PDT Staff Writer
Calvary Baptist Church is now located in the former Central Presbyterian Church of 2306 Waller Street in Portsmouth, leaving the former location at 1118 Hutchins Street which had been the church’s location since 1895.
Senior Pastor Ryan Brown serves as the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church.
“It was Central Presbyterian Church that had owned (the new location), and then turned it over to the Presbytery of Ohio. We purchased it from the Presbytery of Ohio,” Brown said.
Brown said the Presbytery closed in January of 2012 and his church bought the building in October of 2012.
“We have been on Hutchins Street since 1895. We had plans to buy up the property around us, and to build a new building right where we were at. We even the blue print of our next building laid out of what it was going to be,” Brown said.
Brown said his church was contacted last April about the building.
“We were contacted about this building at 2306 Waller. They asked if we would be interested in buying it and I told them no, that I was not interested,” Brown said.
Brown said he was asked if they could send pictures to him of the Waller location and he agreed.
“Little by little I brought my wife up here, then my father, and then our deacon, and assistant pastor, and we just kept enlarging the circle of people from our church,” Brown said.
Brown said in July of 2012, his congregation had the opportunity to visit the building.
“We were given tours throughout the building. Then in August, something happened that was so rare. Our church voted unanimously to buy this building,” Brown said.
Brown said the church has worked together in an unprecedented spirit of unity through the entire process.
“We had to do a lot of remodeling, the building had fallen into a lot of disrepair. One thing that this building had going against it was the scarcity of parking,” he said.
He said the former congregation of Central Presbyterian had to park on the street, which created a lot of congestion.
“We are adding two parking lots that are going to help a great deal,” Brown said.
According to Brown, the building is nearly 30,000 square feet and is equipped with a gymnasium, a large fellowship hall, and 7,000 square feet of educational space.
Brown said construction has continued on even after the move in.
Brown and his congregation had their first service in their new facility Sunday, April 28, 2013.
“It was thrilling. I am not sure about the exact number that we had in attendance for the service, but I do know that this building was about two-thirds full. It is not what you would typically expect on your first service in a new building,” Brown said. “Our people responded overwhelmingly, and we had visitors, and everybody in our church was here. It was really an exciting time. We have had an interesting journey.”
Calvary continued the celebration throughout that week with a “Relocation Revival.”
Brown said with the new building comes a new vision.
“God has opened up many doors as far as ministry is concerned, but we needed more space. We have a lot of meetings where we bring in churches from all over the region. Our old building could not hold all of the people for these meetings,” Brown said.
He said the increase in space would grant them the opportunity to be more effective in reaching out to more people.
“Our theme is reaching our community with the love of Christ. Now we can expand and be of greater service to our community,” Brown said.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @ PortiaWillPDT.