Covenant Presbytery begins in 1973
From the Minutes of the organizational meeting of the Covenant Presbytery (PCA), we read that the meeting was held at the First Presbyterian church of Indianola, Mississippi, at 10 AM on June 18, 1973. The host pastor, the Rev. John W. Stodghill, preached a sermon on John 17:1-26, titled “One in Christ.” Following this, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was observed, conducted by Rev. Stodghill and assisted by ruling elders of the host church.
It was a humble beginning, with only two teaching elders and seven ruling elders numbered as official participants. Another eleven ruling elders were present as observers from other area churches and an audience of some forty-seven church members also attended. The meeting proceeded with the Rev. Stodghill elected as moderator and the Rev. Robert L. Mabson, pastor of the Eastland Presbyterian church, Memphis, TN, was elected as Clerk.
At this first meeting, the new Presbytery was careful to adopt a resolution stating certain foundational principles and in particular resolving:
- That we, the undersigned, do covenant together to form an association to be known as Covenant Presbytery; and,
- That this association shall have as its purpose to perpetuate the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as it is proclaimed in the Scriptures and declared in the Westminster Standards; and,
- That we, the undersigned, met in Indianola, Mississippi, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 18, 1973.
An appended document defined the rights of particular churches, with noted attention to insuring the property rights of local congregations.
Also noted among the audience at that organizational meeting of the Covenant Presbytery were two seminary students, Mr. Tom Barnes, approved as temporary student supply for the Itta Bena and Morgan City churches and Mr. Edwin Elliott, approved as temporary student supply for the First Presbyterian church, Water Valley, MS and the Oak Ridge church, also of Water Valley, MS.
From those humble origins, the Covenant Presbytery has grown to now number fifty-three churches, making it one of the largest Presbyteries in the PCA. The Presbytery represents a total membership of nearly 9,000 communicant and non-communicant members.
Words to Live By: