Calvary Temple was founded in early 1935 in response to a clear need for an independent evangelical witness in the Hartford area. Starting as a small group of believers who formed the Evangelical Association of Hartford, the church came into being as its 91 charter members extended a call to Reverend A. Thorvald Johnson who agreed to serve as pastor.
A permanent meeting place was secured by purchasing a former synagogue at 21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford, currently housing the Charter Oak Cultural Center. This building, procured from Temple Beth Israel for $31,000 had the historical distinction of being the first synagogue built in Connecticut. Extensive renovations were made by Calvary’s members before moving into the church in July 1935. Calvary remained in this location for nearly forty years and, during this time, became well known for faithful proclamation of God’s Word.
In 1965 the church purchased the four-acre tract of land on which the present building stands. Construction started in 1973 and was completed in 1974, and it is here that the church continues.The first service in the new building was held June 30, 1974. Dedication of the facility to God’s glory featured our founding pastor, Reverend Johnson, as guest speaker.
Calvary Church has had a strong missionary “bent” from its beginning. Dorothy Swenson Barnett was its first member who went to the mission field, way back in 1937. Currently, Calvary Church supports 4 missionaries who came from its own pews.
Calvary Church has always had a strong family orientation and a solid commitment to outstanding children’s programs. At one time, while still at its original site, as many as 250 children would attend Sunday School during the summer.
Pastors serving the church since 1935 were: Reverend A. Thorvald Johnson, 1935-1949; Reverend Thomas G. Lawrence, 1950-1960; Reverend Edwin Anderson (Interim), 1960-1961; Reverend Ralph Lewis, 1961-1968; Reverend Edwin Anderson (Interim), 1968-1970; Dr. Ronald K. Nasshan, 1970-1983; Reverend Ralph W. Williams (Interim), 1983-1984; Dr. Carl E. Abrahamsen, Jr., 1984 – 1998. Dr. Ted Bigelow, 2000-2005; Pastor Jim Bray, 2005-2007 (Interim); currently Pastor Frank Termine, December, 2007 – present.
In addition to these senior pastors, there have been a number of Associate and Youth ministers who have served the church over the years as well. These include: Vernon Taylor, 1955-1959; Clinton VanDeWater 1966-1967; James T. (Skip) Eggimann, 1972-1978; David Masterson, 1978-1980; Kevin Cash, 1983- 1990; and Mark D. Gedicks, 1991-1996.