Calvary elects first female senior pastor

“After Pastor Melvin Jackson resigned, I was able to stand in the gap for a year. No one else preached but me, and every now and then Rev. Fred Ralston would preach as well. I would do the preaching, teaching and all of the things that a Pastor would do for a year consistently. It became time when the officers and congregation was ready to step forward and get a pastor for the church. At that time we were in the process of having a Pulpit Committee. In that time is when the congregation began to speak up for what they wanted. I met the needs of the people and the church began to grow under my leadership. People had decided that they wanted Rev. Marie Kelly to be the new Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church because she did the things a pastor would do and had a pastor’s heart,” Rev. Kelly said.
It was the officers and congregation who voted for Rev. Kelly to become their new pastor. God showed her that this was the call for her and that this was the position He had been preparing her. She said He proved himself to her by letting her know that this was her calling. She began to be confident that this is what the Lord was going to do in her life.
“Being the first African-American female of a Baptist Church in the Hill District makes me feel awesome to know that God would use me in that way. The feeling is overwhelming and I still wake up wondering if this is real. People except and love me for being myself and they don’t want me to change. I am down to earth and meet people where they are because I’ve been there. In my preaching I often use myself as an example for what God can do in anyone’s life. I’ve been there and done that and still as a Pastor, I am not perfect,” Rev. Kelly said.
There will be a lot of new things going on at Calvary Baptist Church.
Calvary wants people to be free in their worship experience as long they want to worship and to really exalt the Lord out of tradition, she said.  They want to bring in the Youth Ministry in a very powerful way because they need to be a part of their worship experience. The church will also have a Mime Ministry and they have someone to come in to teach the children how to do so.
“We have to be obedient to the call and come out of the church walls and go down on the Avenues and minister and let people know that Calvary Baptist Church is alive,” she said. “We want to be real with people and let them know that we welcome them. I pray that the Holy Spirit will draw members back to Calvary. It all has to be in God’s plan and hopefully with the freshness and newness of the Spirit of God in the house, it will draw more members.
“I have to be bold enough and step out on faith with what God has ordered me to do. A lot of times Pastors won’t do that because they don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or come against tradition. I feel that God has brought me at such a time as this to be bold enough to root out tradition that is hendering Calvary. Even before the installation, I’ve been making some changes for his good and his namesake.”
The Installation will take place Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, located at 2629 Wylie Ave. Reverend Glenn Grayson will be the guest preacher. Pastor Walter Thompson, of New York City, will give the Word at the morning service. He is the person that brought Rev. Kelly on the pulpit because Pastor Samuel Bassord did not allow women on the pulpit when served as Calvary’s senior pastor. At that time, most Baptist churches didn’t allow women on the pulpit.  She received a standing ovation when pastor Thompson  broke that tradition and allowed her on it.
“There will be a charge to the church and then to me, and I will receive the keys to church and they will present me to the church,”  said Rev. Kelly. “That’s when the marriage will begin and I will become senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. To God be the glory for the things he has done.”


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