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History of Calvary Baptist Church

Perhaps you could say that the beginning was in 1963 when in the process of making a purchase in a grocery store on Bainbridge Island, Ralph Gregory spoke to the clerk, Ken Nakata, of his burden to see a Bible-preaching church in the Bremerton area. When Ken got home, he phoned his pastor, Pastor Ken Wymer. It all resulted in a Wednesday night Bible study and prayer meeting with Pastor Wymer's leadership, meeting in various places in Bremerton, including a body shop on Kitsap Way and the Girl Scout building on Warren Avenue. Among those who started meeting weekly with Pastor Wymer were Ralph Gregory, Ted Gorsuch, and a Mr. Kelly from Ferndale who was employed in Bremerton.

Interest progressed until there were about thirty-five adults in attendance. Those who desired church membership became members of First Baptist Church of Bainbridge Island. At this time home missionary, Don Ruble, with his wife Cynthia and son Nathan were contacted through Rev. Harvey Taylor. They moved from Wenatchee to Bremerton, and led the group to organize and incorporate. After a period of time, through lack of interest, the church dissolved and Pastor Ruble left.

After a few months Pastor Wymer again began prayer meetings, meeting in Westpark Community Hall. The basement of Westpark Christian Church was also used. On December 28, 1966, the group voted to contact Ed and Shirley Brandt to ask them to come and shepherd the fellowship. They came in January, 1967, to give leadership to the small group of people. It was voted to start regular services on January 29, 1967.

The Sunday services were held in the I.O.O.F. hall on South Wycoff; the Wednesday night prayer meeting in the Herb Talen home. The matter of choosing a name was the subject of the business meeting held on January 25: the name "Calvary Baptist" was the unanimous choice. The first missionaries to be voted regular support from the church were appointees Charles and Judy Frerichs going to Peru under A.B.W.E. It was on February 22, 1967, that the monthly amount of $5.00 was decided on.

In April of 1967, a working agreement with Northwest Baptists for Home Missions mission board was signed. This gave the group some outside interest and guidance.

Work began on the constitution and after months of work and re-work, it was adopted on October 18, 1967. The membership charter continued open. An organizational meeting was held October 22, 1967. Pastor Brandt read a resolution that the group acclaim themselves to be a duly organized Baptist Church; this was unanimously approved. Following is a copy of the original charter and the names of those who affixed their signatures to it. (This document suffered water damage during the extinguishing of the 1977 fire in the church. The words in parenthesis were somewhat obliterated. The wording of the charter was not included in the church clerk's records, so these words have been supposed and supplied by the compiler of this history.)

Bremerton, Washington
Organized - October 22, 1967

We the undersigned, guided as we believe by the Holy Spirit and relying upon His (authorized) guidance and the blessing of the Triune God, do here and now, by this (charter declare) ourselves a New Testament Baptist Church to administer His ordinances, (advance) His worship, encourage Christian fellowship, and to be governed by His will, as revealed in the New Testament, and to that end affix our signatures to this charter. This charter to close March 31, 1968.
Vivian E. Roedell Ralph Gregory
Hope V. Talen Herbert L. Talen
Rozilla Gregory Edward M. Brandt
Shirley J. Brandt W. H. Cunningham, Jr.
William H. Roedell Janet Cunningham
Kenneth D. Smith Linda Christenson
Margie Miles Genevieve Chitwood

It was also voted to call Ed Brandt as pastor. (Salary: $85 per month plus $75 a month rent.) The following officers were elected:

  • Mr. Herbert Talen
  • Mr. Ralph Gregory
  • Mr. Wm. Howard Roedell.
  • Mr. Ken Smith
  • Mr. Wm. Cunningham
  • Mrs. Vivian Roedell
  • Mr. Wm. Howard Roedell
Sunday School Superintendent:
  • Mr. Herbert Talen
  • Mrs. J. Cunningham

Pastor Ken Wymer, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Bainbridge Island, brought the evening message to encourage the newly organized Calvary Baptist Church in their endeavor to establish a testimony for Christ.

The Lewis Funeral Chapel on Kitsap Way was the meeting place for the newly formed church. They began meeting there in November of 1967 and continued there for four and one-half years.

The date of incorporation is given to be November 27, 1967. It was decided (November 19, 1967, business meeting) to call for a recognition council with the Northwest Regular Baptist Fellowship of Churches on January 23, 1968. This meeting was held in the First Federal Building. It is of interest to note that the chairman of the recognition council was Pastor John Kain, Bellevue, WA; clerk, Pastor Ken Wymer, Bainbridge Island. The constitution and articles of faith of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches was approved on January 7, 1968.

The availability of two and six-tenths acres of property on Dyes Inlet Road was brought up for discussion in February, 1968, and Pastor Brandt was given authorization to make further investigation into purchasing it. On February 28 that year the church voted to accept the seller's (Mrs. Peggy E. Hadsell) terms: "$5000 down payment with remaining $11,000 payable at $100 or more per month at 6% interest, subject to the re-zoning of said property". This re-zoning committee must have moved slowly, for it was on May 5, 1968, that the motion was recorded to "proceed on the purchase of the property". Application was made to the N.B.H.M. Revolving Fund for "money sufficient to make the down payment". The house on the property was remodeled somewhat for a parsonage, and the Brandts moved into it.

The church called for an ordination council for Pastor Brandt. This was held on December 10th, 1968, at the Federal Savings and Loan building in downtown Bremerton. Upon the recommendation of the council, the ordination service was held that same evening at the Lewis Funeral Chapel.

Because of his wife's ill-health, Pastor Brandt felt compelled to resign in March of 1969. Mr. Herb Talen served to fill the pulpit as the search for a new pastor continued throughout the summer and fall. The board of N.B.H.M. helped in this search and Robert Pletcher was presented with the challenge. He accepted the call from the church to become their pastor. The church where the Pletchers were members (Placerita Regular Baptist Church, Newhall, California) called for an ordination council for Brother Pletcher. This was in November, 1969; shortly thereafter they moved to Bremerton into temporary housing. "Temporary" was necessary because the parsonage had been damaged with fire on April 29, while the church was without a pastor. Repairs could not be made in time, and it was May of 1970 before the Pletchers could finally move into the parsonage.


The congregation determined the site for a church building, permits were obtained, and clearing was underway. Surrounding sister churches provided work crews from time to time to assist in various projects, but it was on August 7, 1971 that a crew reportedly numbering fifty-four gathered at the site and a "New Church Raised In Day". This was the headline of the article that appeared on the church page of the August 14, 1971, Bremerton Sun. Even though the interior wasn't finished, they were able to hold Vacation Bible School in the building August 16-20. The first regular Sunday services were held in the new facilities on Easter Sunday, April 2, 1972, with fifty-eight in attendance in the morning service. The baptistry wasn't completed for several years; it was April 18, 1976, that the first baptismal service was held. br> Low finances were a continuing problem for the young church. At one point they were forced to make "interest only" payments on their loan from the Revolving Fund.

Those men mentioned in the clerk's records that were invited for series of meetings in the early days of the church were Rev. Buel Liming, Rev. Carl Sweazy, and Rev. Malcolm Lange. Several different years a week of Missionary Conference was held.

Northwest Baptist Seminary, Tacoma, was contacted about the possibility of a student coming out to help in the work of the church. The first such student helper was Mallory Parmerlee who was voted to receive five dollars per week to help with his transportation costs. (Sept., '75 to Jan., "76).

In January, 1977, Pastor Pletcher read his resignation to become effective February 28th. Another search for a pastor was begun. It was recommended to them that John Kain be contacted. He was serving as Field Representative for the Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. The First Baptist Church of Bainbridge Island supplied funds for the air-fare to bring him to Bremerton in early March to candidate for the pulpit. He was given a unanimous vote and accepted the call.

On two different occasions in May of 1977 an arsonist set the church building on fire. Extensive damage was done. The interior of the building had to be completely re-done. A cash settlement was made with the insurance company and the congregation undertook the responsibility of restoration. Again they received much help from the area G.A.R.B.C. churches in this monumental task. The parsonage was used for regular Sunday and Wednesday services throughout the summer.

Rev. Fred Holt agreed to serve the church as interim pastor and give them leadership until the new pastor could come. This was indeed a blessing to the congregation.

Mr. Kain was committed to the college through July. He moved to the field the last part of August and began his ministry on September 4, 1977. N.B.H.M. had agreed to help with moving costs as well as a portion of the monthly salary. This was set up to diminish to zero over a period of approximately three years. There was also monthly financial help from other individuals and churches.


Work on the building and furniture continued throughout the fall. Long hours were spent refinishing the pews, as well as other tasks. A carpenter friend from Iowa, Mr. Bob Bauer, gave us two weeks of labor in February. This was the first of several times that he came to give building assistance.

In March of 1978, another seminary student, Gerry Hamblin, started coming on Sundays to help out in the work of the church. In the fall of 1978, Olin and Sue Harris (Olin was seminary student) began attending and were a great help in many areas of the work. The church was able to give each of these students some remuneration for transportation costs.

Discussion was begun in June, 1979, on the possibility of Pastor Kain securing a portion of the church property on which they could build a home. An agreement was worked out by which the church would have the "first right of refusal" if the house should ever be for sale. Pastor and Mrs. Kain (with a lot of help) erected a two-story home in 1980 on the half-acre lot. This freed up the parsonage to be used for much needed Sunday School class rooms and youth activities.

By October, 1980, the Lord had so provided that the Home Mission board was notified that the financial support which had been given was no longer needed. Support was still coming from some churches and individuals, but by the end of 1981, these were also all notified. Calvary Baptist Church began 1982 as a self-sustaining church, by God's grace. The following is a copy of the paper prepared by Pastor Kain to send to former supporters:


Graduation from home mission status has been a time for reflection here at Calvary Baptist. We are thankful for those faithful few that had the vision and burden to launch this work originally. We are grateful to our sister church on Bainbridge Island and to their pastor for the support and encouragement they provided in our beginning.

Northwest Baptist Home Mission has been helpful not only as a channel of support to the missionary pastors but also in funds for the building through the Revolving Fund. The faithful missionary support together with the intercessory prayer of churches across the country has been of immeasurable help to us. The work parties from many area churches to help in building and later to repair the fire damage played a vital part in our church history.

We appreciate the contributions that Pastor Brandt and Pastor Pletcher have made to this work. They and their families made great personal sacrifices to share in the building of this testimony.

We are glad that we can release support so that churches can now channel it elsewhere. We pray that much of it will be channeled to other home mission fields.

Calvary Baptist set a goal of $2800 for missions in our budget for our first year as a self-sustaining church. This reveals something of the vision and faith of this congregation. We have established a building committee to begin work toward future expansion of facilities.

As pastor of the work, I must confess that we have some fears as we take this step of faith. Our greatest fear is that as churches drop us from their missionary budget, they will also eliminate us from their prayer list. While we believe we can survive financially without the support, we know we need your prayers more desperately than ever before in our history.

As we mature we hope to become active partners in the work of planting churches in other communities in this great land of America. This is surely a whitened harvest field and the laborers are few.

To all those I have neglected to acknowledge, please forgive me. May God bless and reward you bountifully for your help in bringing Calvary Baptist to this point. We believe that all of you who have had a part will agree with us that this work has been "wrought of our God". We praise Him for His inexhaustible Grace!"


Tim Brudtkuhl contacted the church in the fall of 1981 desiring to come and initiate a youth work as a preparation to go to the field of Germany for a church planting ministry. He came for a two-week visit in January, 1982. In February, 1982, the deacons recommended and the church voted to call him as Director of Youth and Music. The church would supply him with housing and give him gas allowance for church related work. He was willing to seek secular appointment to meet other expenses. He began his ministry in March, 1982. The church was able at a later time to give him some financial support. He served with the church until January of 1985. The church voted in 1987 to give him regular support as he was preparing to go to Germany under Baptist Mid-Missions.

The church held a commissioning service on July 3, 1983, for David and Loy Feriante who went under Baptist Mid-Missions for short term service in the Bible School on the West Indies island of St. Vincent. They departed on August 1, 1983, and returned in the late spring of 1984 after the close of the school year.

The first ever "Home Coming" Sunday was on September 2, 1984. Many former members and friends enjoyed a full day's activities and basket dinner.

The obligations to the Revolving Fund were all met and the "mortgage burning" took place on March 17, 1985. Mission Board personnel, Rev. Merle Wood and Rev. Lyle Bramblet participated in the service.

The plans for an addition to the church building were presented to the church by the building committee in October, 1985. These were accepted and plans proceeded. Special ground-breaking services were held on May 11, 1986, and the building of the "New Wing" was begun. "The people had a mind to work" and a schedule of Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday work days was initiated. The ladies provided meals each time for the workers. The folk came directly from their day jobs to work on the building. The addition included a large entry-fellowship hall room, pastor's office, nursery and toddler rooms, kitchen, rest rooms, and two class rooms. Many, many hours of labor were invested in this building. The Lord sent along those with special expertise when some was needed for specific jobs. The work continued throughout the summer, fall and winter. A small bank loan was secured to aid the completion. As with the first building, Easter Sunday, April 3, 1988, was when the new building was used for the first time.

The church asked Dan Kain to come for the summer months of 1988 to assist his father, Pastor Kain. Dan had completed two years of college work and had spent part of the previous summer in Mission Intern Service with our missionaries in Brazil, Marv and Diane Fray. There was a special "love gift" offering given at the close of summer.

The agreement with the Building and Planning Commission was that upon completion of the church addition, the old parsonage (annex, as it was now called) would be torn down. Items of any value were offered to any of the congregation that would want to take them, and work proceeded to dismantle the structure. This task was not complete until the summer of 1991, when a backhoe was rented to bury the old foundation and smooth the surface.

By 1989 the membership had grown to the point that it was decided to expand the deacon board to be four men. In 1991, the trustee board was also enlarged to be four in number.

The ladies of the church organized a "Ladies Missionary Fellowship" in the spring of 1988 and began regular monthly meetings--for the purpose "to unite the women of the church and congregation in order that we may further the missionary and church programs of our church" through prayer, offerings and work projects, presenting a program that informs and educates the ladies of the church with missionary information.


Between and including 1983 and 1991, the church was one of a group of six or seven churches in western Washington that banded together to sponsor a two day "Winter Conference on the Fundamentals of the Faith". Calvary Baptist hosted this conference in 1989. It was to keep the constituency informed on the issues confronting the churches---especially in the area of separation.

On Saturday, September 29, 1990, at 11:15 p.m., the telephone rang. The neighbors behind the church were calling to let the pastor know that there was a fire in the church. They had been gracious enough to have already called the fire department. The firemen were several hours completing their job. The fire had started in the baptistry area, and burned undetected until it broke out through the west wall and was seen from the neighbors' house. There was some structural damage, as well the loss or damage of much of the contents. The new building suffered heavy smoke damage. The congregation gathered for worship and prayer Sunday morning on the lawn. It was deemed advisable to begin the clean-up as soon as possible. Prayer meeting was held each Wednesday for a month in Pastor Kain's home. The Sunday morning services were held in the Miller-Woodlawn Funeral Home and the Sunday evening services were in the Bremerton Christian School Gymnasium. By the first of November, sufficient cleaning and painting had been done in the "new building" that we could again use it for meeting purposes, while restoration work in the sanctuary was continuing. It was voted to appoint Dick Sperling to superintend and organize this work. The oak pews had been satisfactorily salvaged and it was agreed to have the seats of them padded. A grand piano was located to purchase for the sanctuary as well as a used Hammond organ. A new sound system was also installed.

It was decided to add eight feet onto the building behind the platform and relocate the baptistry directly behind the pulpit. By late March, we were able to once again meet for worship in the auditorium, while work continued on the addition. The baptistry was completed in December, 1992. The first baptismal service was on December 13.

It had been a pleasant practice to celebrate the Fourth of July by making home-made ice cream to enjoy together. In 1989, it was decided to enlarge the celebration by inviting a few other churches to join us in having a patriotic service followed by a picnic lunch, games and contests, and then home-made ice cream. This became a regular event. The Lord had given us the space for such activity and the central location among the group of churches.

In November of 1990, the church voted to call Dan Cleghorn to assist in the area of Christian Education and Youth ministry in a part-time capacity. This was changed to be full time to begin in July, 1991. His wife, Karen, was very helpful in the area of music.

Following the morning service on November 8, 1992, Pastor Kain read his resignation as pastor of Calvary Baptist; his plan was to retire following the communion service January 3, 1993. There was a specially called business meeting that afternoon for the church to consider whether or not they wanted to purchase the Kain home to serve as a parsonage (as per 1979 agreement). The vote was very strongly in favor of such a plan, and work began to secure a loan from the bank to complete this transaction.

In the January, 1993, business meeting Pastor Dan Cleghorn was invited to serve as interim pastor for a period of three months after which time further commitment could be considered by both parties. On April 7, 1993, the church voted to call Pastor Dan Cleghorn as the Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist.

In September 1994, Calvary Baptist Church voted to remove themselves from the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC) in order that they could become an Independent Baptist Church.

Pastor Cleghorn continued to serve as Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist until November, 2001, at which time he assumed the position of Senior Pastor at Chewelah Baptist Church in Chewelah, Washington.

In April, 2002, Calvary Baptist extended an invitation for Pastor James M. Haning of Fairbanks, Alaska to candidate for the position of Senior Pastor. Pastor Haning accepted the invitation, visited, and spoke at the church from April 28-May 1. On May 15, 2002, Calvary Baptist voted to call Pastor James Haning as their Senior Pastor, and he accepted the call. James Haning’s first service as Senior Pastor was Sunday, July 7, 2002.

(Compiled and written by Mrs. J. M. Kain, February, 1993, updated and revised by James M. Haning, September 12, 2002)

  "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15
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