HISTORY OF CALVARY MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
April 6, 1948, a group of thirty-one people assembled in the home of Elder and Mrs. Harvey J. Nelson. With Bro. Nelson serving as moderator, a motion was made and seconded to organize a church. The motion passed, and eleven people came forward to join the new church by letter. The church was thus organized, and the assembly proceeded to adopt the Articles of Faith held by Missionary Baptists. The church covenant from Pendleton's Manual was also accepted. The name Calvary Missionary Baptist Church was chosen. When an invitation was given for others to unite, two came on promise of letters and two by statement.
There were fifteen charter members of Calvary Church. These members were anxious to go to work for the Lord, so they promptly established a Sunday School on the same date as the organization, and the following week on April 14, 1948, they set up Baptist Training Course classes. Their enthusiasm and zeal began to bear fruit immediately as other people began to see the sweet fellowship Calvary members were experiencing. Calvary held its first revival in July 1948, under a brush arbor on some property owned by Bro. Fred May. Bro. John Moore served as the evangelist for the revival. There were 34 additions to the church during this meeting, including 21 for baptism and 12 by letter. The baptismal service was held at Jenkins Ferry on the Saline River. Calvary's membership swelled from 15 to 49 in three short months.
Not only had Calvary members been spreading the good news of the gospel during the three months since the church had been established, but they had also been busy trying to get funds together for buying and furnishing a church building. The group was meeting under a grove of trees on Highway 167 south of Sheridan, Arkansas in what was called "Slabtown" and on property then owned by Bro. Fred May. Bro. Harrison Puckett donated land for the original building site. Later in the same year, some additional land was purchased from Bro. Bill Riggan. Bro. Walt Gwin donated a piano, and Bro. Paul Shepherd furnished twenty pews.
In December 1974, a new sanctuary was built and the old sanctuary converted into Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall. The new sanctuary is much larger than the old one, and contains a choir loft, baptistry, and bell tower. The old and new structures were joined by an annex which houses more Sunday School rooms and an entrance foyer. The entire complex was then bricked. The first service in the new sanctuary was officiated by Bro. Vance Nutt. In 1997, the church purchased an additional two and a half acre plot, and completed the construction of a new Family Life Center on this property. The building houses a large kitchen, bathrooms, a combination fellowship hall and gym/recreation area, several classrooms upstairs and downstairs, and a large assembly room.
Calvary has been served by fourteen full-time pastors since 1948. In addition, Calvary has been blessed with twenty-eight able deacons to carry out the duties of the church. Through the years, Calvary has donated generously to mission work, and ordained several ministers.
The ladies of Calvary have historically played a great part in the work of the church. They are very active in serving social areas such as showers, potluck dinners, attending the sick and bereaved, and supporting the brethren in whatever ways they can.
The first Vacation Bible School at Calvary was conducted in 1966, and has since become an annual event. Calvary has sponsored young people at Bogg Springs Youth Encampment and many youngsters have been led to Christ through this endeavor.
At Calvary, we realize it is our responsibility to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, first in our own community, and then throughout the world. We count it a privilege to do this as we wait for the return of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.