First Calvary observes sesquicentennial
Events continue Sunday to celebrate the church's 150 years
First Calvary Baptist Church, 400 South Long St., continues its 150th anniversary services on Sunday. At the 11 a.m. service, Pastor Leamon E. Brown will speak and the reunion mass choir and Magnify! liturgical dance group will participate in the service. Following dinner, the afternoon program will begin at 3 p.m., led by the Rev. Michael Anthony Long, pastor of Zion Baptist Church of Reidsville and moderator of the 100 member churches of the Rowan Baptist Association. Rev. Long holds a B.A. degree from the UNC-Greensboro, a master of divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School and is currently pursuing the doctor of ministry degree at Duke University Divinity School.
Rev. Leamon E. Brown, present pastor of First Calvary, has served the church since 1978 when he became the assistant pastor, and was installed as pastor in 1984.
Below are excerpts from “A Brief Documented History of First Calvary Baptist Church (formerly Dixonville Baptist Church)” by Dr. Louise Rountree.
There are two accounts of the church’s early beginnings. In an early church history by Mrs. Ada P. Craver, First Calvary Baptist Church, formerly Dixonville Baptist Church, was organized in 1866 under a “brush arbor” with the Reverends Harry Cowan and Zuck Haughton serving as joint pastors. The second account states that the Rowan Baptist Association was organized in 1866 in an old abandoned confederate hospital at Salisbury which was purchased by the Baptists and organized into Dixonville Baptist Church.
Both accounts agree that the first church lot was located on the present site and that a white man by the name of Dixon gave an acre of land for the “development of Colored Freedmen forever,” according to records in the Rowan County Deed Book. The congregation named the first church Dixonville Baptist Church in honor of Mr. Dixon.
Around 1910, with Rev. A. S. Croom as pastor, the first new church — a brick structure — and a parsonage were erected and acreage was purchased for a school site. In 1926, the name of the church was changed from Dixonville Baptist to First Calvary Baptist Church. In the early 1960s a five-acre tract was purchased for new construction; the building was added to in 1967, in 1974 and 1979, and in 1989 the mortgage was burned.