OUR CHURCH HISTORY
The Mount Calvary Baptist church was organized in 1900 at the insistence of a group of ladies, Eliza Lindsey, Hattie Holley, Jane Hardeman, Mary Clark, Mintoria Walker, Eliza Hardman, and Minnie Davidson living in the Rockdale Park community. These ladies felt that there should be a church in the community, and began meeting in the backyard of Mr. Felix Wilson. There they worshipped in a bush arbor. The group called its first pastor, the Reverend Morris Young. Reverend Young was assisted by the Reverend W.J. Scott.
In 1904, a lot measuring 50x140 sq. ft. was purchased on Avenue A and a plank structure was constructed on this site. Deacons ordained under Reverend Young were George Lewis, Ben Jackson, Henry Clarke, and Mr. Elliott. Following the death of Reverend Young, the church was pastored by Reverend William Hawkins, Reverend W.W. Williams, and Reverend J.H. Johnson.
Under the pastorate of Reverend Johnson, a larger frame building was constructed. Reverend Johnson resigned in 1916 to pastor a larger congregation in Detroit, Michigan. After Reverend Johnson's departure, Reverend J.M. Gates was called. Under the leadership of Reverend Gates, the church grew during that time, and Deacon Ben Jackson served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons until his death, after which Deacon John Davidson became Chairman. Reverend Gates pastored the church for 26 years. Under his leadership, a Mother's Board, Mission Board, Usher's Board, and a Choir were organized as well as the purchase of a piano.
During the period from 1923 to 1925, funds were raised, a brick building was erected, and construction completed in 1926. Mount Calvary became the largest church in the Rockdale community. The new structure had an inside pool with first Baptismal rites held on Mother's Day in 1926. Mount Calvary boasted a substantial and stable membership through this period and church's acreage doubled and more auxiliaries were organized. Those organizations were the BYPU, Young Men's Workers Club, Usher Board Club, and the BYPC. During this period in the church's history, pews stained glass windows, rubberized runners and water cooler were installed. A Gospel Choir was organized by the pastor, who served until spring of 1949. For the next few months, the church was without a pastor; Reverend C.L. McNease who was a member, assisted the Deacons.
On December 9, 1949, Reverend R.F. Jackson was called as pastor and Mount Calvary began an era of progress that spanned over four decades. Under his leadership a full church program was developed. The federal government's move toward urban renewal claimed the Rockdale community in 1962, and the church was moved from its location on Avenue A to the Adamsville community where a large number of its members had already relocated. A sense of community is prevalent among members today.
The new site, a former Masonic building, was renovated and made suitable for worship by the men of the church who volunteered their labor. A second renovation was done in 1970 that eliminated the flat top structure, raised the roof, and added a choir loft, a baptism pool, and several meeting rooms. A growing membership in a growing community fostered an expanding church program.
Acreage adjacent to the church was purchased for future expansion of church facilities. Ground breaking for the education building occurred on the second Sunday in May 1982. The educational building was completed in September 1983, and the corner stone was added in February 1984. To enhance our musical worship the church acquired a new organ. An outdoor marquee was installed for properly announcing coming events and activities. The church purchased office equipment to be used in the publication of church documents, announcements, etc.
Reverend Roswell F. Jackson served us faithfully for forty-four years until his death in April 1992. Reverend Charles J. Sargent was called to serve as interim Pastor. During this period, several new deacons were ordained and the SMILE summer program was started, the church continued to prosper and grow. Reverend C.J. Sargent served until we called which would be our eighth pastor the Reverend Douglas E. Stowers in January 1994. Reverend Stowers was installed April 10, 1994.
Under the leadership of Reverend Stowers our spiritual growth and ministry have been enhanced greatly; we have become a tithes and offering church. Under the tutelage of Reverend Stowers, auxiliaries have changed from boards to ministries. In 1997, Reverend Stowers initiated the following ministries, Noon Day Bible Study, 1st Wednesday Fellowship, Youth On The Move, Support Ministry, After School program, Bus Ministry, and set up a Clothing and Food bank at the church.
In addition to all the spiritual growth, we have grown physically under Reverend Stowers' leadership, our membership is constantly increasing, and the church was incorporated in 1997. We have improved the appearance of our church by installing new carpet in the sanctuary, upgrading the ladies rest room to accommodate handicapped persons, installing a basketball and tennis court for recreation. We have also purchased a new Van, additional office equipment, renovated the fellowship hall, and enlarged our parking lot. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition to the educational wing was held on Heritage Sunday in February 1998. The new addition to the educational wing was completed and dedicated in November 1998.