About Calvary Baptist Church
Calvary Baptist Church had its beginning in August, of 1936. Mrs. Annie Mundy Thiot was the widow of Rev. Richard W. Thiot, a Baptist minister who served many churches in Florida. After his death, the family returned to Brunswick to make their home.
Mrs. Thiot saw the need for a ministry in the area and started a Sunday School at her home in Belle Point. People involved during these early days recall children's Sunday School classes sitting on the steps of Mrs. Thiot's home. Adult classes met under the shade trees.
According to membership records, those received into the church in 1936-37 were Mrs. George Bradham, Mr. and Mrs. P. L. Whitley, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. George, H. D. Bradham, Mrs. R. W. Thiot, Miss Hester Harrison, and Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Holmes.
The river next to the Thiot house was used for baptismal services.
Mrs. Thiot died in July, 1956, with interment in Restlawn Memorial Park, Jacksonville, Florida.
A Place of our own
The church acquired a lot that had a concrete slab on it. The men of the church made plans to build on the site. Building materials came from a salvaged building and lumber companies donated lumber. A man in the community drew plans for the building. Labor was by volunteers of the church. It was at this location that the church name was changed to Immanuel Baptist Church.
Within a year the facilities at Immanuel could no longer accommodate the people and the church began looking for some land on which to build. The church site on Drive 3, Goodyear Homes subdivision, was acquired through the generosity of J. W. Wells of the Wells Lumber Co., Montgomery, Alabama, and Mr. John Roberts of the Bank of Hazlehurst (builders of Goodyear Homes). The deed is dated May 9, 1944. The street in front of the church at 3105 Wildwood was known as Drive 3 during the war years. Sometime shortly after 1953 it was named Wildwood Drive.
When the building was partially completed sometime in 1944, the church moved from the old location to the present day site. It was at this time that the name of the church was changed to Calvary Baptist.
The Annie M. Thiot building was dedicated February 28,1960.
There was a low of 54 in Sunday School attendance September 11, 1960, with no Church Training that night. Hurricane Donna hit that night. Due to damage from the hurricane, the roof and front doors of the sanctuary had to be replaced.
The year 1968 was another vital time in the life of the church. A Building Fund was started in April for the construction of a new sanctuary. Groundbreaking was held July 6,1969.
The new sanctuary begins to take shape as walls go up.
The sanctuary in the final stages
The sanctuary seating 500 worshippers was completed in five months at a cost of $100,000. It was dedicated December 14, 1969. Participating in the services were the pastor, Rev. Ralph Wade, and former pastors, Rev. D. P. Ward and Rev. G. A Hunter, Jr. The pastor and members read responsively the dedication vows which in part read:
"We dedicate this building--to the Eternal God—who through Jesus Christ has made known to us His redeeming love—for the purpose of teaching, training, equipping, and encouraging people to serve the Lord—for the fellowship of the saints—to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ".
All Church services were cancelled for Sunday, December 24,1989 due to snow in the area.
Calvary Baptist Church
(Photo by Martha Anderson)
Sunday, September 6, 2009, was the first worship service to include the new "Praise Team."
A New Beginning (with God's help)
In October, 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused great damage to our facilities mostly by flooding the interior bringing dangerous bacteria and mold spores! What a time of seeing God at work as He is providing a way to restore Calvary to "good as new" condition!
First day the congregation moved back into the remodeled Fellowship Hall was August 6, 2017. While a lot about flood control was learned through the experience of Hurricane Matthew, in September, 2017, Hurricane Irma came through and pushed our progress back about a month's worth of work: we learned even more about flood control! In the Sanctuary, rain water came through the roof after the steeple was blown off, but little damage was done due to the Sanctuary was completely gutted getting ready for repairs from Matthew.
As we forge ahead, Phase 1 (the Education Building) and Phase 2 (The Sanctuary) are almost complete.
Although services were yet to be held in the Sanctuary, CBC hosted The Farm Hands from Nashville, TN in the new Sanctuary, September 8, 2018.
Dedication Services were held Sunday, December 2, 2018 with an Open House time on Saturday before, December 1, 2018 with friends and previous members coming to see what God has done!
As of June 2019, restoration work is still ongoing with members dedicating time and money along with other donations being used as they come in. Mrs. Thiot's grandson, George Brown has a website set up to receive donations for those who would like to donate online:
Please, be part of the legacy of God's people He used to build and sustain Calvary Baptist Church!
L. Y. Lewis 1936 - 1937
H. J. Pritchard 1938 - 1939
**None year of 1940
Sidney M. Parks 1941 - 1942
Joseph W. Bland 1943
N. S. Hardin 1943 - 1945
Julian L. Dyess 1946
Carl E. Cassidy 1947
R. B. Bullard 1948 - 1950
H. O. Wainwright 1950 - 1952
D. P. Ward 1952 - 1956
Gordon A. Hunter, Jr. 1956 - 1966
Ralph E. Wade 1966 - 1971
Robert Hoffmann 1971 - 1973
W. Truitt Kendrick 1973 - 1975
Jimmie C. Chapman 1976 - 1981
Ronald A. Hazlett 1982 - 1990
R. F. Haney 1991 – 1994
R. E. Stinson 1996 - 2007
Gregory Scott Love 2008 – 2011
Peter Vivenzio 2012 –2014
Dr. Donald Spires 2014 –Current
Ministers of Education, Music and Youth
Carl Lavon Crosby October, 1975 – December, 1985
October, 1991 – December, 1991
June, 1992 – June, 1997
Sept. 1, 2001 – August 10, 2002
April 28, 2013 – Sept. 25, 2013
George S. Lipscomb July, 1981 – 1982
William K. Sorrell January, 1984 – 1985
Vincent O. Gonzalez December, 1985 – April, 1992
Alan W. McCall 1992 – 1993
Ronald G. Raines June, 1997 – August, 200l
Jeffrey A. Bradley, Sr. August 11, 2002
August 27, 2006
Robert Charles Howell September 2006 - 2011
Randy Smith Sept. 1, 2007 – May 31, 2010
Stephen Rhoades Sept. 6, 2010 – Nov. 20, 2011
Martha Pahris Sept. 19, 2011 – Jan. 22, 2012
John Baker Thomas July 2012 – April 2013
Phillip W Rowell Sept 29, 2013 -- Current
Hester Harrison 1938 – 1940
Mrs. Joel Holmes 1941 – 1942
J. H. Harper & H. S. Meters 1944
Myrtle Holmes 1945
Hester Harrison Acting
Mrs. H. G. Miller 1946
Hester Harrison Acting
J. N. Bethune 1947 – 1953
Iva Lee Roberson September, 1953 – September, 1955
W. S. Roberts November, 1955 – 1957
Linda Smith January, 1959 – June, 1962
Mrs. Linda Wakefield 1961 – 1962
Linda Thrower July, 1962
Louise Cox September, 1962 – September, 1966
Margaret Bennett October, 1966 – August, 1971
Jeanette Lindsey September, 1971 – September, 1976
Frances Sapp September, 1976 – September, 1982
Pennie Duncan November, 1982 – November, 1983
Frances Sapp November, 1983 – September, 1984
Connie Hines October, 1984 – September, 1986
Lisa Curl March, 1987 – October, 1987
Jeanette Lindsey November, 1987 – 1993
Karen Martin 1993 – 2003
Elaine James 2003 -
Hester Harrison 1938 – 1940
Mrs. Joel Holmes 1941 – 1942
Unknown 1943 - 1945
J. N. Bethune 1946 – 1947
Hester Harrison September, 1947 – November, 1947
J. J. Moore November, 1947
Farris Champion December, 1947 – 1952
Mr. & Mrs. D. E. Fiveash 1953
Ralph E. Smith 1954 – 1988 ( 34 years )
Charles Martin 1989 – July 5,2006
Larry Greene July 23, 2006 – September 4, 2007
Randy Smith September 5, 2007 – June 6, 2008
Angela Drury June 6, 2008 – August 4, 2009
Faye Small August 5, 2009 -- May, 2018
Luan Harper May, 2018 -- Current
First church sign erected at Calvary (Prior to 1952)
The first sign, being in a state of disrepair was remodeled in April 1987.
New church sign erected in year 2000.