On Tuesday, Covington’s Public Works committee was presented with a request to rename one of its streets in honor of a recently-deceased pastor. 

The members of Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church penned a letter to the mayor’s office requesting Shelton Street, on which the church is located, be changed to T.J. Lewis Street.


“The name change is significant as it serves as a reminder for all to live with integrity, walk in love and live by example just as he did,” said Minister Michelle Walker in her letter. “His character, his leadership and his powerful preaching extended his influence beyond the church he loved so dearly.”

Lewis, who died on Dec. 16, 2016, was a pastor for 44 years and founded St. John M.B. Church in 1995, building the facility on the site of a former gin.

According to records provided to the city by David Gwinn, county historian, Shelton Street was originally named in honor of former mayor Samuel R. Shelton.

Also presented to the planning commission Tuesday, the act of changing the street name will mean a change of address for all business-related matters for the residents of Shelton Street as well as changes that will be required for utilities, the post office, signage and E-911 services.

Lessie Fisher, with the codes division, and alderwoman Minnie Bommer independently suggested the idea of giving the street an additional name, for instance, as has been done in other locations.

The board took the matter under advisement, but if passed, the second idea would involve putting signage up designating part or all of Shelton Street “T.J. Lewis Parkway,” for example.

“The person would be recognized, but people won’t have to actually change their addresses,” Fisher said.

In searching for a policy to help guide city leaders, Fisher and Gwinn could find none.

“We couldn’t really ever find that it tracked in the same path the few times that we’ve ever had the question come up,” said Fisher.

The board is expected to discuss the matter further at a future meeting.

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.