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Church History

According to descendents of the earlier church officers, St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church is believed to have been formed in 1868 by former slaves on property belonging to George C. Howard, which was known as the "Dyson Tract." The first services were held in a bush harbor in what was then known as the "Tabernacle-Gift" community.Recorded historical data of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, located at 632 St. Luke Road at Highway 14 North, Covington, Tennessee, is very minimal. Research of public records in the Office of the Register of Deeds for Tipton County shows that title to a 0.75 acre tract of land was officially acquired on October 7, 1850 for $15.00.


Research of public records in the Office of the Register of Deeds for Tipton County shows that title to a 0.75 acre tract of land was officially acquired on October 7, 1850 for $15.00. Because the church had not officially elected trustees and/or deacons, the following persons appear on the deed: Flem Elam, Stephen Taylor, Moses Taylor, John Taylor, Jim Harris, Prophet Williamson, Willis Cotton, William Buster Burrell and Ned Taylor. Title to the land contained a stipulation limiting its use for the purpose of building a church and school. In addition, title to the property was to return to its grantor if the church/school ceased to exist. Oral history indicates a log building was erected on the site, which became the place of worship.


Through the years, the church has been blessed by God with spirit-filled pastors and leaders who contributed greatly to the physical and spiritual growth of the congregation. Those who have served as pastors include:


  • Rev. Wherry

  • Rev. Hubbert

  • Rev. Reynolds (1921)

  • Rev. Maxwell (1923)

  • Rev. Seward (1924)

  • Rev. Perkins (1925-1927)

  • Rev. Williamson (1927)

  • Rev. Burrow (1928-1938)

  • Rev. Caldwell (1938-1939)

  • Rev. Henderson (1939)

  • Rev. Webb (1940-1941)

  • Rev. Jackson (1943-1944)

  • Rev. Polk (1944-1947)

  • Rev. L. R. Donson (1947-1989)

  • Rev. Dexter G. Moragne (1989-Present)


The church continued to grow at this location and in 1947, the congregation elected to acquire additional land. A one and one-half acre tract of land was purchased from J. S. Mayo. The small frame church house of worship was replaced with a new brick veneer structure with a full basement. To meet the down payment requirements for bank financing, members met monthly with Pastor Donson to make home-to-home visits collecting approximately $800.00 for the building fund. The congregation also established an annual "Fall Harvest Rally" to make the yearly loan payment to the bank.


In 1948 construction began with a Memphis builder and electricity was furnished for the firt time that year. The first worship service in the new building was held on New Year's niight although the building was not completed until the second week of February 1949. The following persons served the congregation at that time as deacons: Henry Cobbs, Albert Elam, James Somerville, Nash Taylor, Tom Taylor, Charlie Teamer and Clarence Teamer. Brothers Earl Teamer and James Lee Taylor were the first deacons to be ordained by Pastor Donson; followed by Brothers Major Morris, Ed Louis Jackson, C.C. Burrell, Robert Teamer, James Willie Sanders, James L. Cunningham, Nesbie Teamer, Thomas Taylor, Lawson Dyson, Hosea Davis, Walter Bernard, Kenneth Bernard, and Paul Dyson. Associate Minister, Clint Somerville, was also ordained under Pastor Donson's tenure.


In May, 1989 Pastor Dexter Moragne received the call to become Pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the church membership and ministries have experienced growth like no other period in its history. This growth resulted in the expansion of the deacon and trustee ministries to include Brothers Robert E. Bernard, Jesse Brown, Rickey Johnson, Willie bullock, Gary Sanders, Walter Burrell, George Chambers and Joe Webb. The trustees include: Brothers Will Teamer, Clinton Teamer and L. V. Jackson. Associate Ministers include: Brothers F. A. Bailey, Gary Sanders, Daniel Taylor, and Bill Warr; and Sisters Maxine Heaston and Dana Whitmore. Rev. Clarence Nelson, Pastor of the Kings Hill Baptist Church and Rev. Cavat Bass, Pastor of St. Matthews Baptist church served under Pastor Moragne's leadership as Associate ministers.


On October 20, 1990 a tragic fire completely destroyed the church building of St. Luke, but not the body of believers. The congregation was graciously accommodated by sister-church, Salem Baptist Church, where the congregation worshiped for one full year as the church was re-built. October 20, 1991 marked the "Dedication Week Services" for the new church building.


A vision of expanded church ministries began taking shipe in 2001 to include a 22,000 square foot family life center, which would serve the total needs of the church and community. Some of the challenges that were successfully met were: acquisition of additional land, approval of plans and specifications by regulatory agencies, financing, and construction. In February 2007 the St. Luke Community Family Life Center was certified as complete and a permanent certificate of occupancy was issued by state and local code enforcement authorities.

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