When 100 people gathered in the Brown Proctor Hotel ballroom on September 9th, 1973, they laid a foundation that has carried Calvary Christian Church through more than three decades of service for the Lord. From 33 members then to nearly 1000 weekly attenders today, Calvary has become a strong spiritual force in the Winchester community and in the world through our missions and outreach efforts.
Larry Oetzel was the church planter and first fulltime minister of our church. He and the original members of the church served, gave, and loved sacrificially. Within three years of the first meeting, the congregation was supporting itself financially and planning for the construction of their own facility.
In 1975, the congregation purchased seven acres of land on Redwing Drive - where the facility is still located to this day. Construction of a new building was begun in 1976. The congregation continued to meet at the hotel until it was closed in August, 1976. Services were then held at Hannah McClure and Shearer schools until the new facility was completed. The first service at 15 Redwing Drive was held June 5, l977. During this time the church family demonstrated a resiliency, dertermination, and devotion that enabled them to overcome every obstacle.
As Calvary continued to grow, volunteer work crews from Mt. CarmelChristian Church in Decatur, Georgia, and Southland Christian Church in Lexington came to Winchester in the summer of 1982 to build two educational wings on the existing facility. The wings were necessary to accomodate the growing numbers who were coming to call Calvary their spiritual home.
Larry Oetzel was called to Louisville Bible College in July 1983 to become Business Administrator. In September, Calvary's congregation selected Truman Whitaker as senior minister. During Whitaker's seven-year tenure, Calvary expanded its outreach ministry with missions work in Mexico and establishment of the A.A. Pregnancy Care Center in Winchester.
In March 1991, Dale Adams began a fourteen-year term as senior minister at Calvary. Under Dale's leadership, the church grew and experienced unprecedented effectiveness in ministry and mission. During this time of phenomenal growth, several staff members were added.
In the church's 25th anniversary year (June, 1998), ground was broken to add a 24,000 square foot sanctuary seating 950 and a 10,000 square foot family life center, which includes a full-size basketball court and a loft. The church moved into these facilities in 1999, and again experienced rapid growth.
In 2004,Calvary purchased 47.5 acres at 1171 Boonesboro Road to provide opportunities for future expansion. The property is now called "The Path," and features a 1.5 mile walking trail. The trail is open from dawn to dusk everyday, and is nearly always bustling with activity. It is also used for many fellowship events, fundraisers, and flag football practices! We continue to believe that the property will play a significant role in the future of our church.
Dale Adams moved on to a new phase of life and ministry in December of 2004, making much of 2005 a year of transition for the church. This period of time was one of the most difficult of Calvary's 35 years. A number of families left the church for other opportunities - and the overall attendance at Calvary declined by more than 30%.
After a 9 month search, Brian Walton assumed the role of senior minister in September of 2005. Since that time, Calvary has been undergoing a process of re-alignment and renewed focus on mission and ministry.
We have seen a great deal of growth over the years; growth in spirit, growth in service, growth in relationships, and growth in numbers. Much to our delight, many of the families who left the church in 2004/2005 have returned and are finding a revitalized spiritual community. We are excited about what God is doing - and invite you to check us out and see for yourself!