THE HISTORY OF MOUNT CALVARY
The Mount Calvary fellowship was established in 1892 under the spiritual guidance of Rev. S. L. Murray. The congregation first met at the corner of Stonewall and Park streets. In 1895, they purchased the sturdy, little, white wooden-frame church at the corner of Spruce and Dora streets.
During the church's formative years, the following ministers briefly served as shepherds over the flock: the Revs. E. D. Young, Frank Lancaster, R. Leggett, J. M. Royster, D. A. Milligan, H. H. Robinson, and James S. Murray. Rev. H. T. Wimberly next became the pastor and served the congregation until 1941. Upon his departure, Rev. W. H. Holman assumed the leadership role and served as the interim pastor until Rev. William H. Hill accepted the pastorate in 1942.
Under Rev. Hill's leadership, the congregation outgrew the old, wooden structure and replaced it with the red, brick edifice also at the corner of Spruce and Dora streets. Rev. Hill served as pastor for thirty years until his illness and death in November 1972. During the subsequent transition period, Rev. Hardy Jackson served as acting pastor.
On April 3, 1973, Rev. S. D. Davis accepted Mount Calvary's call for leadership. During his nine-year tenure, many souls were saved, and Mount Calvary grew tremendously. One of his most significant and visionary contributions was the creation of the scholarship ministry, whose legacy lives on today. In 1981, Pastor Davis became ill and resigned as pastor a year later. The title of pastor emeritus was later bestowed upon him. Rev. Leroy Harris became the acting pastor during this time of change.
In April 1983, Rev. Dr. John Allen Newman became the shepherd of Mount Calvary. Pastor Newman emphasizes a holistic approach to ministry. He believes that God is concerned with the whole person. He is not interested in "traditional doctrine" but teaches sound "Biblical principles." During his tenure, Pastor Newman has created or re-vitalized the following ministries in the church: youth, education, seniors, women, men, music, wellness, audio-visual, athletic, Agape, partner advocacy, and mentoring.
In 2009, Pastor Newman worked with a local law firm to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving. The church also participated in free gas giveaways and became a Red Cross shelter-ready agency. In 2010, a community of 400 was fed on Thanksgiving through donations from members within the congregation and community partners. Around this same time, the church established a partnership with Baptist Hospital to provide health and wellness resources.
The next year, for Thanksgiving the ministry provided boxes for 500 families, including those staying at the Hubbard House. The Agape ministry's visibility in the community increased as it gave Christmas angels to Brentwood Elementary School and donated the overflow to Wolfson Children's Hospital's patients and children residing at Hubbard House.
In 2011, the church hosted a summer camp program which was attended by 103 area children. The City of Jacksonville provided nutrition and the camp provided opportunities for high school students to earn a small stipend and much-needed volunteer hours. Our camp was recognized and advertised by the City of Jacksonville.
Leadership and volunteer summits during 2012 led to new dynamics and methods of leadership. The annual Empowering the Community Fair provided valuable medical, educational and legal access for our partners as well as the community. The Education Summit provided both students and parents with important information regarding changes in school requirements and expectations and was attended by School Board Members, guidance counselors, teachers and friends of education.
In May of 2016, SALTech @ Job Corps expressed an interest in the property owned by Mt. Calvary, and after thoroughly investigating the feasibility of such a sale, the property addressed as 4751 Walgreen Road was sold to SALTech to develop and expand SALTech Charter High School. The Sanctuary @ Mt. Calvary located and negotiated a new campus at 2360 Kings Road in Jacksonville, Florida, a building fully capable of housing and promoting the work of ministry already being done by its partners. It is with full expectation that Mountain Top Early Learning Center, an enhanced food and clothing giveaway, bigger Thanksgiving and Christmas giveaways will immediately follow.
It goes without saying, Mount Calvary's legacy continues. What we do today will form the foundation for tomorrow.
WE ARE - THE SANCTUARY @ MT CALVARY