Members and friends of Covenant Reformed Church of Sacramento gathered to celebrate the church’s 50th Anniversary this week. Begun as a mission work by the late Rev. Jefferson Duckett, the congregation has been served by four pastors, including Pastor Emeritus Jim West, Rev. Jimmy Hall, and current pastor Dr. Frank Walker.
The First 35 Years…
In 1969, Pastor Jefferson G. Duckett was received into the Reformed Church in the United States. Pastor Jefferson Duckett began a Bible study in Sacramento in 1970 (in the home of Richard and Louise Elliott).
In 1971 the Bible study group moved to the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. The “group” rents a large room and conducts a “worship service” on Sunday afternoon.
On August 22, 1971, Erick Daniel Elliott was the first person baptized.
The bulletin of August 22, 1971, states: “Under the auspices of the Faith Reformed Church in Anderson, California we are establishing another congregation in the Reformed Church in the United States.”
In 1971 the mission church moved to the YWCA in Sacramento.
In August 1972, the mission church purchased the building on Cottonwood lane, known as Southside Chapel.
A Charter Membership roll was drawn up in September 1973 (29 names are listed, with Pastor Duckett and Pastor Gene Sawtelle signing this document).
A Constitution for the Southside Chapel was written (probably in 1975), of which Pastor Duckett said, “…and Southside Chapel became a properly organized church.”
The official recognition service was held on October 18, 1976.
The church was incorporated in March 1977.
The first recorded reference to the Lord’s Supper is June 5, 1977.In 1980, Southside Chapel changed its name to Sacramento Covenant Reformed Church.
Chris Fellersen, Dean Zoetewey, Richard Elliott, and Wayne Johnson were ordained as elders in 1981.
In 1981 at the Seventy-First Annual Session of the Eureka Classis of the RCUS, Sacramento Covenant Reformed Church was received as a member congregation.
On July 12, 1981, Pastor Jefferson Duckett was installed as the minister of Sacramento Covenant Reformed Church (the Rev. Robert Grossmann preaches).
On February 4, 1984, there was a dedication service for the new building on 16th Ave. Pastor Duckett presides, and “James” West preaches.
Pastor Duckett retired from the pastoral ministry in August 1986.
Pastor Jim West began his ministry at Covenant Reformed Church on September 21, 1986 (being installed by the Western Classis on November 14 of the same year).
On January 5, 1987, the “What Christians Believe” radio program began (each Monday night at 7:30).
In 1989 the church sponsored a Russian “refugee” family (the Alexey Kruchkov family).
On March 19, 1990, the persecuted Romanian minister, Rev. Laszlo Tokes, preached at Covenant Reformed Church. The news media covered the weekday service, and the Sacramento Bee billed him as the minister who “defied Ceausescu.”
City Seminary conducted its first class on Saturday, September 9, 2000.
The Rev. Frank Walker was installed as Associate Pastor by the Western Classis on October 31, 2000.
Covenant Reformed Church started churches in Grass Valley, Lodi, Riverbank, Yuba City, and Chula Vista.
The church hosted three Western Classis meetings in 1988, 1994, and 2002. In 1997 she hosted the 251st Synod of the Reformed Church in the United States.
Beginning in 1983, the church hosted the first of twenty-two Reformation Bible Conferences. The speakers at the first conference were: Pastor Jefferson Duckett, the Rev. C.W. Powell, Jr, the Rev. Douglas Kelly, the Rev. Rousas J. Rushdoony, and John Saunders (Quade).
Covenant Reformed Church has had two pastors (Jefferson Duckett and Jim West) and several Associate pastors (Jonathan Merica, Gene Sawtelle, Dennis Roe, Gil Baloy, and Frank Walker). Future ministers Rev. Hank Bowen and the Rev. David Dawn served as elders before being ordained. Also, the Rev. Gene Thompson (now in the PCA) served as an elder.
In 2002, the domain name covenantreformedchurch.org was secured, and the website was launched.
Covenant Reformed Church has spearheaded various publications, including
Contrast Ministries, The Two-Edged Sword, and just recently, Leben magazine (2005).
Since the 35th Anniversary…
The first sermon, “Nehemiah’s Continuing Reforms,” by Dr. Frank Walker, was posted on SermonAudio.com on November 15, 2009.
The 27th and final Reformation Bible Conference was held on October 10, 2010, with Dr. Joel Beeke.
Pastor West preached his last sermon on September 29, 2013. An appreciation dinner was held in October 2013, with several RCUS pastors in attendance. Special guest was Rev. George Miladin.
The church hosted the Western Classis meeting in 2014 and 2022.
Rev. Jimmy John Hall began his ministry as the new pastor in June 2014. He served until June 2017, accepting a call to pastor in Limon, Colorado.
After 38 years, founding member and elder Wayne Johnson retired from the active eldership following the Spiritual Council meeting on November 4, 2015.
During 2020, the church held services in the parking lot during the COVID pandemic.