Embracing a Greater Future: A Letter Regarding the future of ECF

Dear ECF Family:    

 

Greetings to you all! I hope that your New Year has been off to a great start. God continues to be faithful to all of us in this season. He has been shaping our journey and our church family toward His purposes and plans for our lives. I have always trusted the Lord to direct our steps and He truly has been faithful during every chapter and season.

As you are now aware, we have been on a long journey together to prayerfully consider the next chapter for our ECF family. Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing publicly what I believe to be the future for ECF. These transparent conversations have been a result of deep prayer and discussion over the last eighteen months by me, my family, the Elders of ECF, and a few select outside apostolic leaders that I deeply respect and trust.

As we have assessed my current health challenges, age, and season of the church, we felt that it was the right time to review all options for my successor and the future of ECF. The journey led us to re-connect closely with our spiritual family and the church that originally sent a team out in 1981 to start this great church. Mannahouse (formerly City Bible Church) in Portland, Oregon, led by Pastor Marc Estes and his Executive Team, has played an instrumental role in our lives personally and in the future direction of the church. After prayerfully reviewing all of our options, the ECF Eldership unanimously voted to become an official part of the Mannahouse Family by becoming a campus and local congregation in the Eugene area.

This decision was then submitted to the Eldership of Mannahouse who took the time to prayerfully consider this invitation. They also unanimously agreed to pursue this proposal with the ECF Elders and to trust the Lord for a final decision and outcome.

Over the past few weeks, we have taken the following steps to ensure the best possible outcome, while trusting fully on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction. We have done our best to fully inform all of you with complete transparency the journey in front of us. We have sent letters, shared from the pulpit, developed a Frequently Asked Question Sheet, and have been available after services and during the week to answer any questions and concerns you might have had. In addition, we have had Pastor Marc Estes with us the past two weeks to share from the pulpit. He has also been available to talk with anyone regarding their questions or concerns about ECF joining Mannahouse.

On Sunday night, January 13, 2019, I and the Elders of ECF gathered together all of the official members to pray and vote on this historic decision. It is my privilege to share with you the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of this exciting move. We are grateful to all of the faithful members and recognize this final decision fully validated the Lord’s will for us and our future.

As we move forward together let’s be reminded that it is God who is directing our steps. He is with us, for us, and will continue to guide us as a family along with our new extended family now leading the charge. It is a privilege and honor to now be an official part of this historic and world-impacting Mannahouse family. Their love and care for us, along with their rich heritage and global influence, will only catapult us further into God’s plan for this family for the region of Eugene and beyond.

I am personally asking each of you to dive all-in for this next chapter. It has the potential to be our greatest season yet! Let’s have faith for our future together. Trust that God is in charge and directing our steps. Embrace God’s next chapter for us. Speak highly of Pastor Marc, his team, and Mannahouse. Continue to celebrate God’s blessing on our family. Attend, give, serve, and help lead us into the rich future God has for us in the days ahead.

I look forward to continuing my part on this journey. Pastor Marc and I have become close friends and I trust that God has a promising future for Paula and me on the team. We will be the first to cheer us all on in this next season and will continue to be a part of this amazing church family.

Please know that much of what has made us the church will continue to remain. Our beliefs, our values, our mission, and our vision align with Mannahouse. The staff will continue to function, ministries and services will continue to be relevant and impacting.  The good news is that there will be some new ministries and exciting opportunities for us all as we are added to the Mannahouse family in 2019.

From the bottom of our hearts, both Paula and I want to thank you for your love, friendship, unwavering dedication, sacrifice, generosity, and commitment to me, my family and this church. It has been an incredible honor to serve you over the past twenty-six years. You are truly the best family that a pastor could ever ask for.

 

With Much Love,

Pastor Gary Clark

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