Church of the Covenant

This data was last updated on 14 November 2014.

Address: 67 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-266-7480

Church of the Covenant describes itself as an active, welcoming community of faith striving to live more fully into God’s peace and justice. The church is committed to peace and economic justice, and lives these values throughout its ministry on a local, national, and global scale.

History: The Central Congregational Church, founded in 1835, laid a cornerstone for its new building on Newbury Street in Boston in 1865. Designed by Richard M. Upjohn, a prominent architect of the time, the building was one of the earliest churches to be built in Boston's new Back Bay. The church merged with the First Presbyterian Church in 1932 to create the Church of the Covenant, now affiliated with both the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. Although the church is located at 67 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay, the congregation continually attracts individuals and families who live in the City, surrounding suburbs, and rural towns.

Activities and Schedule: Worship is the heart and soul of Church of the Covenant. The weekly Sunday services are characterized by an attitude of service and joy. A wide range of Christian education activities are offered for young people and adults, such as Sunday School and Bible study, sessions on contemporary theology and issues, and intergenerational retreats on various topics. One very successful program is the Weekend Emergency Food Cupboard, which distributes free groceries and other necessities to Boston residents in urgent need. It is staffed by volunteers and is open Saturday and Sunday mornings. Social justice is an important value of Church of the Covenant, with over 140 years of advocacy and activism throughout the world. In addition to its affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ, the Church of the Covenant has a deep relationship of faith with Dulce Nombre de Jesus in Northwestern Nicaragua. Both churches have sent delegations to visit each other and have collaborated on many social justice issues. The Church of the Covenant also actively participates in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, which is an alliance of churches that address issues of economic and social justice in the wider community. The Church of the Covenant opens their building for rent to non-profit organizations and is home to The Women’s Lunch Place, a ministry to poor and homeless women that offers meals, programs, and services six days a week. The church continues to provide financial support to dozens of local, national, and international service agencies and projects. The congregation seeks to invite all people to enjoy seats at God’s table by welcoming individuals and families without regard to race, sex, age, physical condition, or sexual orientation. Since 1980, the Church of the Covenant has been a "More Light" and “Open & Affirming” church, meaning that it welcomes congregants regardless of sexual orientation. Blessings of same sex couples were done in the 1980s. Now, with the opportunity in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United Church of Christ, COTC joins couples of all sexual orientations in fully legal and holy marriage. The Church continues to work and pray that soon the same opportunity will be granted in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Description: Church of the Covenant is a Gothic Revival church listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Its most impressive feature is the 240-foot tower, with its graceful spire rising higher than the Bunker Hill Monument. The church houses a contemporary art gallery in the parish house. The sanctuary is an artistic landmark itself, as one of the only churches in the world decorated entirely by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. The interior is filled with glowing stained glass in reds, blues and greens and shimmering mosaics with Islamic motifs. One of the church's most famous pieces is the immense lantern that hangs from its ceiling, depicting the angels of the seven Christian churches that John addresses in his prophetic Revelation. This lantern is one of two that have been called the "ancestors" of all later Tiffany lamps. The recently restored Welte-Tripp Organ, originally built in 1929, has over 3,500 pipes and brings beautiful music to the sanctuary during worship and special events.