“We have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
— Brian Emmet, adapted from Psalm 27
Our congregation has its roots in the worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit of the late ’60’s and 70’s that has come to be known as the charismatic movement. Our church had its birth among a group of students on the Harvard campus who, having experienced salvation in Jesus Christ and the new life He has made available to His people through the Holy Spirit, felt called by God to establish a church in Cambridge (1975).
Between 1975 and 1985, our church community relocated from Cambridge to Belmont (1975-1980), then to the Lawrence-Methuen area (1980-1984). The Lawrence years were an experiment in a church merger, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. We decided to re-engage campus ministry in Harvard in 1984 and then elected to relocate into the Arlington area in 1985. We also began our educational ministry, Covenant School, that same year.
For a while, we lived mainly in Arlington but continued to meet for worship on the Harvard campus. As we settled in, we saw the need for an Arlington-based group, and for many years we operated as “one church with two congregations” (Arlington and Cambridge).
Initially, Cambridge was the “main” setting, and Arlington the “satellite”; however, as our lives grew more and more rooted in Arlington, those roles switched. We closed down the campus ministry in the mid-90s.
After renting facilities from the Park Avenue Congregational Church in Arlington for several years, we began meeting in the Arlington Baptist Church in Arlington Heights in 1991, purchased the building in 1994, and moved our school into the facility in 1996. We added a preschool program to our elementary school in 2009, and then spun off this educational ministry into a new tax-exempt corporation, New Covenant School, in 2012.
Erick Schenkel (Harvard B.A. 1974, PhD 1995) served as our first pastor beginning in 1975. Following the completion of his doctoral degree, Erick relocated to central Asia in 1996 to serve with developing indigenous church movements in the Muslim world. Brian Emmet has served as our pastor since 1996.