. Tim Devine, about what they are doing during COVID-19.
Still Quarantined, Still Interconnected and Still Flourishing!

A note from Andrea Messinger
National Flourishing Liaison, ECO
The day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic and California went into social distancing, I was heading back from ECO ‘s office in Goleta where I had taped a video. The theme was one of our core values “Our Mutual Spurring”, focusing on our interconnectedness. This is the belief that we challenge each other continuously into a deeper walk with Jesus as flourishing disciples who are making flourishing disciples. This core value has at its heart Hebrews 10:23 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds!” The following verse commands us “ Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another---and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

With social distancing and whole new ways of “ meeting together” we have been reminded that we are not merely called to go to church but to be the church. In new ways we have come to appreciate how important the body is and how we are better together then we are apart...

Stay safe and healthy, friends!
Don’t forget! Lots of resources to help you navigate the implications of COVID-19 can be found below.

Praying for the Global Impact of COVID-19
The whole world is affected by this pandemic. Though it’s reasonable to get mired in our own personal and local challenges, let’s remember we are part of the global Body of Christ. Even as we pray for the global impact of COVID-19, our friends in Egypt, Brazil, and at Pars Theological Center are praying for our ECO churches. May God use this season of hardship to increase solidarity and commitment to our global partners!

Please remember to pray for protection especially for the most vulnerable in our global community: refugee camps, crowded urban slums, and those without access to medical care.
Resources to fuel your prayers:

You can read about ECO’s mission partner organizations’ responses and opportunities to engage in the recent Global Engagement Connections Email news.
These joyful faces just spent time praying for one another!

ECO Global Engagement hosted a prayer meeting with our friends in Egypt, who are facing similar challenges during the pandemic. How is your church finding ways to connect to mission partners around the world during this time?
Sunday Mornings Around ECO churches...

Here are some glimpses of Sunday mornings during quarantine…
Pastor Chuck Fowler leading Corona Church, Denver, CO online
The Walsh Family on Easter at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX
EastBrook Presbyterian Church Easter Drive In
Pastor John Foreman leading the drive in at Adventure of Faith Church, Port Orchard, WA
New Life Brazilian Church, Dallas, TX
The Grove Church, Port St. Lucie, FL
Centreville Presbyterian Church, VA
Virtual Coffee Meet Up, Menlo Church Saratoga, CA
Coaching and Spiritual Direction for ALL ECO PASTORS
In April, ECO offered all of our pastors 2 free sessions with one of our trained Coaches or ECO appointed spiritual directors.

We’d like to extend this offer into the month of May
for anyone who is still interested in this type of pastoral support.

Pastors can choose either 2 sessions (1 hour each) of either pastoral coaching or spiritual direction*. It’s our hope that you will find this relationship beneficial as you look toward the future of your ministry in a new landscape. 

*Additional hours of pastoral support may be contracted directly between the ECO Pastors and the ICF Coach or ECO Appointed Spiritual Director.

Over the past several years, almost from the beginning of ECO’s formation, we wanted to create a coaching culture as part of our movement. Each year after the National Gathering, several participants stayed an extra two days to receive formal coach training from Dana and John who are both certified coaches with the ICF (International Coach Federation).

These participants are ready and willing to help pastors in this time we find ourselves in. If you are more inclined to spiritual direction, we also have a host of ECO appointed spiritual directors that were available during this year’s National Gathering, now offering spiritual direction and support in the month of May.

Training To Equip
ECO Churches to Lead Alpha Groups 
On Thursday May 7, ECO will be hosting an Alpha Training to equip ECO churches to lead Alpha groups for adults in an online and/or hybrid setting. John Wentz, Alpha USA, Calum Lindsay, Associate Pastor, Highland Park Presbyterian Church, and Nate Dreesmann, ECO Synod, will be leading this training. We encourage pastors, elders, staff, and volunteers to learn more about Alpha and how to lead an online Alpha Group. If you would like to know more about Alpha before this webinar please check out their website
This Thursday
May 7, 2020
Meeting ID: 967 2273 1886

Topic:  Alpha Training w/ECO
Time:  May 7, 2020 02:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting

Connecting With Our Students

Find these resources (and more!) for youth
on the ECO webpage for COVID-19!
The Path to Teen Connection- a free resource from Axis
This free original video series will help you to create deeper connections with your kids through meaningful conversation!
Alpha Youth Webinar
Alpha Youth has partnered with ECO to train churches, pastors, and youth workers how to lead Alpha groups for students completely online.
Summer Semester Registration is NOW OPEN!

Take part in our Flourish Online Seminary Courses
developed by Gordon-Conwell

Summer Courses (begins May 26th):
Leadership in the Local Church
Church Planting in a Post-Christian Context
New Testament Survey
Preaching: Principles and Practices

This semester, we are offering two payment options for Tier 2 and Tier 3 students. Students can either pay in full at the time of registration ($500 per course) or they can opt to pay an initial fee of $50 (per course) and pay the rest of the cost over a two month period. Auditing a course is only $25!

Email if you have any questions!
We're Still Planning on Seeing you Next February!

Registration opens August 1.
5638 Hollister Ave Ste 210
Goleta, CA 93117
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