Some Mt. Calvary history
It all started when…
Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church had its beginnings in December 1940, making it the first Lutheran gathering in Flagstaff. After services in private homes, a Baptist church, and the old Flagstaff library, this small group of Lutherans grew to such an extent that in 1945 they were able to install their first resident pastor. Two years later a church was built at 507 N. Humphreys, a building now owned by the Salvation Army. It was then that the members chose Mt. Calvary as the name for the new congregation, to keep themselves mindful of Christ’s sacrifice that alone brings salvation.
During the 1950s, the congregation experienced dramatic growth and further expanded the site. A parsonage was completed in 1954 with a separate Sunday School building added in 1960, both structures situated on the N. Humphreys location. Because of God’s rich blessings, the members were able to pay for all the buildings and became a self-supporting congregation.
As church membership and attendance continued to grow, it became necessary to enlarge the Sunday School building in 1974. Further concern for Christian education resulted in the establishment of a Lutheran Day School the following year. From a one-teacher, grades 1-4 beginning, this school grew to an eight-grade configuration with three teachers by the mid-1990s. A preschool was added in 1994. Recently, the congregation has concentrated its educational efforts in an early childhood academy featuring a preschool and Beginder/Kindergarten.
Realizing a need for further space and better facilities, the members of Mt. Calvary purchased in 1983 a beautiful five-acre wooded lot on Ft. Valley Road (Hwy 180) at the north edge of the city. In March 1987, a newly-constructed multi-purpose building was dedicated. For many years this structure served as a sanctuary with a large modern kitchen, three spacious classrooms, a church office, pastor’s study, workroom and principal’s office also housed in the building.
In 2009 Mt. Calvary’s worship space was constructed adjacent to the existing multi-purpose building and was dedicated to the glory of God in October 2009. This additional structure also houses a pastor’s study, church office, workrooms, a special small meeting room, and a spacious gathering space to facilitate entrance for worshipers. The worship area is adorned with wooden liturgical furniture and pews and features six stained glass windows.
Throughout its long history, Mt. Calvary has been blessed with ten faithful resident pastors, including our current youthful Pastor Korey Van Kampen who arrived in October 2014. They have clearly, effectively, and consistently preached the beloved Gospel message. Through the years our youth have been educated by dedicated and capable Sunday School and Day School teachers who have taught not only the truths of the Bible but have also been excellent role models.
An integral part of our history has been a concern for and love of music. In fact, the first order of business of the newly-founded church was the purchase of hymnals to aid the members in their worship and praise. Early on, a choir was established that for many years has contributed regularly and effectively to Sunday services and provided music for concerts, special occasions, and congregation milestones such as the church’s 50th anniversary commemoration in 1997. Also, a used Wicks pipe organ was purchased in 1984 to support congregational singing and provide special music during the service. It has been lovingly refurbished and now stands as one of the finest-sounding church organs in Flagstaff. Here too Mt. Calvary has been privileged to have had a number of good organists, pianists and choir directors in its midst.
At every turn, in every development, with every spiritual leader, and from one year to the next, Mt. Calvary has been graciously blessed by the Lord of the church. To Him belongs all the glory and our thanks and praise. Because of its location, Mt. Calvary’s theme has often been: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation” (Isaiah 52:7). May it continue to be so as we move forward, joined together in His service.