Gary Walter Nominated for President of Evangelical Covenant Church

Gary Walter, Evangelical Covenant Church President Nominee

CHICAGO, IL (January 15, 2008) – Gary Walter has been nominated to stand for election as president of the Evangelical Covenant Church when delegates gather for the 123rd Annual Meeting in June.

Walter is executive minister of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism, a position he has held since 1999. He informed members of his staff of the committee's decision on Monday. Members of the Council of Administrators and the Council of Superintendents also were advised of the selection.

Walter's selection follows a thorough process that began when the 27-member Presidential Nomination Committee held its organizational meeting last October 19. The committee was formed after President Glenn Palmberg announced at the March 2007 Executive Board meeting his plan to retire this coming fall.

"It was a seriously inclusive process," said committee chair Brian Madvig. Last November 30 was the deadline for recommending names of potential candidates, as well as submitting comments concerning the personal qualities and professional qualifications desired in the next president of the denomination.

Conversations also were conducted with a number of groups to ascertain the qualities they believe are important in a president.

A number of names were submitted, with the committee conducting personal interviews in recent days. Those to be interviewed were asked to prepare written statements, provide examples of their writing ability, and provide audio examples of their preaching. Committee members prepared a number of questions in advance, with written responses requested from the candidates.

"There was a unanimous affirmation of his call as the nominee," Madvig says of Walter. "The committee did difficult and hard work – it was a rigorous process. Ultimately, we felt God's leading in all of this."

The Constitution and Bylaws calls for the nominating committee to recommend one candidate to stand for election at an Annual Meeting, which this year will take place June 24-26 in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Additional nominations can come from the floor.

Prior to accepting the call as executive minister in 1999, Walter served as the director of church planting. During that time, both through church planting and initiatives to strengthen existing churches, the Covenant has experienced 56 percent growth within the denomination during the last decade. Much of this growth has been in ethnic ministry with 22 percent of all ECC congregations now in that category.

A graduate of the University of California - Berkeley and North Park Theological Seminary, he previously served as a pastor at Newport Covenant Church in Bellevue, Washington, and Clairemont Covenant Church in San Diego, California. He and his wife, Nancy, are founding members of DeerGrove Covenant Church in Palatine, Illinois, and have three daughters, Amy, Alissa, and Lauren.

More information on the nominee, his background and passion for ministry, will be published in the near future. To learn more about the nominating committee and the selection process, please see Presidential Nominating Committee.

North Park University is an institution of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Covenant News Service, Copyright 2007, Evangelical Covenant Church