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Calvary Baptist Church, 623 Village Road in Shallotte, will celebrate its 50th anniversary (1961-2011) at its 10:45 a.m. service Sunday, Feb. 27. The community is invited to attend. A covered dish luncheon will follow the service.
Early history of Calvary Baptist Church
In the early 1960s, a small group of dedicated Christians left the north end of Shallotte to seek God’s will in their lives. After searching around the area for about a year, 19 men and women met on a wintry day in the home of Shimer and Lydia Hewett on Feb. 10, 1961. They met there to discuss the possibility of organizing and building a church home in which to worship.
A decision was made to meet as a Sunday school class in the old American Legion hut at McMilly on March 5. The first teachers were Cora Frink, Lydia Hewett and Clara Holden. They began worshipping as “The Shallotte Mission” in a home owned by Mr. Starling and Mrs. Bessie Hewett.
They later purchased a small plot of land on Village Road, at the current location from the Ward family. No debt was incurred as the reasonable buying price was paid in full. W.D. (Waynsie) Evans, S.H. (Starling) Hewett and J.D. (Dawson) Lewis were elected as its trustees. On Oct. 11 that year, Calvary was chosen for its new name.
On Oct. 15, groundbreaking ceremonies took place with a service at the site. Moderator Dawson Lewis presided with scripture and prayer offered by the Rev. Mark Owens. A message was given by associational missionary Margaret McRacken, with additional remarks by the Rev. Leo Cannon.
Shortly thereafter, on Oct. 30, the foundation was poured for the first phase of the building and work began on a sanctuary, three classrooms, furnace room and two bathrooms. Volunteers did much of the work.
On Dec. 10, the first deacons were elected. They were Woodrow Russ, Shimer Hewett and Wilbur Holden. The charter was granted and the doors of the church were opened to receive new members on Dec. 13, 1961. It was resolved among those attending to allow the charter to remain open until the first Sunday in June 1962. The Rev. Mark Owens preached the sermon for this gathering and exhorted the members of the newly organized church to exercise faith in the ongoing ministry of the young mission’s location. By the end of that first Sunday in June, 35 members had signed their names and this list was accepted as the official list of charter members at Calvary.
Throughout the past 50 years, Calvary has ministered to hundreds of local folks and strangers alike.
Calvary has had 10 full-time pastors, two interims, and one intentional interim to shepherd members throughout these years. It should be noted that only four of the charter members are living. As far as can be determined, only three of the former pastors have gone on to be with their Lord.