History of the Cove

As with any large undertaking there are multiple groups working together to establish the new church development (NCD) in the Presbytery of the Redwoods known as Covenant Presbyterian Fellowship (aka, The Cove): The Presbytery of the Redwoods, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa, and The "members" of The Cove, who have committed themselves to being a part of this new church.

The vision for this NCD has nuances peculiar to each of these groups, but the ultimate vision is the same for all: a thriving new PCUSA congregation in the Santa Rosa area.

The Presbytery of the Redwoods adopted a resolution in September 2000 committing itself to encourage new church development in areas of the Presbytery where there is less than one PCUSA church per 30,000 persons or less than one PCUSA church per public high school. The resolution, which has become part of our Presbytery’s standing rules also identified the next 13 areas ripe for new church development. In addition, in this resolution, the Presbytery committed itself to encourage individual congregations to become actively involved in evangelism and the development of new churches and to explore new models for new church development. The Presbytery of the Redwood’s vision for this NCD is to be one of many new churches in the presbytery to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Presbytery has worked to realize this vision by outlining a 23-step process for the development of NCD’s, and also by providing the specific support of an appointed Organizing Commission whose members represent the different committees involved in the NCD process.

First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa (FPCSR) developed a vision for this NCD through its strategic planning process begun by its session in 1999-2000. As part of this process, the session appointed a committee of elders and lay leaders to develop a strategy for evangelism and church growth. The primary charge was to develop a strategy to reach our community in an effective and permanent manner for Jesus Christ to fulfill the Great Commission to, "go and make disciples of all people". Based on research showing the most effective approach to evangelism throughout history has been the development of new churches, a strategy was developed to plant a new church. The vision that developed for FPCSR was to plant a new PCUSA church in an area of Santa Rosa that did not currently have one by providing pastoral and lay leadership, a core group of members, and the support and resources needed by the new church to become firmly established. To that end FPCSR committed itself to,

  • work with the Presbytery on the proposal, direction, and leadership of the NCD

  • dedicate one of its pastors progressively more to the NCD work

  • encourage any member who felt called to become a "missionary" and go with the new church

  • provide practical support and financial assistance to the effort

The members of The Cove are persons initially from FPCSR, numbering 70 adults, who committed themselves to this NCD out of a desire to follow the calling of God in their (our) lives and to build a loving, caring, multigenerational Christian fellowship that will

  • Experience God, personally and intimately

  • Know Jesus Christ, and become mature disciples of him

  • Follow the Holy Spirit in our priorities, friendships and lifestyle

  • Love Others both in our church and in the wider community as witnesses of God’s love.

To accomplish this vision all three groups, the NCD, the Sponsoring Church, and the Presbytery, have worked together diligently since the fall of 2001 in planning, preparation and prayer for the success of this NCD. During the "probe phase" the NCD was merely the 3rd service (Sunday evenings) of FPCSR. After a year of prayer and research, a formal proposal was made to the Presbytery by its Church Development committee. The Presbytery then developed a formal process to govern NCD’s and particularly the "Mother/Daughter" model. Finally, the NCD was officially begun by the Presbytery in September of 2002.

The Cove gestated within FPCSR until spring of 2003, at which time it moved to Sequoia elementary school in Rincon Valley where FPCSR had purchased property for the new church, at a cost of $1,080,000 (Skyhawk—corner of Hwy 12 and Mtn. Hawk). That property, 4.2 acres with a house and a detached studio, provided the office and storage space needs for The Cove in addition to being a meeting place for The Cove’s middle school and high school youth groups. In the summer of 2004 10 worship services were held on the property for 10 consecutive Sundays.

On Mother's Day of 2005, the Cove's operations moved to 1835 W. Steele Lane, next to the Schulz Museum near the Coddingtown Mall. Since that time, we have enjoyed the 24/7 use of about 5000 sq feet of buildings originally built as the home of First Christian Church of Santa Rosa.

Resolution from the Organizing Commission on the Criteria for Chartering The Cove

Whereas, the Organizing Commission has the intention of nurturing The Cove (NCD) into a fully chartered church within the Redwoods Presbytery, and

Whereas, the Presbytery of the Redwoods and the PCUSA have joined efforts with the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa since the year 2001, in an effort to accomplish this project, and

Whereas, The Cove (NCD) is on a declining MPG grant from the denomination, diminishing to zero after the end of 2010, and

Whereas, The Cove (NCD) needs something objective and clear as a motivation for its growth, and

Whereas, neither the PCUSA nor the Presbytery of the Redwoods has a clear policy regarding when an NCD should be chartered, and

Whereas, past practice in the Presbytery of the Redwoods and common sense dictate that NCD's become chartered near the time of financial solvency, and

Whereas, The Cove (NCD) has kept excellent records of attendance (dating back to the 1999-2000 school year) and giving (dating back to 2003),

Be it here resolved that we the duly appointed and regularly meeting Organizing Commission of The Cove (NCD) establish the following criteria for the chartering of The Cove (NCD):

  • Average Annual Adult (7th grade and over) Attendance at Worship shall be no fewer than 130

  • Official Membership shall be no fewer than 120

  • Total income shall exceed total expenses (after subtracting MPG grant monies, if any)

  • Congregational giving shall exceed $1500 per attender (in 2006 dollars—inflation adjusted)

  • Congregational giving shall exceed $1100 per member (in 2006 dollars—inflation adjusted)

  • Congregational support for "consolidated mission giving" shall be greater than or equal to $160 per attender. (This includes both validated PCUSA giving as well as non-validated mission opportunities)