"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."
-70 years of walking the Path-
Calvary’s first real home was downtown at the intersection of 4th and Cedar Streets—a former church and funeral home! But the work of the church went far beyond the walls of a building. One of Calvary’s early commitments was to team up with missionaries all over the world to share the gospel with people of other cultures.
Fifty years ago the congregation took a leap of faith over a barrier and purchased six acres outside of town—actually “too far out” in the judgment of some. No one would drive that far. People made sacrifices and signed personal notes to help build a new church home—at 2900 Mulberry. In 1975, Calvary built a gym to accommodate an expanded children’s ministry.
Ten years later the office area was constructed and in 1994 the major wing to the west was completed.
For the next decade, we enjoyed expanded facilities and recognized the great resource we had to share both with our congregation and the community. The terrorist events of 9/11 in 2001 seemed to change our world forever. We realized anew, the critical need to share the love of God both at home and abroad, We developed a new focus on our global outreach. At home, we commissioned several families in the work of church planting in Iowa City.
Growth is not just about numbers. But by 2002, increasing numbers certainly affected available space on Mulberry. Our weekend worship attendance had increased by an average of 10% for each of the previous seven years. Our children’s and adult ministries were out of room. We used the parking lots of neighbors and on street parking extended a couple of blocks in either direction.
God led us to relocate once again. In 2003, we purchased the Hilltop Plaza—22 acres at the intersection of US Highway 61 and Iowa Highway 38. We retrofitted the former Shopko building at the west end for worship and children’s ministry and secured a portion of the old Econofoods building at the east end for student ministries.
On June 24, 2013, our facility was hit by a tornado. We spent an entire summer worshipping in an enormous tent in the parking lot. It was a defining moment for Calvary as we realized both the temporal nature and also the value of a solid, weather-protected building. And in the middle of the two-year adventure of rebuilding and remodeling, we learned to be flexible.
With seventy years behind us, and perhaps another seventy before us, we remain committed to connecting people with God.