History of Calvary Baptist Church

 

          The vision of a Southern Baptist Church for Weimar began in the hearts of many people years ago.  Former pastors, Director of Missions, and laypersons all felt God desired such a ministry in Weimar.

 

          The 1st Baptist Church of Weimar changed their name and removed the Baptist influence from the town.  This inspired several families to begin to proceed – James, Faye and Nathan Stanberry began by publishing an advertisement in the local newspaper seeking anyone interested in joining them with a new Bible Study.  Bill and Beverly Fluker met with James and began to discuss the needs and opportunities to start a Baptist Church in Weimar.  They set an official beginning time and place.  The Stanberrys, Flukers and Gertrude and Grundy Clayton began meeting for Bible Study in the Fluker's home, 306 West Church Street in Weimar, in April 1997. 

 

          The mission committee of 1st Schulenburg, Gonzales Association and Baptist General Convention of Texas representative, Charles Dooley, met and discussed the opportunity of helping support the mission.  The mission officially became part of the three entities.

 

When the mission began, at first they met just for Bible study and as the attendance grew, they began to have worship services.  Sam Cotter of Denver, Colorado led the first worship service.

 

          Bro. Bob Gregory of Columbus was called as the first interim Pastor.  The group prayed and decided to be named the Calvary Baptist Church of Weimar.  We began receiving our first offerings in October 1997.  We began contributing to the Gonzales Association and Baptist General Convention of Texas.  The group continued to grow and outgrew meeting in the home. 

 

The search began for property to rent or purchase.  We rented a building from Mr. Svetlick and discovered that the zoning ordnances kept us from moving in.   Some of our members attended city council meetings trying to resolve the problem faced with zoning ordnances.            After much searching, it was learned that the Andel Guest House was being put up for sale.  The church approached George and Leona Andel to rent the home on the front of the property.  They allowed us to rent and gave us the option to purchase the property. 

 

We began meeting in the house for our Bible Study and Worship Service in March of 1998.  Charles Hedstrom was our music director and Shari Hedstrom was our pianist. 

We rented for several months and then the decision came to purchase the property.  We purchased the facilities from the Andels for $69,000, which they agreed to finance for us. We purchased the property September 1998.  Everyone worked hard to get the outside of the house painted from lime green to white.  Our members and members from 1st Schulenburg and 1st Columbus assisted in painting and repair work on the outside.  We painted the main room inside and knocked out a partial wall to make room for enough chairs for everyone.

 

           We had our first Vacation Bible School in June 1998 with 41 attending.  We ended the 1998 Church year with 16 members on our roll.  We had 11 attend the study by Henry Blackaby, "Experiencing God".  We began contributing to the special mission offerings.

 

          We called Bro. Stanley Lohse as our second interim pastor.  He was also Director of Missions of the South Central Area.  Bro. Stanley served us until we could seek a pastor with more time to devote to the congregation.  We called Johnny Teague to preach for us for several weeks.  During this time of acquaintance, the church decided to vote to call Johnny as our Bi-Vocational Pastor.   We had 11 members on the roll as the year ended in 1999 but we were averaging 25 in attendance.  We had 55 enrolled in Vacation Bible School in 1999. 

 

          We began to outgrow the house we were meeting in and decided on Easter Sunday morning April 23, 2000 we would move our worship service to the large building in the back.  We continued using the smaller building for Bible Study for children and the nursery.  We had our adult Bible Study in the large building.  We would use the front room of the building for Bible Study and the back room for Worship.  We had 30 members as we concluded the 2000 church year and were averaging 35 in Bible Study.  We used the baptistry at 1st Schulenburg and baptized four adults and two children during the year.  We enrolled 75 in Vacation Bible School.  We continued to have Bible Study courses throughout the year for our Wednesday evening services.  Three of our members joined the Gonzales Association for a Texas Partnership Mission trip to Augsburg, Germany.

 

          Then as we outgrew our worship facilities, we saw the need to make some changes.  We removed the wall between the two rooms and made the building one large room, installing a movable partition.  This was meeting the needs for a time but the need to expand was evident.  As we prepared the report for the church year ending in 2001 we had a membership of 49 and an average attendance for morning worship of 55.  Four new converts were baptized during the year, 3 adults and one child.  We had 75 enrolled in our Vacation Bible School for the year 2001.  "2001 OUR PRAYING HAS JUST BEGUN", was a motto we adopted for the year.  We watched as God moved our people to be prayer warriors for one another and the lost.  We completed the study of Master Life 1, 2, and 3 and the study of James for our Wednesday evening Bible Study.  We had approximately 15 people take part in the studies on Wednesday evenings.  We began our Women on Missions organization in October 2000.  The men began a Saturday morning Bible Study and prayer time.  We began assisting a new Hispanic Mission in Palacios - Bible Fellowship in June 2001.

 

          We lost a couple in the 2002 church year to moving.  Keith and Sheri Staggs moved home to Humble.  As the Staggs left, Les and Ava Hedstrom bought their home and moved right in as faithful members of Calvary Baptist.  One of our members, Dorothy Givens, passed away on June 11, 2002. Our men that met on Saturday mornings began to prepare breakfast once a month for the church on the third Sunday morning. We had a large VBS meeting in the evenings with 86 enrolled.  One of our members, Eric Earthman, surrendered to full time ministry.  Our church participated in many mission endeavors that year.  We helped a family that lost their home due to fire; children that would not have Christmas without assistance; we participated in the Samaritans Purse and prepared boxes of Christmas gifts for children in devastated areas; we made contacts with the Parkview Nursing home – giving cookies and corsages; we stitched crosses for the Seaman's center in Houston and we assisted in the River Ministry with Hygiene Kits and School Kits.  We had dinner on the grounds regularly.  One Saturday night we had a crawfish boil and fish fry and one month we had a hot dog supper.  We continued our Wednesday evening bible studies.  We have studied "Breaking Free" and "Jesus, The One and Only" by Beth Moore.  One of our members assisted the Texas Baptist Men disaster relief unit and helped after the floods in New Braunfels. 

 

We were outgrowing our facilities. The church, in a close vote, decided to stay at the current location.  We had to begin to design facilities that would fit the property.  The architect firm of Ben Boetcher & Associates was hired to help.  Then the vacant Ford Dealership building became available. The church inquired about the property and found that there was 4 acres of land with a building that had approximately 9,000 square feet of space. After consideration and discussion, the church voted unanimously to make an offer.  We felt that if God wanted us to go it would work out and if not we still had the current property.  In October 2002 we made an offer to Marvin and Ana Gilbreath, owners of the building, for $485,000 and the church pay all closing cost estimated to be $30,000. The offer was accepted with Marvin and Ana Gilbreath providing owner financing. The purchase was closed in January 2003.

 

We began immediately to renovate the building.  We were getting ready for the Texas Baptist Men Retiree builders to come help us.  In February 2003 God blessed us with an offer on the location at 1018 N. Center Street from the Knights of Columbus.  We felt we were going to need additional money so we put the lot across the street from the old church up for sale.  Immediately it sold to the parents of Karen Dornak for $10,000.  That deal was closed before the sale with the Knights of Columbus was closed.  We needed to be out of our building by the 9th of May. 

 

We hired A Grohmann & Son as the general contractor and Leon's Electric (air conditioning, plumbing and electrical) to prepare the front of the building for us to meet in immediately.  They closed in the front and we painted it and made it ready for occupying on Mother's Day, May 11th, 2003.  We had the nursery rooms painted and ready also.  We met in the building on Easter Sunday prior to completion of the front.  We had approximately 35 present and then we went to the other location for the remainder of our services.

 

On the first Sunday there we didn't have lights or ceiling tiles in.  The following Sunday both had been installed.  On the 25th of May, Danny and Teressa Smith had new doors installed for the front entrance.  The air conditioning unit was still not hooked up completely.

 

During our first Sunday in the new building, Joshua Hollub made a profession of faith.  God was blessing as we followed His leadership.  Joshua was baptized in a local creek south of town.

 

 We were anticipating the Texas Baptist Men Retiree Builders to begin to arrive on June 4th to begin work on June 9th for two weeks to help with the building of the sanctuary and other work to be done.   We had assistance from other churches of our association and 1st Columbus to help with meals while the TBM was with us.  We all enjoyed the fellowship and work that was being done.  When they left, we praised God for the work that had been done and then we knew we had work to do to finalize the building.

 

After the Retiree Builders left, work continued to complete the building.  For the next six months, working nights and weekends, the building was completed enough to have our dedication service.  A big thanks also goes to Danny and Teressa Smith who used their gifts, talents and time to help with the completion.

 

The Church decided to have the dedication service on Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 2PM.  At the dedication we had a slide presentation and time to acknowledge those who had helped.

 

          The year 2004 brought many changes in our body.   We experienced growth and growing pains.  We began stirring the baptism pool waters in January.  We began to outgrow our facilities.  Some of the plans that were made in the beginning began to be altered.  We had to add classroom space and office space.  Johnny became our full time pastor in May of 2004.  We were not able to fully support him and his family, but we worked out the financial details and aimed for bigger and better pay soon.  We had the church office open for 3 days 10:30-2:30.  Three ladies volunteered to man the office, one serving each day.

 

          We established our library and began to watch it grow.  We had a musical for the children in the summer as our Vacation Bible School.  We called it Summer Singspiration.  On the closing Sunday evening a musical was presented by the children for the parents.  We had two young people take mission trips.  Arianne Hollub spent two weeks in South Africa with the Kirk Holiday family serving in schools and home bible studies.  Donny Stubblefield left for a 6-month mission trip.  We had Charles Blackman and Sam Craig to lead us in revival services in July.   We had our first choir during the revival.  We had 8 ladies from our church attend classes to be trained to become certified teachers of ESL.  We began ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in October.  We had the opportunity to host the Gonzales Associational Annual Meeting on October 24, 2004.  Our pastor had the message for the meeting.

 

In August 2005, Johnny resigned as pastor to become pastor of a church in Houston.  In December we hired Jim Herrington as our interim pastor.  Jim led us for 10 months until the search committee found Bro. Doug Kello of Andrews and on October 22, 2006 Doug began his ministry.  Bro. Doug and Jan moved to Weimar and began the search for a home.  They lived in the Smith's travel trailer at the church. Doug resigned the pastorate to move to Lubbock, TX in 2009.

 

On October 18th, 2010, Jerry (Julie) Tanner was  called to be part-time pastor. Jerry had retired after fifteen years as pastor of University Baptist Church in Kingsville, TX.   Prior to that, Jerry retired as Lt. Colonel , special Operations Pilot from the U.S. Air Force. He holds a Master of Divinity, Bible Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary In Ft. Worth, TX and a Master of Arts, Clinical Psychology from the University of North Texas.

   To God Be the Glory for Great things He has done and continues to do as He is at work in Calvary Baptist Church of Weimar.

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