December 18th, 1993 was a major turning point in the history of the Broadview Branch Sabbath School. A group of 15 believers along with children, worshipped faithfully amidst an atmosphere of ridicule and rejection. The place was 6200 S.W. 17th Street Pompano, a house purchased by the group as their intended sanctuary. Their decision to purchase, though seemingly well-intended, conflicted with the Orthodox Church policy resulting in disciplinary action and subsequent dissociation from the sponsoring church. This action did not deter the will or the determination of the group to extend the borders of God’s kingdom in the North Lauderdale area. They had a vision that God would accomplish something great if they would but persevere. After much prayer and dialogue with Pastor William Kirlew, then senior pastor of the Maranatha church, the decision was made to work with the group. Thus the group became a branch Sabbath school of the Maranatha church.
A memo date January 31, 1994, indicated initial steps take to formalize the branch Sabbath school. Included in the memo was a list of names of those who were then worshipping at Broadview. The persons were George and Mabel Cheddar, Hally Dolly, Bernadette Edwards, Alesco Ferguson, Millicent Gordon, James and Norma Hodgson, Archie Knight, Beryl McDonald, Nelzie Renwick, Maise Richardson along with sons Michael and Kenneth, Cynthia Soloman, Darly Soloman (who was not yet baptized), Norma Thompson and Olga Phillips. It was at this time that Pastor and Sis. McLean requested that their memberships be transferred from the Opa Locka church to Maranatha since they were at that time worshiping at Broadview. Included in the memo were the names of those members who were asked to serve as officers for 1994. These are the first officers:
Treasurer: Sister C. Soloman
Church Secretary/Clerk: Sister G. McLean
Church Leader: Pastor L McLean
Sabbath School Superintendent: Sister M. Cheddar
Asst. Sabbath School Superintendent: Bro. J Hodgson
Children’s Ministry Leader: Sister G. McLean
Personal Ministries Leader: Elder A Knight
Noted in this memo was the death of Brother Septimus Renwick on December 20, 1993.
The names of the aforementioned individuals are included, not for honor, but as a testimonial of their courage and in recognition of their determination to establish the cause of Christ.
June 4th, 1994 signaled yet another significant milestone. On that Sabbath, 35 individuals bowed in worship at their new home – the Bethel Baptist Church – at 6060 Kimberly Boulevard in North Lauderdale. That year a new name was chosen, a name that reflect the group’s ardent belief in the blessed hope. The name was Eliathah, which means, “The Lord Cometh.” That year 12 precious souls were added to the church via baptism. Tithe remitted to the conference via the Maranatha church was just over $15,000.
The group continued to make significant strides in 1995, baptizing 17 individuals and accepting 3 by profession of faith. Members increased to 67 and tithe to just over $31,000.
The summer of 1996 recorded yet another historic milestone as on June 29th, the Eliathah Seventh-day Adventist Company was organized with 90 members – a 71 percent increase. Twenty of this members had joined the church through baptism. Tithe increased by 104 percent that year. The hand of the Lord surely blessed the efforts of the saints, rewarding their faith and vision for evangelism.
In 1997, Eliathah took on the ambitious challenge of purchasing a permanent home. The goal laid out before the members was that of raising $300,000 toward the purchasing of a $695,000 facility located at 7550 N. University Dr. Every member and friend took up the challenge and played a part in meeting this goal. With some assistance and guidance from the Florida Conference, the objective was realized on July 19th, 1997.
Eliathah continued their mission to expand God’s kingdom in 2002 by acquiring 4 acres of land adjacent the property. The cost of the land was $900,000. The church refinanced their previous mortgage and acquired a new mortgage of 1.2 million dollars. In April of 2011 Eliathah paid off that new mortgage in full, a task which was completed 6 and half years ahead of schedule.
Eliathah’s history is a brief one but it would not have been were it not for the courage and faith of the 15 individuals who blazed the trail and stayed the course despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Eliathah’s history would not have continued to be written were it not for the faithful men, women and children who, in joining the ranks of the church, indicated a desire to see the work go forward in this part of the vineyard. We pay tribute to those who have paved the way for us.
On this day we say, “To God be the glory, great things He has done” The home we now occupy stands as a testimonial of God’s willingness to accomplish great things through humble people who entrust themselves to His will. It is a testimony of what God is willing to do through us if we let him use us.
Our mission is to make disciples for Christ. To tell the story of Jesus to every person who will listen, to share His love with every heart that will accept and to blow the trumpet of salvation in every corner, declaring to every heart that Jesus saves and He is coming again.