In 2019, the pastors, lay leaders, and congregation began a process of examining the origins of our beloved church, Calvary Baptist. Through many months of research, study, and conversation, we came to the realization that the story we had been telling about our origins, was simply not true. For many years prior, there was a narrative that Calvary was founded as an abolitionist church in the middle of the American Civil War. This story gave us great pride in our past and inspiration to do the work of justice required for our future. It was thus difficult to come to grips with the fact we were not abolitionist and the harsher truth, that the main benefactor of Calvary, Amos Kendall, was a slaveholder and the architect of the genocide and deportation of indigenous Americans under the Presidency of Andrew Jackson. These are in deed wretched facts about our past. But these facts about our past do not define or determine our future. In the spirit of the abolitionist tradition that we now hope to be adopted into, our congregation has committed itself to addressing the wrongs of our past. We have chosen to place a banner in our main entrance to cover a plaque dedicated to Kendall, commemorating instead what we are committed to in the future, and we have begun a process discerning what reparations are required for our original sins. We have also re-written our mission and are re-constituting ourselves as we work for liberation and emancipation for all who are oppressed, marginalized, and dominated, especially black and indigenous people who often bare the brunt of white supremacy. We commit ourselves to the ongoing work of freedom as we continue to learn from the past and stride towards a more liberating future.
If you are interested in more of this story, you can find the link to some of the resources that tell this story in depth.