November 29, 2018
Dear Members, Attenders, and Friends of Christ Covenant Church,
The wisdom writer says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” At the beginning of 2018 two churches were making their plans, but their Lord was laying the stepping stones for their path forward.
Christ Church of the Carolinas was on a course for change. Five years after her organizing pastor resigned, and the leadership had endured the struggles of a declining membership, the church was evidencing signs of a movement of God. The elders were embracing the vision to be a part of a gospel centered movement of God realized in her worship, life, and ministry together. Two of the areas of change in this movement were practical. First, they desired to get out of debt by selling the current property at 1824 Barnwell Street. The leadership believed the sale of the property would not only alleviate debt, but also put the church in a place to pursue her vision for ministry. Second, the leadership desired to unite with a Reformed and Presbyterian denomination. Christ Church had been an independent church since her beginnings, but the leadership believed for the long term health of the church, connectionalism was vital. It was in the pursuit of these goals that God began to lay out the stones onto which the church would step forward in faith.
Covenant Presbyterian Church was also on a course for change. Covenant had been in existence since 1951, but in recent years experienced a decline in its congregation. The church began 2018 struggling without a pastor. They had been without a pastor since 2015. The leadership had been in discussions with the Palmetto Presbytery (PCA) about what they should do next. There were discussions about the church returning to “mission status” and restarting under another church or presbytery’s leadership. The way was not clear. But the Lord was laying the stepping stones even in the dark.
In January 2018 Covenant Presbyterian Ruling Elder Bob Allen made a phone call to Jim Wilkerson, pastor of Christ Church. This phone call was preceded by a strange providence. Mr. Allen had received a phone call from a pastor in Maryland who knew something about Covenant Presbyterian and their current situation. He had been in conversations with two Pastors, one from Columbia and one from Richmond Hill, Georgia. These two pastors had been at Christ Church speaking at a worship conference together, though they had never met. After the conference was over at Christ Church, both of these men, independently from one another and having had no conversation together, spoke with the pastor from Maryland via phone for different reasons. In the course of those conversations they both spoke of having been at Christ Church and what they saw happening in this church. This lead to conversations about what was happening at Covenant Presbyterian Church, which neither of these men knew about. However, after both of these conversations the pastor in Maryland called Bob Allen to discuss with him the possibility of Covenant Presbyterian reaching out to Christ Church to gauge their interest in helping them in their present situation. This lead to the first conversation on the phone between Bob Allen of Covenant Presbyterian and Jim Wilkerson of Christ Church. The stones were being laid and the steps were beginning.
These phone conversations led to prayer and meetings between the leadership and congregations of both churches. These meetings lead to prayer and meetings with the Palmetto Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). There were many stepping stones laid, and many steps taken until on Sunday August 19, 2018 Christ Church of the Carolinas and Covenant Presbyterian Church were married becoming Christ Covenant Church (PCA). Two churches, one born in 1951, the other in 2000, became one church in a joyous celebration where members of both churches, members of Presbytery, and friends of both churches gathered to worship together.
Christ Covenant Church is continuing to make her plans trusting her Lord to continue to lay the stones on which she will step in a gospel centered movement. We desire to replant Christ Covenant Church at 3100 Covenant Road. The congregation is presently worshiping on Sunday mornings at 1824 Barnwell Street and in the evenings at 3100 Covenant Road in the fellowship hall. We still have the Barnwell Street property on the market. We believe the property at 3100 Covenant Road is better suited for our vision and mission for ministry.
Christ Covenant Church Vision is to see:
A movement of the gospel that brings personal conversion and renewal, community formation, and generous lives serving others in words and deeds for cultural renewal.
We believe this vision will be seen as we seek to accomplish our Mission of loving God, one another, and the city together through:
Worship, Life, and Ministry Together
We desire to replant Christ Covenant in a newly renovated facility as we pursue this vision. We believe one of the best ways to love and serve our neighbors is by being a physical neighbor to them. Physical church property in communities is an effective way to be good neighbors leading them to find their life in the Triune God and his church. We want to be woven into the fabric of the neighborhood where we re-plant the church. We want to share the space God provides to us as good stewards for the common good of others in the community. We envision a Columbia home for our congregation to worship together, have life together, mark milestones of weddings and funerals, and invite the peoples of all ages, races, and strata of the community to learn about Jesus. But just as importantly, we envision a place for the city—for serving the poor, for welcoming neighbors into events, hosting community events, being home to a school as long as they need a place, and more, so as to physically manifest what it looks like to be a “church not for ourselves.”
We ask you to share in this vision with us. We are partnering together with a local construction company and architect who are helping us generously to see the first phase of this vision realized. We desire to spend $250,000 on Phase I. This will enable us to revitalize our worship and gathering space, nursery area for young families, provide ample bathrooms, and renewed meeting space for staff and ministry teams. We desire to put a fresh revitalized face forward as we move toward our neighbors in love as worshipers of the Triune God.
We are asking you to respond to God’s grace in generosity toward the work of his kingdom. If you would like to make a contribution to the Building Fund Phase I: Please make a check payable to Christ Covenant Church and memo the check “Building Fund”. Please send the check to Christ Covenant Church 3100 Covenant Rd. Columbia South Carolina 29204. Thank you for taking time to walk with us as we trust the Lord together for the building up of his church and kingdom.
For His Glory,
The Elders of Christ Covenant Church