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HAMILTON, 1959--

calvybc2.jpg (39150 bytes)

Started as a Mission: 1952
Closed: Fall, 1954

Re-Opened as a Mission: 1958
Became a Church: September 20, 1959

Admitted to HCBA: October 5, 1959

Compiled by Elreeta Crain Weathers

Calvary Baptist Church began as a mission of First Baptist Church, Hamilton. Located at the south end of Manning Street in the southeast part of Hamilton, its first building was a barracks moved from Fort Hood. Plans for opening Calvary Mission were developed during the ministry of Rev. Raymond Columbus Tennison, who was pastor at First Baptist Church from 1944 to 1952. Rev. Ralph Wooten, the next pastor at First Baptist Church, completed the plans for Calvary Baptist Mission which was opened in 1952. 

William Lewis "Willie" Rodgers
, a retired Baptist minister, pastored the mission in its earliest days until a mission pastor could be secured. A Vacation Bible School, which reached a multitude of lively children, was held during the summer of 1954. Before the Fall of 1954 Charles N. Gilbert, pastor of First Baptist, closed the mission despite the fact that it was being effective in reaching unchurched people.

The minutes of HCBA in 1954 noted that First Baptist Church, Hamilton supported one mission. (1954 was the first year the published minutes provided space on which to report missions supported by churches.) The 1955 minutes of HCBA recorded a $9.83 contribution from Calvary Mission for the Hamilton County Baptist Association given between Sept. 1, 1954, and August 31, 1955; however, the data for First Baptist Church, Hamilton revealed that it did not support a mission. I remember the great concern Willie Rodgers and other men had about the fact that there was an empty church building which could not be utilized to reach lost souls, but I cannot recall why Calvary Mission was closed. I remember also that Willie would take friends to the unused church building to pray with him that the mission would be reopened. Many others including David Hedgpeth, Loys Landes, Kenneth Kendall, and Ruel Todd went weekly to pray outside the empty building. HCBA minutes in 1956 recorded no enrollment for a Sunday School Mission of First Baptist Church, Hamilton, nor that it operated a local mission. 1957 minutes reported a similar status about the lack of a mission’s being sponsored by First Baptist Church, Hamilton.

At a Brotherhood meeting at First Baptist Church in 1958, Bro. Gilbert made the statement that the keys to the mission were in his pocket and that was where they were going to stay. The Brotherhood program was about providing opportunities to worship in missions for people who would not want to attend a larger church. At this meeting Seth Moore said, "I don’t know why, but some people will attend a small church, when they will not attend a large church." With the help of Seth Moore and Arvord Abernethy, three men--Loys Landes, Kenneth Kendall, and Ruel Todd--were given permission to re-open Calvary.

Calvary was re-opened as a mission in 1958. The mission grew rapidly and by the summer of 1959 requested release from mission status from First Baptist Church to become Calvary Baptist Church. Calvary became a church on September 20, 1959, and celebrated the occasion with a fellowship dinner at the Lions Youth Center. On 5 Oct., 1959, Calvary was admitted to Hamilton County Baptist Association as a church with 50 charter members.  

Charter Members 

Paul Agee
Bruno Angerman
Sis Angerman
Leon Angerman
Atlas Beck
Nadine Beck
Ronnie Beck
Ruth Boren
Jesse Christopher
Ruth Christopher
Terrell Christopher
Lola Christopher
John Feldman
Emma Feldman
Don Ferguson
Glynn Ferguson
Linda Ferguson
Jimmy Ferguson
Jerry Ferguson
Gayle Fulcher
Vada Griffee
Harold Holcomb
Pat Holcomb
Sherman Hale
Mrs. Sherman Hale
Ora Hancock
Tina Hancock
Kenneth Kendall
Fay Dean Kendall
Brenda Kendall
Dolan Kendall
Loys Landes
Dorothy Landes
Ronald Landes
Larry Landes
Gary Landes
Brenda Landes
Ruby Matlock
Myrt Moran
Zula Rodgers
W. L. Rodgers
Eddie Schultz
Irene Sims
Ruel D. Todd
Lucille Todd
Alton Todd
Thomas Vessel
Bill Yant
Lois Yant
Nancy Yant



Unfortunately the early history of Calvary has to be in generalities, because in 1984 in a house-cleaning effort, all of the early records were discarded by a pastor’s wife. A large collection of historical data had been assembled. The GA’s had transcribed interviews with some of the charter members to include in a scrapbook of mementos, pictures, as well as the church minutes written by Mrs. Irene Sims, the first church clerk. I can only tell you that the minutes written by Mrs. Sims were inspirational and a blessing to those fortunate enough to read them. There were also video and audio tapes. If only I could recall more details told by Willie Rodgers and his wife, Zula Elizabeth Stuckey Rodgers! Willie and Zula were great encouragers to me and to many others.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO RUEL AND LUCILLE TODD for all of the help they provided in writing this document!!!!! Thanks also to MARY HELEN DRAKE PAX for generously providing access to current information.!!!!



During Harold Holcomb’s ministry, the east end of the barracks/auditorium was remodeled to add a baptistry and a nursery. Soon more space was needed so that construction began to add classrooms/fellowship hall, a larger nursery, and bathrooms to the east end of the auditorium. This construction of a new educational unit as verified by snapshots made by Mrs. Irene Sims which are now archived in Roberts Library, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX. Douglas Brown, pastor of First Baptist Church, Harold Holcomb, Ruel Todd, and others participated in the ground breaking for the new educational building.

Calvary Baptist Church hosted its first HCBA Workers Conference in July, 1960. Tables were set up outside and barbecue was purchased. The women of the church cooked and cooked and cooked, being determined that they could feed all of the guests. As with the feeding of 5,000, baskets of food were taken home.

Keeping their new church sparkling was an important project of the entire church family. Members gathered to clean the pews, WAX the floors, and then enjoy a fellowship meal together. The floor attained a shiny and SLICK surface. At one service as Loys Landes was helping take the offering, when he returned to the altar table one foot encountered an exceedingly slick spot and he landed on his knees.

The first pews were slatted wooden benches. When the First United Methodist Church replaced their pews, Seth Williams purchased all of the Methodist pews for $75.00 and gave them to Calvary. This certainly was an improvement even if the seats of some were cracked necessitating careful attention as others sat down or stood up lest one suffer a painful pinch.. Unfortunately this also caused a tear in the suit pants of a visiting preacher, a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The 1970 Minutes of Hamilton County Baptist Association recorded the fact that Calvary had had a dedication and had burned the note for the educational building. "Hamilton, Calvary: Auditorium bricked (to match the educational facility) and redecorated on the inside." Hodge Wren donated the bricks for the auditorium. In 1975 central heating and air-conditioning were added to the entire building with the help of a $3,000 Smith Loan Fund from the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The original loan, made by Ruel Todd, Treasurer, was made at First National Bank, January 6, 1975, for six months with 7 ½ % interest. When the Smith Loan was approved, the loan from First National Bank was paid in full on March 24, 1975, and Calvary had three years to repay the Smith Loan at 3% interest per annum.



The residents of Buckners Boys Ranch in Burnet were invited to be church guests on several Sundays. Again the ladies of the church spent much time in food preparation to provide a home-cooked dinner to the boys who appreciated it very much. The young men came attired in suits, ties, and good manners.

J. C. Shirley was a very good teacher and attracted a large group of Royal Ambassadors. Lucille Todd and Zula Rodgers had Girl’s Auxiliary at the same time for girls.

In 1974 Calvary ordained its pastor, Stephen "Steve" Lee and licensed Eddie Schulze as a minister.

The illness and death of little Karen Lee, Steve and Sallie’s baby was a traumatic event for the entire church as the church family gathered around to help with her care and to support Steve and Sallie. During the last weeks of Karen’s life, Karen had to be held 24 hours a day. Later we rejoiced when Isaac was added to Steve and Sallie’s family.

On May 2, 1976, five girls--Julie Box, D’Ann Weathers, Jill Cowan, Laverne Tubbs, and Becky Dotson--earned Adventure I Awards in Girls Auxiliary. Joan Box and Martha Hicks were sponsors.

On October 4, 1976, Calvary hosted the Centennial meeting of the Hamilton County Baptist Association. The 1977 minutes of the 101st Annual Association meeting recorded the fact that Calvary had voted to build a new sanctuary and educational facilities.

The first choir program began in 1977 under the direction of Ray Weathers, Minister of Music. The first cantata, Night of Miracles, by John W. Peterson was presented by the choir on 18 December, 1977. Ray Weathers directed the cantata and Jackie Christian was the pianist. Soloist included Kirk Joseph, Annette Joseph, Richard Box, and Jim Andrews.

In May, 1978, Jill Cowan was recognized for completing her Queen with Scepter Step in Acteens. The GA’s who received recognition were Mary Wright, Samantha Gregory, Jennifer Pendleton, Stacy Christian, Julie Box, and D’Ann Weathers. Bobbie Nell Swinson was WMU President.

From at least July 2, 1978, the front cover of the church bulletin included the architect’s sketch of the new church building.

While Ted Elmore was pastor, Miss Bertha Smith, a retired Baptist missionary from Cowpens, SC, came to share her experiences in China with Calvary. Although in excess of 90 years of age, Miss Bertha was a dramatic and effective witness.

Calvary’s pastor, Charles Arandle "Randy" Russell, was the 20,000th graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in December, 1981.

The first wedding in the new building was that of Carol Gables and James Sessions on 10 July, 1982.

The 107th Annual Session of the Hamilton County Baptist Association was held at Calvary October 4, 1982--the second annual session to be hosted by Calvary and the first in the new facilities on HWY. 22 East. The 111th Annual Associational Meeting of Hamilton Baptist Association was held at Calvary on October 5, 1987. On October 5, 1992, the 116th Annual Session of Hamilton Baptist Association was held at Calvary.

A large GA/Acteen recognition service was held on May 23, 1984, for 12 GA’s and one Acteen. Sharon Benton was GA Director and Darla Cole and Linda Curry were helpers. GA’s who received the awards were: First Grade Adventure I--Melody Jones, Lorie Morrison, Dana Jo Newsom, and Laura Shrader; Second Grade Adventure II--Windy Benton, Sheena Christian, Mandy Headly, and Julie Nelson; Third Grade Adventure III-- Elizabeth George and Mandy Headly; Fourth Grade Adventure IV--Jennifer Christian and Jenny Easterling; and Fifth Grade Adventure V--Michelle Carson, Jennifer Christian, and Jenny Easterling. Acteen member, D’Ann Weathers received her Queen with Scepter - Step 2 with Mandy Christian as her Flower Girl and Eric Newman as her Scepter Bearer.

On 31 August, 1986, Calvary ordained Daniel "Dan" Boyd Lancaster to the ministry. Dan’s father-in-law, Dr. Roy Fish, Professor of Evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, delivered the ordination sermon.

In 1987 Calvary licensed Shane Donahoo to preach.

Buddy Selmon served as interim pastor from October, 1988 until December 6, 1989, when he was called as pastor.

James Thompson was licensed to preach in 1990.

In December, 1990, plans were made for a children’s playground.

An organizational meeting for the Conservative Baptist Fellowship (TCBF) for the Tri-Rivers Area was held at Calvary on April 25, 1992.

The church also voted to send 3% of regular offerings to Baptist With A Mission Organization instead of the Texas Baptist Conservative Fellowship.


The church motto was changed from "A Church with a Bold Mission" to "Fundamental, Conservative Southern Baptist Congregation with a Bold Vision," in October, 1990.




People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress