Calvary Baptist Church celebrates 25 years in ‘new’ building

| June 25, 2019

James Riedy, father of former pastor Bob Riedy, placed the cornerstone on Calvary Baptist Church in June 1994 during the church’s dedication ceremony for its new building.

COSHOCTON – In 1978, Calvary Baptist Church, then located on the corner of Seventh and Poplar streets in Coshocton, bought the land where the church now stands on US 36. It was purchased as “the future home” of the church, but then sat vacant for many years.

In 1987, Pastor Bob Riedy came to the church. “When my wife and I look back, we just loved our years in Coshocton. God was doing great work. Because of some church health issues, we only had about 80 people at our services.” By the early 90s, attendance had doubled. “Also, there was no parking at the old church and that was hindering our growth.”

“Someone took me out to where the church is now and a sign was there. It had fallen to the ground and was all crumpled, but it said ‘Future Home of Calvary Baptist Church,” said Riedy. A steering committee was formed to discover options for the church. By an overwhelming vote, the congregation decided to build a new church. “Once they made the decision, they worked slowly and steadily to get it done.”

The parsonage was completed in 1990. The construction of the new church building began in October of 1993 and the first service was held on Easter Sunday (April 3) of 1994. “The builder wanted to shut down the project and go to Florida for the winter,” said Riedy. “I’m still not sure how I stood up to him and convinced him to finish it.” A dedication ceremony was held in June that year and Riedy’s father placed the cornerstone in the building.

Building through the winter did have some tough moments. Stan Zurowski, one of the building committee members, remembered one day in particular. “We were working on the roof and it was getting slippery. We were trying to decide whether we better stop for the day when I started to slide.” Someone on the ground moved into position to try to catch him, but “I said get out of the way!” He slid off the roof and landed without injury. “We stopped working for the day after that.”

Larry Fox, another building committee member, shared that the steeple had arrived in parts. “It was sitting beside the building and it snowed and froze. We had to chip away ice from it so the crane could put it in place.”

Riedy said he believes building the new church brought unity to the congregation.  “Sometimes, projects like this can cause divisions, but it brought us together. We began to grow even more rapidly.”

Fox said, “Some people thought we should have gone bigger, but we had to be faithful to our resources. We weren’t going to go beyond our means just to say we have the bigger church.” Fox also said the congregation gave so much for the building, but when it came time to furnish it, they gave again for stained glass and pews. They also paid off the building in 1998.

“We tried to bring some from the old church,” said Riedy. “The top of the old pulpit was put on the new pulpit. I know it was harder for the older people to leave the building because they had raised their families there.” As they were preparing to move into the new building, someone donated a new baby grand piano. The men still aren’t sure who did that and it is still part of the church.

Ron Meek was also a member of the building committee. “It was amazing to me.  So many people came to help.” The congregation saved a lot of money in labor because so many people were willing to do whatever needed to be done.

Pastor Dwayne Gibson said there are still many people who help with the upkeep of the building. “It’s obvious the congregation loves this church. I’m so blessed to be part of this congregation.”

The church will celebrate on Sunday, June 30 with a special service. Former Pastor Riedy will be the main speaker. After the service, a catered meal will be served and memories from the building of the church will be shared.

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