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Moments In Time: May 15, 1931: Peter Marshall Ordained In Covington

Moments In Time

May 15, 1931: Peter Marshall Ordained  Pastor In Covington 

Just over 100 years after the founding of Covington First Presbyterian Church, a young Scotsman stepped into the pulpit to be its pastor.  He was destined to become famous, but started his pastoral career here in Covington.  His name was Peter Marshall.

Dr. Marshall began serving what some of his biographers call the “small, rural church” in Covington while still a student at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur.  Upon graduation, he was ordained a Presbyterian minister, and would serve as pastor of Covington First Presbyterian for the next three years.

Marshall was very active in the Covington church’s youth ministry.   He was highly regarded in the community, and in great demand as a speaker throughout the area.  Everyone seemed drawn to his magnetic personality, magnificent singing voice, and delightful Scottish brogue.

In 1933, Marshall left Covington for Atlanta’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.  It was there that he met and married Catherine Wood, a student at Agnes Scott.  From Westminster, Marshall became pastor of the North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. in 1937.  He was then twice appointed Chaplain of the United States Senate, serving from January 1947 until his sudden death just over two years later.  He was only 46 years old.

Dr. Marshall is best remembered from his days as U.S. Senate Chaplain, and from the biography written by his widow, “A Man Called Peter.”  The 1951 biography was later made into an Oscar-nominated film of the same name.

The movie, “A Man Called Peter,” was partially filmed in Covington where Dr. Peter Marshall was first ordained a pastor at Covington First Presbyterian Church on May 15, 1932.  Today – a Newton County Moment In Time.

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