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First Presbyterian Church of Covington Organized

Moments In Time

January 21, 1827 – First Presbyterian Church Organized in Covington


Today, the First Presbyterian Church of Covington occupies the entire block at 1169 Clark Street, just off the Square, here in Covington.  It has been an important part of the Covington community for over 130 years, providing not only spiritual guidance to County residents, but also supporting the Community Food Pantry, Faithworks, Habitat For Humanity, Newton County Literacy, girl scouts and boy scouts, senior citizen and homeless shelter programs, as well as the Newton FCPinteriorCounty Arts Association and early childhood education through the First Presbyterian Early Learning Center, a recognized, curriculum-based program for local children ages 12 months through pre-K.

Members of First Presbyterian count their history from 1877, when the Atlanta Presbytery appointed a committee, which included Rev. J.N. Bradshaw, to organize a Presbyterian Church in the town of Covington.  Rev. Bradshaw became the church’s first pastor.

Other notable pastors of First Presbyterian have included Dr. Sam Burney Hay, who served from 1923 until 1926, and went on to become President of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.   Dr. Peter Marshall served the church as pastor between 1930 and 1933 before moving to Washington, DC to lead North Avenue Presbyterian Church, and becoming Chaplain of the United States Senate.   Rev. Tom White, who grew up in Bethesda Home for Boys, came to Covington in 1960, and served as the church’s minister until he retired due to illness in 1981.   The current pastor, Rev. Billy Wade, came to First Presbyterian in 1986, and celebrated his 25th anniversary of leading the church and ministering to the community in 2011.

The first church building sat approximately where the church’s current sanctuary sits on the corner of Clark and Hendrick Streets.  It was erected at a cost of $4200 for the building and land.

In 1918, the building was moved to the center of the block.  The steeple and bell were removed, the building was brick veneered, and Sunday School rooms were added.

In March, 1926, the church was destroyed by fire.  But the building was rebuilt and re-dedicated in October of that year.

First Presbyterian’s current sanctuary was built beside the old church in 1995, and in 1996, the old sanctuary was renovated and turned into church offices.

The church you see today may have been started in 1877.  But 30 years before that, the original Covington Presbyterian Church had been dissolved and its members transferred to Bethany Presbyterian on Bethany Road in the western part of Newton County.

But by the time the church was dissolved and merged into Bethany Church in 1847, it had already existed for 20 years.  First Presbyterian of Covington was actually organized by Covington residents George Foot and Rev. Remembrance Chamberlain on January 21, 1827.  Today….  A Newton County Moment In Time.


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