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Calvary Baptist Church

Photo taken December 15, 2003 • © 2003 John A. Bullock III.

Contact Information:


1616 W. 2nd St.
Chester, PA 19013

Phone (610) 874-6717
Fax (610) 874-8836
Click here to visit Calvary Baptist Church's website

Current Service Schedule

Hour of Power 8:00 a.m.
Intercessory Prayer 9:00 a.m.
Sunday School 9:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship 10:45 a.m.
Weekday Services
Prayer & Bible Study
12:00 p.m.
Mid-Week Prayer & Bible Study (Wednesday) 7:00 p.m.

Special Outreach Ministries:

• Weekly Feeding Program
• Missionary Outreach
(Responding to emergency family needs)
• Coordinator of the Chester Area National Day of Prayer Task Force (Task Force comprises representatives of a host of churches throughout Chester and Surrounding Community)
•Women's Fellowship Sponsored Nutritional Education Programs
• Member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birmingham Letter Steering Committee
(Recognizing that Dr. King studied and trained for ministry at Crozer Chester Seminary and Calvary Baptist Church - This Steering Committee brought urban/suburban Clergy and leaders together to enter into a Covenant of Community and Brotherhood to work on achieving, in The City of Chester and surrounding areas, the hope and changes Dr. King challenged us to in his "Letter From Birmingham Jail".
• Host of Community Peace Movement Activities following 911
• Member of Chester Ministerial Alliance

Calvary Baptist is in its 125th year of serving the city of Chester and surrounding areas.


Calvary Baptist continues to be blessed with dynamic spiritual leadership by Reverend Dr. Bayard S. Taylor, Jr. who was called to pastor Calvary in June, 2000. Dr. Taylor came to Calvary with the ability to minister not only in the church but also in the community. Dr. Taylor is equipping laity for ministry through enhancing the Christian Education and Evangelism ministries.

Under Dr. Taylor's pastorate Calvary Baptist Church continues to have a strong presence in the City of surrounding communities: Calvary founded and is Coordinator of The Chester Area National Day of Prayer Task Force which comprises representatives of a host of churches in the area; Member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birmingham Letter Steering Committee; Member of the Chester Ministerial Alliance, and Host of many Community Peace Movement Activities.


Former Pastors  |  Church History  |   Membership Directory


If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about the history of this church, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

Former Pastors:  
Rev. Samuel Christian
Rev. W. R. Burrill
Rev. John W. Thompson (Fall 1893 for 7 years, 7 months until 1901)
Rev. Milton Sparks (April 7, 1903 - 1906 - ?) [Biography & Picture]
Rev. Joshua W. Moore
Rev. J. R. Bennett
Rev. Ernest B. Morris
Rev. J. Pius Barbour
Rev. J. Pius Barbour

Photo from the Delaware County Daily Times
January 16, 1989

Rev. Dr. Joseph Pius Barbour (over 40 years, 1934-1974)

"The Pastor who had the longest tenure was Reverend Dr. J. Pius Barbour who served 1934-1974. Dr. Barbour during his pastorate served as an elected delegate to the Baptist World Alliance in Copenhagen, Denmark and the World Assembly of Churches in Amsterdam. He also served for 20 years as the editor of the National Baptist Voice, the official voice of the National Baptist Convention. During his pastorate Dr. Barbour mentored, and provided preaching and teaching opportunities in Calvary for the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. who was attending the Crozer Theological Seminary. Today a nationally known marker stands in front of the Calvary Baptist Church noting the three years Dr. King spent in the Chester Community and the Calvary Baptist Church family. " - 1

Rev. Dr. Wallace Smith (12 years)
Rev. Kirk Byron Jones (? - 1989 - ?)
Rev. Dr. Bayard S. Taylor, Jr.; Photo couresty of Calvary Baptist Church Rev. Dr. Bayard S. Taylor, Jr. (June 2000 - Present, 2003)

Church History: During his three-year career at Crozer Theological Seminary, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. actively participated in Calvary Baptist Church as a Sunday school teacher and preached on occasion.

The following history of Calvary Baptist Church was provided by the church in August 2003:

Calvary Baptist Church was organized in 1879 by a small group of freed slaves who migrated from Louisa County, Virginia.

The one building which housed worship services, educational programs, community meetings, choir rehearsals, etc. has expanded to include an additional Education Building, expanded lots, a parking lot, and a parsonage.

Calvary Baptist has always had a significant presence in the City of Chester and surrounding communities through not only developing spiritual maturity in its members, but also ministering the Love of Jesus in our community.

The following "Brief History of Calvary Baptist Church" is taken from the Home Directory of the Colored People of Chester, 1906 compiled by Lawrence L. Barrett & C. I. Wilson. This reference is available at the DCHS research library.

Twenty-three years had marked the struggles of the Calvary Baptist Church. It was some time during the close of the above period when they extended a call to the present pastor, Rev. Milton N. Sparks. The church then numbered not more than fifty, if that number could be found. There was much to regret that expressed itself. Her people had lost confidence in leadership and declared openly that God was not for them, Etc. By God's help, after much prayer, the charge or call was accepted. There was nothing to give inspiration by them who had gone before. In fact, there was a building, but no church. Entering this house, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached. Gradually the people, with difficulty, came, one and two at a time, giving aid and receiving the same spiritually. The revival spirit did much of the successful work in our present church. Now we have a membership of 200, a Sunday School of 65 in attendance, a well established system in perfecting church business, a body organized and adapted in all its parts to a common end.

Improvements- Front and rear chapel sidewalks, cemented basement floors, water and improved toilet arrangements, and last but not least, our parsonage. All this work was manifested in the four years' struggle of the present pastor. Not I, but Christ.

The present officers and officials are as follows:

Deacons- George Fitzgerald, William Grasty, Landon Corbin, John Banks, Adam Dolman

Trustees- J. Wesley Townesley, treasurer; Lemuel Lee Washington Grimes, James L. Smith, Charles Little.

Church Clerk - Mrs. Harriett Townesley

Sunday School Sunday Superintendent - Peter Brown.

B.U.P.U. - Preston Carter, President

Sexton - Mrs. Lydia Corbin


Many thanks to the following for providing additional information for this page:

1 - Calvary Baptist Church, Chester, PA

© 2001, 2003 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 02/24/07