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1/31/2023: Join us for the Pre-Watch Night Dinner at 8:30 p.m. & Watch Night Service at 10:30 p.m.

Latest News

Calvary Baptist Church, The Bridge & NJ Reentry Corporation Hosts 2nd Annual Christmas Extravaganza

Calvary Baptist Church and its partners, The Bridge, NJ Reentry Corporation and Paterson Community Policing, came together to host the 2nd Annual Christmas Extravaganza. The Christmas Extravaganza was held on Saturday, December 16, 2023. Participants were able to receive a gift for the holiday season, along with meeting Santa upon his visit to Calvary Baptist Church. Pastor Will Brown stated, “We were able to serve 148 young people during this year”. We are proud to have been able to come together and provide young people with a positive Christmas experience.”

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Calvary Partners with HCPC on Medicaid Unwinding Outreach

The Health Coalition of Passaic County has provided grant funding to Calvary Baptist Church to increase community awareness of the Medicaid redetermination process and applicable local resources (e.g. Board of Social Services, enrollment assistance, Get Covered NJ marketplace, etc.) with the goal of ensuring community members in Paterson and Passaic retain healthcare coverage.

Will Brown, Minister of Outreach at Calvary Baptist Church, praises “HCPC for its use of community organizations to outreach to people in our local community as trusted partners. Calvary Baptist Church understands the assignment and will be working with HCPC to ensure people within the surrounding neighborhoods retain their health care coverage.” We want to hear from you about your experiences with this process, please use the link in the volunteer section to complete the survey.
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Since March of 2020, NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid has followed special rules related to the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). These rules have allowed most NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid members to keep their health coverage, even if they no longer qualified – for example, if their income was too high. However, Congress passed legislation that said state Medicaid programs had to go back to following normal federal rules as of April 1, 2023.

NJ FamilyCare has re-started eligibility reviews. This means that all members enrolled in an NJ FamilyCare program will be reviewed to see if they still qualify for coverage. As part of this review, many members will receive mail from the State of New Jersey or their County Board of Social Services. Members will have to provide or confirm additional information so NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid can decide whether they still qualify for healthcare coverage. Members who do not respond to NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid mail may lose their coverage.

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Passaic Valley Water Commission Holds Community Town Hall Meeting

On Wednesday, June 28, 2023 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Passaic Valley Water Commission will be holding a Paterson Town Hall Meeting at Calvary Baptist Church. The meeting is being held to provide information to Paterson customers. Passaic Valley Water Commission will have representatives, along with the Executive Director, in attendance to provide information on projects of interest such as hydrant flushing, water main replacements, lead service line replacements and new customer service options. All are urged and encouraged to attend.

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Calvary Baptist Church Celebrates 144th Anniversary

The Historic Calvary Baptist Church is turning 144 years old. On June 25, 2023, the church will be celebrating 144 years in existence. The church had a humble beginning in 1872 as the first Black Baptist church in Paterson, New Jersey.  The celebration of the 144th Anniversary will commence on Wednesday, June 21 with The Encounter featuring Rev. Willie Francois. The celebratory events will conclude on June 25, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. with guest preacher Bishop D.A. Sherrod. Come out and join the Historic Calvary Baptist Church in its celebration of turning 144 years old.


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Cookies, Coats & Cocoa 2023

It is that time of year! On Saturday, February 21, volunteers of the Calvary Baptist Church Community Outreach Ministry did their best to make everyone feel warm. The event was Cookies, Coats & Cocoa, a winter clothing give-away for neighbors in need that also featured popular treats for the kids. In all, volunteers gave away 100 coats, which were provided by Operation Warm, a national nonprofit.

In addition to the coats, hot chocolate with all the toppings and cookies, Sheefa Pharmacy was on site to provide COVID 19 vaccinations free of charge. According to the our partner at the New Jersey Department of Health, 11 COVID 19 booster shots were administered.

Cookies, Coats and Cocoa is an annual event hosted by Calvary Baptist Church.

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HCPC III Grant Depression Discussion

The Health Coalition of Passaic County has assembled approximately a half a dozen of community-based and faith-based entities to participate in its 3rd round of grants. The third cycle provides funding to grantees to conduct outreach and provide public health information in the Paterson community to increase awareness/health literacy of mental health issues, particularly depression, anxiety, social isolation, stress and substance misuse. Each month, the Health Coalition of Passaic County will provide its grantees with education seminars around specific topics. For the month of February, there was a presentation on depression, along with the distribution of resource materials to be shared with residents of Paterson.

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Calvary Baptist Church Receives HCPC Grant Phase II

The Health Coalition of Passaic County is a collaboration of 80+ organizations that have come together to serve the residents of the Passaic County. HCPC is dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health. Together, they promote health equity in our communities and serve as the bridge that connects an individual’s needs to community resources by addressing the underlying issues, we can advance health equity so everyone has the opportunity to lead a healthy life.

With the second grant phase, Calvary Baptist Church will work working with HCPC to outreach to vulnerable populations with insufficient access to address COVID 19 vaccination hesitancy by facilitating access to vaccinations in an effort to reach herd immunity.  Additionally, Calvary will be providing public health information to these vulnerable populations on topics that are affected by COVID 19, such as cardiovasular disease, diabetes, mental health and cancer-related illnesses.  The second phase of the grant began on April 15 and concluded on June 15.

Resources from the grant will be posted here: 3 Reasons to Schedule Your COVID 19 Booster, Health Disparities are Driven by Social and Economic Inequities and 2nd Booster Eligibility

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Celebrating 143 years of Glorifying God and Serving Humanity

The Historic Calvary Baptist Church will celebrate its 143rd year in the City of Paterson on June 26, 2022.  The church was established in 1879, two years after Reconstruction, making it the oldest Black Baptist Church in the City of Paterson. In 1879, Rev. Owen K. Simmons came to Paterson for the purpose of organizing a “Colored Baptist church”. He came from Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. In early 1886, the first church building was constructed on Lawrence Street.  After the death of Rev. Simmons, Rev. J.R. Anderson served as the pastor for a short time.  Rev. Anderson was followed by Rev. James Randolph who remained the pastor for six years. In 1919, Rev. Thomas Christian accepted the pastorship of Calvary Baptist Church. Rev. Christian was known as the builder.  Under his leadership, Calvary Baptist Church saw a growth in leadership and a need for expansion. The site on East 18th Street near 12th Avenue was purchased and the structure was erected. Rev. Charles C. Currin became the pastor and leadership of Calvary Baptist Church in 1945. He was preceded by Rev. A. Alfred Watts and Rev. C.T. Wilcher. Rev, Currin served as the pastor for 22 years and significant accomplishments were made during his tenure. After the death of Rev. Currin, Rev. Norman Olphin served as the interim pastor. However, in 1968, Rev. Albert P. Rowe came to Calvary as its pastor and leader.



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Calvary Baptist Church Announces Its Women’s Day 2022 Activities

Calvary Baptist Church is celebrating Women’s Day for the first time since 2019.  Women’s Day is an acknowledgment of another year of praise and worship that God has allowed us to enter. Women’s Day 2022, under the leadership of Deacon Jeanette Lyde, is comprised on several leadership teams working together to bring forth amazing activities and programs to share with Calvary’s congregants and the community-at-large.  The Women’s Day 2022 activities include a An Amazing Encounter Service on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 7:00 p.m., The Amazing Crowns We Wear Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. and culminates in a worship service on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 9:45 a.m. featuring Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, former International President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


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Talena Queen, English Teacher at Eastside High School and Calvary Member, Featured for Her Love First, then School Approach

Talena Lachelle Queen focuses on creating an atmosphere of love in her English writing class at Eastside High School Academy of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism in Paterson.


The teacher and poet says love looks like understanding, kindness, and support in the classroom, especially as her students returned to full-day, in-person instruction this academic year.


By establishing a welcoming environment, students feel comfortable “to confide in me and want to get higher grades because they know they are valuable,” said Queen, a Paterson native who attended a local performing arts high school.


“I got to see dancers have recitals, actors have plays, musicians have shows, and artists have exhibits,” Queen said. “The writers did not have that kind of public showcase of their talent like the other disciplines.”


So when in 2018 she was named the city’s first poet laureate by Mayor Andre Sayegh, she started the first annual Paterson Poetry Festival. The festival is intended to serve and support young emerging poets, she said.


Poetry vibrates throughout Paterson, the hometown of poet Allen Ginsberg and the setting of Williams Carlos Williams’ epic poem named after the city. The city was even at the center of the 2016 movie with its namesake, which followed the life of a fictional bus driver and poet named Paterson.


While the city is brimming with arts and culture , incidents of gun violence and homicides are also a reality. There was a record number of homicides in the city last year and the year before.


The educator didn’t have a straight path to teaching. She started out working in broadcast journalism until she took on her first teaching role in 1998 to run a grant-funded videography class at Passaic County Community College. After that, she ran a preschool and daycare in Seattle, earned her teaching certificate, returned to her hometown, and began teaching at Paterson Public Schools in 2016.


Queen shared with Chalkbeat how she helps her students heal from the last two years, why she loves teaching “science of writing,” and the advice she follows to this day.


This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.


Was there a moment when you decided to become a teacher?

I decided I wanted to be a teacher in kindergarten, but I forgot about that dream while pursuing a career as a writer and journalist. I got back to my dream in time.


How do you bring your poetry background into your classroom?

I bring my poetry background into the whole district. Our superintendent has been supportive in a variety of ways. I host a poetry contest open to grades 3-12. The district is the primary contest source, though it’s open to all students. I host workshops for free. I visit campsites and afterschool programs. It is true that my favorite way is right in my own classroom. I tell the scholars to “make clay.” When they make clay, I can help them to mold their creations. A great thing happens: a scholar will “trust their pen and just write,” they’ll use a style that they think they’ve invented because they haven’t had intentional exposure to poetry, then I show them published poems in the style of their natural inclinations. I tell them the name of what they’ve made. It is incredibly empowering.

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