Community History - Covington - Latonia Christian Church
Latonia Christian Church is a non-denominational church that was founded by twenty-five people on February 27th, 1898 in the city of Milldale, KY (present day Latonia). Initially inspired by a revival meeting held by the pastor of the First Christian Church of Covington, George A, Miller, the early members met in a rented building in Latonia named Bird’s Hall. The first actual church building was constructed several years later on land donated by a Covington resident, Mrs. Elizabeth Whipps, who gave 50-sq. ft. stretch along 36th St. With the help of subscriptions and financial aid from the Kentucky State Mission Board, the congregation’s plan came to fruition and the building was dedicated on October 7th, 1900.
Two years later, in 1902, Latonia Christian was forever changed when its most influential pastor, Harlan C. Runyan, was elected. Aside from his popular preaching at the church, Runyan was also an influential revivalist and frequently induced many people to join his congregation. In fact, according to all the sources on the matter, it was Runyan who was responsible for the massive increase in church members between 1902 and 1935, a large increase from 52 members to nearly 1000. As a result of such rapid growth, the church had to be expanded twice during Runyan’s ministry; the first time in the form of an enlargement of the 36th St. meeting hall in 1907, and the second time in the form of an entirely new building completed on April 8th, 1923. This new site, located on the corner of 39th and Decoursey, is where the present day church currently stands.
After Runyan’s death on December 13th, 1935, Latonia Christian briefly held several ministers including Charles Carter from ’35 –’38 and Thomas Alderson from ’38-’39. It was not until December 3rd of 1939, however, that the church elected an enduring minister. On that date, Joseph D. Hill began his tenure as the pastor of Latonia Christian. Throughout his term, which ended on June 30th, 1973, the church built an educational complex and paid off its mortgages. It was also involved in a cooperative overseas mission.
Hondel Adams assumed the role of pastor on July 2 nd, 1973 and continued to expand the church by rendering various improvements and buying up several adjacent lots for future use. After leaving his ministry in 1976, Adams was replaced by Michael Sweeney who continued the work of his predecessors.
In 1998, Latonia Christian celebrated its 100th Anniversary at which Covington Mayor Denny Bowman gave a proclamation. The present church, erected in 1923, still stands at 3900 Decoursey Avenue in Latonia, KY.
The Kentucky Post; April 18th, 1998; Latonia Christian Church Golden Jubilee Church Publication; The Community News: February 20th, 1988.