A Brief History of Mount Calvary
1887: Church founded as Bethesda Lutheran Church. Swedish Lutherans who found transportation to Ryssby (in Longmont) difficult, began to meet in various homes in Boulder during the early 1880s. A layman, John Mork, and his wife, Ingrid, organized a Sunday School in their home. Pastor F. A. Linder of Ryssby assisted these early pioneers to organize a congregation named Bethesda in 1887. For the first 11 years, Bethesda was served by a vice pastor from Ryssby.
1895 : First church building at 17th and Mapleton in Boulder
1898-1902: Pastor P. O. Lofgren
1903-1907: John Ahlin (lay leader)
1914-1920: Pastor A. M. Broleen
Nearly all early records, until 1920, were written in the Swedish language.
1922-1924: Pastor C. O. Nordell. In 1923, the church began holding services twice on Sunday mornings; once in English and once in Swedish.
1928-1930: Pastor J. Sigfrid Benson. In 1929, the number of services was changed again so that the church was only holding one service a month in Swedish. Also in 1929, the annual meeting minutes were in English for the first time. In 1930, the church was renamed First Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church. It was noted in the records both in 1932 and 1940, that services in Swedish once per month continued. However, there were also comments about losing members over those past 20 years because of the adherence to the Swedish language. In fact, in 1941, midweek services were discontinued due to lack of attendance.
1950-1957: Pastor Arnold Ostlund. In 1952, the church’s name was again changed, to Firs Evangelical Lutheran Church (dropping the Swedish). At this point, there are no further references to services being held in Swedish. In 1956, the church moved to Eastman Avenue in Boulder, and was held as a “cottage church” while the plans were started to build a new church “on the mesa”.
1956: Church renamed Mount Calvary Lutheran Church
1958-1965: Pastor Ivan Anderson. In 1958 there was a dedication of the new church site (its present location).
1966-1973: Pastor Melvin A. Briere. In 1968, Vacation Bible School was mentioned for the first time; it ran for two weeks. The first experiments with alternative worship experience are mentioned, starting with a “folk mass” in 1969. In 1972 “early communion” began for fifth graders at Mount Calvary.
1973-1986: Pastor Richard Carfrae.
Alternative worship experience continued with a “Mariachi Mass” in 1974. In 1977, Rainbow Daycare Center opened.
In 1978 the new Lutheran Book of Worship was introduced at Mount Calvary.
In 1985, Mount Calvary bought its first computer. this was also the year Pastor Carfrae was diagnosed with cancer.
In 1986, Pastor Carfrae passed away. Pastor Carfrae continues to be well-loved and fondly remembered by many current members.
1987-1988: Pastor James Gearhart
1989-2005: Pastor Mark Peterson. Pastor Mark served Mount Calvary for 16 years before taking a call to serve at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Longmont. Many of our current outreach ministries were started during his service, such as Philippine Kids to Kids Ministry, African AIDS Ministry and Huruma Centre, Community Table, Stephen Ministry program and EFAA.
In 1988, we began hosting a community-wide gospel music festival with guest music director, Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer. This event became an annual event for 18 years, until Horace’s death in 2008.
In 1998, the church voted to become a welcoming, Reconciling in Christ church.
1999-2001 there was a major remodeling/reconstruction project to build our present education and administrative wing.
2007-2009: Pastor Kevin Meyer
In 2009, we hosted a memorial gospel service for Horace Boyer.
In 2011, we welcomed our current (and first female) pastor, Sara Wirth