CLOVIS (BNM) – On Sunday, Oct. 30, Calvary Baptist Church, Clovis, celebrated 75 years of ministry. Attendees at the church’s morning worship service received a special bulletin that contained a brief history of the church. During the service, the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s lead missionary and executive director, Steve Ballew, used his sermon to ask the church, “What’s Next?” from Joshua 3-4.
That afternoon at 2 p.m., the congregation gathered for an “old-fashioned singing,” with David Rael and Dareathia Dotson leading. At one point during the service, Steve Ballew presented Pastor Kevin Dotson with a plaque, commemorating the special occasion.
After an hour of singing various favorites of the congregation, Dareathia Dotson ended the service by singing the Lord’s Prayer. The congregation dispersed to the Fellowship Hall, where everyone received a commemorative gift bag and shared fellowship around cake and punch.
Calvary was organized with a charter membership of 21, under the leadership of Virgil E. Hunton, Sr., on June 1, 1947. The congregation first met in the La Casita School auditorium.
In August 1947, George and Olevia Fickel sold the church three lots between the 7th and 8th streets for a place of worship. They paid $1 for the lots. An Army barrack was the first building on the lots in September 1947.
The church, originally a mission of First Baptist Church, grew so rapidly that they soon needed additional space. Within three years, the membership grew from 20 to 306. The church voted in January 1950 to build a new worship center that would seat 700 and house 14 new Sunday school classrooms. In March 1953, the church moved into the new building with 269 people in Sunday school. The barrack was remodeled and used for classrooms.
In 1966, construction for a new educational wing and kitchen began. Members dedicated the building on October 1966.
In 1971, the church purchased a corner lot across the alley from the current church building. The building there was used as a youth ministry and its parking area provided additional parking for the church.
In the 1990s, the church fell on hard times. It sold some of its property to keep its doors open. Still, Calvary stood strong as other churches shut their doors.
In the 2000s, the church struggled to find its identity in the community where it stood. Many who once lived in the area had moved north and east, changing the demographic of the area. Trying to find their rightful place in the area, they became known as A Caring Place, where spiritual healing and hope for all of God’s people begins.