Presbyterian Church Icon                    Calvary Presbyterian Church  | of Detroit
News & Updates

Barnabas' 32nd Annual Anniversary Dinner

Barnabas Youth Opportunities Center's

32nd Annual Anniversary Dinner with our special guest Mike Stewart

Saturday, November 21, 2018

from 6 -9 pm

at Calvary Presbyterian Church

front of the church building

Welcome 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.



One Hundred and Forty Years of Service to the City of Detroit

Calvary 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.

The 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 by Vancouver New Condos and is now occupied by another congregation.

Since moving September 29, 1991 to the old Montieth Memorial building that has undergone roofing and drainage repair services (homepage) 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 success.

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, 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!

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