Baptist Church of the Covenant
Baptist Church of the Covenant is a Baptist church located at 2117 University Boulevard, at the intersection of 22nd Street South. The church split from the First Baptist Church of Birmingham in 1970 over the issue of racial integration.
First Baptist pastor Herbert Gilmore led a walkout of approximately 250 members on the morning of September 27 after the members of the church voted not to offer membership to Winifred Bryant and her daughter, Twila.
When the church formed, members initially met at Temple Emanu-El, with Gilmore serving as pastor. Soon, they moved to the church's current location on University Boulevard. In 1995, the church built a sanctuary on that property.
In 2002, Baptist Church of the Covenant called Sarah Jackson Shelton as pastor. This was both celebrated and criticized, as Shelton was one of the first females called to be pastor of a Baptist church in Alabama. Around the same time, some churches in the Birmingham Baptist Association sought to have the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message formally endorsed by the Association, a statement which declared that women serving as pastors was inconsistent with the Christian faith. The platform was not adopted by the Association, and the Baptist Church of the Covenant is affiliated with the local Association, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the Alliance of Baptists. It is not affiliated with the state or national Southern Baptist entities, however, as leaders feel that the fundamentalist theology and moral stances espoused by those bodies are incompatible with the stands that the congregation has taken over its history.
- Gilmore, J. Herbert (1972) They Chose to Live: The Racial Agony of an American Church Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans ISBN 080281445X
- Verser, Sarah (February 27, 2014) "43 years ago: How a church split at the crossroads of diversity"
- Baptist Church of the Covenant web site