The church was organized under the leadership of Rev. Frank Sims of Chester, S.C., in the early 1930’s, the exact date is unknown. The small group of members and Pastor Sims left the Trinity Baptist Church on Crawford Road. The members had no place for services and began to hold services in each other’s homes. The first home services were held with Deacon and Mrs. James Thurman, Sr. at their residence on Pond Street and at the residence of Deacon and Mrs. George Young and Sister Marie Allen on Whitner Street. They continued rejoicing, praying, and preaching!
They worked very hard on different projects selling dinners and candy as fundraisers to get their own place of worship to serve God. They were soon able to rent a house on Red Row Avenue, which is the same spot our church section is now located. This ground was blessed by those old saints that have gone on before us, and we thank God for them. The congregation began to grow with the blessing of added membership, which demanded a need for a sanctuary all their own. The members obtained a loan from Rev. Frank Sims and his sister Mrs. Mattie Jacobs to purchase land on April 8, 1933. The actual recorded date was May 29, 1933. The church members continued trusting the Lord in faith that “with Christ al things are possible.”
The men of the church labored hard to tear down old houses of lumber to build the church. James Thurman, Jr. remembered helping his father and members to clean bricks and pull nails to help construct the church. The women continued their fundraising projects selling good home cooked dinners to reach their goal. In 1934 their prayers were answered when they began to build the church on 3 Fair Street at the corner of Crawford Road, which was one block up from Trinity Baptist Church. Unlike many other churches the ministry had not et been named. The pastor and the members all agreed to name the church First Calvary Baptist Church! They progressed to build a sanctuary, pastor, and communion room. Then in 1950 the church was blessed to have a dining hall and restrooms added.
In 1972, under the leadership of Rev. E.L. Price, the City informed us about the need to upgrade our church. The land that was occupied by the old church was not enough to rebuild upon. We continued to trust in the Lord our God to make it possible for us to get new land to build our church. We began to have numerous rallies, dinner and candy sales, four gospel programs, quartet singing, and annual auxiliary anniversaries. Sister H.C. Hutchison, at the time had land for sale just behind our old sanctuary on 228 Lucky Lane. The deacons contacted Sister Hutchinson about the land. The trustees took business into their hands, and she agreed to sell the land for a purchase price of $12,000.00 on September 9, 1976. The documentation is recorded as September 22, 1976. This holy spot was the same land where the first members had rented a house for church services years ago.
On January 11, 1976, the Rev. L.L. Hancock came to us and was elected pastor, along with deacons, trustee boards, and the congregation. The congregation came in agreement with Pastor Hancock for the design of a new sanctuary. We chose Apple Tree Contractors to build a brick structure with dining hall, Pastor’s Study, kitchen and two bathrooms, all at the cost of $55,920.00. God blessed under the leadership of Rev. L.L. Hancock, to obtain a loan from First Federal Bank. Then on September 11, 1977, we marched into our new church at 228 Lucky Lane to have our first services. Our speaker for the Sunday morning service was Rev. E.L. Price of Chester. Then our Sunday evening speaker as Rev. McMoore of Chester, S.C. and our guest was the Boyd Hill Choir.
The following month on October 2, 1977, we dedicated our church. The history of the church was read by Sister Alberta Thurman, mother of the church. Litany dedication was by Rev. J.A. Massey of Rock Hill, SC. Our secretary was Sister Alberta Anderson who kept record of our many members and friends that celebrated with us that day.
Then there was a terrible devastation on November 24, 1978….. Our church was partially destroyed by fire. Our church had to undergo repairs by JABO construction for about 5 months. Bro. Earnest Coleman contacted Mr. Roosevelt Johnson, a funeral owner, about using the parlor for Sunday morning services. Mr. Johnson agreed to help us at no charge! Sad to say, Mr. Johnson died on October 15, 1991. We like to remember him as a friend f all mankind and he is greatly missed…
May 4, 1981, we were blessed to be able to add two rooms and a vestibule to the front of the church. Bro. Charles Wallace, chairman of the Trustee board, and other trustees worked very hard to have it finished at a cost of $7,500.00. The builder was Rev. Bill String fellow of Chester, S.C. This addition greatly improved the look of our church!
On May 18, 1978 a great cornerstone was laid… We had our mortgage burning on February 16, 1986. A good time was had by all in the name of the Lord. The speaker was Rev. Sanders and the Bethel Baptist Church from Gaffney, S.C.
Here we go again! On August 10, 1990, we added a large dining hall, three Sunday school rooms and two bathrooms. Once again our trustees along with Jimmie Grant of Chester County got busy to finish the job. First Calvary Baptist Church was incorporated on August 31, 1998.
In September 1998 plans were made to build a new sanctuary and start a Senior Adult Day Care Center by utilizing the old church building. The first sketch by Jackson Architect of Atlanta, G.A. was presented to the church for approval in November 1998. The plans were approved and Benefits, USA inc. was the consultants. The First Calvary Adult Day Care Center was established on December 31, 1999. Our new sanctuary was consulted by Benefits USA and Robin Jones. We received our 501c (3) on March 8, 1999.
In the year 2002, we moved into the third sanctuary which seats 650. Service times 7:45AM and 10:00AM.