History Of Calvary Baptist Church
In obedience to the Great Commission, a group of missionaries from the Baptist Mid Missions, Cleveland, Ohio, USA came to this part of West Africa in the early 1930s to spread the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Having concentratedin the hinterland for two decades following their coming to Liberia in the early 1930s, missionaries felt the need to start a church in the city of Monrovia.
Walter Smith, who was then the business manager of the mission, started a home Bible study fellowship in Yelekpor Town, otherwise known as Old Kru Town. This town was situated in the area now referred to as Clara Town. Prominent among the early attendants of this fellowship were the late Rev. David Summerville, Oldman Brown, Mrs. Bayo Pilkawo, Mrs. Kinyonnoh Zogbo, Mrs. Mini Seyeweh and Josiah Geyabi.
These Bible studies were conducted by Rev. Smith and were interpreted into the Bassa vernacular by the late Bro.Isaac Smith, who assisted the missionaries in several capacities as well. As the fellowship grew and it became necessary to find a bigger meeting place, the group moved to the parlor of the home of Old Man Brown on Snapper Hill in 1957. In 1959, Rev. Smith’s tenure expired and he was replaced by Rev. Ray Dunn, another Mid-Baptist American Missionary. Rev. By the end of 1958, Rev. Dunn arranged for a bigger place on Newport Street to hold the rapidly growing number of the study group.
The expanding group found it necessary to purchase land for the erection of a church building. In 1959 the search for land started and, within months, two lots in Sinkor were negotiated. Having found the land, the congregation (comprised mainly of the Bassa, Gio, Mano tribes and the English speaking group), made an appeal to Rev. Ray Dunn to go back to the United States of America to arrange for a loan for the building of a church edifice.
Rev. Dunn did as he was asked and the loan was brought to Liberia. He presented the loan under the condition that whichever component (tribal groups or English speaking group) of the congregation that paid the loan would be given the right to the deed of the land as the rightful owner of the property. The Bassa group paid the loan and the transaction was finalized.
In 1962 the church was completed and worship resumed. However, it was not until 1966 that the church was officially constituted. In those early days, worship services were held together. Sermons were delivered in English by the missionary pastor and both assistant pastors interpreted the sermons to their respective tribal languages.
As these services became prohibitively long due to the time taken for interpretations, the congregation was divided into three congregations. They included, the English speaking, the Bassa and the Gio-Mano (since these two understands each other’s language). Each congregation had its own Sunday school and worship service on the same premises.
As these groups grew in numbers, it became increasingly inconvenient for all of their activities to be held on the same ground. Therefore, in 1971, under the leadership of missionary Pastor Robert Pick, the Gio-Mano group purchased a piece of land on 18th Street, Sinkor and built their own edifice. Their church’s congregation was named the Beawo Baptist Church and Rev. Maxwell Peters Magbinne was called as their pastor.
The Bassa congregation built and moved to their own edifice on Old Road, Sinkor. Their congregation was named the Bethlehem Baptist Church and the late Rev. Charles Seywheh served as pastor. The English-speaking congregation was left on the original property on Tubman Boulevard.
As the first fundamental Baptist Church in the city of Monrovia, Calvary Baptist Church established churches and supports local pastors and evangelist.
The churches include:
- The Beawo Baptist Church, 18th Street, Sinkor
- The Bethlehem Baptist Church, Old Road Key Hole
- Calvary Baptist Church, Kakata Margibi County
- Second Calvary Baptist Church, Logan Town
- Golgotha Baptist Church, Suakoko Bong County
- New Life Baptist Church, Duport Road, Paynesville
- Central Baptist Church, Piplelne Paynesville
- Believers Baptist Church, Kaduma Community, Barnesville
- New Malokaki Baptist Church, Yagie, Todee
- Cross Road Baptist Church, King Gray
In addition to establishing many churches in the city of Monrovia and other parts of the country, Calvary Baptist Church also collaborated with other fundamental Baptist churches to organize and establish the Jake Memorial Baptist College in Monrovia. The Church operates a system of four schools. They include an elementary, junior and senior high school in Monrovia, an elementary, junior and senior high school in Suakoko, Bong County, and an elementary school on the Pipeline, Paynesville.
In response to meeting the demand of its growing young congregation, and in its efforts to create a more special worship sanctuary and a headquarters for its many ministries around the country, Calvary is presently constructing a new edifice.
The following are the names of the Liberian ministers who have served as pastors since its founding:
- Rev. Joseph Weah- 1978-180
- Rev. Maxell Magginne, 1985-1990
- Rev. Samuel Vansiea, 1992-1995
- Rev. Tuakah E. Whiangar, 1995-2002
- Rev. G. Larque Vaye, 2002- present
It should be noted that Pastor Charles Baryoyouwei served as a longtime assistant pastor to many of the pastors.
As the church moves forward in its development strides, with the construction of its modern edifice, it calls on all members, visitors, friends and former members in the diaspora to join hands and hearts and mobilize resources in building the house of God. May God bless Calvary and all its ministries here in Liberia.