Mount Calvary Baptist Church History
Located on the banks of the Mohawk River in festive down town Rome, New York. For EIGHTY-FOUR years, our church has stood like a giant sentinel proclaiming the timeless message of salvation: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. (John 3:16). In the midst of all the turmoil, moral decline and conflicting religious views in today’s world, Mount Calvary remains firmly committed to the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We pause to reflect on our past and to consider how far we have come. From that small house-gathering on Dominick St. in the fall of 1927 to this most elegant and spacious sanctuary that we worship in today is clear evidence that God has brought us a mighty long ways. He is indeed worthy of our praise. We also acknowledge the tireless efforts of that small band of believers to whom God gave the vision to establish a place of worship. To them we owe a sincere debt of gratitude.
“God will surely help us”, must have been the slogan of that small band consisting of Brother & Sister John Stanfield, Brother and Sister Henry Parker, Brother & Sister James Stovall, Sister Ella Sue Gardner, Brother and Sister Joseph Collins, Brother and Sister Bowden, Brother and Sister Curtis Foulks, Brother and Sister Johnny Payne and their families. The church started as a Sunday School, and was later organized into a church by Rev. Love of Buffalo, NY. Early in 1928, the church rented a house at 122 Bouck St. for the first church site, and became known as the Mount Calvary Baptist Church. It was the first African-American Baptist Church established in Rome, New York.
During these many years Mount Calvary has been blessed with many God-fearing and dedicated pastors who have contributed signifantly to the growth and success of this congregation. In addition to Rev. Love, who organized what was originally a Sunday School into a church, the contributions by the following former pastors are equally noteworthy:
Rev. McKissick – The church purchased the previously rented store- front property (summer 1929) located at 203 Whitesboro Street as its permanent site.
Rev. Richard P. Lewis – The great expansion program including remodeling the church was initiated.
Rev. Clarence Belton – The beautification program materialized.
Rev. Anthony Elliott – The first church organ was purchased.
Rev. Roland C. Tims – A “Queen’s Day” anniversary drive was implemented to provide additional funds to defray the costs of the expenses during the winter months. In addition, the Laymen Department was established, and the mortgage for the Fellowship Hall was burned.
Rev. Donald P. Robinson – The building fund program was initiated which enabled the church to purchase thirty-three acres of land in Westmoreland.
Other former pastors who served this congregation with honor are Rev. Founder, Rev. Foster, Rev. Stennis, Rev. Byrd and Rev. Rudder.
Under the leadership of our current pastor the Rev. Tommy Ray Jackson, Sr., along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we made substantial progress in every facet of church life. In spite of the additional demands on his time as Moderator of the Northeastern District Baptist Association, he successfully spearheaded the building fund drive in 1990. And in November of 1999 the church was able to begin construction of a new sanctuary, educational wings, administrative offices, pastor’s study and living quarters. This all stemmed from a modest sum in the building fund treasure; thirty-three acres of land; the dream of a visionary – our pastor; and the willing-workers of many faithful members and friends of the Mt. Calvary Baptist church family.
As a result, on Sunday, December 3, 2000, we were privileged to have our inaugural celebration with family and friends in a most blessed Dedication and March-In Service. Following the construction of the new sanctuary, the old sanctuary was converted into the new fellowship hall. We are grateful to Almighty God for stirring the heart of each member and family for their contributions and donations in bringing the project to fruition. There were several special donations from faithful members and friends that was an added blessing such as: a special monetary gift; a new roof for the old sanctuary; Fluorescent lamps for the new sanctuary and; a new church sign.
Also, a church van was purchased to support the Van, Food Pantry and other ministries of the church. Other accomplishments, ministries and youth activities formulated under Pastor Jackson are noted below:
Building Fund Ministry / Floral Ministry Children Church / Youth Ministry Drill Team Ministry / Praise Dance Ministry Evangelism Ministry / Prison Ministry Food Pantry Ministry / Van Ministry Media Ministry / Website Ministry Tape Ministry / Sign Ministry Health & Wellness / Felloswship Ministry Hospitality Ministry / Culinary Ministry Women Ministry / Laymen Ministry Leadership School / New Members Class Bereavedment Ministry / Prayer Ministry & Prayer Vigil Voices for Christ City-Wide Crusade Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March & Dedication Service
The Mount Calvary Baptist Church consists of approximately 50 families, and our new 4200 sq. ft. expansion has almost doubled our space. We are better prepared to serve the cause of Christ and our community. Please pray with us and for us, as our church continues to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.