Covenant Presbyterian Church, a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, began its ministry to the Central Vermont area with a weekly Bible study in 1983. The work was founded by Pastor Ray Commeret and his wife Rosemary and a core group of OPC members from the Church of the Servant in Burlington, Vermont.
From 1983 until December 1988 the work functioned under the active care of the Session of the Burlington church, and under the faithful stewardship of Pastor Commeret the work grew both numerically and in the spiritual life of its members. In December of 1988 Covenant was accorded the status of a particular congregation by the Presbytery of New York and New England. In May of 1989 Ray Commeret was installed as the founding pastor of Covenant.
In January of 1992, Pastor Commeret announced his retirement, and later that year Rev. Stephen Doe was called to be the new minister of Covenant. Pastor Doe faithfully ministered to Covenant for more than 10 years. In February of 2002, Pastor Doe was called to serve as a founding pastor to a new OPC work in Fredericksburg, Virginia. After a time of pastoral search, Rev. Carl Durham became our new pastor and has ministered to the congregation until the present time. He and his wife Olivia and their three children reside in Barre town.
During the congregation’s first 20 years, the group met for worship in rented locations in Barre – the Vermont History Museum and Barre Town Middle School, among others. The church prayed for a long time, asking the Lord to provide a building as a center for worship and ministry in Northern Vermont, and a piece of land was purchased very early in the process with the view of building a permanent home for the worshipping body. Finally, after much prayer and consideration, in 2006 the Lord brought the pieces together to break ground for a building on a beautiful five acre plot on Airport Road in Barre town. In July of 2007 we were blessed to hold our first church service in our own building.
Under the ministry of Pastor Durham the congregation continues to grow in the grace of the Lord. He is a graduate of King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and has served congregations in the OPC in South Dakota and Idaho. Continuing our church’s emphasis upon an excellent and faithful teaching ministry, Pastor Carl uses an expository method of preaching, explaining the Scriptures in each book of the Bible, yet relating those verses to the Bible’s central message of redemption by faith in Jesus Christ. This method promotes a Biblical world-view in which all of life is encompassed by the Lordship of the Christ of the Bible. As the theme verse at the top of our website indicates, Jesus Himself in His teaching recognized that sinners like us need a whole Bible for a whole Christ and a whole salvation: “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself,” (Luke 24:27).
Covenant Presbyterian Church remains committed to missions and works of mercy-locally, nationally, and to the world. Toward this end, a significant percentage of our budget is devoted to outside ministry. One of the local ministries we support is Christian Counseling & Mediation. Dr. Andrew Selle, a pastor/teacher in our denomination, heads up this ministry of biblical counseling and peace-making, and also serves on our ‘session’ (board of elders). Although based in Essex Junction, Dr. Selle regularly holds counseling sessions in the Barre church to increase accessibility to those in North Central Vermont.
We are thankful that God has blessed our church over our twenty five year lifespan with numerical growth, the grace of giving, and a committed membership. Many of our members drive 50+ miles from all points of the compass to attend services. Covenant Presbyterian Church is the first church in our denomination in Vermont, a state where a large percentage of people have no religious affiliation whatsoever. We are the only Reformed church in Central Vermont at present, but our prayer is that in the future God may allow us to plant churches in population centers of His choosing to continue to make known to our communities the glorious grace of our Sovereign Lord.