Our Church History
Praise God for He has done great things. In
1943, a need was recognized to reach out to individuals in the happy
Hill community by teaching God’s word to His people.
answered the call to fill that need and as a result, Calvary Baptist
Church was organized. The original sanctuary was no more than a
storefront building in the 600 block of W. Thomas St. in Rocky
As Calvary’s membership grew, Reverend Thomas and the congregation realized that a larger sanctuary was needed for worship. And in 1943 a house with shingles on the side was built at 823 Beal Street.
As time passed, Reverend Sykes, from Goldsboro North Carolina became the leader of Calvary Baptist Church. He would commute from Goldsboro on Saturday, teach the word of God on Sunday, and begin his tedious trip back to Goldsboro on Sunday night. Under Reverend Sykes leadership, Church membership continued to grow.
Reverend Solomon Jones later became the leader of Calvary Baptist Church in 1956. The congregation voted to change the churches name to First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. The church received not only a new name, it also received much needed improvements such as a new sanctuary, new fellowship hall and renovations of the inner structure. The cornerstone was laid in 1959, and the church was dedicated March 1962.
Reverend Jones was also active in the local branch of the Rocky Mount NAACP. First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church was one of the meeting headquarters for the local NAACP, And currently holds a lifetime membership with the organization.
Upon the death of Rev. Solomon Jones, the Happy Hill community was blessed to have one of its community sons, Reverend Willie R. Burston, a community leader and entrepreneur, return to his community to lead the First Calvary Missionary Baptist church congregation in 1986.
In 1987 Reverend Burston founded Jesus' kitchen; a ministry that served breakfast to the homeless people of need. Many other accomplishments were made during Rev. Burston’s tenure as Pastor but none more special than Jesus’ Kitchen. Reverend Burston retired on December 31, 2014.
Though saddened by the retirement of Rev. Burston we continued to trust that God would direct us in the choice of a new Pastor. Our prayers were answered on January 16th, 2015 when Reverend Rodney M. Avent, Sr became our fifth Pastor. His wife is the lovely Stephanie L. Avent of Newburg, MD. They are parents to three wonderful children; Armonee, Rodney Jr, and Cameron.
In 2007, while in Africa on a missionary trip, Rev. Rodney M. Avent, Sr. answered the call into the ministry. Rev. Avent preached his initial sermon April/2008. Prior to answering his call Rev. Avent served as a Deacon, Sunday School teacher and as an Associate Minister at First Baptist Church Berkeley in Norfolk Virginia, under the leadership of Reverend Dr. William D Tyree, lll. Rev. Avent relocated to Wake Forest, North Carolina in 2012 with his family and joined the First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church that same year. December 2013, Rev. Avent was ordained for the full ministry of the gospel. Prior to his selection as Pastor of First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church; Rev. Avent served as Assistant Pastor at first Calvary, then as Interim Pastor after the retirement of Reverend Burston.