Calvary Baptist Church had its beginning in October 1930 as a Mission, when five adults and four children met in the home of Rev. R.B. Dixson at 1211 N. Vine Street. Those in attendance were Rev. Robert B. Dixson, Rev. Marion Mitchell, Rev. Edward Rogers, and Sis. Estella Dixson and Bro. Henry Jackson. The children were Sis. Ernestine Dixson (Curry), Bro. John Dixson, the late Bobbie Dixson (Benford), and the late Bro. Gordon Dixson. Later the mission met at a rental property at 1017 North Larrabee on the fourth Sunday in December 1930. On that Sunday evening, the first sermon was preached by the late Rev. Ebenezer B. Dixson, the father of the late Pastor Robert B. Dixson.
The late Rev. J.A. Wimberly of the Baptist council organized this group into a church in February 1931. The total membership of thirty-two accepted the name “Calvary,” suggested by Sis. Ernestine Dixson (Curry) and Rev. Robert B. Dixon was unanimously elected Pastor.
The first officers were: Deacons Joe Green, Jerry Lee, and Henry Jackson. Bro. Jackson held the office of Treasurer and President of the BTU, Secretary was First Lady Estella Dixson, Missionary President Sis. Minnie Rogers and Sunday School Superintendent Rev. Marion Mitchell.
The first revival was held that spring with Rev. Samuel Russell as evangelist. Five candidates were baptized on the following Mother’s Day: Sis. Bernice Jefferson, Sis. Ernestine Dixson (Curry), Bro. John T.Dixson, Bro. Howard Harrison and Sis. Inez Harrison. (All children).
From 1933 to 1935, services were held at 475 West Division. But when conditions became unsatisfactory, the church moved to Hudson and Locus Streets holding services with Cumberland Presbyterian Church. During this period, the church joined the Antioch Baptist Association, which fellowshipped with us annually, of which Rev. E.J. Cole (Father of Nat king Cole) was vice moderator. From 1941-1946 property was leased at 215 W. Oak Street. In 1945 a church home was purchased at 221 W. Oak Street, a renovated print shop. And on the fourth Sunday in November 1946, Dedication Services were held.
After the death of Pastor Dixson in 1962, Rev. Andrew Mitchell, Assistant Minister, became Minister-in-Charge assisted by Rev. John Graham until the death of Rev. Mitchell six months later.
Rev. Luther Hicks was then elected pastor and served until October 1963, leaving to become the chaplain at Pontiac Correctional Facility in Pontiac, Ill. Rev. John Graham served as Minister-in-Charge until Rev. C.R. Phillips was elected Pastor on November 22, 1964. Under the leadership of Pastor Phillips, Calvary planned and rallied to gain a new church home on the south side of Chicago. In 1968, our church building at 221 West Oak Street was sold.
In 1967, 3 lots were purchased at 100th and Michigan Ave. A ground breaking ceremony was held in
July 1969. Calvary held services temporarily at 10234 South Wallace in the upstairs auditorium of the Mt. Messiah Baptist Church from May 1969 until June 1970. Deciding it was not expedient to build at that time; Calvary purchased the church home at 8201 South Jeffery (a former Jewish synagogue), in June 1970. Within six years, the mortgage was burned.
Additional blessings were showered upon us and thus began the dream. Land was purchased at 8247 South Jeffery, our current address, and a ground breaking ceremony was held October 25, 1981. With the planning of our Building Fund Committee and the support of all members, the building construction began April 1982.
On Sunday February 16, 1984, we marched up the King’s Highway to our present edifice. The late Mayor Harold Washington was our guest speaker, one of the many dignitaries present. In four years we were successful in completing our endeavors and held a Mortgage Burning Ceremony on October 23, 1988.
Pastors Phillips vision continued to be fulfilled with the addition of the C.R. Phillips Daycare Center, Children’s Church, and Calvary’s Cultural Center Annex, a full food pantry and clothing ministry until his death in 2005, after 40 years in the vineyard of the Lord.
In May 2006, Rev. E.N.Jennings, Jr. was elected Pastor of Calvary. But after eleven months, he was directed to move in another direction. On September 15, 2008, after a time of much prayer, the Lord blessed Calvary with its current Pastor, Rev. James R. Flint, Jr. Pastor Flint has brought a renewed spirit within the church and Calvary is experiencing a spiritual renaissance. His love of song has enhanced our music ministry and Pastor Flint has introduced various new ministries. By implementing his weekly bible study (held Wednesdays at 7pm and Thursdays at noon), Ministry Leader’s Council and other impactful ministries, he is showing his love and concern for the edification of the body of Christ.
The Spirit of God is moving in Calvary as we look onward to the future embarking upon a new chapter in the history of the church, fulfilling the destiny that God has established for us, and the community.