Church History

Church History

The roots of the New Calvary Baptist Church can be found in the early founding of the Second Calvary Baptist Church of Norfolk, Virginia. In 1879, on what was then known as Simpson Farm, a suburb of Norfolk, the Second Calvary Baptist Church was founded. Rev. Jackson was the first Pastor of the church. From 1880 to 1915, Second Calvary Baptist Church worshiped in a small frame church that was built in Norfolk, Virginia, on the corner of Calvary Street (now Virginia Beach Boulevard) and Wide Street. Rev. Zachariah Hughes served as Pastor faithfully for 30 years.

Rev. Calvin A. Madison was called to pastor the church in April 1918. The church erected a new building that had an auditorium, a study, and a small choir room. Shortly after, an additional structure had been erected at the rear of the church for Sunday school.

TIn May, 1934 the church experienced many challenges pertaining to the upkeep of the church that resulted in the doors being locked for several days. Dr. Madison and some of the church membership began worshipping in a church located on Chapel and Landing Streets in Norfolk. Many of the members were dedicated to resolving the issues relative to the church doors being locked. Deacon Harrison Billups, Deacon John Mason, Deacon Zemer McNoal, and Trustee John Elliott, Sr. were the church officials that remained with other members. Those officials, with the help of Deacon Joseph Chessinut, who was a member of Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in Norfolk, proceeded to try and make amends to have the doors unlocked. Shortly thereafter, the congregation was able to return and New Calvary Baptist Church was founded. On May 16, 1934, a special meeting of the new congregation was called.

Dr. D. Y. Campbell was called to Pastor New Calvary Baptist Church on March 29, 1935, and on July 14, 1935, he was installed as the Pastor. Dr. Campbell served the congregation for seven years. He departed this life in 1942.

Dr. Samuel A. Wilson was called to be the second Pastor of New Calvary Baptist Church. He was nicknamed as “Singing Sam.” The church grew in finances, membership and programs. On April 9, 1944, the church mortgage was burned while Dr. Wilson was Pastor. In addition, several properties were purchased in Norfolk and Virginia Beach that included Corprew Avenue, Virginia Beach Boulevard, Wide Street and Diamond Springs Home for the Elderly.

Once again, the church faced structural challenges where it was no longer safe to continue worship services. The building was demolished and later caught fire and the congregation relocated to a wooden frame structure across the street. Consequently, the church held Sunday services in the Elk’s home located on Princess Anne Road. Evening services were held at Riddick Funeral Home on Chapel Street in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1957, ground was broken for a new church to be built. It was dedicated and completed on April 16, 1961. Sadly, on February 16, 1965, Pastor Wilson was called from labor to reward. In 1955, Rev. Oliver C. Welch, was ordained as a Minister under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Samuel A. Wilson, and was called to serve as the Interim Pastor. He served the congregation until May 9,1966.

Rev. Dr. Milton Reid was called to be the third Pastor on May 24, 1966. Dr. Reid presented a four-point program that would liquidate the debt of the church. Shortly after, the money was raised and the mortgage of the church was burned. Dr. Reid organized the church by forming several new boards and commissions. He founded Kiddie Kollege, Calvary Towers, and social and political action committees. Additionally, he was able to bring many of the great civil rights leaders to speak at New Calvary and he helped organize the Poor People’s March in Washington, D.C.

From July of 1985 through October of 1988, Rev. Oliver C. Welch served as Interim Pastor once again. He was assisted by Rev. Lola Morgan-Gordon and provided leadership in the area of Christian Education to the ministries. The New Calvary Baptist Church will forever be indebted to Rev. Oliver C. Welch and Rev. Lola Morgan-Gordon for their tenacity dedication, devotion, and Christian witnessing.

Dr. Gilbert G. Campbell, Jr., grandson of the first Pastor was called to lead New Calvary Baptist Church on July 28, 1988. He began his pastorate duties on Sunday, October 30, 1988. During his pastorate of the church, church membership and financial giving increased. He established a new computer system to track the membership and the finances of the church. The interior of the church was renovated and a new sound system was installed. Under the leadership of Dr. Campbell, the church celebrated “Family and Friends Day,” established new programs for the youth, purchased two new mini-vans, expanded bible study, and instituted church retreats. Prior to Dr. Campbell’s retirement from his pastorate in April of 2007, the New Calvary membership approved major renovations and repairs to all three floors of the church. Following the retirement of Dr. Campbell, Dr. William Collins, Jr. was appointed as the Interim Pastor, during which time the renovations proceeded to near completion.

Rev. Dr. William Marcus Small was called to the pastorate of New Calvary in October of 2009. He began his pastoral duties on December 20, 2009, and was installed as New Calvary Baptist Church’s fifth pastor on April 25, 2010.

Dr. Small has been an inspiration to the members of New Calvary and an effective leader. Under his leadership, the membership of the church has grown tremendously. Dr. Small has the gift of preaching and teaching the word so that all can understand. He has enhanced numerous church ministries and incorporated many new ministries that speak to the needs of our community.

Because of his dutiful commitment to serving the community, he established the Outreach Ministry, which has provided more than 900 persons with food, clothing and groceries. Dr. Small continues to find innovative ways to teach and preach the Gospel by utilizing various technology methods. In addition, he has expanded weekly bible study sessions and conducted spirit filled retreats. His administration initiated the Mortgage Acceleration Payment Plan (MAPP) to raise funds to dissolve the mortgage. Dr. Small continues to stretch the congregation not only spiritually but also socially, making sure that we connect to our community and the world.