Our History


One Hundred Years of Service

Calvary Baptist church began in 1910 as a Sunday School sponsored by members of First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa.

The first meetings were held in the homes of Mr. and Mrs. John J. Davenport and Mr. and Mrs. W. Z. Jones. The first house of worship was built by Mr. F. W. Monnish as a memorial to his son, Sage.

On January 1, 1911, The Sage A. Monnish Memorial Baptist Church was organized with seventy-seven (77) charter members.

 The Reverend John Henry Barber served as the first pastor from 1911 to 1913. He was succeeded by:

  • Reverend L. T. Reeves: 1913-1919

  • Reverend E. L. Edens: 1919-1922

  • Reverend Judson R. Martin: 1922-1927

  • Reverend A. D. Kennett: 1928-1933

During 1925 there was both growth and tragedy.

Three additional lots were donated by Mrs. F. W. Monnish and construction began on a new building. Mr. W. H. Nichols served as chairman of the building committee and Mr. H. A. Edwards, Sr. as treasurer. At this time, upon the request of the Monnish family, the name of the church was changed to Calvary Baptist Church.

On December 5, 1925,  both the old and almost completed new building were destroyed by fire. Plans were made immediately to rebuild. The new sanctuary was completed and the first service was held exactly one year later on December 5, 1926.

Dr. Horace G. Williams served as pastor from 1933 until his retirement in March, 1960. He was elected Pastor Emeritus and served in this position until his death in 1982.

Dr. Allan R. Watson came to Calvary as pastor in 1960 and served until his retirement in October, 1984. He was elected Pastor Emeritus in 1987.

Calvary has demonstrated mission commitment through church starting and assistance both locally and worldwide:

  • Forest Lake Baptist began as a Mission Sunday School sponsored by Calvary.

  • South Highlands Baptist Church, 1952

  • Ridgecrest Baptist Church, 1957

  • Skyland Boulevard Baptist Church, 1962

  • Lakeview Baptist Church

  • Assistance to Lakeside Mission, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Assistance to Wood Village Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa

  • Assistance to Baptist Church in Quaquil, Ecuador

Dr. Timothy L. Owings served as pastor from April 1986 through April 1990. Under his leadership Calvary completely renovated the educational buildings and upgraded parking. 

In January 1991, Dr. Bruce G. Chesser was called as the 9th pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. He lead Calvary until 2003. Great advances were made to both the buildings and ministry of Calvary.

In August 2004, Dr. Walter Jackson was called as the tenth Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. Under his leadership, improvements were made to Calvary's facilities and an additional hour of both worship and small groups were added.

In 2009, Calvary called our current pastor, Dr. Tim Lovett. In just two years, Calvary has been invigorated with a renewed sense of purpose and direction to serve our community and bring God's love to our broken world.

In January of 2011, we celebrated our centennial birthday with worship, service, and reflection. We are looking forward to the next 100 years of ministry to Tuscaloosa and the world.

The tornado of April 27, 2011 brought a new era of ministry to Calvary. In response to the destruction of sections of our city, Calvary lived out the story of God in our community in new ways. As a body, we were changed by this season of ministry, and we have committed to continuing to this level of service to our city.

While our history is bright we are convinced that our greatest days are yet to come.

What We Believe

An All-inclusive Community of Loving People Living Out the Story of God