Two churches become one
The history of Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church and Key West’s Church of the Rock
On Jan. 30, 1957 and calling itself the Church of the Rock, we broke ground for what would become the third Presbyterian Church in Key West. In years just prior to the groundbreaking, Church of the Rock was created by a break-away group from the established First Presbyterian Church of Key West. Trinity Presbyterian Church, a historically black congregation, was the third Presbyterian church.
Church of the Rock built its fellowship hall first and followed on July 18, 1965, with the dedication of its sanctuary. Over the years, the church office was added and after Hurricane George, the new classroom and storage rooms were added.
For more than a decade, the two predominantly white Presbyterian churches operated independently. But in early 1968, two groups began a discussion that was challenging in many ways. Could these long-separate congregations come together as one church? The two congregations who had once been one were invited to discuss, in the Spirit of faithfulness to the Gospel and practice of good stewardship, to become one again.
Many weeks later, on December 1, 1968, they formed a new church named Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church. The name reflects the reconciliation and new spirit that was nurtured between two groups. From the roots of two churches came one church dedicated to being a light to the nations and a presence of God’s love in Key West.
Over the years, the congregation of Peace Covenant has been known as people who prayed for others, who extended a helping hand in a variety of ways, and who would reach out in sacrificial ministry. A pre-school co-op calls the buildings and grounds “home,“ and we continue to bless our “co-op kids” as they go to college.
We are part of the progressive PCUSA, which welcomes everyone as a child of God. We are an inclusive, welcoming congregation for whom diversity matters. Our pastor is the Rev. Dr. Daniel Hagmaier, known by the congregation and the community for his powerful, Bible-based, action-directed sermons.
Today the congregation continues to enjoy the influx of many seasonal friends, the participation of military families, and the steadfastness of permanent residents, some of whom are multi-generational “Conchs.” The congregation finds itself experiencing the wonders and struggles of transition as these folks are embraced into the community, bringing different life and church experiences, and as the dynamics of Key West twist and turn.
The church also houses the Key West Preschool Cooperative, Inc., which provides day care and learning services to the community.
This congregation has faced successfully intense transition challenges over its history, including the death of Pastor Len Millison, who served from June 14, 1998, until his death on March 9, 2007, and the departure of Pastor Larry Schenk, who served the church from Feb. 22, 2009 until his retirement on Sept. 11, 2018. And yet we have never stepped away from our congregational and individual missions.
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Hagmaier became the Interim Pastor on Jan. 1, 2019. He was installed as permanent pastor on March 20, 2022.
We take seriously our mission statement that compels us as a congregation to embrace our diversity, celebrate the inclusive values and serve Jesus Christ in the community at large. We are by no means a dying church. In fact, Peace Covenant is just the opposite.
We are genuinely connected to and serving the congregation and the community. We are committed, active and open. Small in numbers? Sure. Reflective of the demographics of our community? Yes. Doing good and keeping on? Absolutely.
We measure our success by what we accomplish in Christ’s name. We know that measuring success by numbers is not effective.
Our congregation understands the power of its members to make a difference in the community and our world. We understand the power of a congregation that includes a permanent core of members, a transient, but stable seasonal membership and a stable membership of local residents and families who, while not members-per-se, are actively involved in the congregation.
As we navigate yet another transition in our congregational life, we are assured our future service to each other, to the community and the world through Jesus Christ will remain true to our core mission.
Rev. Thomas H. Makin 1969-1978
Rev. Ray W. Davies 1978-1982
Dr. W. Ivan Hoy (Interim) 1982-1983
Dr. Robert M.C. Ward 1983-1988
Dr. W. Ivan Hoy (Interim) 1989-1989
Rev. Rande Wayne Smith 1989-1993
Dr. Victor G. Dawe 1993-1994
Rev. Stewart E. Drake 1994-1995
Rev. Patricia R. Ashley (stated supply) 1995-1998
Rev. Leonard Millison 1998-2007
Rev. Mary E. Wright (temporary supply) 2007-2007
Rev. Mary E. Wright (stated supply) 2007-2009
Rev. Mary E. Wright (interim) 2009-2009
Rev. Dr. Lawrence L. Schenk 2009-2018
Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Hagmaier (Interim) 2019-March 20, 2022
Rev. Daniel L. Hagmaier (permanent pastor) March 20, 2022 – present
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Peace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 2610 Flagler Ave., Key West, FL 33040 | (305) 294-1223 | firstname.lastname@example.org