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History of Mount Calvary

First Sanctuary

Built 1855

In 1840, the first black church, Saint James African United Methodist Protestant Church was formed. Afterward, Mount Olive Baptist Church was established. One year after the building of Mt. Olive Baptist Church the original edifice of Mt. Calvary was built.


The building of Mount Calvary began in 1855 when a group of Christians incorporated to plan a new place of worship. Before the building of our church, our members worshipped in a hall down in the grove (the park area of the Relief Association Hall). On February 12, 1889, our present-day site was purchased from the Relief Association of Baltimore County for $50.00. The minister and trustees who signed the original deed were Rev. Hammond, pastor, James J. Smith, president and the trustees who were Isaac Robinson, Lewis Chaney, James H. Garrett, Benjamin Johnson, John Wesley Smith, Phillip W. Meyers, Henry Mack and Alfred Black. Other founders were Emma Smith and Aaron Stewart. At the formation of the church, we were known as the Mount Calvary Methodist Protestant Church of Baltimore County.


Although our church was originally a Protestant denominational church, the African Methodist Episcopal Conference was requested to provide preachers for our pulpit. A gentlemen's agreement was made between our church and the AME Conference. The AME Conference supplied preachers to Mt. Calvary with the stipulation that the church assumed all financial obligations for the church.


In 1968, under the leadership of Rev. Reginald Boston, our original sanctuary was totally destroyed by fire. After the fire, Rev. Boston moved Mount Calvary's congregation to the First Lutheran Church on Burke Avenue in Towson. The former sanctuary was erected under Rev. Boston's leadership.


In 1973 Rev. Reginald Boston was appointed to Grace AME Church, and Rev. William Gray III became pastor of Mount Calvary. Rev. Gray led Mt. Calvary in accomplishing many improvements and financial goals such as central air conditioning, a new chancel, added piece of property, a new dining area and Sunday School room, new pews and the churches debt freedom from major expenses.


As a result of the AME Second Episcopal Districts 1986 mid-year conference, Rev. Gray was sent to Saint Stephens A.M.E. Church. At that time, Mount Calvary received its first woman minister, Rev. Ann Farrar Lightner. 


In just five short years, Dr. Lightner-Fuller shared her vision to build a new Mount Calvary sanctuary and education building with the congregation in 1991.  Our current sanctuary was completed in 1996, and we were able to completely pay off the mortgage five years later in 2001. 


In June 2012, the Mount Calvary family again completed a major construction project when we walked into our new Family Life Center. This facility not only serves as the administrative hub of our church but it stands as a pillar of hope and a beacon of light in the East Towson community. This center is a place where life is restored back into our families through multiple ministry activities, including Bible studies for men, women, and children, back to school fairs, health and wellness fairs, weekly prayer meeting, and daily food distribution through the Doris Jackson Food Pantry. 

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