Explore Calvary Apostolic Church
The Calvary Apostolic Church Family is a group of New Testament, Spirit-filled believers. We are ethnically diverse, coming together from the entire Columbus metro area because we have found a community where we can worship, learn and grow together. Our ministry is Christ-centered, and our preaching is Bible-based, anointed, and relevant to everyday life. Our worship is vertical: our mission is horizontal. We invite you to experience the difference you can have when the hope of Christ is a part of your life!
The History of Calvary Apostolic Church
The Calvary Church family traces its roots to a revival service at a small mission on West Goodale Street pastored by Elder R. C. Lawson. William Thomas Witherspoon heard Elder G. T. Haywood preach the message of Jesus Name baptism during that revival, receiving the revelation of the Mighty God in Christ Jesus. In 1917, Bro. Witherspoon opened a small church on Brehl Avenue. This building had a seating capacity of 100 people, however, under the dynamic leadership of Pastor Witherspoon, the congregation had outgrown the facilities by 1920.
The church family, then known as the Apostolic Gospel Church, soon moved to 50 Hayden Avenue; the new building had room for 250 people, but by 1927, it was remodeled to seat 450. However, by 1935, the new facilities had become too small, and the congregation moved to 1074 West Broad Street, where 700 people would be able to worship together.
In 1947, Bro. Witherspoon passed away following a lengthy illness. After 30 years of his dynamic leadership, the congregation struggled with the decision to find the will of God for the right man to succeed their founding pastor. In 1948, George C. Chambers, who had served closely with Bro. Witherspoon, was acknowledged as God's choice to serve as the new pastor. The congregation moved to a new location, and became known as Calvary Apostolic Church. On September 1, 1948, they held their first service at 38 West Greenwood Avenue in a former National Guard Armory.
Under Bro. Chambers' capable leadership, the church continued to grow. By the mid 1960′s, that sanctuary had become too small. In September of 1966, ground was broken immediately adjacent to the original building for a new sanctuary, which was completed in 1967.
In 1975, Bro. Chambers submitted his retirement to the church, and his assistant, James K. Stewart, was elected to pastor at Calvary. Bro. Stewart had worked with Bro. Chambers beginning in the early 1950's, and his progressive leadership style led to many innovations at Calvary. He influenced the creation of a Campus Ministry at The Ohio State University, the Calvary Christian Academy, and an evening Bible Training Institute. In addition to being a lifelong student, Brother Stewart was the consummate teacher, and he faithfully served the Calvary Family until his untimely death in 1986.
At the time of Bro. Stewart's death, Robert Ferguson was elected as Calvary's pastor, and he served until his resignation in 1989. Sam Elledge was chosen to succeed him. In 1992, Bro. Elledge resigned, and James H. Stark was elected as Calvary's pastor. Pastor Stark and his wife, Christine, are actively involved in the work of the Lord in Columbus, and their burden extends to an active involvement in foreign missions work in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Pastor Stark continues to serve the Calvary family to the present.
Calvary has a long history of active community outreach. The Calvary bus ministry operated for more than fifty years, and Calvary's Sunday School program is legendary in the city of Columbus. Thousands of children from every area of the city have been loved, nurtured, and taught Biblical truth through the efforts of faithful Sunday School teachers and children's workers. In the 1930′s and 40′s, Calvary supported a thriving congregation of Italian immigrants who had difficulties with English. These first generation immigrants passed on or assimilated into the English-speaking culture and the need for an Italian-language ministry was alleviated, however, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren are members of Calvary today.
In 1998, seeing the need for an outreach to the growing Hispanic population of Columbus, Calvary brought Felipe Matos to work with Spanish-speaking people. After several years of consistent growth, a Spanish church was formed. The congregation that had been formed from a burden for ministry to the Spanish speaking people of our city became a thriving Hispanic church planted in the heart of downtown Columbus.
In July 2007, God opened the door for Calvary to purchase a retail plaza at the intersection of Schrock Road and Cleveland Avenue, just one block north of I 270. Construction began in February 2008, and the congregation moved into the new building in October 2008. After 60 years on Greenwood Avenue, Calvary moved into this location, complete with 30,000 sq. ft. of ministry space, ample parking, and room for future growth.
In 92 years, this congregation has changed locations five times and gone through three additional major renovations or building programs. This most recent move makes Calvary accessible to people from all over the Columbus Metro Area, and opens almost limitless opportunities for ministry to the Greater Columbus community.
This sketch of Calvary's rich history serves to testify to a bright and promising future. You are in the exciting position to be a very real part of Calvary's future! Our history provides a strong foundation for future innovations and ministries. We invite you to join us in writing the pages of Calvary's finest days, which lie just ahead!