I served on the pastoral staff of Simi (Evangelical) Covenant Church in Simi Valley for 24 years. Eighteen of those years (1985-2003) as senior pastor. Simi Covenant is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend!
Our church was planted when Simi Valley was a sleepy little town with no freeways, one stop light, and a population of around 40,000 people. Today Simi has a population of over 127,000. California 118 runs straight through our town. It is a vibrant and safe community.
Simi Covenant has changed over the years. It has known good years of fruitful ministry. It has also experienced years of struggle. Yet always it has been a faithful congregation that has sought to worship, be a community of disciples, and a witness to city and beyond. This has not always been easy; this is always the realities of a local congregation. Through seasons of growth and seasons of loss, when the work is fun and exciting, and when the ministry is just plain hard, a local group of believers band together and seek to be the Body of Christ.
Lesslie Newbigin writes: How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic (demonstration) of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it (The Gospel in a Pluralist Society).
Newbigin captures the essence of the local church. In common spaces, in the routines of life, often without any flash, a local church believes the good news of Jesus, is transformed by his Spirit, and lives out this good news, blessing a community for good.
This has been the DNA of Simi Covenant Church, a congregation I am so very proud of, and for which I have high hopes for as it moves forward.
Happy Anniversary Simi Covenant! Well done so far…We will be wonderfully surprised with our future.