By John Peters
January 31, 2014
Calvary Baptist Church is in the midst of a five-month celebration of its 100th anniversary.
The church, located at 314 South Franklin Road in the Toast community, officially turned 100 years old on Dec. 14.
The church was birthed as a result of a tent revival conducted during August and September 1913 by Rev. John Henry Haynes at the Crossroads, which is now known as Toast.
The converts from this revival, rather than walk the distance to nearby churches, chose to establish their own congregation. With the help of the Surry Baptist Association and Rev. Haynes, who became the church’s first minister, Calvary founded on Dec. 14, 1913 with 33 charter members.
By May 1914, a 22’ by 40’ building was erected between what are now Greenway and Glendale Drives in Toast. With additions made to the building in 1935 and 1938 to provide more space for Sunday School, the church remained at this site until 1948.
The church moved to its present location in 1948 when a larger Gothic style brick church structure was built which provided seating space for 450 and room for eight Sunday School classrooms. In 1966, an education building was added to the facilities which provided space for seven assembly areas and 30 small classrooms. In 1985, the church constructed a sanctuary next to the 1948 structure which provided seating for more than 600 worshippers.
Calvary has been led by 10 pastors during its 100 years and Alex Martin has served as the minister since 2011. The church, with a membership of 531, has seen 1,228 baptisms in history, and has had 2,248 persons as members. More than $2.3 million has been contributed to missions activities by these members.
The centennial celebration began on Dec. 8 with Rev. Martin’s sermon entitled “Longings, the Lord, and Something New,” which focused on God’s desire to do something new in Toast 100 years ago. The congregation was also presented with a video in which Lillian Hiatt and Myrtle Wagoner, who have been members of Calvary since 1933 and 1937 respectively, shared some memories of the early church. This video can be viewed on the church’s website at www.calvarybcmtairy.org. On Dec. 22, the church revived a tradition which dated from the 1930s through the 1970s by providing those in attendance with a treat bag filled with an apple, orange, nuts, and candy.
The first Sunday of every month from January through May, a special service is planned which will be filled with memories of Calvary’s past. During each service the speaker will highlight the five purposes of Calvary Baptist Church as set forth in its constitution and by-laws. On Jan. 5 Rev. Martin focused on Calvary’s 100-year effort “to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism and outreach.”
This Sunday, Feb. 2, former minister of education and youth Floyd Parker will lead in worship and focus on the church’s 100-year effort “to teach the Bible and encourage the study of the Holy Scriptures.” On March 2, former minister of education and youth Chris Dotson will lead in worship and focus on the church’s 100-yer effort “to be a caring fellowship of believers.”
On April 6 missionaries to Chad and Calvary members Andy and Cari Robertson will lead in worship and focus on Calvary’s 100-year effort “to witness to God’s love at home and around the world.” On May 4, the celebration will culminate with former pastor Alfred Ayscue leading in worship and focusing on Calvary’s 100-year effort “to worship God as revealed in Jesus Christ.”
Calvary’s Heritage Committee has labored for more than a year in preparation for this celebration and has produced a 290-page account of the church’s history which is entitled “To God Be The Glory, The Centennial History 1913-2013.” The price of the book is $30 and orders may be placed at the church office by calling 786-4778. The deadline for ordering a copy of the book is March 2 and the books should be delivered by the first of May.
Pewter ornaments with the likeness of either the 1914 church building or the 1948 church building have been created by the House of Morgan in Mount Airy and are available for purchase at the church office for $10 each. Members of Calvary’s Heritage Committee are Juanita Clifton, Sylvia Gentry, Lillian Hiatt, Norris Hodge, Margaret Layman, Deena Martin, Janet McPherson, Mildred Overby, Gray Shelton, David Stone, Owen Stone, Zeo Stone, Johnny Surratt, and Jan Varney.
Former church members and members of the community are invited to join the members of Calvary for worship on any of these celebration Sundays from now until May to help the congregation express thanks to God for the great things He has accomplished in the Toast community during the past century.