History of Calvary Burlington
In 1856 a group of people at Park Street Baptist Church in Hamilton (later to be known as James Street Baptist Church) sensed that God was calling them to lay the foundations for a new church. The Baptist Church at Wellington Square was planted in Burlington that year, and it became a separate and distinct church in 1861. This is the church that would later be known as Calvary Baptist Church.
Calvary’s first church home was at the corner of Ontario & Locust Streets, the building where L’Eglise St Philippe now meets. It was very exciting for the church members to set down roots in the centre of Burlington!
Long before we were "loving God, loving people and serving the world” Calvary was known by the phrase "We Preach Christ Crucified.” These words, taken from 1 Corinthians 1:23, were written across the front of the sanctuary and printed in the weekly newspaper to advertise our services. At a time when some churches were watering down the Gospel message to make it more palatable, Calvary proudly advertised, "We Preach the Old Gospel. We Sing the Old Hymns!” And while that advertising slogan might not bring people running through our doors today, it shows that Calvary has a rich heritage of godly men and women who were committed to sharing the true and living Saviour with the people who lived in the city of Burlington.
From Sunday morning and evening services, to spearheading tent revivals and mission work, Calvary has always strived to have a relevant ministry and to meet the needs of the people. When the Depression hit in the 1930s, Calvary held weekly meetings to pray for those who were unemployed. The numbers of visitors skyrocketed, and those who found employment did not forget the compassion that was shown to them. Many took the opportunity to write letters back to the church to express their gratitude.
Lack of space became a hindrance to the work of Calvary. The old church building was inadequate to meet the needs of the growing congregation. There was no church-owned parking lot, and we were hemmed in on every side by residential properties. In 1951 the entire church structure was raised up and a basement dug out from beneath the building, and a small extension was added to the church. The church carried on, but soon it became apparent that the renovation had only delayed the inevitable.
In October 1959 Calvary Baptist Church began a Sunday School Class at Mountain Gardens School on Mountainside Drive. On April 28, 1960 The Burlington Gazette ran an article about Calvary Baptist Church and in it the church was described as "showing great enterprise” because we had "cast our gaze to the north” at a time when the downtown area was becoming overcrowded. In that article, long-time pastor Reverend John Roberts was quoted as saying that it is difficult to predict the result of such a plan, but many churches have begun from such humble facilities.
In 1968 Calvary moved to our present location at 2458 St Frances Drive. Since that time the church has thrived under the leadership of godly Pastors. In December 2012 Pastor Aaron Groat became the Senior Pastor and continues to model and teach what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
We have a long history in Burlington. We honour the past but we aren’t stuck there. Instead we are excited about what God is doing in our city today. We are thrilled to be a part of our community and we look forward to what God has next for Calvary Burlington!