New Chapters


Jordan B. Davis
Church Relations Officer

In November of 2001, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC broke ground on a new chapter in their (then) 114 year history. After starting as just a small Sunday School class in an old building in 1887 where they made history as the first African American church in Durham, Covenant Presbyterian began work on their fourth home (third church building) located in the heart of Durham, NC only one mile away from North Carolina Central University. Two years and one week later, the first worship service was held in the beautiful sanctuary in the new building located between two neighborhoods on Weaver Street. Today, members of Covenant Presbyterian fill the sanctuary with songs of praise every Sunday and hold lunches and workshops in the fellowship hall monthly. Kids run through halls with excitement as the adults catch up with one another and discuss plans for upcoming programs.

This past Sunday as I sat in the pew at Covenant Presbyterian and listened to a children’s sermon about the new school year to begin the next day, I began to think about all of the new chapters that not only the individuals in the room were facing, and those that the greater Church is facing, as well.

For the members of Covenant Presbyterian, the next chapter will be marked by burning their 30-year mortgage… a few years ahead of time. I am sure committees are already being dreamt up (if not already formed) for exciting new ministries that can happen with that item removed from their budget, as they move closer and closer to November 15, 2015.The excitement is contagious!

As Covenant looks at bringing their “new building” chapter to a close, Union is looking at the first pages of a similar chapter. In the coming weeks we will break ground on both our Richmond Hall and Westwood Apartments renovations.

Every individual is starting a new chapter in his or her life every day—some big and some small. The larger Church is starting a new chapter every day, as well. The question is: how do we discern the presence of God in these chapters?

What stood out to me most about Covenant Presbyterian was that the impending mortgage burning was only a small aspect of what was going on. The posters on the walls and Sunday bulletins are filled with ministry and fellowship opportunities, and I imagine that many more will follow in the coming months.

Whether your congregation is close  to paying off a mortgage, starting on a new building, or  kicking off a new Sunday School year- where will you find God in it?

I invite you to share YOUR new chapters with others in the comment section so that we might pray with, and for, you in your new beginnings.

To learn more about the rich history of Covenant Presbyterian Church (led by Union Presbyterian Seminary alum who graduated from PSCE in 1986 and UPSem Board of Trustees member, Rev. Jimmie Hawkins), please visit their website.

Please visit our blogs about both the Richmond Hall (including the Syngman Rhee Global Mission Center and the Jim Holderness Dining Room) and Westwood Apartment renovations. If you wish to donate to Union Presbyterian Seminary to support these renovations, please go here.


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