The Work Begins
In 1954, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Caravella moved from New Orleans to the small community of Covington, about thirty miles north of New Orleans. They prayed that a church would be organized. They faithfully distributed literature to their business contacts and were good witnesses for the truth.
A Branch Sabbath School
In the spring of 1975, a branch Sabbath school was organized at the Caravella’s home. The Slidell church sponsored this branch Sabbath school and also the preparation for an evangelistic series by Elder Jim Griffin in November 1975. Area churches helped the Covington group to distribute literature for five consecutive weeks prior to the crusade. It was held in an airatorium at the Bogue Falaya shopping mall. With this good location, enthusiasm was high on opening night. About 100 people attended, most of whom were non-Adventists. Several nights during the three weeks of meetings, attendance exceeded the 100 mark. By the end of the meetings several were baptized (Stumpf, 1976).
Covington Company Organized in 1976
The members continued meeting in homes and rented the Covington First Methodist church annex for a time. On January 3, 1976, the Covington, company was organized by Elder Page Haskell, with twenty-five members. The members dreamed of building a church on land that had already been donated by Margaret Abney (Stumpf, 1976).
Covington Church Organized in 1978
Thirty-one people became charter members of the Covington church, when it was organized on March 11, 1978 (Haskell, 1978).
Church name changed to North Shore/Mandeville
At the constituency session on March 10, 1985, it was voted to change the name of the church from Covington church to North Shore church (Minutes, 1985a), however, it was later suggested that the North Shore church endeavor to include the name Covington in some way to differentiate it from other North Shore churches (Minutes, 1985b). They instead added the name Mandeville.
Donation of Land
Meanwhile, Elder J. Lee Neil wanted some land on which to build a natural health institute and had spoken with Margaret Abney and her daughter, Nancy, about his dream (McCormick, 2019; cf. Abney, 1985). In 1976, to help fulfill this dream and further the influence of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the Covington area, Margaret Abney, who had moved to Oregon, donated twenty-seven acres of land along Interstate 12 in Mandeville, to the Louisiana Conference Association on which to build an Adventist health center (Minutes, 1975, cf. Waggoner, 1984). The southeast five acres of the property was partitioned off where a church could be built.
Money to Build a Church
The problem that prevented the church from building on the donated land was lack of funds. The property was landlocked and the cost of an access road would be expensive. Over the years several of the members were driving to other churches since the Covington Church did not have a good meeting place. By 1984, there were only ten to fifteen regular members and they did not have the money to build. Mrs. Abney, who had donated the land, suggested that they sell some of the pine trees on the land to help finance the building of a church. She also made it clear that they were not to sell any of the land (Abney, 1985).
A New Church
By August 1986, Ned Wilson, who had a housing development past the church that was also landlocked, had cleared a strip of land along Interstate 12 and was in the process of doing the final preparation to pour the concrete (Estey, 1986). This road, which became Little Creek Road, ran in front of the church property, giving them an access road. In 1986, the conference donated this roadway strip of property to the Tammany Parish (Minutes, 1988). In October 1986, it was voted to build a new church on the southeast five acres of land that had been given for that purpose (Minutes, 1986). Ted Estey, who was the head elder, was instrumental in establishing and building the church (Memo, 2007).
Beginning the first weekend of March 1990, the Union, working together with our conference leaders and pastors, conducted eleven simultaneous double-header evangelistic crusades in and around New Orleans. One of these was held in the North Shore/Mandeville church (Miller, 1990). John McFarlane, Southwestern Union ministerial secretary, worked with Dean Tupper, pastor, who was just a year out of the Seminary. John’s wife, Phyllis, cared for the children. After the meetings the pastor continued to do follow-up work. The North Shore/Mandeville church had a few baptisms and by mid-May, there had been 176 decisions for Christ as a result of the whole crusade around the New Orleans area (Record, 1990). Around this time the North Shore/Mandeville Church dropped North Shore and simply become known as the Mandeville Church (McCormick, 2019).
(1975, Oct. 19). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1985a, Mar. 10). Ibid.
(1985b, Oct. 31). Ibid.
(1986, Oct. 30). Ibid.
(1988, Oct. 13). Ibid.
(1990, Jun. 1). Southwestern Union Record, pp. 4, 5.
(1995, Sep. 22). Conditional Use Permit Application. Association Office. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1996, Oct. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 17.
(2007, Dec. 19). Memo to file. Association Office. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
Abney, Margaret. (1985, Jan. 18). Letter to Jerry Waggoner. Ibid.
Estey, Ted. (1986, Aug. 13). Letter to Pete Kostenko. Ibid.
Haskell, B. Page. (1978, Jun. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 16H.
McCormick, Terry. (2019, Nov. 4). Telephone interview.
Miller, Cyril. (1990, Apr. 1) Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.
Stumpf, Lois L. (1976, Apr. 24). Ibid., p. 8.
Waggoner, Jerry. (1984, Dec. 31). Letter to Mrs. Margaret Abney. Association Office. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.