On February 2, 2020, many folks in Mauldin looked forward to watching the Super Bowl game. On that same date following morning worship, the congregation of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, located at 739 North Main Street in Mauldin, gathered outside the building for a very special dedication ceremony.
On that warm, almost spring-like day, Rev. Patricia Gwinn, the current pastor, led the assembled group in selected readings and reflections to celebrate the completed portico over the front entrance of the church. First, they dedicated the sanctuary lectern, given in memory of Joyce Boozer by the Bud Boozer family, and then the stained-glass window located above the entrance door and donated in memory of Patsy Drake by the Everett Drake family. This beautiful window contains the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. seal depicted in shimmering, eye-catching colors. Finally, they dedicated the portico itself, recognizing Bud Boozer, a long-time member, who envisioned this project, and gave seed money, time, and much effort to see it to completion. A reception with cake and refreshments completed the event.
The new entranceway stands before a door leading to a glassed-in spacious greeting room, designed by the church in the early 2000’s. The portico provides protection from the elements as well as a more defined entrance.
Before Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church came to be, there really was no Presbyterian church in the heart of the Golden Strip area. To address this need, the Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Greenville started a mission church in 1961, naming it the Fourth Presbyterian Chapel. The congregation initially met in a wooden bus shed associated with Mauldin Elementary School, later moving into the Hollingsworth Construction Building on Laurens Road. By 1962, they began construction of the church building on the current 7 ½ acre site. Then, in 1963, the church became officially chartered as the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church with 86 initial members.
Situated against a backdrop of trees, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church feels set apart from the heavily traveled highway along which it is located. Two hundred members comprise its current congregation and they come not only from Mauldin, but also from Simpsonville and even Greenville and surrounding areas. During its fifty plus year history, the church has called eight ministers. Rev. Patricia (Trish) Gwinn, the current pastor, is also the first female minister in Mauldin. Previously Associate Pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church, she has served as the sole pastor at Grace Covenant for the last three years and has several part-time staff members as well.
Rev. Gwinn, a lively and engaging conversationalist, is gifted in the skill of listening and obviously cares deeply about her congregation. As she reflects upon Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, she says that it is a warm and welcoming community. They offer a traditional service and choir as well as a full range of activities. She says that they especially value the intergenerational aspects of their congregation.
Rev. Gwinn points to the church’s mission statement as expressing where they hope to go in the future. “Grace Covenant is a neighborhood church living to be God’s voice of hope in the world. We seek to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, to live with humility and gentleness, and with patience and love for one another. Our greatest aspiration is to make Christ’s example of love real for all our neighbors.” She emphasizes the “neighborhood church” aspect of this statement and says that they are intentionally reaching out to the neighborhoods surrounding the church in an effort to get to know folks better.
To Rev. Gwinn, discipleship is at the heart of everything–it is all of living for all of our lives. She says that they are “interested in where the Word of God intersects with the world and take the Word of God and people very seriously.” Their church provides many opportunities to learn, to grow in the faith, to fellowship, and to serve others, particularly those who are struggling and hurting.
For more information about Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, refer to their Facebook page or to their website at www.gracecovenantmauldin.com. Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. followed by 10:30 a.m. morning worship service.