Our Story

The first service of Calvary Baptist Church was held in a business building located at 805 Maine Street on October 3, 1943. At that time, it was known as “The Gospel Center.” The service was conducted by Rev. John D. Jess, founder of the work, assisted by Mr. Douglas Mains, who served as pianist and music director.

In November of 1944, Rev. Warren Allem of Albuquerque, New Mexico was called to become the first pastor, after the work had been moved to its new location at 1115 Maine Street. Sunday School was started at this time, with 46 present.
On December 31, 1945, The Gospel Center was organized as Calvary Baptist Church, at which time Rev. Raymond Hamilton was officially called as pastor. At that time, there were 38 charter members received.
In May of 1947, application was made for fellowship in the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches and the church was accepted into the fellowship at the Association meeting in Waterloo, Iowa.
On January 25, 1948, Rev. Howard Miller of Peoria, Illinois accepted the unanimous call to become the third pastor of the church. On May 16, 1948, the congregation voted unanimously to proceed in purchasing a building site at 19th and State Street.
In March of 1952, Rev. Joseph Bower of Valparaiso, Indiana, accepted the call to become the fourth pastor of Calvary Baptist Church.
In October of 1960, Columbus Road Baptist Church was completed and Rev. Lester H. Smith, minister of visitation of Calvary Baptist Church became the pastor. Twenty-two members from Calvary, along with others, made up the charter membership at this sister work. In December of 1962, a second sister church was started in Camp Point, Illinois, known as Faith Baptist Church. Rev. Jack Harris became the first pastor. In March of 1964, ground breaking ceremonies were held for the first unit of the new addition to the front of the church building. The first service in the new sanctuary was held on January 16, 1966. On March 17, 1969, the first services of Community Baptist Church, Emden, Missouri were held.
Rev. Joseph Bower resigned effective September 20, 1970. Rev. Woodrow McCaleb of Elyria, Ohio became our fifth pastor on December 9, 1970. April 4, 1976 marked the 30th anniversary. Rev. John Jess, Rev. Howard Miller, Rev. Joseph Bower, and Rev. Raymond Hamilton spoke.

The cornerstone for the Family Life Center was laid in 1980. On April 11, 1982, Rev. Richard Sumner became the sixth pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. August 31, 1983 marked the first day of Calvary Academy School. On July 17, 1988, Rev. L.D. Grant became the seventh pastor.

The 50th Anniversary for the church was held on April 14, 1996. Dr. Mark Jackson, Dr. Joseph Bower, and Rev. Richard Sumner spoke.

Calvary Academy School closed in the summer of 2001. Rev. L.D. Grant retired in October 2003.

On August 21, 2005, Rev. Mickey Farlow became our eighth pastor until May 2013.


On April 29, 2014, Rev. Wayne A. Manago became our ninth pastor.