Our Story

How it all started...

In 1947, the church started with a tent revival meeting by Reverend J. W. Tyler. The land for the building of the church was donated by Will Olive of Olivia, NC. Two years later, in 1949, Will Hall, Rayford Campbell and Newt Thompson broke ground and the foundation of the church was begun. Two women, Mae Cox and Eliza Thompson, aided by carrying buckets of cement to those men. The laying of cinder blocks was started in 1950. Little by little, through fundraisers and hard work, the church was completed in 1952.
Reverend J. W. Tyler remained the pastor of the church until his death in 1956. At that time, Reverend Carlie Wood temporarily assumed the pastoral position until Reverend Thomas Holder accepted the permanent position, which he held until 1961.
In the early part of 1961, Reverend B. C. Jessup was invited to hold a revival at the church. Reverend Holder approached Reverend Jessup, asking if he would take over the position as pastor of the church. Reverend Jessup’s positive response was with the condition that Reverend Holder would be his assistant pastor. The agreement was made and became effective in April of 1961.
In the summer of that year, the first baptism was held at Ben Tingen’s pond. Among some of those in attendance were Edith Hall, Ronnie Thompson, Elbert Holder, Larry Weathers, Lucy Moore, Kathy Cox and her mother Mae Cox.
In March of 1977, John and Ruth Holder became the first youth leaders of the church. The first Homecoming was held in October of that same year. There was a morning service and homecoming dinner, followed by singing in the afternoon.

In 1999, after 38 years of serving the Lord in pastoral positions, both Reverend Jessup and Reverend Holder retired from Calvary Methodist Church.
In June of that year, Reverend Curtis Norris was voted in as the new pastor. He, his wife, Susan, and two children at the time, Samuel and Joseph, traveled here from Cherryville, North Carolina, to make Olivia, North Carolina, their new home. In September of the same year, their third son, Johnathon, was born. Reverend Norris and his family are wonderful additions to the church.
About a year later, the church voted to join the Missionary Methodist Conference and the church name was changed to Calvary Missionary Methodist Church.
One Sunday, in the spring of 2001, Reverend Norris presented a challenge to the attendees and members, stating that if at least 120 people attended a Sunday morning service, he would preach from the roof of the church. On Sunday morning, May 20, 2001, Reverend Norris did just that and delivered a powerful message. Representatives from the local newspaper, the Sanford Herald, were also in attendance that day and published a story, along with pictures and full details of the service.

In 2009, the church agreed to buy a little over two (2) acres of land adjacent to the church with plans to construct a new building. On Wednesday, May 12, 2010, with approximately thirty (30) people present, there was a groundbreaking to extend the fellowship hall. Four months later, on September 12, 2010, the first homecoming dinner was shared in the newly extended building.
In the fall of 2014, the church broke ground to extend and update the existing sanctuary. Jason Holder, a very dear and special church member was given a golden shovel and he received the honor of unearthing the first hole at the groundbreaking. Several other church leaders and members participated as well. Once the project was underway, services were held in the packed fellowship hall. It was with great joy that both of the newly renovated and expanded facilities were occupied in July 2015.
In the summer of 2022, the decision was made to transition to a non-denominational church and the name of the church was formally changed to Calvary Church Olivia.

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