Featured, Local History, The Centennial History of Hurricane

Centennial History of Hurricane: Church Histories: Presbyterian Church of the Covenant

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. The publication included the histories of 16 Hurricane area churches. This week’s selection is the 13th of the church histories which were published in 1988.


In August of 1982, the Presbytery of Greenbrier established Rev. Richard C. Gates and family in the Hurricane/Culloden area to be Organizing Pastor/Evangelistic for a new church development there. On October 24, 1982, a group of about 20 people gathered for worship in a rented building in Hurricane for the first service.

A Groundbreaking Celebration on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on February 20, 1983 was attended by about 200 people from the community and area Presbyterian churches. This service was conducted on a five acre lot purchased by Presbytery for this new congregation on the former Western Hills Golf Course on Hwy. 60.

On Sunday, October 23, 1983, the new Sanctuary building was dedicated and in October 1986, an addition to the original structure which more than doubled the existing space was finished.

In a special Service of Organization held at 5PM on October 25, 1987, a Commission of Elders and Ministers of the Presbytery of West Virginia constituted the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant an official congregation of the Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (USA). During this service, the first Elders and Deacons elected by the church were ordained and installed to their office. They were: Elders – Frederick M. Holmes, J r., Sharon D. Slater, John Turner and W. David Witherell; Deacons – Jerry Phillip Brown, Melvin S. Evans, Judie M. Gates and B.P. Johnson. The membership upon organization was 124 active communicants representing 67 families.

The Reverend Doctor Richard C. Gates, who had been Organizing Pastor, was called shortly thereafter by the church as its first pastor.

The programs offered at the church are varied to include both young and old. A very strong Sunday School program, under the direction of Superintendent Mrs. Patsy Johnson, has grown with the church to average nearly a hundred at present. There is a Women of the Church organization formed in 1985 with Mrs. Shirley Tingley as first president. The current president is Mrs. Linda Bartlett. The Men of the Church was started in 1986 with Fred Moore as its first president. The current president is Bill Espenschied. A strong youth progra m, started originally by Betty and Ernie Dirickson, has grown to include all ages. The adult Chancel Choir was started in 1985 with Tom Zannino as director. Currently Mrs. Donna Ball is director and Mrs. Connie Pridemore is accompanist. Directing the youth choirs is Mrs. Jean Gottshall. The church is being served by Mrs. Linda Collins as the first church secretary.

The church offers, in addition to the above, Bible studies, prayer groups, training experiences, men & women softball teams, and special services throughout the year. They also support Bill and Wanda Perrow, missionaries to Mexico. The Church sincerely believes “that with God all things are possible.”

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