Celebrating 75 years in 2015

On July 12, 2015, Calvary celebrated its 75th anniversary with two amazing services.  The Johnson Family Strings performed an incredible package of music that touched hearts of all ages.  You've never heard stringed instruments played quite like this family of 8 does with extreme precision.  The services included testimonies from past church members reminiscing about their time spent at Calvary.  Several letters were read from former pastors who have moved from the area.  The IARBC State Director, Tim Capon, challenged those present on their witness for the Lord.  Scrapbooks, photos and memorabilia from days gone by were on display.  The morning ended with a delicious meal of pulled pork and an amazing anniversary cake made by the grandchildren of charter members in their memory.

Our beginnings

In 1940, Mr. Frank Meinter, a car dealer from Rockwell, Iowa, who also owned the Chevrolet garage in Belmond, became burdened for the spiritual needs of the community. From this burden, Mr. Meinter was led to make arrangements to have tent meetings in the community, inviting Reverend and Mrs. Wes Auger, of the Radio Chapel of Mason City, to conduct the services and provide special music.

These special meetings began in June of 1940 under Evangelist Wes Auger’s leadership and were blessed of the Lord as they continued for six weeks. Many were saved during this time, and a small group of burdened Christians had a vision to see this embryo work of God move ahead. The Lord opened the door to purchase land from Mr. Pete Swenson on Highway 69 where a Quonset type building was erected. The people chose the name “Tabernacle” and dedicated the new building on October 20, 1940, at which time they called their first pastor, Reverend Harold Hufford.

This young work was non-denominational at that time and solely under the trusteeship of Reverend Wes Auger until March of 1941, at which time the people voted to become incorporated under the name “Belmond Bible Tabernacle,” consisting of seven charter members of voting age.

Pastor Harold Hufford left this work in April of 1942 to serve in another field. During the interim, Reverend Frank Peterson served the church as pastor. Under Reverend Peterson’s leadership, the church was challenged in their beliefs and convictions, to become a Baptist church and to apply for fellowship with the General Association of Baptist Churches on the state and national level.

Reverend Lloyd Holm was then called to be pastor on September 20, 1942. Under his leadership the church voted to become a Baptist church and took the name “Fundamental Baptist Church.” The church also established formal ties with the GARBC on the state and national levels. The church also requested membership with the Council of Christian Churches and the International Council of Christian Churches.

During Reverend Holm’s ministry, the church moved the Quonset building from the location on Highway 69 to its present location at 516 East Main Street in Belmond. This project required moving the building through the Main Street of Belmond in August of 1943.

On April 17, 1944, the church extended a call to Reverend J. Lester Williams to become the shepherd of Fundamental Baptist Church. Under his leadership the church building was completed and a parsonage was purchased by the church. Throughout Reverend Williams’ ministry, the church was blessed and many were encouraged under his teaching.

Reverend Robert Pollock served the church as pastor from August 1946 until August of 1949, and under his ministry the church received the Lord’s blessings.

In September of 1949, Reverend A.F. Rollene accepted the call to become the pastor, serving the church until 1956. These years were eventful and spiritually successful. The church family was encouraged to “Lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, that we might run with patience the race that is set before us.” A number of building renovations were accomplished during his ministry. The Ladies Missionary Fellowship was organized by Mrs. Rollene in January 1949.

Reverend Harry McKinney was called to be pastor in the summer of 1956. At this time the first parsonage was sold and another one purchased. The church made progress in different areas of its life during Pastor McKinney’s ministry.

Reverend Louis Miller was called on April 29, 1962. The church life was greatly strengthened under his leadership. In 1963 the church voted to rebuild the church building. The work began in the fall (the day after Thanksgiving) and continued through the winter, spring, and summer months. This work was accomplished through the faithful labor of the people in the church. This project included the complete removal of the Quonset upper structure and building the

building that now stands. The dedication service for the new building was held August 23, 1964, at which time the church changed its name to “Calvary Baptist Church.”

In memory

Part of the cost of this website was covered by money given to the church in memory of Violet Wolters.  A long-time member of Calvary Baptist Church, Violet was a warm and energetic person who we believe would have appreciated this effort of the church to reach out to the community and the world.  Thank you to her family and loved ones who gave in her memory.