PRESBYTERY DE CRISTO
SYNOD OF THE SOUTHWEST
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A)
Probably the best way to describe Carlos Montaño is by this statement extracted from his Personal Information Form (PIF): “All theology issues have shaped my ministry. I profoundly believe that my life is an endless search of God. But he dwells inside of me, and in the process of emotional and spiritual growth it seems like I have lost contact with God, and I consider myself as a searcher, when it is God the one searching for me. Jesus is the reason of my faith. For Jesus I believe in the wonderful and incomprehensible mystery of God’s love.”
Carlos was born in San Luis Potosí, México in 1942, in a very poor and religious family. He is the second of ten children. After finishing his elementary school, he went to a Roman Catholic Seminary where, along with all the subjects for middle and high school, he studied Latin and Philosophy as a preparation for the studies of Theology. After earning his first Master’s Degree in Philosophy he became an ordained Catholic Priest in 1966. In 1972 he denounced his priesthood because of political and theological disagreements with the Mexican Catholic Church.
He then traveled to United States and got a job as a janitor in a Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas, which was where he found that the Presbyterian Faith was very appealing to his own faith and he enrolled in McCormick Theological Seminary and received his second Master’s Degree in Divinity. This led to his ordination as a Presbyterian Minister in 1979, by the Presbytery of New Covenant in Houston, TX. Carlos has faithfully served the Presbyterian Church in several positions among the Presbyteries of New Covenant in Texas, and Sierra Blanca in New Mexico.
At present, Carlos has served the church in Douglas for the last twelve years, first as a full-time pastor, and as part-time since 2008. We appreciate that the Douglas congregation has agreed to share Pastor Carlos with Covenant!
Carlos is happily married to his wife Yolanda (Yoly). They have two children. The eldest served the US Navy for twenty-five years and is now retired and lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two sons. The youngest is a daughter who is married and lives in Douglas, AZ, with her husband and two girls.
Bisbee, unlike many other mining boom towns, survived due to the discovery and production of copper. (Click here for the Bisbee Chamber of Commerce) People of various nationalities flocked to the area. Many were rough and tough and seemingly lacked regard for things of culture and religion. Individuals took the law into their own hands.
However, there were some who desired those institutions which made a "camp" a home. A library was built and Rev. J. G. Pritchard, a Presbyterian minister from England, was hired as librarian. His duties included being chaplain of the copper company. In 1888, Rev. Pritchard helped organize the Union Church, out of which also grew several Protestant congregations.
A Sunday School missionary sent from New Mexico, together with Rev. Pritchard, worked with the Presbyterian contingent and on March 8, 1900, a group of 20 persons meeting in the Library Hall, met for worship and voted to organize "The Presbyterian Church of Bisbee," later to become Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Within months of formal charter of the congregation, the Session began corresponding with officials of the Copper Queen Mining Company to secure property on which to construct a church building. William Dodge and D. Willis James, staunch Presbyterians, negotiated a purchase for two lots next door to the Copper Queen Hotel for a total of $12,000. The lots became the property of the company which was then known as the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company. Permission was given for the church to construct a building.
Funds were sought, members contributed, and in early 1902, construction began. Mr. Dodge and Mr. James provided much of the financial resources necessary for the completion of the building, apparently as a loan.
Stained glass windows were installed in March of 1903.
The pipe organ, a gift from Arthur Curtis James, son of D. Willis James, was installed that same month.
photo courtesy of Patrick J. Quinn http://www.patquinnphotography.com
It was built by the Harris Company of Los Angeles, organ builders from 1895-1913, and arrived in time to be installed for the first worship service on April 5, 1903. The instrument included three distinct organs, the Great, the Swell, and the Pedal, and consisted of two manuals with a compliment of 579 pipes constructed from Swedish Tinn (pewter) as well as wood. The pipes range in size from less than two inches in length to sixteen feet. The exposed chancel pipes are an example of the hand decorating craft of Mr. George Head, employee of the Harris Company.
photo courtesy of Patrick J. Quinn http://www.patquinnphotography.com
The organ has been maintained and enlarged to fifteen ranks of pipes through the interest and support of the congregation of Covenant Presbyterian Church. [For information about organs around the world, go to http://www.hetorgel.nl/eindex.html, het Orgel, the Internet Magazine on European Organ Art. The listing of our organ can be found by clicking on "LINKS" and then going to "Links per Country"--under USA, click on "Organ and organbuilders" and then scroll down to "Churches and concertrooms" and click on the link under Bisbee, Arizona, Covenant Presbyterian Church"]
Records show that after the death of Mr. Dodge in 1904, the executors of his estate, along with Mr. James, settled the church's indenture for one dollar "in lawful currency of the United States of America." Arizona was still a territory.
The cost of construction was estimated at $10,000. The organ cost approximately $2,500. The church with its magnificent organ and spectacular stained glass windows cost little more than the land on which it is situated!
In 1917, two wings were added to the building to allow for meeting and education space. Soon after, pews, hand carved in the Netherlands, were installed.
Today, the church owns the former hospital building, "The Annex"--also acquired for $1 from Phelps Dodge--where educational and fellowship events are held.
Covenant Presbyterian Church of Bisbee, Arizona, is a diverse community of Christians worshiping in the Presbyterian tradition. We love each member of our church community and support each other in our personal journeys of faith. Also, we pray for the relief of persons suffering on either side of the border which lies so near to us and welcome as fellow pilgrims those who are skeptical about the elements of our Christian faith. We share a rich sense of history and of the need to preserve the buildings which house us in praising the Risen Lord. We love music as an avenue of praise. We also preserve the rituals of our reformed tradition and supplement those rituals with a continual outreach to the community that surrounds us. We are tolerant followers of the Lord who accept individual differences in background and vision and are united in wanting to learn more from our pastor and each other. We respect each other's beliefs regardless of the believer's age, color, place, origin or financial status, asking only that they share their doubts, sorrows and joy. We believe in the power of prayer, the power of the spoken word as revealed to us in the Bible, the power of giving, and the power of music.
Covenant Church has a history of community involvement and members of the church are volunteers in almost every aspect of Bisbee life. We support such things as the Food Bank, the Renaissance House for the recovery of homeless and drug dependent women, the Bisbee Homeless Shelter, the Boys and Girls Club of Bisbee, and ecumenical gatherings such as Easter sunrise services, the World Day of Prayer, and the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Active groups within Covenant Church include the Session, a Board of Deacons, a worship committee. a property committee, a nominating committee, and the Presbyterian Women. Many of us belong to more than one of these groups.
Regular worship services are held each Sunday of the year. Special worship services are held during Lent and Advent and on World Communion Sunday, Pentecost and Christmas Eve. In the fall of the year, the church celebrates its Scottish heritage with the Kirkin' of the Tartans. This service has grown to recognize not only the Scottish history of the Presbyterian Church but also the unique heritage of Covenant Church.
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