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Covenant First Presbyterian Church

The Covenant First Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) located at 717 Elm Street at Eighth Street and Garfield Place in Cincinnati, Ohio. Two churches, the First Presbyterian and Covenant Presbyterian merged in the 1933 to become the Covenant First Presbyterian Church.

Covenant First Presbyterian Church
Front of the church
Location United States Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Denomination Presbyterian
Website Covenant First Presbyterian Church
Former name(s) First Presbyterian
Covenant Presbyterian
Founded 1933
Style Gothic
Minister(s) Rev. Russell Smith
Covenant First Presbyterian Church
Covenant First Presbyterian Church is located in Ohio
Covenant First Presbyterian Church
Covenant First Presbyterian Church is located in the US
Covenant First Presbyterian Church
Coordinates 39°6′14″N 84°31′2″W / 39.10389°N 84.51722°W / 39.10389; -84.51722Coordinates: 39°6′14″N 84°31′2″W / 39.10389°N 84.51722°W / 39.10389; -84.51722
Built 1875
Architect Walter, William; Cotteral, J.J. & Son
Architectural style Other
NRHP reference #


Added to NRHP January 29, 1973

The first Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati was on the north side of Fourth Street near Main and was organized October 16, 1790.



Covenant-First Presbyterian is the heir of the heritage of both First Presbyterian, Cincinnati and Covenant Presbyterian (formerly Second Presbyterian of Cincinnati).

First Presbyterian was organized October 16, 1790, the first pastor being James Kemper. Kemper's log cabin is preserved in Sharon Woods Park in Sharonville, OH. Second Presbyterian grew out of First Presbyterian in 1816. After moving to various locations in downtown Cincinnati, Second Presbyterian settled into the present location at the corner of 8th and Elm streets. Dr Henry van Dyke preached the sermon for the dedication of the sanctuary on April 11, 1875.

In 1833, Lyman Beecher was called as pastor of Second Presbyterian and president of Lane Theological Seminary. During his tenure in town, he had a falling out with Joshua Lacy Wilson, the pastor of First Presbyterian. Wilson eventually charged Beecher with heresy. Though Beecher was acquitted by the higher governing bodies of the church, his ministry was compromised, and he left in 1843. A memorial plaque to Dr. Beecher is in the bell tower of Covenant-First Presbyterian. On the other side of the building, the church has a portrait of Joshua Lacy Wilson. Though the rift between First and Second presbyterian churches was healed in the merger that created Covenant-First, the feuding pastors remain on opposite ends of the facilities.

Church facilityEdit

The present Church building was dedicated April 11, 1875.[2] The Gothic style church was constructed, facing Piatt Park, of handcut stone from the quarries of church member Colonel Peter Rudolph Neff. The belfry remains as originally constructed and contains a huge bell bearing the old inscription in bold relief, "Revere, Boston." The unusual interior arrangement is said to have its origin in the seventeenth-century Gothic tithing -barns of the Scottish-English border country. The pulpit furniture was carved from black walnut by Henry L. Fry.

On January 29, 1973 the church's historic building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

List of recent pastorsEdit

  • Rev. Frank Elder; 1928–1950
  • Rev. Paul Ketchum (AP); 1940–1942
  • Rev. J. Louis Crandall (AP); 1943–1944
  • Rev. Hodson Young (AP); 1944–1945
  • Rev. John McLeod (AP); 1945–1953
  • Rev. Irvin Yeaworth; 1950–1967
  • Rev. S. Allen Catalin (AP); 1957–1960
  • Rev. Harold Russell; 1967–1984
  • Rev. Robert Strain (AP); 1973–1974
  • Rev. Peter J. Fosburg; 1984–1994
  • Rev. Russell Smith; 2001–present
  • Rev. Nathaniel M. Wright (AP); 2008–2013


External linksEdit