A few years back my husband and I traveled to Alexandria, VA for my high school reunion. One thing I wanted to do while we were in Virginia was to visit my old childhood church, Calvary Presbyterian. I even wanted to gather together the kids who had been in my confirmation class to attend church together one Sunday while we were there. Two of the women, Carolyn and Ruth, from my confirmation class, agreed to go to church with me, while one of the men, Lee, from our class still attended church there.
Later that year, Carolyn, sent me a DVD of the history for Calvary. After WW II, many servicemen, home from the military moved into the area, starting families in what became this suburb of Washington D.C. There was one elementary school (Mount Eagle Elementary) in the area; and no church. One family with children, however, did go to church every Sunday. To do so, they had to travel outside of the area every Sunday, and soon realized that the many other children in our area didn’t have a church. So, they took it upon themselves to begin a Sunday school in their home. No surprise that before long there were so many children attending, and that they had to move the Sunday school to Mount Eagle Elementary.
Others in in the community took note and they saw a need for their own church building. This group acquired land and soon completed a basement. The Sunday school, and the fledgling Church, met there, and in the school, for many years, before eventually completing the main, brick building and sanctuary. During this time the church had several Pastors with the Rev. McPherson serving the congregation the longest.
This service at the church was a special homecoming for me, as we sang many old hymns, which I love. Then, after the service we met in the basement for refreshments. I had to laugh to myself when I noticed the basement had the same brown floor tiles (which by the way, my older brother, Jay, moped when he was the church janitor some 5o years previously).
When my youngest brother, Wayne, was a Cub Scout in 1961 or '62 he was a member of the pack at Calvary. My dad was one of the leaders. My brother wanted his little friend to join the troop, but his friend was black. Being in the non-integrated South at the time, the other pack leaders refused to let my brother’s friend join. So my dad and brother changed to a different pack and and the friend joined with them.
During this visit, to Calvary, I saw that the church now has about a 50-50 mix of white members and black members. It is wonderful how times have changed.
Recently I found in my parent’s belongings a sermon written by our beloved pastor, Rev. McPherson. (I have been sorting my parent’s belongings since 2003 when my dad passed away (my mom passed away two years before my dad)). The sermon text I read really didn’t teach the gospel and wasn’t what I would call an inspiring sermon, but I knew the love of Jesus in that church, and from that pastor. I’m sure other sermons would include the gospel, as I knew what I believed as a child but not why I believed it. That came later when I began to study the Bible in Bible Study Fellowship and Precepts Bible Study.
Next blog I’ll write about women pastors and women in combat in the military.