Church of the Covenant Presbyterian / Trinity Deliverance

Like a lot of early Detroit Churches, Church of the Covenant was started in 1863 as a mission Sunday school led by Zebulon Reed Brockway, then head of the Detroit house of correction. For a short time, classes were held in the basement of Bishop school until a small frame structure was built in 1864 on Russell and Napoleon Streets. The Sunday school proved to be so popular that a dedicated structure was built in 1869. In 1875 the mission was formally organized as Union Presbyterian Church, a name it kept until 1889, when it was renamed Church of the Covenant and moved into a new building on the same location that seated over 1,200.

The large size of the building proved to be problematic for the church, which struggled to maintain financial solvency after its membership began moving into surrounding neighborhoods. The area around Russell Street and Gratiot Avenue had become more commercial, filling up with stores and plants that would eventually become part of the Eastern Market. In 1906 the church started a mission in a storefront on Mack Avenue near East Grand Boulevard, finding a large Presbyterian population in the rapidly growing neighborhood. By September it had been decided to sell the old church and relocate.

The cornerstone for the new church was laid in June of 1907. The new church was formally dedicated on November 8th, 1908, in a ceremony attended by over 600 members and guests. By 1923 membership had reached 1,300, necessitating a major expansion of the sanctuary and addition of classrooms.

Covenant was in the heart of a rapidly changing neighborhood, and by the 1960’s was losing its mostly white membership to the suburbs. Rather than relocate, the church decided to integrate, becoming one of the first racially integrated Presbyterian churches in the city. In 1978 Rev. Gary M. Douglas Jr. was appointed pastor, becoming the first Black man to hold the position at Covenant.

Church of the Covenant merged with Woodward Avenue Presbyterian in 1981, with the congregation relocating to Woodward. The East Grand Boulevard church was put up for sale and sold in 1982 to Trinity Deliverance Church, a small but rapidly growing congregation that used the building until sometime around 2019.