Mark Stromberg elected as next Northwest Conference Superintendent

NWC-AM-2011-3Delegates to the 2011 Northwest Conference Annual Meeting voted to approve the Rev. Mark R. Stromberg as the next superintendent during the meeting’s first Business Session on Friday, April 29, at Crossview Covenant Church in North Mankato, MN.

Stromberg has served on the conference staff for the past 10 years; first as director of administration and church development, and then as associate superintendent for the past 8 years. He will be installed as superintendent during the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Estes Park, CO, June 28-30.

During the meeting, Stromberg shared with both the pastors and delegates his commitment to the work of the NWC and the debt of gratitude that he feels to the conference churches, camps and school that have been so influential in his own faith journey.

“ECC President Gary Walter has often expressed his commitment to the broader church, partly due to his gratitude for its mission extension through the local Covenant church in which he came to know the Lord,” Stromberg said. “I have that same sense of gratitude to the Northwest Conference. I am pleased to know that I will have the opportunity to give back to those who have given so much to me.”

However, superintendent-elect Stromberg reflected, “While many of us are grateful for what we have experienced in the past, our eye has to be looking forward … to the next chapter. The best way we can honor those who have given so much to us is to ‘pay-it-forward.’”

Stromberg continued, “We must use what we have received in order to pour into those who are both younger and newer in our churches and communities. That is how we show our appreciation and respect for those who came before us. Therefore, we remain deeply committed to our priorities of congregational vitality, church planting, and ministry to children, youth, & families.”

Delegates approved the proposed budget of $1,114,893 to support these ministry priorities.

Honoring the theme of the meeting, “Mission Friends: The Next Chapter,” the NWC debuted a series of videos highlighting unique ministries in nine conference churches during Friday’s Business Session. Each video features interview segments with church staff, lay leaders and pastors—intermixed with video footage from the churches highlighted—telling stories of transformation and innovation in ministry.

The videos are also designed for use throughout the year in church new member classes, services and other adult education opportunities to help congregations better understand and engage the work of the NWC. Each church’s delegates left with a DVD copy of the videos, and the series is available on the NWC web site’s video page (

Following staff reports from the NWC, delegates to the meeting heard from affiliated ministries including: the Ministerial Association, the Town and Country Commission, Women Ministries, Covenant Enabling Residences of MN, Parish Nursing, and a camping ministry representative. Dr. Donna Harris, president of Minnehaha Academy, also shared highlights from the school, as well as some details on her hopes for the future.

Friday Worship Service

The worship team from Crossview Covenant led attendees in worship during the Friday evening Worship Service. The 2011 Candidates for Ordination (5) and New Church Joining the Covenant (1) were also recognized and prayed for during the worship service.

“There is an intangible value in simply being together with other brothers and sisters in Christ on the same mission,” said Brad Kindall, pastor of The Gallery Covenant Church in St. Paul, MN. “As The Gallery was officially welcomed into the Covenant, I was reminded we are not alone. We are surrounded by such a ‘great cloud of witnesses’ in the Covenant and in the Northwest Conference.”

One Step Closer commitment cards were collected, and a special offering raised $1,241 to support the Northwest Conference Adventures in Leadership youth training program.

Jim Fretheim, retiring superintendent of the NWC, shared a message examining truths that result from the fact that “Jesus is, in fact, Lord of all.” Fretheim challenged attendees to consider that what they say has eternal significance.

“We need to let people know that Jesus is real, and He’s alive and He’s present. … How strong is the chord between your resurrection faith and the real life ministry of your church?” Fretheim asked. “What are we going to do with the opportunities to witness that come before us as a church?”

Following the message, those in attendance gathered at the front of the sanctuary, surrounding Fretheim and his wife Kathy, and offered prayers of thanksgiving for his family and lifelong ministry. A reception honoring his faithful service to the NWC followed the service.

“I am grateful for the affirmation of the meeting and the prayers that were offered at the end of the worship service on Friday evening,” Fretheim said. “Thanks to our host church for the reception that followed the service. The treats and the music added a special touch!”

Leadership Workshops

Following worship and a brief Business Session on Saturday morning, attendees participated in various leadership workshops led by conference staff and other facilitators. Workshop topics included communications, church governance, church finances, strategic planning, exploring community mission, and more.

If you would like to see more pictures from the 2011 Northwest Conference Annual Meeting, visit our photos page.