Church History

New Covenant M.B. Church…Past, Present & Future
Honoring the Past…
The leadership of Rev. Elijah Thurston. In 1934, Rev. Elijah Thurston was called to pastor the Salem Baptist Church (37th & Langley) in Chicago after the death of Pastor B.L. Rhodes. Three years later, Rev. Elijah reorganized, relocated and renamed Salem Baptist Church to be called the 44th Street Baptist Church (735 East 44th Street) in Chicago. It was here that Rev. Elijah also pioneered the church’s strong radio presence by spearheading a weekly Sunday night radio broadcast. Rev. Elijah’s echoing his motto “I heard, I heard…God knows I heard” was a mighty testimony to many in the radio listening area.
In 1956, Rev. Elijah led the congregation to reach another milestone—moving to its present location at 740 East 77th Street and renaming the church New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church. With God’s guidance, and the diligent assistance of his son (Rev. John L. Thurston), Rev. Elijah Thurston continued to boldly lead the congregation until his death on March 17, 1968.
The leadership of Rev. John Lee Thurston.
Rev. John Lee Thurston co-labored with his father (Rev. Elijah Thurston) after accepting his call to the Gospel ministry and delivering his first sermon in 1948. In 1956, he was appointed Co-Pastor of New Covenant and ultimately served as Pastor after the death of his father in 1968. Rev. John continued the legacy of the well-respected radio broadcast—proclaiming and imploring listeners to “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Rev. John and his son Rev. Stephen J. Thurston co-labored in ministry until the death of Rev. John on January 21, 1979.
Celebrating the Present…
The leadership of Rev. Stephen J. Thurston. Easter Sundays have been milestones in the ministry of Rev. Stephen John Thurston. He accepted his call to the Gospel ministry and preached his initial sermon on Easter Sunday, April 11, 1971; was ordained and appointed as the assistant pastor of New Covenant M.B. Church (Easter Sunday, April 14, 1974); and was appointed as the Co-Pastor on March 30, 1975 (also an Easter Sunday). After the death of his father (Rev. John L. Thurston) in 1979, he became the Pastor of New Covenant M.B. Church. Rev. Stephen J. Thurston has also contributed richly to the Sunday night radio broadcast as he tells the world, “He has done great things.” Senior Pastor Rev. Stephen J. Thurston also serves as president of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., and made history when he became the youngest elected president in September 2003.