Calvary East officially launched on Sunday, January 21, 2007. We called it a fresh start, but there was a lot of history leading up to that.
In October 1906, a group of believers from various denominations banded together to study the Bible under the name The Gospel Hall. They met downtown in the YWCA and several other locations until they were able to purchase a building on the corner of Water Street and Westnedge in 1940.
The people of the Gospel Hall began calling themselves Kalamazoo Bible Church in 1954 and relocated to a piece of property on East Main Street in the Comstock area in 1966. They built a house to use as a temporary chapel as they worked on the main church building, completing it in 1970.
Churches tend to age and go through life cycles. By 2006 Kalamazoo Bible Church had only a dozen members, so they sought the help of Calvary Bible Church to start a new ministry in Comstock.
Calvary had a long history of its own. It began in 1929 and met just a few blocks away from Kalamazoo Bible Church downtown. As KBC moved east, Calvary moved west, meeting on Cherokee Street for several years and then on Drake Road.
I came into the picture in 1999. I moved from Southern California to serve as an Associate Pastor on Calvary’s staff. So, when Kalamazoo Bible Church contacted Calvary in 2006, I was the person with whom they spoke. I shared the need with Calvary’s elders, and after much consideration they decided to send me across town. Kalamazoo Bible Church officially dissolved on their 100th anniversary, but the ministry never stopped. I began preaching here a week later, and it has been my privilege to do so ever since.
Thankfully, several members from Calvary decided to join me in launching this new ministry. Some of them lived in the Comstock area. Being involved gave them an opportunity to worship, serve, and reach out to neighbors in their own community. Others came from farther away to be part of the work that God was doing in establishing a new close-knit church family.
Calvary provided much financial support to update the building and fund the ministry in the first few years. By 2010, however, Calvary East was able to stand on its own as an independent church. We added a full-time youth minister in 2015 when Chris Johnson joined our staff, and we have been blessed to have others serve with us part-time.
I am confident that Jesus will continue to build his church. I pray that in the coming days, weeks, and years, all of us in the Calvary East church family will be faithful to represent him in how we love the Lord, love one another, and love our neighbors.
– Bryan Craddock, Pastor