SEC Honors Miericke, Welcomes Owens

Post a Comment » Written on May 11th, 2007     
Filed under: News
ASHEBORO, NC (May 11, 2007) – A fond farewell and a hearty welcome highlighted the 44th annual meeting of the Southeast Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), held at Central Carolina Community Covenant Church under the banner theme, “Living the Mission . . . by Building Strong Churches through Shared Experiences.”

Delegates honored Dr. Kurt Miericke, who for 16 years has served as superintendent of the conference. They also formally welcomed Dr. Robert Owens, who served as associate superintendent with Miericke and was elected to succeed him as superintendent.

SECIn his final remarks to delegates, Miericke recalled the day he arrived at Tampa International Airport to begin his new role. Within his first week on the job, he had to close one of the 21 churches in place when he arrived. At that time, all but two of the conference’s churches were located in Florida – two were in Alabama.

Since that time, the conference has added 32 new churches, with at least one congregation situated in each of the six states included in the conference.

The first-ever SEC Partners dinner opened conference activities on Thursday evening. Partners are members of local Covenant churches who financially support the overall conference mission.

Miericke and his wife, Cynthia, were honored during the Friday evening banquet, which included numerous presentations, personal testimonies, and a presentation from the Conference Ministerium and its president, pastor Dave Johnson. Presentations also came from a delegation of pastors from Jamaica and pastor Martinez Jovin of Haiti.

A formal resolution was then presented by Alan Cox, chair of the Southeast Conference Executive Board, which reads as follows:

Whereas, As Superintendent of the Southeast Conference, Dr. Kurt Miericke has given exemplary leadership in expanding the kingdom of God through diversity and compassion, mercy and justice ministry, and has carried forth the mandates of the Scripture through word and practice; Be it Therefore Resolved, that the Dr. Kurt Miericke Award shall be granted annually and in perpetuity by the Southeast Conference Executive Board and the Southeast Conference Superintendent to recognize a Southeast Conference church whose ministry best mirrors and models the scriptural mandates for ministries of compassion, mercy and justice.

Miericke will continue to fulfill his duties through August 31.

Owens, a former church planter from Atlanta, will become the first African American superintendent of the Southeast Conference. In his acceptance remarks, Owens promised to continue the mission of the conference by building strong churches and energizing local churches around the conference motto, “We’re Better Together,” partnering in efforts to seek the lost, nurture the faithful, transform lives, and reflect the kingdom.

Owens will begin his new duties on September 1.

Doreen Olson, executive minister of the ECC’s Department of Christian Formation, applauded the conference for its leadership in the areas of racial righteousness and social justice, observing that the election of Owens as superintendent marks “a red-letter day” for the denomination.

Cox, who has chaired the conference executive board for the past two years, was re-elected to that position as were Executive Board members Deric Gilliard, vice chair; Randy Swenson, and pastor Ed Carey.  Peco Forsman of Silver Hill, Alabama, was elected to the board.

The 45th Conference Annual Meeting will be held in Atlanta next year at the joint invitation of Covenant pastors Tim Rodgers of New Life Covenant Church in Atlanta, Kiellen Smith of Kingdom Builders Covenant Church in Decatur, and Catherine Gilliard of Commissioned Disciples Covenant Church in Stone Mountain.

Editor’s note: Deric Gilliard contributed to this report. The accompanying photo shows Kurt and Cynthia Miericke (center) as a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing is offered on their behalf.

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