On November 13 and 14, 1963, 40 delegates from the ten Covenant Churches that comprised the Florida Council had the vision to expand Christ’s ministry in the Southeast; and they voted to form the Southeast Conference.
The first Covenant Church in the Southeast formed in 1902 in Silverhill, Alabama when a Swedish-American land developer encouraged a number of his countrymen to share in his subdivision. Swedes came, and they also formed a church that continues to be a vital ministry today. The Silverhill Covenant Church was an ethnic church; it is noted that the first time the business meeting minutes were recorded in English was 1934. It was during this time that this congregation reached out and established three other smaller congregations. One of these was the Greenwood Covenant Church in Summerdale, which was organized in 1942.
In 1928, several families living in the Miami area met in private homes and formed the Bethany Covenant Church. In 1941, the First Covenant Church in Vero Beach was organized. The Vero Beach congregation was interested in planting anew church in Palm Beach; but, when they heard that a Lutheran Church had organized in the area, they gave them $1000 to help them get started. In 1951, a Florida Home Missions Committee was formed to plant more churches. In 1953, Audubon Park Covenant Church was organized in Orlando. Palm Beach County was again targeted. In 1957, the Lake Worth Church was formed followed by the Royal Palm Beach Church in 1962. Further down the coast, the Pompano Beach Church (now Tamarac) was also formed in 1962. In 1958, the Community Covenant Church in St. Petersburg was organized. The tenth Church was the Trailer Estates Covenant Church organized in 1963 in Bradenton, Florida.
The Conference continued to grow under the leadership of mission pastors such as Gordon Holman and Roy Olund. In 1977, Rev. Robert A. Honnette was called to be the first resident Conference Superintendent. Under his able leadership, three more churches were planted. In 1983, Rev. Honnette resigned and Rev. Chester Larson was called as Superintendent. Superintendent Larson served the Conference with distinction and retired in 1991. By that time, the 1991 Conference numbered 21 churches. At the Conference Annual Meeting at the First Covenant of Winter Park, Dr. Kurt Miericke was called to serve as the new Superintendent.
God has been working among us and through us in sharing the power of His redeeming love. We now have 44 churches and several more plants and adoptions in the process. One can see that Church planting is not new in the Conference, but is vital part of our mission in bringing people into the family of God.