Our history is a lot like the history of Israel. We are not here because we were so numerous, wise or skillful. We are here because our sovereign God has chosen to do a good work among us. To this we say with Israel, "his mercy endures forever." In 1990 the Rev. Charles Jackson packed up his belongings and moved his family to Jackson, Mississippi to begin attending seminary part time. Rev. Jackson enrolled at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson and started in a recently created program of summer studies. This allowed him to teach school during the regular academic year while he studied full time as a seminary student in the summer.
This move was one of the first deliberate steps in a long-term arrangement to plant another Orthodox Presbyterian Church in the greater Dayton area. Several years would elapse from the time Pastor Jackson moved to Mississippi to the time he and his family returned to Dayton in the summer of 1996. These years were filled with prayer and planning.
While he and his family were at seminary, God began to stitch together a plan to grow a church in Dayton. This plan was not merely going on at seminary with the Jacksons. God was at work all over the map. God's people at Redeemer OPC were hard at work. Indeed, Redeemer church was like a mother in more ways than one. She labored to give birth to what everyone hoped would be a new church in the greater Dayton area. It was a bold idea for such a modestly sized church, but God blessed every step along the way.
In fact, the reason the Jackson's were attending seminary was due to Redeemer's support. Redeemer's pastor, Rev. Mike Frangipane encouraged the endeavor and Redeemer OPC was paying for seminary classes. Furthermore, Redeemer worked diligently to squirrel away money for seminary, for a future salary and most importantly, they bathed the whole endeavor with prayers, prayers and more prayers. Before long the Lord was bringing everything into its proper place, but completely in his own way.
At first, the target was Cincinnati, Ohio. For several years, a handful of people had been traveling from that area and it seemed feasible. Yet, by the summer of 1996 everyone who had previously traveled from that area had been transferred, moved, etc. There was, however, a small group of folks traveling to Redeemer from the north of Dayton. After some map work, some demographics, and a little bit of guessing, Vandalia in north Dayton became the target. It was really as simple as this, people were there and they seemed to be interested in helping to start a church. There were two families from north Dayton and two families from Springfield, Ohio. They all agreed to attend the church plant in the north. Elder Ray Harris from Redeemer agreed to drive his family up north for the first year and so five families became the core group of the north Dayton church plant.
These five families began meeting for worship in a Ramada Inn conference room in November of 1996. The "sanctuary" was complete with a dance floor and a disco ball. (which did get turned on once by one of our toddlers) We moved from the Ramada Inn to the Howard Johnson's across the street. This was no less an interesting place to meet. Our conference room at Howard Johnson's was directly upstairs from their lounge appropriately named "El Diablo." While smoke rose from "El Diablo," the gospel was preached from above. Those were good days filled with transporting hymnals, rearranging tables, and moving chairs. It was also a great time to greet visitors and to share in the work of building a church. We had no place for Sunday school, a nursery or many other things that a visitor would expect to find at a church. Because of our lack of so many typical "things" that a church possesses, we knew that if this church were to grow, it would be entirely the work of God.
God blessed the preaching of his word, and the fledgling group continued to grow. Covenant was bursting at the seams. We began looking around and God graciously opened an opportunity to meet at a newly constructed Seventh Day Adventist Church in the summer of 2000. What started as a dream many years ago had now blossomed into the reality of a new church in north Dayton.
The young group did not grow without some suffering. There were difficulties along way. The church even endured a discipline case that had the potential to stifle the church's growth. God, however, reversed what you might expect. God was good. A trial that had the potential to cause division in the new born group actually worked in the opposite way; the church grew stronger. Church discipline helped to cement the bonds of love and commitment that God's people had to each other and to his word. God in his mercy bore fruit even through times of difficulty. Let Israel now say, "his mercy endures forever."
Covenant has a vibrant ministry and is continuing to grow. We now have classes for Sunday school, a room for nursing moms and much more in our present facility. With well over a hundred people on a given Sunday morning, Covenant barely resembles the ittle group of five families that once started worshipping under the disco ball at the Ramada Inn. The Presbytery of Ohio recognized Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church as a new a particular congregation of the OPC in March 2001. This marked one of many blessed points in the history of Covenant OPC. Covenant has now launched out on her own to fulfill the great commission and to build the kingdom of heaven.
|101 E. National Rd Vandalia, OH 45377 - (937) 387-6699|