NASHVILLE, TN (January 24, 2014) — Robert Dawson, 86, pastor of the first predominantly African American church in the Covenant, died Sunday.
His wife, Rachael, 82, who had been in failing health, died Wednesday.
A funeral service for both of them will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Terrell Broady Funeral home. Visitation will be at 10 a.m.
Robert was born April 21, 1927. Rachael was born September 30, 1931.
Dawson started Compton Bible Chapel in Compton, California, and the small congregation met at the Union Rescue Mission. Covenanters who served on the mission’s board introduced him to the denomination. The congregation eventually became Grace Covenant Church and was dedicated on December 7, 1969.
A white woman who taught Bible classes led Dawson to the Lord while he was in college. That experience shaped his ministry. The congregation at Grace Covenant had both black and white members, and both black and white assistant pastors.
Last November, he told former Covenant Companion features editor Bob Smietana, “We as Christians have to cut this out—separating ourselves. We all are sinners and we are saved by grace. There ain’t no black heaven or black hell or white heaven or white hell.”
Dawson also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration for 32 years.