to Calvary Presbyterian Church! We are a community of faith, hope and
love that centers around Jesus Christ and seeks to live out our
experience of life together with God. On our website, you will
find information about the mission and ministry of our church. We
invite you to join us in worship on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. and
to discover ways to grow in your Christian faith.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CALVARY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
One Hundred and Forty Years of Service to the City of Detroit
Church was the outgrowth of a Mission Sunday School, started in May
1868 in a small building on Harrison Avenue which had formerly been
used as a grocery store. In October of that same year, the school was
moved to a cottage on Michigan Avenue near the toll gate. During the
summer of 1869 a lot was purchase on the southeast corner of Maybury
Grand and Butternut Street.
On October 3, 1872, Calvary
Church was officially organized by the Presbytery of Detroit. With 16
members it was the sixth Presbyterian Church organized in the Detroit
area. A church building was begun in 1887 at the corner of Maybury
Grand and Michigan.
In November 1914, the Session with
concurrence of the congregation decided to open a mission church at the
corner of Grand River and Vicksburg. The Mission was a portable wooden
structure which had been in use on Gratiot Avenue by another church
mission. The permanent structure that stands yet today was begun in
October 1916. The Vicksburg addition known as the Sutherland Memorial
Building was begun in October 1932, and continued despite the
depression, and completed in 1939.
Some of the reasons
for the move of the church from Michigan Avenue to Grand River and
Vicksburg were that the Michigan Avenue property was surrounded by meat
packing facilities which were growing and encroaching on church space.
In addition, the church recognized the growth of new housing around
Grand River and Vicksburg in 1916, and saw the opportunity for the
church to grow as the new community grew. In fact Calvary did grow (to
1700 members in 1939) and prospered in the new location under Pastors
David Sutherland, Leslie Bectel, Frank Storch and Raymond Swartzback.
Through all of these Pastors, the church served the neighborhood and
the people responded with their participation and support.
neighborhood began to change in the late 50’s, and that change saw the
neighborhood in the next 35 years go from white to black. While the
church continued to minister to the needs of the community under Pastor
Sven Anderson, Edward Richardson and James Mitcham, membership
continued to decline, seriously affecting church finances. In addition,
the building was too large to be appropriate for the shrinking
membership. Church upkeep and maintenance became the only thing that
could be done with the limited finances.
In 1990, and
at about the same time that Calvary was experiencing great financial
difficulty, Monteith Memorial at 7 Mile and Greenview announced its
intent to shut its doors when its pastor of over twenty years, Ray
Lumley, decided to retire. Rev. James Mitcham who had been the Pastor
at Calvary for ten years also retired, and with Rev. Raphael Francis as
first pulpit supply and later as interim Pastor, Calvary began the task
of completing a “self study” in anticipation of calling a full time
Pastor. Some members of the Presbytery Committee on Strategy suggested
that we look seriously at relocation rather than continue in a building
that was too large and too expensive for our congregation. After
considerable discussion and review of the facts with all of our
members, the congregation agreed to the relocation only if we could
continue as Calvary. The building on Grand River and Vicksburg has
since been sold and is now occupied by another congregation.
moving September 29, 1991 to the old Montieth Memorial building on 7
Mile and Greenview, we have acquired a new Pastor, Rev. Kevin R.
Johnson, and both membership and church giving have increased. Just as
past moves by past Calvary congregations were inspired by God and
resulted in success, we feel that our move will also result in great
As a community of faith our Vision is to be Obedient Disciples, and Our Mission is to Go, Preach and Teach the Good News via https://www.vancouverrealestatepodcast.com/, Bearing Witness and Live as Ambassadors of Christ.
When our history is next written it will tell of new buildings or
relocation to satisfy new opportunities. After all, this is the
tradition of Calvary!