A history of

Calvary Community Church

From the beginning, Calvary Community Church has drawn a wide and varied clientele. In 1936, Pastor and Mrs. Frances Sturgeon of Centralia held street meetings in downtown Longview, attracting people of various denominations with their preaching and their music. With a congregation of 15 to 20 people, they began meeting in various available buildings, including the Seventh Day Adventist Church and the YMCA. In April of 1937, a charter membership of 12 was formed. The Longview Revival Tabernacle was built at 620 Oregon Way. The work grew under their care. In 1939, the Sturgeons resigned their pastorate to do further evangelistic work.


Rev. and Mrs. Guy DeVries served as Pastors from 1939 to 1943. Vacation Bible School was begun under their ministry. A citywide revival known as the Cooper Revival was held at the YMCA in 1941. Many of the converts chose to attend Longview Revival Tabernacle. The Dorcas Circle ladies missionary group was organized during the Devries' pastorate.


Rev. and Mrs. Carl Gunderson were pastors from 1943 through 1951. He was known as a marvelous Bible teacher who encouraged Bible memorization. It was his conviction that God's flock be nurtured in the Word. A strong music program continued with Wilma, an excellent pianist. During the ministry of the Gundersons, a young peoples group held Sunday afternoon services for a time in the Ostrander schoolhouse. As the church attempted to disciple others, the congregation had to consider expanding its facilities.


Several shorter pastorates followed. Rev. and Mrs. Roland Bixler pastored from 1951 to 1954. During their ministry a Sunday School building was erected on a lot adjoining The Tabernacle. Rev. Biller was a gifted pulpit speaker.


From 1954 to 1958, Rev. and Mrs. William Kirshkee served the church. During their pastorate, the church became affiliated with the Assemblies of God. On October 26, 1954, the name of the church was changed to Longview Assembly of God. A chapel was added to the Sunday School building and construction was begun on the furnace room and additional Sunday School rooms. The Tabernacle was sold and moved off the premises. The BYKOTA missionary group was formed during this ministry. Rev. Kirshkee was especially strong in promoting a better Sunday School. He was also a good Bible teacher and was in demand as a Camp Speaker all across the United States. The Assemblies of God denomination later sent him to Australia to help establish Sunday Schools.


Rev. and Mrs. William Paris served in a period of sustained growth from May 1958 to November 1985. Pastor Paris was known for having a shepherd's heart. He was an excellent pulpit speaker and counselor who stressed the Spirit-filled life as a daily walk of obedience to Jesus with the Bible as guide. During these years, the church body voted to withdraw from the Assemblies of God and the name was changed to Calvary Temple.


On December 5, 1971, a vote of the membership changed the name to Calvary Community Church to better reflect the interdenominational ministry and makeup of the church family.


Under the leadership of Pastor Paris, the church expanded through various building programs. In 1959, a large sanctuary was added to the building on Oregon Way along with offices, a library and additional Sunday School rooms. Several program developments were initiated under the Paris' ministry. In 1958 the youth camp began at the Girl Scout camp for 35 young people. In 1960, the camp was transferred to Black Lake. The following year saw 200 in attendance. Camp has proven to be a tremendous evangelistic tool through the years.


Pastor Paris began the first Confirmation Class in 1959. Fifth Quarter and Youth Fellowship at the church Friday evenings after the High School ball games and the Youth Choral flourished.


Also, Criadas Guild, a third missionary group, was formed, along with Women's Ministries under Naomi Paris' supervision.


The Fellowship Potluck Dinner program was organized in 1979 as an effort to keep closeness in a growing church.


An AWANA children's program was instigated in 1981. Calvary Community Preschool began in the fall of 1982.


Truly, Calvary Community Church had much to be grateful for in these stable, fruitful years.


As the congregation continued to grow, there was a growing recognition of the need for larger facilities. Soon, with 8.6 acres of land purchased on 38th Avenue, the construction of a new church was begun in 1978. This complex was completed in 1979. A family center, or gymnasium, was added in 1984. On November 8, 1985, Pastor Paris went to be with the Lord. Naomi sold her home on Kessler Boulevard and moved to Vancouver, Washington, to make her home there.


After the passing of Pastor Paris, Dr. E. Joe Gilliam served as our pulpit supply from November 1985 until May 1986.


Rev. Jack DeWolfe served our congregation as our interim pastor from the summer of 1986 until September 13, 1987.


Dr. Howard and Kay King began their ministry in December of 1987 and served through December 31, 2002. Dr. King is a biblical scholar with a teacher’s heart. He currently serves as Pastor Emeritus.


Dr. Galen Conrad, our present senior pastor, began his ministry on January 1, 2003. 

Dr. Conrad has earned a Bachelor Degree from Western Baptist College, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary. Previous to his tenure at Calvary Community Church, he has served at churches in California, Colorado, and Washington. In July of 2012, Dr. Conrad finished his dissertation at Western Seminary and received his Doctorate of Divinity later in the year. He and his wife, Jeane, passionately love people and the church continues to grow.


Throughout the years, even with pastoral and denominational changes, God has continued to bring an increase. The church continues to grow today, an evangelical and evangelistic body, as it reaches out to its community with an emphasis on excellent preaching, family ministry, music, and youth programs.


As Jesus has been lifted up, He has drawn many unto Himself. Just as he promised in John 12:32:

 “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself”