Calvary Baptist Church of Santa Barbara had its beginning from prayer meetings held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Whited at 1511 San Andres Street. A few weeks later a Sunday School was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cooper on East Sola Street, with 17 adults and 10 children in attendance. That first meeting was held on January 6, 1935.
On February 13, 1935, the church was organized and given its name, and the Recreation Center on the corner of Carrillo and Anacapa Streets was used for services. The church purchased the corner lot at Chino and West Islay Streets in August 1935, with a vision to purchase four lots adjacent to the church and two more in the 800 block of West Islay Street to be used for a parking lot.
Dr. Benjamin Goodfield was called on September 26, 1935 to minister to the newly organized Calvary Baptist Church. The church members themselves did most of the construction of the sanctuary, which was completed and dedicated on December 1, 1935.
At the close of World War II, many young veterans used their government-financed education (G.I. bill) to come to Santa Barbara and attend Westmont College. Their young families were an important addition to our congregation and many of the veterans became pastors and missionaries. A good number of Westmont professors and their families were regular attenders and filled many positions, shared their musical talents, and taught classes. Among the Westmont professors who attended Calvary Baptist Church were Dr. Charles Ryrie, John Lundberg, John Hubbard, Dr. John Page, Dr. Frank Hieronymus, Dr. Richard Cramer and Dr. Ira Rapson.
Young adults met each Sunday evening at the corner of State and East Carrillo Streets for singing and sharing of their testimonies. Fridays were community-visiting nights. A library was started in 1946 with Miss Ruth Mosier as the first librarian, and an organ was purchased in 1951.
The Pioneer Girls program began in 1954 and Christian Services Brigade for the boys began two years later. Many neighborhood children attended these Christ-centered programs.
The church’s Men’s Brotherhood began its drive to help found the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission at the corner of State & East Yanonali Streets, a ministry that continues to this day.
With the church’s growth came major additions to the church: the upstairs Primary Department, a large social hall, a kitchen, a church office, a new sanctuary, and an education building and basement.
The church’s association was maintained in the Southern California Baptist Association. Beginning in 1943, support was given for the newly founded Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society (CBFMS). In 1956, the church was officially affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Association of America.
In the fall of 1970, Calvary became the host church to Bible Study Fellowship International women’s and children’s classes. These classes still meet here on Thursday mornings, a 43-year partnership.
In 1988, the AWANA children’s program was organized at Calvary and continues to this day.
In January 1992, the Christian Education building was renamed Sizer Hall and dedicated to the faithful service of the Sizer family.
Calvary’s Hispanic ministry began in 1999, spearheaded by the Leadership Council in cooperation with the Southern California Conservative Baptist Association. Associate Pastor Rolman Mazariegos and his wife Patsy lead the Hispanic ministry and have been instrumental in building a vibrant and growing Hispanic congregation that includes a leadership team, cell groups, evangelistic outreaches, and many opportunities for fellowship.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Calvary has embraced the use of the latest technologies and social media tools in order to reach the church family, the city, and the world with the Gospel message. From websites to podcasts, Facebook to YouTube, Calvary is keeping up with the changing times to share our God’s unchanging Word.
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Calvary Baptist Church | 736 W. Islay Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 | 805-569-0508