New Church Highlights Southeast Conference Meeting

Post a Comment » Written on April 29th, 2006     
Filed under: News
VERO BEACH, FL (April 29, 2006) – Reception of a new church – the first Evangelical Covenant Church in the state of South Carolina – highlighted actions of today’s Annual Meeting of the Southeast Conference at First Covenant Church in Vero Beach.

The new congregation is Grace Covenant Church, pastored by Jerry Berry, who led a contingent of Grace members attending this year’s conference meeting, which began on Thursday with a meeting of the Southeast Conference Ministerial Association and concluded with today’s conference business session.

Welcoming Grace Covenant Church Grace Covenant will be formally received into the denomination during June’s Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the accompanying photo, Pastor Ed Carey offers a prayer for the ministries of Grace Covenant. Others include (from left) Grace Covenant Pastor Jerry Berry, Jay Williamson, an elder with Grace Covenant, and Southeast Conference Supt. Kurt Miericke.

“The year 2005 was the best of years and the worst of years for the Southeast Conference,” Miericke told delegates this morning. He recounted a number of encouraging developments, including adopting two congregations, laying groundwork for a new church plant, and witnessing a 10 percent attendance increase in the conference’s 44 congregations.

The bad news centered on the financial challenges that have developed as a result of eight hurricanes that wreaked havoc on many conference churches during the past two years. During 2004, the conference received several major gifts, which had the effect of offsetting the negative financial impact at that time. “However, when some of our churches experienced multiple hurricane damage to their facilities and to the homes in the congregations, income dropped.” That resulted in sharply reduced support for shared conference ministries, including things like staff salaries and benefits.

“The encouraging news is that we can easily overcome this situation,” Miericke noted. One of the responses has been creation of the Southeast Conference Partners – a group of individuals committed to contributing at least $100 each year in support of shared conference ministries. “If our churches would give $180,000 and we could have 1,000 SEC Partners, we could cover our mission expenses.” Miericke thanked Covenant World Relief for the assistance it has provided to hurricane-damaged churches, involvement that continues.

Kurt Miericke and Robert Owens A total of 471 commitments to Christ during 2005 was reported by Associate Supt. Robert Owens, who also shared exciting updates on a number of churches that have increased in attendance as part of a conference revitalization initiative. (Lower photo shows Miericke, left, and Owens as they shared their reports.)

Don Meyer, executive minister of Covenant Communications, represented the denomination and presented an overview of shared ministries as outlined in The Covenant Reporter, a publication sent to all conferences to be shared in their respective annual meetings.

A number of update reports were shared and four individuals were elected to the conference Executive Board.

Special guests at this year’s meeting included representatives of five churches in Jamaica that desire to affiliate with the Evangelical Covenant Church, currently working in partnership with the Southeast Conference. The long-term desire on the part of the Jamaican churches is to become the international Jamaica Covenant Church, Miericke said.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church

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