Seven-Score and Strong

DSCN0910Today marks a special anniversary.  The year was 1875.  Ulysses S. Grant was President of the 37 United States of America.  It was a year before Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, three years before the invention of the carbon microphone and four years before Thomas Edison’s patent for the light bulb.  It was also the year that 1st Swedish Baptist Church of Boston was founded.

“On January 16, 1875, fifteen people gathered at the home of Pastor Johanson at 48 Shawmut Avenue and organized the First Swedish Baptist Church of Boston, Massachusetts.”  Ebba Johnson, A History of Calvary Baptist Church; p. 2

Much about the church has changed in the last 140 years – we’ve met in three buildings and ministered under three names, we’ve had 20 men called as pastors and 9 serve as interim, and we’ve had people from more backgrounds and upbringings than we can list.  The styles and the technologies used to reach people have changed – we have available to us video projectors, digital music and social media outlets – and I sometimes wonder what someone like Albertina Bergman Hanson (the woman who, in 1869, started the work now known as Calvary Community Church) would think regarding what we’ve become.

Then I read passages of Scripture like these:

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). John 1:41 (NIV)

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45 (NIV)

Andrew and Philip met Jesus and immediately told someone else.  Albertina and Frank Hanson met Jesus and immediately opened their house to their fellow Swedes to tell them about Him.  Every Sunday people from a variety of circumstances meet Jesus and bring their friends and family to meet Him, too.  While things change, things stay the same.

Sure, the letterhead, the address, the style and the faces of the congregation change, but the message and the ministry remain the same.  We still proclaim that we all, like sheep, have gone astray; we all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory.  We still proclaim that God’s love is unending, without limit and is best demonstrated in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us; that Jesus of Nazareth – son of Joseph, Son of God and Son of Man – is the Messiah.  We still proclaim that every single human being must give an account to God for all that they have done and that there are only two possible means of reconciliation – either we accept Jesus’ death as a payment of our debts or we accept the punishment ourselves and pay for our debts through eternal separation from God.  These things never change, because God never changes.

May God continue to bless Calvary – and all His people who gather together in places big and small – with power and peace, with hope and health, and with love and life.

We, as a church, owe a debt of gratitude to these men of faith – and their families – for shepherding God’s flock with such grace:

Lauritz Johanson  1875-1878

Olaf Lindh  1879-1879

Axel Tjernlund  1880 -1885

Erik Lundin  1885-1886

Olaf Lindh  1887-1888

Axel Tjernlund  1888-1897

Alfred Lindberg  1897-1910

O. Backlund 1910-1915

G. Oster 1915-1919

Herman Litoran  1920-1924

J. Martin 1924-1927

George Ferre  1928-1931

G. Oster 1931-1938

A. Fernlund 1938-1951

Alan Olsson 1951-1957

George MacNeill  1957-1964

Stanley Anderson  1965-1968

David Frenchak  1968-1976

James D. Smith III  1977-1984

John Ensor  1985-1989

Colby Swan  1990-1996

Michael Ferrini  1997-


One response

  1. Marie Pereto-Hedin | Reply

    Hard to believe I have been pastored by nine of these men, met another, and am distantly related to yet another. God has chosen to give us many gifted and caring men, with talents far greater than we asked for or deserved. Happy Birthday, Calvary Community Church!

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