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.