Church History

Calvary Baptist Church  1865-2021

The following is an outline of the very beginning of Calvary Baptist Church. As to the origin of Calvary, it is easy to contend that it, in reality existed before separation in 1865.

Before separation, the Madison Baptist Church was nearly equal in number among the white and black membership. The white members numbered 180 and the black members numbered 138. In 1859, dedication services were held at the Madison Baptist Church for the building they are now worshipping in. Along with moving to this new sanctuary, the black members also moved in or were taken in with the white members at that time.

September 2,1865, the Madison Baptist Church in conference passed a resolution that should the black members of the Madison Baptist Church desire to organize a separate church, they would be given the necessary aid in accomplishing this objective. Bro. N. Wilson and Bro. I. B. Shields was appointed to confer with the black members on this subject.

September 16,1865, a large number of blacks appealed to Rev. S.A. Berry, the clerk of the Madison Baptist Church for letters of dismission. Hereupon, a motion carried by the black brethren to be granted letters of dismission to go an organize a church of their own.

The dismissed brethren were permitted to hold their services in the old church building still owned by the Madison Baptist Church. It was in this building that Calvary Baptist Church was organized in 1865. The first deacons were Bros. Richard Jones, March Howard, Silas Shields or Holmes. For sometime, different brethren of the congregation conducted the preaching: Reverends McAIIister, Wade and Clarke.

However, Rev. Allen Clarke was called as pastor. The first members after the organization of Calvary to be baptized were sisters Walton and Nancy Clay. March 1867, the old building (former Madison Baptist) was rented to Calvary for the sum of $8.50 per month for worship services and to the Freedman's Bureau for $10.00 per month as a black school.

In June, the building was sold to Mr. Eberhardt of the Freedman's Bureau for a school for $500.00. Mr. Eberhardt paid $400.00 of this debt and the remaining $100.00 was donated by the black brethren of Calvary as an interest in the building.

Later, the building was torn down and moved to Hill Street (Clarkes Chapel) where it now stands. After completion, worship services were conducted there for 16 years. While the rebuilding was taking place, Calvary held services in an old house owned by Mr. H. T. Shaw.

In 1873, a purchase was made of the lot where Calvary now stands. The purchase was made January 1873 for a total of $100.00. On July 1876, the foundation of the new Calvary Baptist Church began. The following was purchased for erecting the Church: a kiln of bricks, a wheel to make bricks and a brick fence. The construction took 7 years to complete.

In 1883, the members of Calvary left the old building, Clarkes Chapel (as it is now known) and occupied the new building. During the dedication program, the Honorable P.S. Burney presented the church with an expensive marble top table, making this an occasion of great joy.

Later the organization of the Madison Baptist Association and the State Sunday School Workers Convention was organized in Calvary. Up until this time, more than 2,000 people had been baptized at Calvary.

Rev. Allen Clarke, a strong leader continued to move the church forward with the following deacons: Gus Johnson, John Johnson, James A. Love, Marc Saffold, Titus Shields, John Blanch, Immanuel Mcneil, Henry Collier and Alfred Gordon.

Also assisting in the Church were several licensed preachers: Reverends Dick Moore, Levi Hill, Abe Anderson, Pinkney Cash, Cyrus Hall and Burke Long.

After the dedication of the church, Rev. Allen Clarke's health became impaired, but he continued to pastor until his passing. He had given 20 years of faithful service to the church. Reverend Pinkney Cash filled the pulpit until the church decided to call Reverend Dick Moore, who pastored until his death.

A few members wanted to withdraw from Calvary and follow Reverend Pinkney Cash. They too sought refuge in the old school house on Hill Street (Clarkes Chapel-named in honor of the late Rev. Allen Clarke).

Letters of dismission were also granted to allow others to organize churches of their own. These churches were Mars Hill and Flat Rock.

In 1888, Reverend E.P. Johnson became the pastor of Calvary. He brought light to the darkened winds of Calvary and encouraged the young folks by putting them to work in the right direction. He established missions such as the "Go Rain or Shine Club" among the members. As a result, many new members were added to the Church.

Many other improvements were made during his pastorate. The parsonage was built, an organ was purchased for $300.00 and new pews were installed. He served as pastor for 10 years.

In 1898, Reverend J. D. Gordon came and pastored for 24 years. Deacons: James A. Love, T.C Jackson, Sanders Butler, Duke Massey, Roger Hayes, George Jackson, Burke Long, Charlie Slack, Charles Johnson, John Johnson and Ike Bass served under Reverend Gordon.Reverend Pinkney followed Reverend Gordon as pastor of Calvary. During his pastorate, lights were installed in the church and many improvements were made around the Church. Under his leadership, backed by prayers from men and women of the Church, Calvary continued to grow. He served for 11 years.

In 1912, after Reverend Pinkney left, several pastors were called to Calvary. Those pastors were: Reverends H. F. Barnes, W.D.King, G.L. Alien, H.J. Jackson and C.L. Daugherty.

Reverend G.L.AHen was an effective leader and Reverend Daugherty was called to a larger field.

The Deacon Board at that time was: Deacons J. K. Love, Dr. J.F.Smith, Wilson Bass, Jerry Head, Charlie Slack, M. L. Bass, Sr., M. L. Bass, Jr., Mel Burke, James Cook, Ben Brown and Dea. Harold Murray.

In 1953, Reverend J.H.PuIlin came to Calvary and under his leadership, 6 men were ordained as deacons and one ordained minister. The deacons were: Jesse Davis, Robert Griffin, Robert F. Jackson, Willie Oliver, Henry Parks and Henry Veasley. Willie Terrell, an ordained deacon was added to the board. The minister was M.P.Jackson

Additional physical improvements were made to the Church, such as restrooms, gas heaters, painting of the Church, repairs of the steeple and new windows. White friends donated money in memory of Mrs. M.L.Bass, Sr. and Deacon J.K.Love.

Reverend J. E. Howard came to us in March 1967. One deacon was ordained:  Tom Jones.

Some of Reverend Howard's accomplishments were: purchase of an electric organ, the baptismal pool placed inside of the sanctuary and a new P.A. system was installed. The bulletin board on front of the building was donated in memory of Dea. & Mrs. M.L.Bass, Sr. by Dea. M.L.Bass, Jr. and Mrs. Marie B. Martin.

A 50 x 50 area in the basement was paneled, floored and partitioned to include a dining area, kitchen and office for the pastor. This was done under the guidance of Deacons Willie Terrell and Henry Veasley.

Shrubbery on the front of the Church was donated by Colonel Zender Dean in memory of Marvin Mapp (better known as Candy Man).

In July 1972, Reverend B.S.Jackson was called as pastor. Under his leadership, two  deacons  and one minister were ordained. James E. Thomas, Johnny Johnson as deacons and W, H. Murray as minister. The kitchen was furnished, central heating and air system installed and a grant was received for repair of the steeple boxing and brickwork on the building.

After the resignation of Rev. B.S Jackson in February 1988,several ministers came to grace Calvary's pulpit with their preaching of the gospel each first and third Sunday.

The members went through a 90 day period of listening,waiting,watching and praying for direction from God for a new spiritual leader. Among these ministers was a man by the name of Rev. Hoke Smith, Jr. better known in Atlanta community as "Pepper". He was born in Atlanta, Georgia and was the associate pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church, where the great Rev. William Holmes Borders, Sr. was pastor.

In August 1988, the members of Calvary voted to receive Rev. Hoke Smith as the new Pastor. Immediately, Calvary took on organizational changes and the membership greatly increased. Pastor Smith gave full attention to some pertinent issues: (1) Church constitution and by-laws, (2) Worship Sundays were increased to every Sunday instead of twice a month; (3) Sunday School department was restructured (4) introduction of tithes and offerings.

Pastor Smith came as a man of vision and dreams of building God's ministry. Under his leadership for the past 32 years many of these dreams are now reality. Additional changes are as follows:
* Restoration of the Church parsonage with the addition of a library. Deacon Martin L. Bass, Jr. was responsible for organizing the church library when it was located in the Church Parsonage. He was assisted by Mrs. Mildred Bass, Mrs. Marie B. Martin and Miss Mattie Terrell .He secured shelving for the displaying of books. Many personal books were given and other books were donated by church members and friends. Dedicated members made contributions of literature, furniture, decorations and physical labor.

*Renovation and repairs of the basement Addition to the Secretary's office and remodeling of the kitchen.
*Laying of the Church Cornerstone in July 1990
*The rejuvenation of the Church grounds with revived landscaping.
*Shrubbery was donated and planted by Leo Hall.
*Church roof repaired.
*Steeple repaired and restored with the addition of lights to reflect the historical beauty.
*Church interior was repainted with the addition of restored pulpit furnishings in white.
*A new altar, podium and tithing box was installed.
*Stained glass windows were installed with member contributions and dedications in honor of and in memory of members.
*New exterior doors were installed.
*Wheel chair ramp was added.
*New lighting System.
*Additional renovations to Secretary's office to include a conference area.
*Refurbishing of Fellowship Hall including new furnishings.
*Bus ministry.
*Weekly Bible class, Homebuilder's class and Deliverance Ministry (Faith Congregation Deliverance Ministry).
*NIV Study Bibles for all bible students.
*Scholarship Fund
*New audio equipment purchased with the addition of Television and Video equipment expansion.
*Baptist Training Union "Literacy Program
*Grant Committee established to fund building projects.

*Organized Youth for Christ

*Sis. Ann Smith orchestrated the Chanters of God's word.

*Organized Boy Scout Troop #797 based at Calvary

*Drug rehabilitation and counseling program

*Organized Prison Ministry,

*Purchased broadcasting equipment for Radio Ministry.

There was an addition of one ordained minister, Rev. Michael Ross, Sr. and two licensed ministers, Rev. Quincy Rhodes and Minister Thelma Griffin-Lee.

The following men were ordained as deacons: Hubbard Veasley, Charles Davis, Gerald Mapp, Robert Terrell, Jr., Albert Goudelock, Ernest Bailey, Eddie Wyatt, Sr. and Linton Gilbert, Sr. Another servant of God was installed upon his becoming a member of Calvary, Dea. Robert Terrell, Sr.

The music department was restructured and reorganized with the standing of six musicians. New drums, organ, piano and keyboard were purchased to enhance this department.

Additional church choir were implemented, the Hoke L. Smith Male Chorus, Calvary Mass Choir and Ambassadors of Christ,
Amidst all of these changes, the addition of involvement in a Credit Union was established to strengthen the financial resources of the membership and the Church.

All Church debts were cleared, Certificates of Deposit were purchased (totaling $19,000.00) and an increased from $10,000.00 annual income to $255,000.00.

Bro. Marshall Reese encouraged the members to tithe and invest in the financial independence for the construction of the new proposed Christian Education Building project.

Also under the pastorate of Pastor Smith, the R.O.S.A. program was established to promote our Senior Adults, a midday Bible Class was established to encourage our Senior Adults and a new baptismal pool was constructed.

Pastor Hoke Smith and the Calvary family in the year 1999 AD of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continued to be faithful builders for Christ, through the ordination of two ministers Rev. Quincy Rhodes and Minister Thelma Griffin-Lee, as well as the ordination of 6 deacons, Lewis Smith, Felton Massey, Thomas Cobb, Patrick Thompkins, Anthony Elder and Eddie Walker.

A van was purchased. A full time secretary was employed, Mrs. Angela Daniel. The deacons began home visitations to nursing homes, hospital and rehabilitation facilities. Prophet and Prophetess Charles and Vernella Binion were added to the ministerial staff.

The addition of the inspirational Praise Team was organized.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new educational building was held.

With a vision of the future of the Church, Pastor Smith's vision became reality with the completion of the New Educational Building. The new building contains 6 Sunday school Classes, Conference Room, Pastor's Office, multipurpose gym, full service kitchen, two storage rooms and four restrooms.

In year 2000 Robert L. Terrell, Jr. was licensed to preach the gospel. The laying of the corner stone of the New Educational Building on Oct. 15. Also an anonymous donor donated the house at 230 Academy St. to Pastor Hoke and Ann Smith. Pastor Hoke and Ann Smith had it deeded over to Calvary Baptist Church.

In year 2001 Anthony Terrell and Robert Daniel were ordained as deacons. Another house was donated to the church located at 678 Pearl St. by Ms. Tahita Moore. With all of the physical, spiritual and financial growth, Calvary will look toward the future and with trust in God and our Pastor, Hoke L. Smith, Jr.

June 22, 2003 Min. Doris Booker was ordained Sis. Wauline Baptiste was licensed.

Intercessory Prayer line established Dekalb Tech sponsoring GED classes and Spanish classes here at Calvary.
Rev. Eugene Harris came aboard as organist.17 new members for 2003.Dea. Tommy Smith ordained as deacon.
25 new members added
Classes began to prepare students for testing in the school system
James A. Braswell added to ministerial staff
Greg Stripling came aboard as organist
New Membership Class begins
Calvary placed first in The Madison Association queen contest
T.V. Ministry begins
New marble pulpit floor installed.
2006 -The Walk of Faith breezeway was erected.
Seminary classes began September 10, 2007. Pastor Hoke Smith, Chancellor, Angela Daniel, Dean, instructors, Rev. L. O. Billingsley and Rev. Charles Johnson. 

Calvary's Spiritual Dance Team directed by Sis. Deborah Massey.

Calvary Baptist Church Website-2008- Set up and updated by Sis. LaShonda Benford. us on the WEB.
Rev. Hoke Smith received an honorary Doctoral Degree by Grace Baptist Church in Buford.Sandra Bailey and Greg Stripling were ordained as Ministers of Music.(2009)
Deborah Massey was licensed as an Evangelist. Willie Wyatt was ordained as deacon. (2009)
Bro. Dwayne Joyner ordained as deacon November 29, 2009.
2010-Roof replaced with a standing seam metal roof.

With all of the physical, spiritual and financial growth, Calvary will look toward the future and with trust in God as He leads our Pastor, Hoke L. Smith, Jr.