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Calgary Baptist Church, 80 Years Young
by Pastor McRoberts - Mainstreeter - Summer 1994

"I love to go to church' says 95 year old Mrs Maude Abolit of Bower Street. "This is my church. I'll come as long as I'm able," she adds. Indeed, it is. the only church Mrs Abolit has been a member of in her life. She was one of the founding members of Calvary Baptist Church when it was officially organized as a church in 1915.
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Calvary Baptist's history goes back to the year 1903 when a mission was begun in a tent on a lot at the corner of Main and Hawthorne Streets, later called Ballantyne Park" In September of that same year a community mission was begun across the street in what was then Ottawa City Hall,
on the north east corner. Out of these two efforts, the Ottawa East Baptist Mission was formed.
Then in 1908, the Ottawa Baptist Churches Board -which had formed the previous year to help co-ordinate local mission activity in the Ottawa area purchased a lot at the corner of Main and Evelyn Streets for the Ottawa East Baptist Mission. Soon after a building was erected and the work was carried out by local supply-preachers and student-pastors.
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In 1911, Rev. A. N. Frith became the first regular mission pastor and the work

Then in 1908, the Ottawa Baptist Churches Board which had formed the previous year to help co-ordinate local mission activity in the Ottawa area purchased a lot at the corner of Main and Evelyn Streets for the Ottawa East Baptist Mission.

Soon after a building was erected and the work was carried out by local supply-preachers and student-pastors.

In 1911, Rev. A. N. Frith became the first regular mission pastor and the work flourished under his ministry. By the year 1915 it became apparent that the work was strong enough to be established as a self supporting church. Mrs. Abolit remembers well the day of April 22, 1915, when she and 62 other charter members gathered to officially organize the Ottawa East Baptist Mission as "Calvary Baptist Church." She also can still recall some of the sermons of Rev. G. H. Harber who served as the first pastor until 1921. Over the years Mrs Abolit has seen a number of pastors come and go. All have faithfully preached the Word of God, she affirms.

Pastor Bob McRoberts, the present pastor, notes that there have been only nine senior pastors (there have been summer and youth pastors from time to time) to serve the church during those 80 years. "This testifies well to the strength, stability and affirming nature of the congregation," says Pastor McRoberts.

85 year old Howard Harris, who also has been a member of the church for many years, observes that from its inception, "Calvary Baptist has accentuated the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is still 'the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. "Mr. Harris notes with great joy that: "from its earliest years Calvary Baptist has also been on the forefront in its endeavour to spread the Gospel around the world. Many pastors, missionaries, and spouses of these ambassadors for Christ, have gone out from this church. As well, the church has stood financially and prayerfully behind many others." he remarks.

For many years, Calvary Baptist broadcast a radio program in the Ottawa area.
Calvary Baptist, which takes a strong stand on the inspiration of the Bible, is identified with the "Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada."

The "Vision 2000" movement a year ago recognized this denomination as the fastest growing denomination in Canada during the 1990's.

As one drives past the church at 107 Main Street, the observer might note that the building is not the most impressive of structures. The present building dates to 1910. with major internal renovations completed in 1948, and an addition added along the east side in 1960. But stepping
inside, a person is greeted with warmth and friendliness. The vibrancy and intensity of worship and music followed by clear teaching from the Bible far and away makes up for any lack of outward appearance. One individual recently remarked, referring to the fellowship in worship and teaching in the church, "This is the best kept secret in Ottawa:" The church also serves it soup and sandwich. luncheon) in its lower auditorium each Sunday.

As Mrs Abolit casts her eyes around during a recent morning worship service at CaIvary, she could not help but think how different the texture of the congregation presently is from the year 1915. A mosaic of nations fills the pews: those from the Philippines, Jiunaica,Barbados,
Antigua, Guyana, Brazil, Rumania, Sri Lanka, China, Lebanon, Malaysia, Cambodia, Uganda. A lady from Nigeria, dressed in her colourful native dress leads part of the service. A group of children sings a chorus. The pastor asks where each one was born. Only one names Canada as
her country of birth.

"I'll keep coming as, long as I'm able", says Mrs. Abolit, almost every Sunday, And she'd love to welcome you too. She's looking for someone to beat her record of 80 years in one church.

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