About

Covenant Fellowship is a congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, which has served Wilkinsburg since 1833. We are committed to the doctrines of the historic Reformed faith:

  • The Bible alone is the true word of God.
  • Christ alone is able to save us from sin.
  • God’s grace alone rescues us from enslavement to sin.
  • Faith alone is necessary for salvation.
  • God’s glory alone is the purpose for which we live.

commitment to the gospel
The preaching is straight from the Bible. Every Sunday, we gather in God-centered worship to hear how Christ’s work on the cross frees us to overcome sin and glorify God.

commitment to the community
The gospel not only reconciles people to God, but also to one another. We are committed to serving our communities and being a multiracial and international fellowship, modeling biblical reconciliation and unity in diversity.

Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church

Our Beliefs

Our beliefs all stem from a full commitment to the authority of the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God. This means that we believe in the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We acknowledge our total inability to save ourselves and, in faith, depend on Christ alone as our Savior. We acknowledge Him as Covenant Lord in every area of life, and we vow together to advance His Kingdom on earth.

We believe that God desires His Church to set forth clear statements of her system of doctrine that can be supported from Scripture. We therefore accept as our creed, or subordinate standards, The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. In addition to these doctrinal statements, we adhere to the Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, which is our continuing application of God’s written word to the world and the church of today.

We believe that God’s Word clearly sets forth how He is to be worshiped. The reading and exposition of the Word of God are the central focus of our worship. Our musical praise employs God’s Word only, thus making use of the divinely inspired Book of Psalms of the Bible. In keeping with the New Testament Church’s directive for heart worship, we sing without the aid of musical instruments.

For more information see The Constitution of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

Our Leadership

Pastor

Pete Smith

Dr. Pete Smith

Pete has a BA in Political Science from Geneva College, a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando FL. For twenty years he served as a church planter and pastor in the greater Washington DC area. Currently, Pete teaches American Government and Economics at Trinity Christian School.

Hometown: Wilkinsburg, PA
Hobbies: Eurogames, movies, discussing politics & theology
Fun Fact: I was in my high school’s first graduating class. I own over 100 board games.

Elders

Drew Gordon

Drew Gordon

Drew has been an editor for 35 years, including over 30 years with Crown & Covenant Publications. He earned a B.A. in English from Geneva College and has completed several seminary courses. Drew has written several Bible studies for Faith Alive Publications. He is past board president of Trinity Christian School in Forest Hills, Pa., and currently serves on the Interchurch Committee of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. Drew is married with three grown children.

Hometown: Williamsport, PA. Has lived for the past 32 years in Wilkinsburg, PA.
Hobbies: Reading, dabbling in sports, tinkering with computers.
Fun Fact: Drew didn’t gain any individual accolades for his high school and college basketball career, but he did have the opportunity to play some future pro basketball players, including one who dunked on Drew so many times during one game that his fingers bled.

Joel Butler

Joel Butler

Joel has a M. Div. from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL. He serves as Director of Youth Ministry for Covenant Fellowship and its KidZone Ministry. Professionally, he designs HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical systems for commercial, educational and residential buildings.

Hometown: Wilkinsburg, PA
Hobbies: Camping, Family recreation such as playing tackle and building models with the boys, Outreach to Cults.
Fun Fact: Joel has traveled to England, Japan, Israel, Switzerland, and Bahamas. During his college years, he visited a cabin in Switzerland previously owned by a man named Ulrich Zwingli, without knowing the importance of the Reformer.

Deacons

Art Byers

Art Byers

Art has a Ph.D. from Purdue University in Analytical Chemistry and a B.S. from Westminster College. He has worked for Westinghouse Electric for over 30 years, where he specializes in nuclear crud, sludge, and corrosion. He and his wife Carol came to Covenant Fellowship by way of the Gilmore Avenue Area Fellowship group.

Hometown: Art grew up a PCUSA PK in New Castle, PA, and now resides in Murrysville, PA.
Hobbies: Biking, skiing, basketball, and especially Ultimate.
Fun Fact: Art started working with Covenant Youth in 1992, and at Laurelville, he has never refused to go into the mud.

Lois Claerbaut

Lois Claerbaut

Lois grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and graduated from local Christian schools and from Calvin College with a BA in Elementary Education. She taught first grade, kindergarten, and pre-school for 20 years while also raising a family of six children. For the past 13 years Lois has worked at Crown & Covenant Publications, shipping orders all over the world and helping with other tasks as needed.

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Hobbies: Sewing, Scrap booking, and Counted Cross Stitch.
Fun Fact: I have 16 grandchildren (so far) including a set of quadruplets and a set of twins. It truly is fun (and sometimes chaotic) when all 28 of us are together as a family. God has truly blessed my husband, Dale, and me!

Jim Copeland

Jim Copeland

Graduate of Wilkinsburg High School & Geneva College. Worked as a construction laborer, carpenter, self-employed contractor and construction project manager. Most recently employed by the Garfield Jubilee Association as a Construction Manager and a construction and carpentry instructor.

Hometown: Born in Cyprus and grew up from the age of 10 in Wilkinsburg.
Hobbies: Jim enjoys being with and watching his grandchildren grow up, woodworking and renovation projects, reading a variety of books, listening to music especially jazz and watching sports now that he can’t play sports.
Fun Fact: Jim and his wife, Sandy, have 10 grandchildren.

Carol Edgar

Carol Edgar

I have a BA from Geneva in Political Science and a MPA (Master in Public Administration) for Syracuse University. I worked for the Penn in the library for a year and in the Model Classification Program in the Philadelphia Prison System for 2 years. Since moving to Pittsburgh, I served on the board of the RP Home for 13 years and have worked at the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary since 1988, and as secretary to the president since 1994. I have been married to John for 41 years, we have 4 children and 4 in-laws and 8 grandchildren.

Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Hobbies: Skiing, walking and being with my children and grandchildren.
Fun Fact: Three of my grandchildren live next door.

Faith Martin

Faith Martin

I graduated from Geneva College with a BA in English and taught high school for three years. I left teaching to rear our three sons. As they reached school age, I began my work at the Reformed Presbyterian Home, retiring after 36 years there.

Hometown: I was born and reared in Spring Valley, New York. Since then have lived in Philadelphia, PA, Kansas City, MO, Neubrucke, Germany, and Pittsburgh, PA (for the last 41 years).
Hobbies: My hobbies are reading and writing.
Fun Fact: We have three grown sons and eight grandchildren.

James Saureisen

James Sauereisen

James has had the privilege of volunteering on the State Cabinet, serving in the role of Pennsylvania State Scripture Coordinator and Church Ministry Chairman for Nashville, TN based Gideons International. He joined in 2005. The Lord has used the Gideons International by God’s grace to reach many people. Over 2 billion bibles in various languages have been given around the world since 1898. Closer to home, James coordinated a Pittsburgh citywide bible distribution in 2013 with the help of many others. Work entails UBER and Lyft driving which often includes transporting people in Wilkinsburg and neighboring East End communities. Acting opportunities have arisen in television projects and healthcare commercials for UPMC in recent years. James also leads weekly bible studies with a friend from seminary at the local county jail. He earned a B.A. (Corporate Communications) from Elon University and Masters of Theology at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Hometown: Born in Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and now lives in historic South Side where many immigrants once relocated to work in the mills.

Hobbies: Ministry travel, photography, inline skating, small group bible fellowship, and outdoor activities. Also enjoys time with 4 nephews and 3 nieces.

Fun Fact: Was born on Halloween but prefers the day as a remembrance of Protestant Reformation Day.

Administrator

Autumn Butler

Autumn Butler

Autumn has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. She joined Covenant Fellowship in 2001 while she was attending the University of Pittsburgh. Her husband Joel is Covenant Fellowship’s Director of Youth Ministries. They have 3 children and have lived in Wilkinsburg since 2010.

Hometown: Syracuse, NY
Hobbies: Reading and Walking