Calvary Baptist Church Lenoir City, TN
The following is a condensed history of Calvary Baptist Church, Lenoir City, Tennessee. The information was compiled from various sources and is given as accurately as possible.
The first name selected was The Baptist Tabernacle of Lenoir City, 1915-1951, was renamed First Avenue Baptist Church, 1952-1957 and finally changed to it's present name, Calvary Baptist Church, in 1958. The name was changed to Calvary Baptist to avoid the confusing of names with First Baptist Church of Lenoir City.
Organizing A Church
On December 4, 1916, on a Monday evening, thirteen folk, consisting of nine men and four women, met at the home of Bro. W.E. Glover, 303 W. Broadway in Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the purpose of and to consider organizing a church in the faith and order as the New Testament teaches. A motion was made by W.E. Glover that the organization be called The Baptist Tabernacle of Lenoir City, Tennessee. Bro. C.M. Dutton seconded the motion and all present were unanimously in favor of this name and it was adopted. Later a constitution and articles of faith and by-laws were adopted as well as the church covenant.
Where To Hold Services
It was decided to rent and hold services in the Lenoir City Masonic Hall at the corner of Broadway and Kingston Street; however, the group subsequently moved to a building in the Foute Building, 300 “A” Street since the previous meeting place “did not meet the approval of all concerned".
First Church Building
A short time later the church members rented, and later purchased for $1,500, a former Presbyterian Church building fronting “C” street. They worshipped there, (in The Baptist Tabernacle) for some thirty-five years until it became inadequate and inefficient, as overcrowding demanded more space than the building could provide.
New Sanctuary/Fellowship Hall/Kitchen/Classrooms
As reported, on March 29, 1949, ground breaking took place for a new two-level building facing First Avenue at “C” Street, to be constructed on property adjoining The Baptist Tabernacle. The lower floor was built first, which consisted of a fellowship hall, classrooms and a kitchen. On Easter Sunday, March 3, 1951, the congregation assembled in the lower level floor of the building. The upper floor, a new Sanctuary providing seating for about 350 people, was finished sometime later, in 1952.
An Adjoining Cemetery Plays A Part
The property on which the then new church was built was deeded free to the church by the Norwood-McNeely heirs if the church “would agree to take reasonable care of the family burying ground (cemetery) which lies on the west side of the property." This “agreement” holds true to this day, as Calvary Baptist Church continues to maintain the “family burying ground”, the cemetery.
The Baptist Tabernacle Building Is Razed, Education Unit Built
The former meeting place of worship, The Baptist Tabernacle building, was razed, the grounds cleared, and a three story educational unit was built in 1958-1959 where the Tabernacle once sat and was connected to the rear of the newly built Sanctuary.
Still Growing, More Space Needed
Seeing the need for even more space, in the mid 1950’s the church had purchased three small houses across the street from the church. The houses were initially used by the young people as Sunday School classrooms. When no longer needed for classrooms following the completion of the new three story educational unit, the houses were razed and the property used for parking. Over time, additional houses were purchased in the same area, were later razed and also used for parking.
Present Sanctuary Constructed
Still growing, and needing more space, in late 1978 the church members voted to build a new two story church building on the previously purchased property “across the street” from their old church. The new church building, which includes a sanctuary seating about one thousand people, fellowship hall, office complex, choir suite, work room, etc., was completed and occupied in 1985 and is present place of worship today. An elevator was added at a later date.
Former Church Building Remodeled
The former church building, or annex as it is now called, was completely remodeled in the 1990’s and today serves many church uses. As part of the remodeling, the former sanctuary, which holds many memories, was converted into a modern pre-school facility.
Twenty-two men have served the church as pastor, with A.A.Carlton having served as pastor the longest, nineteen years, from 1953-1972. A list of the pastors and the year(s) each served is available in the church office.
Calvary Baptist Church, Lenoir City, Tennessee is a member of the Loudon County Baptist Association, the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. The church continues to be a “Light on a Hill” proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ!