Covenant Moravian Church
Following the success of First Moravian Church of Georgia, Covenant is the second church begun by the Southern Province under the fellowship plan of organizing groups in cities where Moravians live but no Moravian church exists.
In October 1974 Lewis Swaim, director of the Province’s Board of Homeland Missions, visited a number of Moravians living on the North Carolina coast around Wilmington. He ascertained there was enough interest, and the first meeting of “displaced Moravians” was held on December 8 at the home of Hilda Aldridge. They were officially organized as a fellowship on February 2, 1975.
Regular meetings were held Sunday evenings in members’ homes, and once a month a minister would drive down from Winston-Salem to hold a service. On December 23, 1975, the fellowship held its first Christmas lovefeast and candle service. Walser Allen, Jr., a member of the fellowship, led the service. Meetings were now held in St. John’s Episcopal Church. For the summer of 1977 seminary student Jon Peterson worked with the fellowship, which in August received chapel status.
Then stepping down as director of homeland missions, Lewis Swaim was installed as organizing pastor on February 12, 1978, and the congregation, which received the name Covenant, celebrates this date as its anniversary. The YWCA now served as the meeting place.
It was time for the congregation to have a home of its own. A three-acre site was purchased in the fall of 1978, and a modular fellowship hall was put in place the following year with the first service in it on November 4, 1979, and its dedication on December 9, when Covenant received full church status in the Southern Province. A modernistic sanctuary building followed in 1982 with its dedication on November 14. A Christian education building was erected in 1987.
Then in 1990 Covenant made history. Carol A. Foltz was installed as its pastor on March 11, and became the first woman to serve a Southern Province congregation as its full-time minister.
As the second congregation to be formed through the fellowship plan of church extension, it was said of Covenant in 1986 that it was the largest Moravian church east of Raleigh. It still is today.