JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson is celebrating their 120th anniversary this fall. But before the celebration, the church will need some sprucing up.

They’ve had some water damage in the sanctuary that they want to repair before the anniversary celebration. It’s a big and expensive job for the small congregation.

Calvary Baptist Church was the second Baptist church organized in Jackson. Their name was Second Baptist when they first formed 120 years ago and later changed to Calvary Baptist. They grew into a sizable congregation in the 60s and 70s.

That was before West Jackson neighborhoods started changing as people moved to the suburbs and moved their congregations with them. However, when decision time came, Calvary decided to stay on West Capitol Street. 

“We minister to families in this community. That’s why we believe we’re here, to make a difference in this part of the world. To be love and light and salt in this area of Jackson,” said Pastor Linda Smith.

She grew up in the church, went to China as a missionary and came back to the church to serve West Jackson. However, needless to say they are no longer Mississippi’s largest congregation. So, when a long time leaky roof started destroying the plaster in the sanctuary, it took a lot of friends and supporters to help fix it. 

“It was built in 1929. It’s on the National Registry of Historic Places,” Smith said.

I have done enough stories about restoration projects to know when you are working on old installations. The plaster in this building was put here in 1929, and you can’t just go to the home supply store and grab something off of the shelf to fix it. Roman Ingram and his crew also know that. He and his friend, David Matthews, have spent pretty much their careers apprenticing under what you might call the old masters and then applying that knowledge to the restoration work they do today.

“It’s important that the client is happy and satisfied and preserving the historic structures. And that’s the difference between us and others is we’re passionate. It’s not that I just love plaster, I love history in general,” said Ingram.

“I would rather be in here. I get more satisfaction being in here doing this than doing a new construction, a house on the reservoir,” said Matthews.

The anniversary service will be on October 7, 2021, at Calvary Baptist.