Covenant Kids Congo: Powered by World Vision

Statement on Our Partnership with World Vision

CHICAGO, IL – This week has seen a highly publicized decision by World Vision U.S. regarding a hiring policy announced and then reversed. This process has, in World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns’s words, caused “pain and confusion.” Many of you experienced this pain and confusion. We are writing to affirm our project partnership with World Vision. It’s important for the Covenant community to understand why.

The Covenant Church has had a vital presence in Congo since 1937. Today, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo emerges from brutal civil strife, it is rated as the neediest country in the world. While the spiritual vigor is remarkable, infant mortality, malnutrition, access to clean water, availability of basic medicines, and schooling are all at critical levels for our Congolese friends.

With stability returning to the area of our work, this has clearly been the time to push forward. World Vision had similar stirrings. In 2012 the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), the Covenant Church of Congo (CEUM), and World Vision entered into a partnership, Covenant Kids Congo-Powered by World Vision. What God has birthed is unprecedented, the largest ever mobilization effort between a denomination and World Vision—all for the sake of children.

Thousands of Covenanters are helping transform the physical and spiritual futures of Congolese children and their families by their prayers and financial participation. We are already at 7,800 child sponsorships on our way to our goal of 10,000. People are running marathons and selling lemonade. Covenant churches have tithed building projects, hosted concerts, and generously committed to this cause. The combination of these sponsorships and other contributions provide resources to benefit entire communities in the Gemena area. We thank God for the very clear results already underway.

This past week was a tumultuous one for World Vision U.S. as it addressed its employment policy related to same-sex marriage. In the end, it affirmed the biblical position it has held for more than sixty years, requiring abstinence in singleness and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage. Abstinence in singleness and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage is also the standard on human sexuality held by the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Click here to read the entire letter from Rich Stearns communicating World Vision’s decision to affirm its longtime position.

During the course of this week, people within and beyond the Christian community have had differing moments of disappointment and pain. People have been hurt and bruised. We lament much of the tone and tenor of the public discourse. We pray for all in these challenging matters, and in particular the Covenant community as we seek to be people of grace and truth.

Moved by the call of Jesus Christ, the ECC’s partnership with World Vision is and always has been about the children and families of Congo. It’s about Michèle, Cherald, Luchie, and the thousands of other girls and boys whose lives and communities are right now being transformed as the result of Covenant Kids Congo. And so we have remained committed to this project partnership through the twists and turns of the week — because our promise to each and every child matters.

Significant impact on the ground is already notable at this early stage. Trained volunteers from local churches provide ongoing pastoral care and health and education intervention for 12,000 children. Three new schools have been constructed. A major water, sanitation, and hygiene project is providing clean water for 30,000 people to date, with even greater expansion underway. Medical clinics have been refurbished. Nutrition and agricultural training is providing families new ways of gardening for better health benefits. This partnership has become a magnet for other major grants. For example, a UK group has provided $25 million for medical clinics, pharmaceuticals, infant and maternal care, solar power, and sustainable agriculture throughout the region.

This is a critical time to keep this amazing momentum going! We, therefore, ask you to stay fully committed in fulfilling, and even increasing, your support for this project. Again, our promise to each Congolese child matters. Hope shows up when people who care show up. In caring for “the least of these,” you are showing up in the very place Jesus would be walking. May God give us resolve to continue showing up in love.

Sincerely in Christ,

Gary B. Walter, President of the Evangelical Covenant Church

Curtis D. Peterson, Executive Minister of World Mission

Donn N. Engebretson, Project Leader for Covenant Kids Congo