OUR CHURCH HISTORY
This wonderful church with its illustrious history began from very humble beginnings. We remember Sisters Eliza Lindsey, Hattie Holley, Jane Hardeman, Mary Clark, Mintoria Walker, Eliza Hardeman and Minnie Davidson who got together and decided that the Rockdale Park Community needed a place of worship. This decision led to the organization of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in 1900. The first meeting and worship service were held in the back yard of Brother Felix Wilson in a Bush Arbor under the leadership of our first Pastor, Rev. Morris Young. Rev. Young was assisted by the Reverend W.J. Scott.
In 1904, a building was constructed on Avenue A for worship services. Following the death of Rev. Young, the church was pastored by Reverends William Hawkins, W.W. Williams and J.H. Johnson. Rev. Johnson was later called to pastor a church in Detroit, Michigan. At his departure in 1916, Rev. James M. Gates, also known as the “singing preacher”, was called to become our fifth pastor. Under his leadership the church grew.
A brick building was built in 1926 and Mount Calvary Baptist Church became the largest church in the Rockdale Park Community. Several new boards were established including the Mother’s Board, Usher’s Board, Choir, Baptist Training Union, Young Men’s Christian Club, Junior Usher Board Club, Pastor’s Aid Club, Willing Worker’s Club and Choir Number 2. A beautiful stained glass windows adorned the building. An inside baptismal pool was added and the first baptisms were held on Mother’s Day in 1926. Rev. Gates served faithfully for 26 years
Rev. P.J. Dotson was called in 1942. During his pastorate, new pews were added and a Gospel Chorus was organized. He served until 1949.
On December 9, 1949, Rev. Roswell F. Jackson, Sr. was called. Under his pastorate and leadership, a more fully comprehensive church program was developed. The R. F. Jackson choir was organized. In 1962, due to urban renewal projects in the Rockdale Park Community, the church was moved from Avenue A to the Adamsville Community. A former Masonic Lodge building was renovated and made suitable for worship. During 1970, renovations included adding a raised roof, a choir loft, a baptismal pool and several meeting rooms. Calvary’s Voice (the church’s newsletter) began in 1981. Ground breaking for the R. F. Jackson Educational Building occurred on the second Sunday in May 1982 and the building was completed in September 1984. A new organ was purchased and a marquee was installed to announce church events. Rev. Jackson faithfully served Mount Calvary for 42 years until his death in April 1992.
Rev. Charles J. Sargent was called to serve as interim pastor. During this period several new deacons were ordained, and the Summer Motivational Intensive Learning Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) was started, the church continued to prosper and grow. In 1992 the church employed its first secretary Sister Carolyn Harris to work along with Sister Cora Grier who served faithfully for over 40 years as Church Clerk, Financial Secretary and Bookkeeper until her retirement in 2009. Rev. Sargent served us well until we called our eighth pastor Rev. Douglas E. Stowers.
In January 1994 Rev. Douglas E. Stowers was called as our eighth Pastor and his installation was held on April 10, 1994. Pastor Stowers, being led by the Holy Spirit, took our vision statement to new heights as he encouraged us to bring our tithes and offerings to support the church. In addition, auxiliaries were changed from boards to ministries for the spiritual work that they were achieving. In 1997 the church was incorporated and Rev. Stowers initiated the following ministries: Noon day Bible Study, First Wednesday Fellowship, Youth on the Move, Support Ministry, After School Program, Bus Ministry, and the Food and Clothing Bank were initiated. As a result of our blessed spiritual and physical growth, new renovations were added to improve the appearance of the church and restrooms were made handicap accessible. The fellowship hall and parking lot were also renovated and the church purchased a new van.
The groundbreaking of the new addition to the educational building was held on Heritage Sunday in February 1998, the building was completed in October 1998. Under the leadership of Rev. Stowers our spiritual growth and ministry have been enhanced greatly. With the physical growth as well as spiritual growth Rev. Stowers posted a bid for an Administrative Assistant and in March of 2003 Sister Betty Chandler was employed as the Administrative Assistant to Pastor Stowers that also included being the Church Clerk.
When we achieved a significant milestone, our 100th Anniversary in 2000, we celebrated with a banquet at the Marriott Atlanta Airport Hotel, Rev. Dr. C. Mackey Daniels; President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention was our speaker and the publication of our 100thYear Anniversary Journal was a great success. This beautiful journal provided highlights of our rich history and includes a photo of our first church building as well as the current building. In addition, there are photos of former pastors, articles about our humble beginnings, photos of former members, current members and the different ministries, an Olympic medalist who was a member and memorials for past members. In this journal, Pastor Stowers stated, “As we celebrate 100 years of service, we take time to reflect and give thanks. We remember the blessed history of this church family with spiritual men and women who loved God’s people and who gave themselves to promote the kingdom of God on Earth”.
Under the leadership of Pastor Stowers, our church has seen continued dynamic spiritual and physical growth. We celebrate Heritage Sunday annually in February and we continue to serve “listeners and trotters” (pig ears and pig feet) as part of our traditional fellowship meal. Unity Sunday is held annually on the fourth Sunday in September.
The Missions Ministry spearheads the yearly Read to Success program at local elementary schools and sponsors the Coat Drive and More which donates needed items to the South West Ecumenical Emergency Assistant Center (SWEEAC) to be distributed to individuals in the community. In addition, Pastor initiated a new programs called “The Apple of My Eye and The Top Banana” to better serve the schools in the local area.
Other ministries and achievements are:
· The Fall Fellowship Luncheon where the Wednesday Morning Bible Study the group invites the Maggie Russell Towers and other nursing home residents to fellowship and lunch.
· The Annual Recognition of the 50 + Years Members and 50 Years of Marriage
· The Liturgical Dance Ministry which includes the Dancing Angels and Mimes
· The Chimes Ministry
· The Purchase of 2 new vans in 2016 to assist the Transportation Ministry
· The Annual Health Fair
· A Youth Ministry Newsletter
· Newly organized S.M.I.L.E. Academy
· Starting with our 116th anniversary, Pastor Stowers launched the new church logo and updated the church’s website to give it a bolder, brighter and more user-friendly feel. He gave approval for the monthly Mount Calvary website newsletter, the MCBC Chorale and the Combined Choirs to facilitate our music worship experience, and the launch of the new official Mount Calvary Baptist Church logo golf shirt. Additional church logo items have been added such as jackets, hats and caps.
He moved the celebration of the church anniversary to the first Sunday in November. In 2019, improvements to Mount Calvary included the addition of a new alarm system, security cameras, and upgrading of several exterior light fixtures.
· Worship and Dinner on the grounds, traditionally held on the last Sunday in September, was changed to “Unity Sunday”, where each member wear their official Mount Calvary LOGO T-Shirt.
Pastor Stowers has led us to be active in the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. (PNBC), the American Baptist Churches of the South Area III (ABCOTS), The Atlanta Missionary Baptist Association (AMBA) and the New Era Missionary Baptist Convention, Inc. It is quite evident that Rev. Stowers is anointed by the Holy Spirit to lead with distinction. He knows the value of the different mission organizations and strives to keep Mount Calvary members informed and actively involved.
Mount Calvary Baptist Church seeks to be "A Teaching Church", empowering people to effect change in their lives and the life of their community. This is the vision statement of our church and each year, blessed by the power of God and the Holy Spirit and the leadership of Pastor Stowers, we strive to achieve this goal. Finally, we all have heard this saying of endearment from our beloved Pastor, “As sure as the vine grows around the stump, you are my darling, sugar lumps; and I love you one and all.”
Worship! Praise! Deliverance!
Come Worship With Us!