- Phone: (610)648-0707
- Mailing Address: 400 Lancaster Ave, Malvern, PA 19355
To view a video presentation of our timeline, click below:
Our church officially began with the words below, exactly as they are inscribed in the first Session minutes book for the newly formed church.
The Covenant Presbyterian Church was formed by the merger of the former East Whiteland Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Malvern.
The merger agreement was approved by both congregations in simultaneous meetings on June 1, 1976.
The first worship service, conducted by the Reverend William Zulker, was held on Sunday September 5, 1976 at eleven o'clock in the morning.
At the time of the merger there were a total of 394 members between the two churches. As of May 2016, Covenant is a thriving church community with 641 members.
During the first Session meeting on September 8, 1976, the Elders approved allowing the Church property to be used as a polling place. 40 years later, our neighbors continue to cast their ballots within the church walls.
While the heart of the church, our people, has remained consistent and strong, our physical facilities have changed dramatically over the last 40 years, culminating in our most recent expansion, completed in May 2016 and dedicated on May 15, 2016. This building project added office and classroom space, redeveloped the lower level to add natural light and a new commercial kitchen, and expanded and improved the gathering spaces on the main level to physically convey the welcoming spirit of the Covenant Community.
Rev. Alex Becker, Co-Lead Pastor, installed June 20, 2021
Rev. Emily Chudy, Transitional Co-Lead Pastor
Previous Pastoral Staff:
Rev. William Zulker, Pastor - September 1976 until June of 1977
Rev. Kenneth Young, Pastor – June 1, 1977 through September 20, 1988
Rev. Marcia Woodruff, Associate Pastor – September 13, 1987 through April 20, 1990
Rev. Clyde Griffith, Interim Pastor – September 25, 1988 through October 31, 1989
Rev. Nina Reeder, Associate Pastor – December 1999 through March 2001
Rev. Geoffrey Kohler, Interim Pastor – March 2002 through August 2002
Rev. Michelle Grunseich, Associate Pastor – April 22, 2001 through April 2008
Rev. Timothy Dooner, Associate Pastor – September 2008 through September 2011
Rev. Joshua Gill, Youth Director - May 19, 2013 through July 31, 2014
Rev. Susan Carr, Visitation Pastor - April 22, 2012 through May 2017
Rev. Patricia Stoltzfus, Associate Pastor - April 26, 2006 through February 2018
Rev. Dr. James R. Moyer, Head Pastor - December 3, 1988 through February 14, 2021
Tracey Decker (born 3/22/76) was the first baby baptized at Covenant, at the first service held in the newly formed church on September 5, 1976. Tracey was later in Reverend Moyer's first confirmation class.
The first wedding held at Covenant was Vickie Griffith and Daniel Wolfe on January 8, 1977, officiated by Rev. James Churchill from Paoli Presbyterian.
At the first Session meeting on September 8, 1976, the moderator was Rev. John Poling. The Elders were: Ginny Abplanalp, Dewey Aucoin, Sybilla Bond, Robert Dreyer, Jeanne Greene, William Hauck, Edna Heller, Allen Hommel, Charles Hughes, William Hulse, Paul Hurley, Sr., John Kemler, Carl Lotz, Edith Miller, Harriet Pierson (Miss Mickey) and Raymond Reese. Allen Hommel was elected Clerk of Session and served in that position until January 1987. Frank Lammey was the first Sunday School superintendent.
Alan Mennig served as the first Church Treasurer. At the time of the merger, the Finance committee noted a combined balance of $64,330.49 from East Whiteland and Malvern. Charles Hughes was authorized to take the necessary steps to procure a buyer for the Malvern property and at the January 1977 Session meeting, the Elders voted to accept an offer of $77,000 from Malvern Methodist for that property.
Following a potluck dinner, the first annual meeting was held on January 23, 1977 at 7pm. By-laws were adopted for the newly formed church and the first class of Elders and Deacons were ordained and installed a week later, on January 30, 1977. At the February 9, 1977 Session meeting, the Elders voted to amend the new church’s name to Covenant United Presbyterian Church for incorporation purposes (there was already a Covenant Presbyterian Church located in King of Prussia).
Prior to the merger, both churches had elected people to form a Pastor Nominating Committee and on April 3, 1977 a special congregational meeting was held. The congregation approved the committee’s candidate and called Reverend Kenneth Young, who had conducted the service that morning, to be the first pastor of Covenant United Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Young received a letter from Princeton Theological Seminary on February 7, 1986 thanking Covenant for a gift of $100 to their Scholarship Fund. The recipient of that gift was James R. Moyer, our Head Pastor from 1988-2021.
On May 7, 1979, the first building project of Covenant Presbyterian Church was presented at a congregational meeting. The committee members included Ginny Abplanalp, Bruce Gillstrom, Bob Harnsberger, Roy Nall and Linda Seavy. The congregation approved the project, which modified the Sanctuary and office spaces and completed much needed maintenance work and painting. Two rows of pews were added to the sanctuary by reducing the size of the platform. The choir loft was carved out of an area that used to be office space. The arch behind the pulpit was constructed by extending into fellowship hall behind the sanctuary.
In the mid 1980s, the basement kitchen was completely renovated courtesy of member/builder Joe Palmer. The "Joe's Place" sign hung over the kitchen window until the start of our most recent renovations.
Air conditioning was added to the building in the early 1990s thanks to generous giving by some members.
On May 17, 1992, "A Covenant to Build" was approved at a congregation meeting. Ground breaking for this project was April 12, 1993 (day after Easter). The committee members were Cindy Boyd, Jo-Anne Frazier, Dori Gillstrom, Charles Glessner, Joyce Lammey, Roy Nall, Joe Palmer, Fay Purvis, Earl Reese, Marion Schmuker, John Stebbins and Diane Swaincott. During this project, the two fire safe stairwells and elevator were added. The office area was moved to its current location and the second floor was expanded to include a full second story (previously, the present gathering area was open to the 2nd floor ceiling and Sunday School rooms were located around the open area along the walls). Additionally, a garage located near the first Deacon's pantry which been turned into the Scout Hut was removed and the parking lot was extended to the western part of the property. This building committee was dissolved on October 31, 1993.
On May 20, 2001, the next building project was approved at a congregational meeting. The Facilities committee, chaired by Larry Tyree, presented this project to the congregation and work began on July 16, 2001. The project included a new slate roof over the entire building and extensive renovations to the sanctuary. The interior renovations included the installation of hardwood floors except in the Narthex and the center aisle. Additionally, choir risers were added and the first two rows of pews were replaced with chairs. The sanctuary was repainted and new seat cushions were installed on the remaining pews. Finally, a sound console and cameras for videos were added and lighting was improved.
Covenant Presbyterian Church is a member congregation of the Presbytery of Donegal and the Presbyterian Church (USA). PCUSA is the spiritual home for more than two million people who worship in nearly 11,000 Presbyterian congregations throughout the United States.