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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CALVARY REFORMED CHURCH

CALVARY REFORMED CHURCH

CALVARY REFORMED CHURCH, 1920 W. 65th St., developed from the Second Reformed Church, which was established to permit the Dutch-speaking members to hold services in their own neighborhood. The church was officially organized in 1890, and the first pastor, Rev. A. Westveer, was installed. Services were conducted in a chapel on College Ave. and W. 61st St. for the next 20 years. In 1910, a parsonage and a new church building were erected at the current (1995) location. Services were in Dutch in the morning and in English in the evening.

In 1914, the name of the church was changed to Calvary Reformed, as the membership wanted it known that English was also spoken in the services, feeling that the classification of "Dutch" prevented others from becoming interested. In 1918 the morning service was likewise changed to English. However, the changing neighborhood and the exodus of members to the suburbs, while depriving the mother church of some of its members, created 3 new churches: Riverside Reformed, Brooklyn Reformed, and Parkview Reformed. By 1954 it was evident that the increasingly mobile neighborhood needed a community church. It was at this point that Calvary Reformed became a place for exposure and training for young missionaries from all over the U.S.

In 1969 the church burned down, and for the next 9 months Calvary attempted a triple-service relationship with Bethany Presbyterian and St. Luke's Episcopal. In 1972 a new building was dedicated. A variety of new programs were instituted in response to community needs: a food co-op, a music school, a preschool, nutrition programs, Cub Scouts, and a youth club. In 1980 Pastor Mike Weber was installed, and the ministry of the church came to a realization that it was a "community" church for a neighborhood that was ethnically diverse. In 1990 the church celebrated its 100th anniversary, as Calvary continued to expand its community-service programs with the addition of Alcoholics Anonymous counseling and school tutoring. In 1995, the congregation had 65 members.


History of Calvary Reformed Church (1995), WRHS.