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12th Pastoral Anniversary Celebration
7/21/2024 at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary

About The Historic Calvary Baptist Church

At Calvary Baptist, we are a historic, inclusive, and dynamic community of worship—and much more.

We believe and affirm that the church of Jesus Christ is concerned with all aspects of life: the economic, social, educational, political, and cultural, as well as the moral and spiritual. For this reason, we sponsor a diverse array of ministries through which we bring God’s Word to life in our sanctuary and put God’s love to work in the world.

These ministries range from our deacons and deaconesses, each called in their own way to serve, to our music and arts department, which leads us in vibrantly celebrating the Gospel, to our Nehemiah Entrepreneurship Ministry, dedicated to helping small enterprises thrive through a combination of Christian values and good business practices. We do much more as well, from launching international relief efforts, to serving those in need right here in our neighborhood.

Together, we affirm that the Church of Jesus Christ is God’s instrument of liberation. We seek to achieve oneness in Christ which rises above distinction of race, economic status, political loyalties, and social background, as we meet the needs of a diverse membership and fulfill a broad mission and bold, hopeful vision.

We sponsor a diverse array of ministries through which we bring God’s Word to life in our sanctuary and put God’s love to work in the world.

Our Proud History

Calvary Baptist Church was founded in 1879 and in June 2021 celebrated 142 years of “Glorifying God and Serving Humanity.” The Church was founded two years after the end of Reconstruction by the Reverend Owens L. Simmons, who had come to Paterson to organize a “colored Baptist church.”

The Church started from meager beginnings in the homes of congregants and later on in its first rental location for the sum of $6 per month. In 1886, Calvary erected its first building on the Lawrence Street property. In 1919, The Reverend Thomas Christian, then Pastor of Calvary, was able to purchase the land on East 18th Street and 12th Avenue where Calvary still resides today. Over the years, Calvary has been shepherded by a number of inspiring preachers, including for 44 years, the Reverend Dr. Albert Prince Rowe, an esteemed spiritual leader and an influential force in the life of our city.

Over the years, the Church’s evolving community outreach efforts have included a Day Care Center, Mentoring Program, Foster Care Program, Community Health Program, Vacation Bible School, Adult and Youth Revivals, and Family Life Center.

Today, we continue to explore and launch new forms of outreach, to meet the changing needs of the present moment. In doing, so we draw strength from our historic roots and the example of the members and pastors of Calvary Baptist Church who have gone before us.


We are proud to be the oldest African American church in Paterson, and we hope also to be the most welcoming, the most spiritually vibrant, and the most impactful in our community.