Calvary Church has been active in ministry for the glory of God since 1939. In 2019, we celebrated our 80th anniversary!
May 21, 1939
Bible Presbyterian Church Unaffiliated opens in uptown Charlotte at the old Central High School. The first pastor is Edgar Archer Dillard, who serves until 1946.
In July 1941, a brick church building is 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, including Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, Dr. Allan MacRae, Dr. Jack Murray, and Dr. Harry A. Ironside, visit the church. 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 works to establish Calvary Christian Day School in 1950, which later becomes 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 the foreign missions at Calvary.
Rev. Dean B. Ballard serves as pastor from 1967 to 1969, and Rev. Ralph Norwood is the pastor from 1970 through 1972.
Dr. Ross Rhoads becomes pastor at Calvary. Reverend Billy Graham serves as the keynote speaker at the installation service.
The church has 400 members. Within two years, a multi-purpose building accommodating 600 seats is built at the new Calvary Church located at the corner of Sardis and Randolph. Within three years, the church explodes to 2,000. The new 1,700-seat sanctuary is dedicated in 1978, and in 1981 a Family Life Center is built to keep up with growth. By 1982, four Sunday services are filled to capacity.
The Calvary Child Development Center is founded.
As evangelism thrives, a plan is proposed to build a 5,000-seat worship center. A local developer gives the church 100 acres along rural Highway 51. In 1986 ground is broken for the project. The new church building is dedicated in December 1989.
After 21 years, Dr. Ross Rhoads resigns as senior pastor, shifting his ministry efforts to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, as Franklin Graham becomes 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 becomes Senior Pastor of Calvary in February 2006.
A capital campaign is 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 focusing on supporting children’s ministries, student ministry, and CHAMP Sports Outreach. Just one year later, in November 2012, the congregation celebrates the CLC grand opening. The $9.6 million construction project is completed on time and without debt.
The Calvary congregation celebrates the tenth anniversary of Dr. Munro’s service.
Calvary Church celebrates 80 years in ministry and undergoes a Sanctuary renovation. We give thanks to the Lord and pray for Him to continue to use Calvary for His glory!
View the Calvary 80th-anniversary publication — Celebrating God’s Faithfulness
Calvary Christian Academy is founded.