Calvary Baptist Church of Jamaica (Queens), New York, Inc. was organized in 1929. During its history, it has been served by ten pastors; most notable among them is the late, Rev. Dr. Walter Stockholm Pinn. During Dr. Pinn’s leadership, the present 30,000 square feet, 1,500-seat facility was erected and the membership grew to more than 3,000. Dr. Pinn founded the Calvary Credit Union which held assets exceeding two million dollars. During its existence, the Calvary Credit Union was the largest church-owned institution of its kind in New York State.
In 1976 Rev. James C. Kelly was called to the pastorate of Calvary Baptist Church. He served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church from 1976 to 1988.
Pastor Hall came to Calvary in 1990 bringing a vision of community involvement to the church and has led the church through significant development. In 1992, under the leadership of Rev. Victor T. Hall, Sr., Calvary built a 100-apartment, senior citizens’ housing complex, a complex that is fully operational with ten apartments reserved for the handicapped and a waiting list of hundreds.
In 1993, the Imani Youth Ministry began which has served as a beacon of hope and launch pad for thousands of New York area youth. In 1994, the Angelic Children’s Ministry began, training children to be followers of Christ. Calvary’s outreach into the community runs very deep.
The church runs a food pantry, which serves hundreds of New Yorkers every week, a prison ministry that reaches into the lives of the incarcerated and their families, a grandparents’ ministry that serves the needs of grandparents, and supports those raising their grandchildren, a financial growth ministry, to strengthen family financial management, and many other support groups.
Calvary opened its doors to the community for events from weddings and funerals, to political candidate forums and support for community causes to holy hip hop concerts and its annual Harvest Party, which draws hundreds of children from throughout Queens for a safe night on Halloween.
Presently, the Calvary Church has embarked upon a $6 million renovation and extension project and has just completed erecting a grandparents’ housing complex which will become the home to low-income grandparents who have legal custody of their grandchildren. Today, Calvary continues to be a leading church in the Southeast Queens community.
Calvary is a member of the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. and the Progressive National Baptist Convention. It consistently supports financially: The NAACP, The UNCF, The Urban League, Queens Citizens’ Organization, Queens Federation of Churches, Southeast Queens Clergy for Community Empowerment, the Religious Action Network and other religious and civic organizations. Calvary is a Charter supporter of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Washington Mall.
As a leading religious institution in Southeast Queens, the Calvary pulpit has been graced by many speakers of national and world renown: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Mayor David Dinkins, Vice President Al Gore, Governor Mario Cuomo, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Senator Charles Schumer, NYS Comptroller Carl H. McCall, Mayor W. Wilson Goode (Philadelphia), Roy Wilkins (NAACP), Congressman Floyd Flake, Congressman Charles Rangle, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton, Queens Borough President Claire Schulman, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, Public Advocate Mark Greene, Congressman Joseph Addabo, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Dr. Calvin O Butts, Rev. Dr. Wyatt T. Walker, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Dr. Garner C. Taylor, Rev. Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor, Rev. Dr. William A. Jones, Jr., Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Catherine (Count ) Basie, Guy R. Brewer, Hazel Dukes, Gil Noble, Nikki Giovanni, Chaplain Barry Black, Dr. Allan Boesak, Rev. Dr. Lance Watson, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, and other religious, political and civic leaders.