History of Calvary Baptist Church (written in 1970)
On October 1, 1961, a new Baptist Church was begun under the leadership of Rev. Bert Follmar. Services were held in the American Legion Hall, and the first Sunday there were 22 people present.
Our first Wednesday prayer service met on July 11, 1962, at the home of Mr. & Mrs. W.D. Simpson. These were blessed times and we saw many miraculous answers to our prayers.
On May 6, 1962, an organizational meeting was held in the Legion Hall following a fine potluck dinner. At this meeting the church officially received the name of Calvary Baptist Church of Wickenburg. Rev. Bert Follmar was asked to continue as Pastor. Application was made to affiliate with the Arizona Baptist Convention and the C.B. [Conservative Baptists] of America. The first church officers were elected. Board of Deacons elected were Dick Savage, Jim Mickelson, Emil Barentine and W.B. Thomas. Church clerk Florence Thompson, Treasurer Katherine Barentine, Trustees Willis Estes, R. Shannon, Paul Carter, and W.D. Simpson. Dr. C.I. Tucker brought a challenging message to the new church.
In September of 1962 land was purchased from Dr. Brailliar for a church building. On October 19, 1962, Calvary Baptist Church became incorporated. The incorporators were Emil Barentine and W.D. Simpson.
Our first missionary speaker was the Rev. R. Phillips of Hong Kong.
Baptisms were held in various places such as the First Baptist Church of Glendale, Youngtown and the Flying E Ranch.
On Sunday afternoon, July 24, 1963, a potluck dinner and business meeting were held and Bert Follmar was called to pastor full time beginning September 1963. July 25th he resigned his teaching position and that same afternoon left on vacation in Canada. Bert and his wife Marjorie moved to Wickenburg in August to begin full time duties.
We had many blessed days in the Legion hall and many humorous incidents, such as cleaning the Legion hall early Sunday morning and placing pans in the areas where the rain came through the roof. At times the jukebox in the bar at the other end of the Legion hall became so loud we had to sing louder and our special speaker of this particular Sunday had to speak louder. Incidentally the speaker was Dr. Moffitt.
The Women’s Missionary Society organized on September 26, 1963, and have been very active working for our missionary families both home and abroad.
The planning committee of February 2, 1964, was dissolved and reinstated in June to form the building committee, consisting of Ted DeVries, H. Anderson, Dolph and Elzbeth Simpson, Vern Sien, Ed and Faith Krieble.
On October 11, 1964, a ground breaking ceremony was held and Al Barber and Dr. C.I. Tucker participated.
The big brass bell which you hear ringing out telling you it is time for services was donated to us by the Santa Fe Railway.
We will all remember the first wedding held in the church. The builders were not quite through and the ladies were trying to clean up and prepare for this occasion in which Mac Nixon and Sherri Shannon were to be wed in January, 1965.
The dedication held on February 28, 1965, was a big day for those who had engaged in this venture of faith. The building was dedicated to the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, beginning at Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria then to the uttermost part of the earth; for conversion of lost sinners and for the edification of the Saints. Dr. Claude Moffitt was guest speaker and Mr. V. Goodwin was soloist. Special recognition was given to Dolph Simpson and Vernon Sien, the contractors who gave of themselves in this labor of love, and to the members and friends for their many labors, prayers and gifts.
On September the 6th of the year 1970, the mortgage on the church building was burned.
We thank the Lord for His goodness to us, for His faithfulness to us and the many blessings which he has bestowed upon this people. This year has been one of spiritual reviving among our people. Many souls have been saved, baptized and many have rededicated their lives to the Lord. The Lord has blessed in giving talented leadership in all areas of the church. There has been such growth that additional space had to be rented for Sunday school rooms.
We are trusting that in the days that lie ahead that the Lord will continue to pour out His blessings upon this church and the congregation will continue to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.