Welcome to Calvary’s History Page!
We are glad that you have chosen to learn more about our church’s history. Below, you will find the history of Calvary United Methodist Church along with a listing of all the pastors who have served our congregation. Please feel free to browse our history and learn more about our congregation.
In the year 1875, the Auglaize Conference (Ohio) of the United Brethren Church sent Rev. R. W. Wilgus to Fort Wayne to establish here a Mission. The earliest recorded transaction in the Public Records seems to be under date of March 27, 1882. It showed that John H. and S. Lizzie Jacobs transfer the lot at the southeast corner of Lewis and Harmar Streets to William Haverstack, W. W. Fox, John Stites, John Maddox and Jacob Q. Kline as Trustees of Fort Wayne Mission Station of the Auglaize Annual Conference of the United Brethren of Christ for $900.00. The lot measured 50 x 150 feet.
June 21,1893, the record shows Philip Titus elected Trustee of First U. B. Church in place of G. H. Judy resigned. Other Trustees at that time were A. D. Craig, 0. J. Bowser, J. Crawford and James Trythall. On July 30, 1894,A. A. Bowser succeeded James Trythall.
Then on that same date the record show the name of First U. B. Church changed to Calvary U. B. Church recorded August 13, 1894.
The first transaction involving a mortgage is shown on February 15, 1886, when $1,000.00 was borrowed from the Church Erection Society of the United Brethren in Christ on four notes, which were duly paid. The records do not show just what this was used for but there is no doubt it was for the erection of the Church Building and on June 10, 1906. There is the record that the Trustees of Calvary Church are authorized to proceed with the building of a Parsonage under G. F. Byrer as President of Board and A. Furthmiller as Secretary Pro Tem. An addition to the Church Building was built September, 1894, with a loan from the Tri-State Building & Loan Association of $3,000.00. This was paid by September 21, 1905.
In 1920 under pastorate of Rev. W. E. Snyder the Church bought the house east of the Church and this was used for Sunday school purposes for over seven years. Many social and business meetings were held in this building also.
In 1923 the lots corner of Harmar and East Jefferson Streets were purchased and the large houses situated thereon were rented for about three years under the term as treasurer of the Board, A. Furthmiller. Then the houses were sold and moved off the lots when the plans for the present Church Building matured.
Rev. Overmyer came to us as Pastor after the annual Conference in 1921 and was most active in all the plans for the building as well as the big work of preparing the people for the sacrifices necessary to be made. Under Rev. Overmyer the Church was built and occupied in January, 1928, a time of great rejoicing.
Rev. B. H. Cain was pastor during the difficult times of the depression when at one time the secured indebtedness of the Church was $76,000.00 and the way seemed dark but the faith of our people did not fail. Then in 1935 through the kindness of the Hicks Estate, administered by F. A. Schack of the Fort Wayne National Bank Trust Department, the secured indebtedness was reduced from $53,568.41 to $28,500.00 and light began to shine through the darkness, each Anniversary date being one of the record of achievement. In the meantime H. J. Neasel had succeeded A.A. Bowser, who had moved to California and at the request of A. Furthmiller to be relieved of his duties as Treasurer, J. A. Rayl had carried on the difficult work of handling the financial affairs of the congregation.
On the anniversary day early in 1938 was the first of the mortgage burnings that our Calvary Church had been privileged to witness in many years; the burning of the mortgage on the parsonage adjoining the old church building at Lewis and Harmar Streets. Rev. Cain had become Conference Superintendent and Rev. S. A. Wells now undertook the task of leading our people on the way to further financial and spiritual goals.
A parsonage at 926 East Rudisill Boulevard was built in 1941. E. 0. Callison, now one of the Trustees, because of the difficult financing of the war years, assumed the burden of carrying this mortgage. This has now been paid in full and during the pastorate of our Rev. R. E. Vance the mortgage on the Church as well as the mortgage on the parsonage has been burned with appropriate ceremonies and great rejoicing.
Our 75th Anniversary was appropriately observed with a program “Album of Memories” on Wednesday evening October 11, 1950 and climaxed on Sunday October 15, 1950 with Bishop Fred L. Dennis as guest speaker. A basket dinner at the noon hour preceded the afternoon service of music and fellowship. The 75th Anniversary also found Calvary to be free of debt, a Church and Parsonage worth as appraised by Insurance Companies in excess of $150,000.00.
During Rev. R. E. Vance’s pastorate (1947-1957) several changes took place. In August of 1951 the three United Brethren Conferences and one Evangelical Conference united to form Indiana Conference North of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1954 a two-story educational unit was added at a cost of $47,000. This much needed unit providing additional classrooms and fellowship hall was dedicated on Sunday October 17, 1954 by Bishop J. Balmer Showers.
In 1957 Dr. G. T. Rosselot came to Calvary Church. In 1959 a Conference Parish Analysis indicated some drastic changes were necessary in order for Calvary Church to continue. After several months of faithful and prayerful study by special committees the results were presented to the congregation and the decision was made to relocate. A Building Committee was formed and met faithfully to complete a proposed plan. In February 1962 an 8.1-acre plot on the Winchester Road was purchased for $24,300.
In June 1962 Dr. Rosselot retired and Rev. Karl Tauber was appointed to Calvary Church. In March 1963 McDonald, Cassell & Bassetwere hired as architects. Howard Funk was General Chairman of the Building Committee. In February 1964 we had a Bond Drive headed by Providence Church Plan under the direction of Dr. George Strohm. Of the $150,000 goal $137,000 was sold in two weeks. The last fifteen bonds will be due on November 1, 1978.
The General Contract was awarded to Weigand Construction Company. The total cost was $180,000. Groundbreaking service was held on Sunday May 3,1964. Rev. Karl Tauber held the Cornerstone service on September 27, 1964 in the old church because of rain and wet grounds. During the year the property at 836 E. Jefferson was sold to Turner Chapel AME Church.
December 5, 1964 was “Moving Day” to 6301 Winchester Road. A busy, hard day was successfully completed in spite of inclement weather. The “Final Service” at 836 E. Jefferson was on Sunday morning December 6, 1964, and the first service – a “Thank and Praise Service” was held in our new church at 4:00 P.M. Dedication Services were held on February 28, 1965 with Dr. Marshall Chambers bringing the message.
After years of consultation and communion The Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church united in mid 1968 to become the United Methodist Church. In November 1968 annual conferences were re-aligned and we became part of North Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.
In June of 1969 Rev. Donald C. Kime came to Calvary Church, and served faithfully and well until his retirement in June 1975.
In 1975, our 100th Anniversary found the church with weekly bond payments of $338 which have first priority, have for several years, been instrumental in curtailing our total Church Program. Adjustments have been made but much work remains to be done. In 1975, Rev. Jim Jones became pastor at Calvary.
In 1979, Rev. J. H. Woodruff became pastor until 1982 when the Rev. A. G. Copeland arrived at Calvary.
In 1981, Calvary began another building project. Calvary’s current Sanctuary was really the modified Fellowship Hall. Anytime other activities were needed then the Sanctuary had to be modified and then set back before the next Sunday service. This was a real treat when the activity was on Saturday evening. Calvary began construction on a new Sanctuary wing that was to include the new Sanctuary, a new main entrance and narthex, two new Sunday school rooms (that could be opened to the Sanctuary for overflow crowds), new store room and two new bathrooms.
In 1988, Rev. Bill Cutshaw found his way to Calvary as the new pastor and remained until 1996.
On June 4th, 1995, Calvary celebrated its Cantata with ’Exaltation’ because Calvary was once again debt-free. The Sanctuary addition that was started in 1981 was now completely paid for.
Rev Chris Madison was appointed pastor at Calvary in 1996 following Rev. Cutshaw’s retirement and served until 2004.
1997 brought the discovery that Calvary needed a new roof. Part of the roof was over 15 years old and some of the roof was now over 30 years old. To cover the cost of the new roof, Calvary took on debt of over $160,000.00. One bright spot that came with the debt was (dry ceilings) a new sound system that the board included with the work for the roof.
Calvary now has a state-of-the-art sound system to enhance the beautiful music ministry that Calvary has always had. Calvary’s 1998, Cantata used the new sound system to present recorded background music for the Cantata Choir. The new sound system also enhances the quality of the audio tapes that Calvary provides as one of its outreach services to the shut-ins.
Calvary’s 125th Anniversary was celebrated in the year 2000, Y2K. And, we are looking forward with much anticipation to our 150th Anniversary in 2025
Calvary United Methodist Church – is looking to the future- “in Faith, Believing…… We know not what the future holds – but we know who holds the future” God has indeed been good to us through the years. “Come Grow With Us!”
R. W. Wilgus (1875 -1877) D. Luttrell 1877- 1879)
A. Johnson (1879 – 1881) J. P. Steward (1881 – 1888)
J. W. Lower (1888 – 1890) A. B. Sutton (1890 – 1893)
J. Miller (Apr – Sep 1893) A. W. Ballinger (1893 – 1898)
J. W. Lake (1898 – 1903) G. F. Byrer (1903 – 1915)
J. W. Borkert (1915 – 1919) W. E. Snyder (1919 – 1921)
F. P. Overmyer (1921 – 1929) B. H. Cain (1929 – 1935)
S. A. Wells (1935 – 1943) B. F. Smith (1943 – 1947)
R. E. Vance (1944 -1957) G. T. Rosselot (1957 – 1962)
K. P. Tauber (1962 – 1970) D. C. Kime (1970 – 1975)
J. D. Jones (1975 – 1979) J. H. Woodruff (1979 – 1982)
A. G. Copeland (1982 – 1988) B. Cutshaw (1988 – 1996)
C. Madison (1996 – 2004) S. Carmer (2004 – 2011)
D. Harrold (2011 – Present)