Evana gathering seeks transformation

Network’s national convention a time of rededications, baptisms, healing prayer

Worshipers sing during ReGen 2023, Evana Network’s biennial convention at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. Photos: Madi Keim/Evana Network Worshipers sing during ReGen 2023, Evana Network’s biennial convention at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. Photos: Madi Keim/Evana Network

More than 430 people spent June 26-30 exploring the theme “Be Transformed” from Romans 12:2 at ReGen 2023, Evana Network’s biennial national convention at Taylor University in Upland, Ind.

Attendees experienced transformation with many decisions to follow Jesus, rededications, baptisms and moments of healing prayer.

“ReGen represents our founding commitment to see lives transformed by Jesus Christ,” said Tyler Hartford, director of church leadership. “This gathering is a powerful opportunity for churches and individuals to experience the joy and freedom of being Jesus-centered, Word-focused and Spirit-led.”

Speakers included Hartford, Evana executive director Matt Hamsher, Claim Your Campus founder Olivia Williamson, Pastor Gil Michel of That Church Downtown in South Bend, Ind., Evana director of church development Wes Furlong and VidaNet executive director Wendell Nofziger.

Williamson challenged attendees to pursue the renewal of their minds in Jesus, noting that despite the cost of a relationship, social status or vulnerability, it is worth it to give up conformity to the world in pursuit of God’s perfect and pleasing will.

Representatives from mission agencies and schools, including VidaNet, Eastern Mennonite Missions, Virginia Mennonite Missions, Global Disciples and Rosedale Missions, led seminars on topics ranging from prayer or spiritual disciplines to apologetics or international missions. The organizations were joined at exhibit tables by Mennonite Disaster Service, Mennonite Central Committee, Everence and others.

ReGen’s worship services were led by Sing Love, an Indianapolis-based worship collective of teen musicians. Though the worship was led by youth and geared toward a younger generation, delegates also reported being moved. Sing Love worship leader Becca Totty took the band off script on many occasions to lead attendees in a cappella worship with songs like “I Surrender All” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

The Holy Spirit’s movement was not limited to an auditorium. By the end of the week, youth began initiating activities like footwashing and baptism in Taylor University’s lake in the early hours of the morning. Another group prayed over Meserete Kristos Church President Desalegn Abebe and Meserete Kristos College Principal Gishu Jebecha.

Delegates affirmed three new board members: Sebastiano Rosa of Goshen, Ind., Nehemiah Chigoji of Upland, Calif., and Tonya Dean of Davidsville, Pa.

Delegates affirmed three changes to Evana’s personal and congregational covenants. Two commitments were reworded for clarity, and delegates unanimously affirmed a new commitment to “implement church policies to protect against abuse and also develop processes on how to care for those who have experienced abuse.”

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