The call to come to Covenant came as a surprise! But, Dale and Patti found many of the same blessings that are still in evidence at Covenant today (even though the names have changed): excellent staff, a great music program, and a nursery school with a terrific reputation. Pastor Dale served as Senior Pastor from 1974-1979 and Pastor of Visitation from 2000-2005. In 2005 he was designated Pastor Emeritus. Dale and Patti reflect on their call to Covenant – the worship, the people and parking! Read Pastor Dale’s complete reflection as told to Pastor Mark below.
Reflections of Rev. Dale Owens
(as shared with Pastor Mark in March 2022)
Senior Pastor – 1974-1979
Pastor of Visitation – 2000-2005
Designated Pastor Emeritus in 2005
Dale grew up in nearby Upper Darby before going away for college, and then seminary in the Midwest. When one of the district superintendents from the conference went out to visit him and asked what type of church he might like to serve, Dale said it was really for the cabinet to decide. He did remind them, though, that Patti grew up in a town with 300 people and 3,000 cows, so they thought they might get a rural appointment. Instead, they were appointed first to the University City section of Philadelphia, then Langhorne and then Springfield; and they loved all three of their appointments.
The call to come to Covenant came as a surprise, as Dale had only been in Langhorne for 5 years at that point, but they found many of the same blessings that are still in evidence at Covenant today (even though the names have changed): excellent staff, a great music program, and a nursery school with a terrific reputation.
Dale has fond memories of special services held in Fellowship Hall, where 200-250 people would gather for Holy Thursday and other services, and Sunday evening worship services with guest preachers from the Philadelphia area and beyond. The church also purchased a new organ for $100,000 while Dale was here and paid it off in a little less than two years.
With such a large membership at that time (1700 members) and so many classes and activities, you would think that parking was a serious challenge. It could be – people would park at Veterans Park, or anywhere they could find a spot along Saxer – but families would also all come in one vehicle at one time – unlike today when families might come to church in 2 or more cars.
Obviously, Dale and Patti and their children loved the people of Covenant and Springfield: when Dale was appointed to a position at the conference office, he and Patti decided to purchase a house and stay in Springfield. With the help of Lillian Williams, they found (on their 13th try) the house they have now lived in for 43 years. It is unusual, and a blessing for both Covenant and the Owens for a United Methodist pastor to be affiliated with the same church for so long, but Dale chose to keep his charge conference membership with Covenant as he took the conference position. And then when he retired in 2000, he rejoined the Covenant staff as Pastor of Visitation, while holding the same role at Elam UMC, where Rev. Sharon Vandegrift was senior pastor at the time. In 2005, Dale was designated Pastor Emeritus by Covenant, and he and Patti have continued to worship with us to this day.