HSTY 7300: History and Theology of the Covenant Church

Introducing the Covenant

North Park and the Covenant

  • North Park University was opened in 1891 in Minneapolis by the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), moving to Chicago in 1894.
  • This denomination was founded in 1885 by Swedish emigrants who settled in the U.S.
  • Many of the immigrants had roots in the mid-nineteenth century Pietist renewal movement in Sweden known as the Svenska missionsvänner (SMV; Swedish Mission Friends) as well as the Svenska missionsförbundet (SMF; Swedish Mission Covenant/Society), the church that Mission Friends in Sweden founded in 1878.

Frisk Collection of Covenant Literature

For a collection of literature about the Covenant or by Covenant authors, see especially the open access digital Frisk Collection of Covenant Literature: http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/index_npu_swecc.php?CISOROOT=/npu_swecc

Presidents of the Covenant

  • C.A. Bjork 1885-1910
  • E.G. Hjerpe 1910-1927
  • C.V. Bowman 1927-1932
  • T.W. Anderson 1932-1958
  • Clarence Nelson 1958-1966
  • Milton Engebretson 1966-1985
  • Paul Larsen 1985-1997
  • Glenn R. Palmberg 1997-2008
  • Gary Walter 2008-

Denominational Names

  • The "Evangelical Covenant Church" is the latest of several names for the denomination, adopted in 1982.
  • Previous names were (in order)
    • Svenska evangeliska missionsförbundet i Amerika (1885-1930)
    • Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant of America (1930-1937)
    • Evangelical Mission Covenant Church of America (1937-1957)
    • Evangelical Covenant Church in America (1957-1982).
  • Searches may need to use more than one of these names, depending on the type of material that is sought.



Among many pastors, evangelists, teachers, missionaries, musicians, and laity in the past two centuries of this church and its roots, the following are some notable contributors to the Covenant:

  • Rosenius, C. O. (1816-1868) The founder of the Mission Friends in Sweden.
  • Waldenström, P. (1838-1917) The formative theologian of the Swedish Mission Covenant.
  • Sandell, Lina (1832-1903) A leading songwriter of the Swedish Covenant.
  • Nyvall, C.J. (1829-1904) A leading Swedish teacher and revivalist, who led in the founding of both the Swedish and American churches.
  • Skogsbergh, E. A. (1850-1939) Revivalist, musician, pastor, and educator.
  • Hjerpe, Erik Gustaf (1853-1931) Second president of the Covenant.
  • Skoog, A. L. (1854-1934) Covenant hymn-writer and composer.
  • Nyvall, David. (1863-1946) Founding president of North Park College and Seminary and the leading educational thinker of the American Covenant in its early years.
  • Björk, Carl August (1867-1916) First president of the Covenant.
  • Bowman, C. V. (1868-1937) Third president and early historian of the Covenant.
  • Olsson, Karl A. (1913-1996) President of North Park College and Seminary from 1959-1970 and prominent historian of the Covenant.