St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church is part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and The Presbytery of Coastal Carolina. It was formed on June 1, 1944 as a merger of two existing congregations. It was the combination of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church formerly located at Fourth and Campbell Streets in Wilmington with The Church of the Covenant located in our present church building at 15th and Market Streets. The congregations of both churches were merged. Members of the new church on June 1, 1944 thus became Charter Members of the new congregation.
The officers (Elders, Deacons, and Trustees) of both churches retained their offices in the merged church. Elder Walter P. Sprunt was named as the first Clerk of Session for the new church. Neither church had any debt. The assets of both were combined. The St. Andrews church building was sold and the new church continued to use the buildings of the former Church of the Covenant. The pastors of both churches agreed to resign. The Reverend Dr. Frederick White Lewis then came out of retirement to serve as the first pastor of the new church from June 1, 1944 to the end of September 1945. He was succeeded in the pastorate by The Reverend Dr. Eugene D. Witherspoon (1945-1958), The Reverend Edward G. Connette (1958-1973), The Reverend Archie McKee (1975-1986), The Reverend Dr. Robert F. Bardin (1987-1996), and The Reverend Steven Earl Hein (1998- 2015).
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
The First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington was organized in 1817. On November 21, 1858 as the result of a spirit of revival it formed a colony church called the Second Presbyterian Church, which began with 14 charter members, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Sprunt (Alexander and Jane Dalziel Sprunt). Mr. and Mrs. Sprunt were both born and raised in Scotland and moved to Wilmington in 1851.
First Building for 2nd Presbyterian Church
The first building for this church was located on Chestnut Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets and still is in use by the Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church. The Second Presbyterian Church grew to a membership of 38 before April 11, 1862 when it became inactive due to the chaotic conditions of the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemic raging in Wilmington at the time. It was reactivated on January 2, 1872. The second building for that church was located near the corner of Fourth and Campbell Streets.
In June 1888 the congregation decided to build a new main church building on the corner of Fourth and Campbell Streets. This new building was dedicated June 12, 1889 and had carpets donated by Mrs. Alexander Sprunt.
Second Church of Second Presbyterian
The congregation of the church voted on September 19, 1888 to change the name of the church to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. The Reverend Alexander Doak McClure, D.D. served as pastor at Saint Andrews for 29 years, from July 1891 to his death on April 6, 1920. His painted portrait along with the photographic portraits of Alexander Sprunt and Jane Dalziel Sprunt are displayed in the current St. Andrews-Covenant church parlor. Additional history about St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
The Church of the Covenant
The founding of this church was the result of the foresight and planning of the Session of the First Presbyterian Church which as early as 1902 had discussed the need for a new church in the then eastern part of the city. On December 27, 1911 Colonel Walker Taylor, a Ruling Elder at the First Presbyterian Church, purchased a corner lot at Fifteenth and Market Streets to hold until such a new church might be organized. A second lot to the west of that property was acquired April 4, 1916. On January 6, 1917 the cornerstone of the new church was laid in the presence of members of the Sprunt family and a few friends. Dr. James Sprunt and William H. Sprunt had given the funds to erect what is now the sanctuary, chapel, and parlor including the wonderful stained glass window as a memorial to their parents, Alexander Sprunt and Jane Dalziel Sprunt. The building was complete and furnished in December 1917. The church was organized on January 6, 1918.
On June 26, 1919 Dr. James Sprunt gave $24,000 to buy a site and build a manse for the minister of the Church of the Covenant. That building was built on Market Street just to the west of the main church building. It served as a manse from 1920 to 1958; from 1958 to 1966 it served as church and Wilmington Presbytery offices, but became too expensive to maintain or renovate and was torn down.
In January 1920 Mrs. Jessie Kenan Wise offered to donate the entire cost ($233,000) of building and furnishing a new and modern Sunday School building. That building is the Kenan Memorial Building as noted by a bronze plaque just inside its Fifteenth Street entrance.
Erected In loving memory of William Rand Kenan and Mary Hargrave Kenan By Their Daughter Jessie Kenan Wise 1921.
That building was supplemented by a further extension to the south in 1928 which now includes the church offices. Mrs. Wise also gave many other benevolences to the church including in 1923 “a fine Cadillac automobile,” for the pastor and the church to use.
Because of its short life-span as a separate church The Church of the Covenant had only three pastors: The Reverend Marion S. Huske (January 19-July 28, 1918), The Reverend J. O. Mann (October 1918-May 1926), and The Reverend Doctor J. Harry Whitmore (February 1, 1927-June 1, 1944).