New Calvary Baptist Church Building Helps Carry On Legacy – The Vicksburg Post

New Calvary Baptist Church Building Helps Carry On Legacy

Posted at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, 2022

The Calvary Baptist Church congregation dedicated its new church on a hill overlooking Indiana Avenue in a ceremony Oct. 30.

The program, which included the dedication of the church’s cornerstone, was part of a two-day event that included a family day the previous Saturday.

Several years ago, however, a new church was a dream as the congregation eventually had to leave the building that had been their home on Klein Street for 113 years and may no longer have a place of worship.

In 2015, the Vicksburg Mayor and Aldermen’s Council approved the closure of the Speed ​​Street crossing, the most direct route to the church, to create a ‘quiet zone’ for residents and bed and breakfasts in the region. The closure marked the second time a crossing in the area has been closed.

“There were two separate crossing closures,” said church historian Bobbie Bingham Morrow. “There was the closure of the level crossing on Klein Street and later on Speed ​​Street. When they closed the second passage, it blocked many residents from entering, so you could only go one way and exit one way. There’s been a lot of fuss over this. »

And the changes resulting from that decision to close Speed ​​meant the congregation would eventually have to move out of the neighborhood where Calvary started.

Calvary Baptist Church grew out of a weekly prayer meeting that met in a house at 1600 Pearl Street. He moved to Klein Street in 1909 and the church was built.

“It was a wooden structure which was then bricked up,” Morrow said. “At first, church members were baptized in the canal (Yazoo Diversion). A (baptismal) pool was built outside the church, then an indoor pool, and they covered the outdoor pool.

The church underwent a major improvement program in the 1970s and a second cornerstone was laid in 1973.

Church pastor Reverend Dr. Joe Mosley said the crossing closure “affected us negatively and positively (in a way) because we were affected by the entrance and exit of Speed ​​Street and we had an entrance and exit on Depot (Street) coming from Railroad Street.

But instead of hindering church growth, he says, the church’s location helped, “because people wanted to come and see what was going on with the little church down on the hill. Our Sunday morning services started to increase, but it gave us the opportunity to start talking with the railroad and talking with the city about what we could do to improve our situation so that we could go from before.

“We were looking for a space where we could build and have the opportunity to grow and develop,” Mosley added.

Mosley said he attributes divine intervention in the selection of the new church’s ownership.

In 2017, he was driving on Indiana Avenue when he saw a vacant property across from the new church site.

“It was for sale and I came out and looked at it and there was a sign in the trees in the background and there was a number and the word ‘call’,” he said . “We didn’t know who to call, but we got this number and gave it to our agents. They reached out and got an answer about the property on the hill. That’s how we got here.

“It was most definitely God,” Mosley said. “It’s just at the back; just a little sign with the word ‘call’ and a number.”

Construction began in 2017 and continued into 2018, he said, and the congregation continued to hold services in the old church until the new church was ready. The day after the congregation left, Kansas City Southern razed the old church.

Morrow said she went to the site after the demolition to collect some of the remaining stones.

“I loved (the church),” she said. “It was there that I was baptized, I learned, I grew up, I was educated. Everyone there was family; we were even linked to Travelers Rest when it was located in this area.”

“We were able to take whatever we wanted to use and we took the cornerstone and the cornerstone that the church put in after the church was renovated,” Mosley said.

The cornerstones of the old church share space on a brick support with the cornerstone of the new church.

Having the oldest cornerstones, Mosley said, allowed the congregation to take its history with it and “lay the foundation so that our children and grandchildren can come out and see what we have done and where we come from”.

Services for the new church began in 2019. But while it had a new site, Calvary congregation had one more challenge – COVID-19.

“COVID has shut down activities and services,” Mosley said. “Our dedication was meant to be 2020, but COVID-19 stopped it.”

Like other churches, Calvary has used social media to reach his congregation and while the church has returned to in-person services, he said Calvary continues to broadcast services.

Looking back on the events that led to the church’s move, Mosley said it was wonderful to see how the new church had flourished.

“We didn’t know with COVID-19 how it would work, but God has blessed us tremendously to keep growing even with COVID where we are now,” he said. “We have had people joining our ministries online and they will come in person; it was a blessing for us. I know the church is really excited about the building being blessed and people coming to see what God has done for us.

When the church was considering the possibility of moving, he said, “I didn’t think we would be here. We knew what we wanted, knew what was needed and to see it all now is by the grace of God. Doing what we do and being where we are is definitely a blessing.

“It was an interesting situation to see where we were with people coming in and joining the church and seeing what was happening with the ministry and seeing what we were doing and what we were doing was giving them to Jesus -Christ,” he added. .

About John Surratt

John Surratt graduated from Louisiana State University with a General Studies degree. He worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been on staff at the Vicksburg Post since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul’s Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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