<p>Calvary 85th Anniversary<br />
May 21, 1939<br />
<em>Celebrating God&#39;s Blessings</em></p>
Calvary 85th Anniversary
May 21, 1939
Celebrating God's Blessings



Calvary Church has been active in ministry for the glory of God since 1939. In 2024, we will celebrate our 85th anniversary!

May 21, 1939
Bible Presbyterian Church Unaffiliated opened in uptown Charlotte at the old Central High School. Edgar Archer Dillard served as its first pastor until 1946.

In July 1941, a brick church building was built at 1800 East Fourth Street to seat 750 people. One of the founding elders of the church is Frank Graham, the father of Billy Graham. Prominent preachers visit the church, including Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, Dr. Allan MacRae, Dr. Jack Murray, and Dr. Harry A. Ironside. Billy Graham and the Wilson brothers, T.W. and Grady, preach some of their first sermons from the Fourth Street pulpit.

Dr. L. Pointdexter “Dexter” McClenny becomes pastor, serving until 1958. He worked to establish Calvary Christian Day School in 1950, which later became Charlotte Christian School.

Dr. J. Allen Blair becomes pastor at Calvary with the construction of an education building underway. An evangelist with a successful radio ministry, Dr. Blair actively expands world missions at Calvary.

Rev. Dean B. Ballard served as pastor from 1967 to 1969, and Rev. Ralph Norwood served as pastor from 1970 through 1972.

Dr. Ross Rhoads becomes pastor at Calvary. Reverend Billy Graham serves as the keynote speaker at his installation service.

The church had 400 members. Within two years, a multi-purpose building accommodating 600 seats was built at the new Calvary Church located at the corner of Sardis and Randolph. Within three years, the church exploded to 2,000. The new 1,700-seat sanctuary was dedicated in 1978, and in 1981, a Family Life Center was built to keep up with growth. By 1982, four Sunday services were filled to capacity.

The Calvary Child Development Center was founded.

As evangelism thrives, a plan to build a 5,000-seat worship center is proposed. A local developer gives the church 100 acres along rural Highway 51. Ground was broken for the project in 1986, and the new church building was dedicated in December 1989.

After 21 years, Dr. Ross Rhoads resigned as senior pastor, shifting his ministry efforts to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, as Franklin Graham became chairman.

Dr. E. Glenn Wagner assumes pastoral leadership of Calvary Church. Local outreach efforts expand, and new ministries reflect Charlotte’s diverse population.

Dr. John H. Munro became Senior Pastor of Calvary in February 2006.

A capital campaign was launched in March 2007 to retire the remaining $4 million debt by December 2008. By God’s grace and provision, the mortgage of Calvary Church is paid in full.

Calvary launches the Next Generation campaign and breaks ground for the Calvary Life Center, a 51,000-square-foot facility addition that will support the Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, and CHAMP Sports Outreach. Just one year later, in November 2012, the congregation celebrated the CLC grand opening. The $9.6 million construction project was completed on time and without debt.

The Calvary congregation celebrates the tenth anniversary of Dr. Munro’s service as Senior Pastor.

Calvary Church celebrates 80 years in ministry and undergoes a Sanctuary renovation. 

View the Calvary 80th-anniversary publication — Celebrating God’s Faithfulness 

Calvary Christian Academy is founded.

Calvary launches the Reach Welcome Grow campaign, a $12.8 million building expansion project that will add 15,000 square feet with a new main entrance, classrooms, elevators, prayer room, café, and courtyard and renovate the Galleria.

We thank the Lord and pray for Him to continue using Calvary Church for His glory!