WE DON'T FIT THE LABELS:  At Calvary, we are 100% Christian in the best sense of the word.  The word "Christian" was first used pejoratively to refer to followers of Jesus by those who mocked Jesus' followers by calling them "little Christs."  Times have changed.  For many people, "Christian" is a term that congers up images of anger, prejudice, indifference, partisanship, or pride that are far from what Jesus embodied.  At Calvary, we are followers of Jesus first.  While historically Baptist in many of our beliefs, we are unique, and don't have a specific denominational affiliation.  We don't want to be categorized as either "conservative" or "moderate" or "progressive" or "fundamental" or whatever other label churches use.  We do not fit those molds because those labels tend to draw up sides.  We strive to be objective followers of Jesus, unattached to labels and stereotypes.  But that doesn't mean that we don't know who we are; we do.  Read over our core values below.  While this list doesn't tell you everything, it provides you a window into what's important to us.  Of course, there are lots of big (important and necessary) theological words we can use to try to describe all that we believe, but sometimes those words get in the way.  If you have a specific question about something, feel free to contact us and we will get together to talk about it.


WE ARE A FIT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT FOUND A FIT:  Maybe you are a follower of Jesus who just can't seem to find the right church fit.  At Calvary, it is our uniqueness that makes us the kind of church that many people who don't fit in other churches will find fits them.  It is what we have in common as followers of Jesus that unites us around our points of diversity and differences.  Maybe you are not yet a follower of Jesus because you have been turned off by churches who seem too rigid or , conversely, by churches who don't seem to stand for much at all.  Again, it is our uniqueness that makes us the kind of church where you will fit in.  If you have questions about God, the Bible, Jesus, Church, truth, faith -- these are all welcomed questions at Calvary.  We welcome your questions knowing that Jesus welcomes your questions too.  


WE ARE A MATURE CONGREGATION WITH A YOUTHFUL SPIRIT:  Calvary has been around a long time, since 1909.  Our present building was built in 1926 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places in Asheville.  There are some great things about having a long history; there are also some challenges that come with having a long history.  We are a mature church with many older members, but we are not "old" in our thinking.  We are not "old" in the sense that we are set on cruise control.  We are still alive, active, working, serving, loving, giving, going, growing.  We are  presently reinventing ourselves and are inviting others to come along for the ride.  Many of our church family are people who have followed Jesus their whole lives; we can learn from them.  Many of our church family have witnessed changes in life and society that we can only imagine; we can learn from them.  Our church family isn't "young", but it is "young at heart."  Our church family is defined by love - love of God and love for one another - and no matter how old or young you may be, that is what we all are ultimately seeking - love.  At Calvary, we offer you our love.   



Jesus is the answer to our brokenness as individuals and as a society.  We are all created in the image of God, as rational beings with a moral compass, and are of ultimate value to God.  But we lack within us the ability to be all that God created us to be outside a transformation of our selves, heart, mind, and spirit.  Following Jesus -- putting our trust in him to transform our lives -- saves us from the brokenness of our lives and the world around us.  Through the transformation of one person at a time, Jesus is the answer the world's problems.  Through Jesus, God offers what the Bible calls "eternal life", which is life with God into all of time.



The Bible is a big book made of many smaller books that cover thousands of years of the faith story of how people have come to know who God is, what He is like, and what He has done.  The Bible culminates with the New Testament, the New Covenant, which documents and reveals to us the life of Jesus beginning with his miraculous birth, the meaning of his ministry, the message of his teachings, the purpose of his crucifixion and death, and the promise given through his bodily resurrection.  The Bible is our sole authority for living as a follower of Jesus.



God created humanity with the abliity to choose. We exercise our freedom of choice in small matters and big matters: will I buy a new car this year or not; will I go hiking tomorrow or not; will I tell the truth or not; will I give to others in need or not; will I treat others with kindness and respect or not; will I trust God or not; will I live life Jesus' way or not?  Choosing anything other than God's best for us is called "sin."  We all sin because we all choose wrongly.  If we choose to follow Jesus, we accept that through his death and resurrection, our sin and guilt no longer have sway over us.  We are empowered to choose as Jesus would choose, live as Jesus would live, and be who God created us to be.  


After Jesus' death and resurrection, he appeared to his followers before bodily leaving this world.  As his followers gathered together in worship, prayer, and community, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of God and of Jesus) came to be present with them to empower them to share the Good News of Jesus with the world.  This was the start of the Church.  To follow Jesus means to be part of a local church that is part of the bigger universal Church.  We can't follow Jesus alone; we need others to encourage us, challenge us, love us, and be real with us.  Being part of a Christ-centered, others-focused church is essential for all who follow Jesus. 


In His love for humanity, God has given us the gift and boundary of marriage.  We believe that followers of Jesus should practice celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in marriage between a woman and a man.  Recognizing the complexity of issues surrounding sexual identity and the struggle involved, we distinguish between sexual orientation from sexual practice, and thus we embrace all persons regardless of sexual orientation while not embracing all sexual practices.  We commit to being a loving church which, guided both by the Scriptures and the Spirit, disciples all people toward Christlikeness.  We limit roles of teaching and leadership to disciples of Jesus who live according to a traditional Christian ethic in regards to sexual practice.  



Jesus invited everyone to sit with him, share with him, listen to him, be loved by him.  Because of Jesus' example, we invite everyone to do the same.  Everyone.  Regardless of your background, beliefs, sexual orientation, ethnicity, come worship with us at the feet of Jesus.  Regardless of whether you are democrat or republican, libertarian or green party, unaffiliated or not even registered, come worship with us at the feet of Jesus.  Regardless of whether you are a long-time follower of Jesus or someone who is just becoming curious about Jesus, come worship with us at the feet of Jesus.  Regardless of what questions you have about the Bible, faith, Jesus, or church, come worship with us at the feet of Jesus.  You are welcome here.


We believe that Jesus elevated women, and so should we.  We believe God can and does call both women and men to minister and serve in his church and in his world.  We see clear evidence in the way Jesus treated women and in the way the New Testament describes the role of women in Jesus' ministry that God shows no partiality based on gender in regards to church leadership.  It is up to God whom He calls to preach, teach, and lead in his church.  God has, does, and will continue to call girls and boys, women and men, to Himself and to His service.    



Jesus taught that real leadership is servant leadership.  In serving others rather than ourselves, we model the humble way that Jesus lived for others rather than for himself and his own interests.  In the way we do church and the way we engage the world, we work to model leadership the way Jesus modeled leadership, without heavy-handedness, without self-serving motives, without prejudice, with a true love and concern for others, and with humility and respect for the value, giftedness, and voice of all people.


As we seek and discover truth, we commit to "speaking the truth in love".  Truth is not relative.  Absolute truth does exist and can only be known in the truth of God found in God's self-disclosing expressions in the Scriptures and most fully in Jesus.  Jesus said "I am the Truth."  At the same time, "God is Love."  His love is unconditional.  But, love doesn't mean apathy; love doesn't leave someone to their own unhealthiness.  If you love someone, you want the best for them.  We believe that truth and love complement one another.  Sharing truth without love is not the way of Jesus.  Sharing love without truth is not the way of Jesus.  Sharing truth in love is the way of Jesus, and is the way of Calvary.



We value honesty in our faith journey.  To believe in God and have a relationship with Jesus doesn't mean that all our questions get answered.  Sometimes, even in following Jesus, we have serious doubts that cut to the heart of our faith.  We want honest faith, and honest faith encompasses doubt.  Honest faith has room for diversity of thinking, dialogue, wrestling with the Bible, being real, even having doubts and questions about God.  Honest faith is what God wants from us because it is part of a real relationship with God.  He already knows us and loves us not in spite of our doubts, but because we are willing to share our doubts with Him and trust Him to love us through them.


Calvary Church, while new in many respects, also has a long history.  Originally established as Calvary Baptist Church of West Asheville, NC, the church was organized on January 3, 1890 in the old Odd Fellows Hall which stood on the corner of Hanover Street and Haywood Road. There were sixty-eight charter members and The Reverend R.P. Walker was called to be the first pastor. The church was the outgrowth of a mission Sunday School sponsored by the West End Baptist Church.  The first church building was located on the west side of Hanover Street in the block between Haywood Road and Pennsylvania Avenue. Calvary was one of the first churches in West Asheville. At the time of her founding, the only other church was Balm Grove Methodist, now Trinity Methodist Church.  In 1916 the present lot was purchased and the sanctuary was completed in 1925. Each Sunday during the building campaign, a special collection was taken in an old iron pot, a symbol still used today for collecting special offerings.


Our church has been categorized by many as a church of “firsts.” Calvary was the first church to establish a Brotherhood organization in the Baptist State Convention of NC. We were the first to have a Vacation Bible School in Asheville, the first to have a graded choir program, the first to have a race relations program in West Asheville, thus placing us among one of the first progressive churches in the region seeking to promote justice.  In June 2003, Calvary presented the Baptist Children’s Home of North Carolina $100,000 to be used for a new home to assist developmentally impaired young adults. The Bolick Home, as it was named in honor of Alverta Bolick who donated a large sum for the home, was opened in 2006 and is located on the lot adjacent to the rear campus.  In addition to the support given to various mission organizations, our church has served in West Virginia, Kansas City, Oklahoma, Florida, Boston, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Connecticut, New York, Belgium,Poland, and Nicaragua.


Through the years there have been numerous people who have contributed to make Calvary the strong church she is today. We are now known simply as "Calvary Church," a non-denominational church with a mission of "Following Jesus.  Friending the world."  We look forward with great anticipation to what God has in store for our future!

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