Previous Church Names Of New Covenant Holiness Church
1886-1904 Union Holiness Church (Under the leadership of Rev. C. J. Wilcox)
1905-1916 Holy Church of the Covenant (Under the leadership of Rev. W.H. Fulford)
1917-1958 Covenant Holiness Church (Seven Pastors governed the church) (see above)
1958-Current New Covenant Holiness Church (The name change happened under the tenure of Rev. Joseph Highsmith)
*Informal Church names used for New Covenant Holiness Church*
Church on the Hill – This informal name was applied to the church by Wilmington, N.C. residents because the church was located at the top of a hill. It was called this name while under the tenure of Rev. William H. Fulford.
Colored Holy Church – A name applied to the church presumably because its congregation was mainly of African American descent. Blacks were referred to by the name ‘Colored’ in the 18th and 19th centuries. The church was believed to be called this name during its infancy before coming under the umbrella of “The United Holy Church of America, Inc.”
Negro Holy Church – A name applied to the church because of its African American congregation. The name ‘Negro’ considered progressive in comparison to ‘Colored’ was used most commonly in the civil rights era from around the 1950’s until the 1960’s to label Blacks.
A Typical New Covenant Worship Service
The format or the structure of a typical worship service at New Covenant has changed somewhat over the years, but here is a brief synopsis of what a service might resemble sometime ago. A typical service would open with two people sitting in chairs or standing at the front of the church calling on the people to praise the Lord. This was called the devotion hour. The two people leading devotion would then pray, read a scripture, sing a song or two, and then open up testimony service for everyone else in attendance to sing their song and give their testimony. Then after thirty minutes to an hour in this format, the service would be turned over into the hands of the presider for the evening. He or she would not perform another call to worship appeal, nor would they do another prayer or scripture. They would simply say, “We will let the prayer and scripture stand from the floor.” Normally, the testimony service would have gotten the members of this Holiness Church stirred up enough that they were in the midst of a ‘high praise’ once the presider for the evening took the pulpit. The mentality for omitting a second call to worship followed by a prayer and scripture was that there was no need to call a people to worship who were already worshipping.
The worship was powerful and the atmosphere was set. People have always been free to worship the Lord in anyway the Spirit led them at New Covenant. And they did, from the lifting up of holy hands, to glorious screams of praise, to fervent shouting. As the service proceeds the choir would sing the songs of Zion with power allowing the Lord to use them to take the service even higher. And when the preacher got up everyone knew they were in for a treat! Everything else had been the appetizer, but now they were getting ready to partake of the main course. Everyone loved good preaching and over the years New Covenant has had some of the best preachers around. The people especially got involved in the call response dialogue that took place on a typical Sunday morning at New Covenant between the preacher and the congregation. It was common to hear the Pastor say “Can I get an Amen” or “Ya’ll better talk to me this morning.” And of course the congregation would respond with Amen or preach Pastor! This joint effort between the preacher and the people kept the gospel message alive and full of fire and helped the people stay connected to the message. Once the preaching was over, there was always an altar call made by the Pastor inviting someone to accept the Lord Jesus as their Personal Savior. At the end of the church service announcements were given, a benediction pronounced, and then everyone was dismissed. Not that they would go home! Once the service was over, it was like a family reunion because everyone greeted and loved on one another.
It is that kind of love that New Covenant was and still is well known for. And though the format of our services have changed somewhat, we still have good singing, good preaching, and powerful worship services. New Covenant has always been and still is a place where the Holy Spirit is allowed to have its way! It is a church where “Jesus is the Boss.” Yes, we are a church that God has blessed in its over 117 year history. And God will see to it that we will continue to grow and prosper being a great church not just of yesterday, but also of tomorrow.
By: Elder Sharon M. White