Stories and Video
Covenant's first baptism was in a lunch room!
On January 22, 1961, Gary Lee Galbraith received the church’s first baptism, performed at Highland Park Elementary School. Fifty years later, hundreds of baptisms have been performed at Covenant—most of them in the sanctuary.
And speaking of babies … In 1966, Covenant started Rosebuds. We put a rose in the chancel and then deliver the rose and a pretty little cross and Bible verse to the family.
Mary Jim McDonald, who has been volunteering for this program for four decades said, “It’s the most fun job at Covenant because you get to see the new babies and their moms.”
Covenant Childcare Director Launched Extend-A-Care Programs
In February of 1966, the session approved the part-time position of Director of Christian Education. In September of that year, Rose Lancaster took over the job, as the Director of Christian Education and Director of the Weekday Kindergarten. (The first hire moved away.)
Lancaster discovered the great need for easy access to childcare for working parents, and in 1972, started the Extend-a-Care Kids program that is available today at elementary schools across Austin Independent School District, as well as in Del Valle and Hayes. “When it became evident to Rose that many women were working and their children were uncared for, she started the program,” said Avis Davis. “We had a strong group of Covenant members who would volunteer to do craft projects and games with the children.”
Covenant’s Got some Hot Shots!
In the winter of 1971, the church’s men and youth basketball team had a 7-0 record. This was the first of many years that Covenant played in the church league and later the city league. George McDonald was the coach, but he says “it wasn’t for my basketball experience, it was more of a management thing. The guys would do what I told them do on the court!” (As a bonus, his wife Mary Jim washed the jerseys.)
Today the faces and the sizes of the players in Covenant’s basketball league – Upward—have changed, but the spirit of positive competition has not. The kids start in December and play on Saturdays until the beginning of March in the Fellowship and Education Building gym. Or, if you like playing, adults test their skills in the gym on Monday nights.
Covenant Ministries Warm Neighborhoods
In January 1970, Covenant began to help the St John’s community. The first project of the “Fish Group” (as it was called) was to help with the St. John’s neighborhood clothing project. The church would donate much time and energy to the neighborhood in the 70s and was instrumental in convincing the city to pave the streets of the neighborhood and develop curbs and sidewalks.
Today’s involvement in the area is now called Partners in Hope (PIH) and was sparked by Allan and Julie Weeks, who bought property in the neighborhood and began to raise their family there. PIH trains and encourages neighbors to be leaders, and connects neighbors with many services already available in the area. PIH works with schools, health providers, churches and others to help improve coordination of their programs.
“It wasn’t a progressive relationship,” ponders Avis Davis. “It seemed to stop at some point until Allan Weeks came along.
“It’s wonderful to see how God works.” Avis continued. “So many times – you’re looking at the backside of the cloth that woven. We’re not always quite cognizant of the thread that leads from one thing to another.”