Worship with us!
The Lord has greatly blessed Calvary church with a rich, 80 year history of faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Reformed faith, and the Great Commission that Jesus gave to his church. We have seen thousands come and go, and by God’s grace have sent many on to engage in full time ministry as pastors, teachers, counselors, and missionaries.
Our story began on Sunday, October 4, 1936, when 225 loyal followers of Jesus Christ left the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. at a time when many of the denominational leaders were departing from biblical and historic Presbyterian doctrine. This group, under the leadership of Dr. Robert Strong, met for three years in the American Legion Hall in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. During this time, the church incorporated as Calvary Presbyterian Church, and found a denominational home with the newly formed Orthodox Presbyterian Church. In 1939, the first building on the present property was dedicated.
Dr. Richard Gray served as the second pastor from 1949-1973. Dr. Gray led the church into the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES), in 1964. Under Dr. Gray’s leadership, the Lord blessed Calvary with steady growth, which resulted in the building of a new educational building and sanctuary in 1970.
After Dr. Gray retired, Rev. George Smith was called as the third pastor of Calvary, serving from 1975-1996. In 1983, the RPCES joined with the Presbyterian Church in America – in an event commonly known as “Joining and Receiving,” and Calvary consequently became a part of the PCA at that time. In the very next year (1984), a fire destroyed our Christian Education building. However, the Lord soon blessed us with new facilities, including our gymnasium, which provides a venue for many of our youth activities and a service to many groups in our community. These new buildings were completed in 1986, Calvary's fiftieth anniversary year.
1996 marked our 60th anniversary. And with this milestone came another season of transition for our church. Rev. Smith retired as Senior Pastor after 21 years of faithful service, and Rev. Richard Tyson was installed as our new Senior Pastor in July of 1996. Pastor Tyson is a son of Calvary, and served as Associate Pastor under George Smith prior to becoming the Senior Pastor. Pastor Tyson served Calvary for 20 years, continuing the legacy of faithfulness and longevity in ministry laid down his predecessors.
Calvary has also been blessed over the years with several faithful Associate Pastors, including Rev. Jeff Hutchinson, Rev. Gregg MacDougall, and Rev. Jay Scharfenberg. And this is not to mention the multitudes of elders and deacons, lay ministry leaders, and seminary students who have dedicated countless hours of service to the glory of God and the good of his people here in Willow Grove!
The year 2016 – our 80th anniversary year – brought with it another season of transition for our beloved church. In March 2016, Calvary called Jon Bonomo as Associate Pastor. Pastor Tyson then retired in April, after 20 years of faithful service. And then, Pastor Mike Sharrett was called as our Interim Pastor in July, to lead us while we seek the Lord's will in providing for us our next Senior Pastor.
God truly has been faithful to Calvary over the years. Hundreds of people have been brought to Christ. Scores of missionaries and seminary students have worshiped here. Many of her sons and daughters have entered full-time Christian ministry. Many others have taken the love and truth of Christ into their spheres of influence with courage and great fruitfulness. As we enter this new season of our life together as a Body, we look to the past only to fuel our gratitude, while we look forward with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
Come join us!