History of Calvary Lutheran Church

Buffalo Street Location

 

Concord was without a Lutheran congregation until 1843 when the Lutherans at the Coldwater union church left to establish St. James Lutheran in Concord.  In the early part of the twentieth century, Concord was experiencing growth, and the US Census showed a population of 8,715.  In 1912, St. James Lutheran and their pastor, Dr. Charles Peter MacLaughlin, realized a need for a new Lutheran church in northern Concord. Dr. MacLaughlin and a group of faithful began holding services every other Sunday afternoon. Their goal came to fruition on March 30, 1913 as Calvary Lutheran Church was officially organized with 36 Charter Members.

From the time of organizing in 1913, until Calvary’s first church facility was completed in 1921, Calvary met in a small framed building owned by Locke Cotton Mill. 

In 1918 under Pastor Charles H. Day, a Gothic Revival church building was designed by Charlotte architect Louis H. Asbury, and the first service was held there on November 20, 1921 during the administration of Pastor Moses L. Kester.  This original Calvary church building remains standing today at the corner of Spring and Buffalo Streets.

Lake Concord Road Location

 

In 1914, Calvary began sharing pastors with St. Andrews Lutheran Church which had been organized on West Depot Street (now named Cabarrus Avenue West) in 1893.  Calvary withdrew in 1928 and became self-supporting with Pastor Frederick Speagle. 

Lack of funds after church construction forced the use of temporary furnishings until 1938 when permanent pews and chancel furniture were installed.  Calvary was debt free by February of 1939.

Pastor Paul B. Cobb was serving Calvary in 1946 when a new detached fellowship building called the Hut was constructed.

The Reverend Walter N. Yount became Pastor in June of 1951, and a new era at Calvary was chartered. Overcrowding was to the point that it could no longer be ignored, and Concord’s northward growth seemed like the right direction for Calvary to move. In February of 1952, the congregation of Calvary Lutheran Church, a church with little money but tons of faith, voted unanimously to relocate to that area. A “For Sale” sign was placed on the church building, and a Building Committee was selected.  Dr. R. Brown McAllister served as an Advisor to the Building Committee.

Property on Concord Lake Road was purchased and John R. Hartlege Associates of Salisbury was chosen as Architect.  In September of 1952 Calvary approved the plans for a colonial design 400 seat church facility at an estimated cost of $100,000.

Construction on Calvary Concord Lake Road kicked off in May of 1953 with a groundbreaking officiated by Dr. F. L. Conrad, President of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod.  During the construction of the steeple, it was discovered that the bell from Buffalo Street was too large, and Pastor Yount then negotiated a trade for the historic Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute bell which had been silent for more than 20 years. That same bell which once called Lutheran ministerial students to their classes continues today, over 150 years later, to call Lutheran worshipers to Calvary.

On February 28, 1954, a pleasant Concord Sunday morning, members of Calvary Lutheran Church gathered on the lawn of the new church facility for the first service. Bumgarner Construction Company presented the church keys to Floyd Ramseur, Building Committee Chairman, who in turn passed the keys to Pastor Yount who then unlocked the huge entrance doors as he said, “I was glad when they said unto me” to which the congregation responded, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

November 1971 brought about the end of an era as Pastor Yount announced his resignation.  He remains as Calvary’s longest serving pastor.  Just as one era ends, a new one begins. In 1972, the congregation voted unanimously to call The Reverend Leonard H. Bolick, a recent seminary graduate from Blowing Rock.    Pastor Bolick would later become Bishop of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod in 1997.

Space and design problems begin to surface in 1982 and extensive renovations were undertaken.  This work was completed just as the Reverend John E. Boyd, Jr. accepted a call to Calvary in April of 1985.

 At a surprise 80th birthday party for Pastor Emeritus Dr. Walter Yount in 1985, it was announced that the Fellowship Hall would forever more be known as the Yount Fellowship Hall, and a portrait of Dr. Yount was displayed on its wall.  This same portrait hangs in our current fellowship hall which continues to honor Dr. Yount’s memory as the Yount Fellowship Hall.

Bradley Street Location

 

By the 1990’s Calvary Lake Concord Road had become land-locked, and a Long Range Planning endeavor was begun.  In 1994 the church voted to seek a new church site and a purchaser for the Lake Concord Road facility.  Calvary announced in 1997 that the Lake Concord Road facility had been sold to Northeast Medical Center (now CMC-NE) and Calvary had acquired 12.5 acres at the intersection of Branchview Drive and Bradley Street. Griffin Associates Architects and the Calvary Future Committee began designing a 24,000 square foot facility.

A service of groundbreaking was held in March 1998, officiated by Dr. Leonard Bolick, Bishop of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod, and Dr. John Boyd. With the turn of dirt using the same shovel used in 1953, Calvary’s new building program was underway.  Graham Construction of Concord was awarded the construction contract in September 1998.

The first service in the new Bradley Street facility was held on March 05, 2000.  After a Closing Service of Decommissioning at the Lake Concord Road facility, the congregation processed on foot to the new church building for the opening worship service. A service of Holy Communion and Dedication was held on March 19, 2000.  Dr. Leonard H. Bolick, Bishop of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod, preached that afternoon to the 519 folks in attendance. 

The footprint of Calvary Lake Concord Road is now buried below an asphalt parking lot at CMC – NE near the helicopter pad.  Calvary’s canopy of giant and sturdy oak trees survives today and points toward the heavens in memory of the 46 years Calvary faithfully served God from that spot.

The Harold Black Picnic Shelter was added to the campus in 2005 followed by the Steere Outdoor Chapel in 2008 while Reverend Bill Milholland was pastor.

In March 2012, just a few days short of Calvary’s ninety-ninth year of organization, the Reverend Doctor Deborah L. Frye of Hickory, NC became the new pastor at Calvary. 

Dr. Frye continues to lead us as we serve our Lord and serve our community.

CENTENNIAL HISTORY BOOK

The Calvary Lutheran 1913 – 2013 Centennial History is about ready to print. One complimentary copy will be provided to each Calvary family if requested below. If you wish to have additional copies for family members, friends, etc., those copies may be reserved for $4 each.

Order forms are available at the Welcome Center.  You may also contact the church office to order.

Remember Calvary Lutheran history, like all history, is very important because we can’t know where we are going if we don’t know where we have been.