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THE HISTORY OF CALVIN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Part III:  The SENSATIONAL 70s

A REVOLTING DEVELOPMENT!

1970 started off in a perfectly acceptable manner, with not even a hint of what was in store for us. Paul Milio was our pastor, we had been a church for 12 years, and our membership and finances were holding their own. In November, 1970, Pastor Milio accepted a call to Morrisville, New Jersey, and suddenly we were without a minister. There was an immediate decline in church attendance and an accompanying decline in congregational giving. We soon found ourselves unable to pay the church mortgage, let alone attract a new minister. At the 1971 annual congregational meeting, session recommended that the pulpit committee be suspended until we resolved our financial situation, and the congregation agreed. With good cooperation from the Presbytery executive, Dr. Charlie McKirachan, we were able to suspend mortgage payments for three years and quickly get back on our financial feet. The pulpit committee was reactivated in September, 1970.

 

FROM FAMINE TO FEAST

Bob Chestnut, our pastor from 1962 to 1966, now a professor at McCormack Seminary in Chicago, sent word to the pulpit committee that he had a bearded young student who might be a good fit for Calvin. Rick Kranzley came to Cincinnati, preached for the pulpit committee, and in February, 1972, became the fourth pastor of Calvin Church.

At that time, our membership was down to 155, but the congregation seemed to be primed to move forward with Pastor Kranzley. During the year we increased membership to 160, and Session was increased from 6 to 8 members. The Calvineers social group was established and, to our delight, Rick shaved off his beard! 1973 was our breakout year with respect to membership, which increased by 16% from 160 to 186. We started year-round Sunday school, with an average attendance of 50. Rick began using a layperson each week in the worship service. A 4-H Club was established, along with sponsorship of Boy Scout Troop #680. Our organist, Grace Baumeister, resigned and was replaced by Marge Waters.

Rev.  Kranzley folk singing with children

The old sanctuary and Sunday school rooms were, once again, beginning to burst at the seams.

 

IT KEEPS GETTING BETTER!  

 

 

We picked up another 26 members in 1974 for a year- end membership of 212. Kay Horning came from the Mt. Washington church to become our organist, and the organ and choir was moved from the back to the front of the (old) sanctuary. We replaced our chairs in the sanctuary with pews, established a Calvin Blood Bank, a Stock-the-Locker food bank for the needy, and began an annual talent show that was a sight to behold. Rick established a mid-week worship service, and the Calvineers began an annual tradition of an overnight at Wildwood. It was just a question of time before we expanded our facilities, because membership had increased to 235! The long-range planning committee recommended that we proceed with a building committee, and in May, 1976, the congregation voted to go forward with a building program, a 400 seat sanctuary and undercroft, costing $250,000.

 Rev. Richard  Kranzley

AGONY AND ECSTASY

 

Building programs are seldom easy, and this one was really a test of faith. It started off well in 1976 with congregational approval and Jackie Brumfield led a building pledge campaign that netted $72,000. An architect was secured, along with a general contractor. Cliff Mefford and John Wiseman chaired the building committee.

The first glitch was financing. The church agencies required so many hoops to negotiate, we decided to finance it ourselves with a local building and loan. Groundbreaking was April 3rd, 1977.

Then the troubles began. The general contractor provided little guidance and quality control, and we were beset with delays and poor quality work. The general contractor was eventually fired, and Cliff Mefford, Paul Barbro, John Wiseman, and Pastor Kranzley went above and beyond the

   Rev. Richard Kranzley at

      Groundbreaking, 1977

Nevertheless, May 7th, 1958, was a great day for Calvin as we dedicated our (almost) complete new sanctuary. Along with a beautiful pulpit, lectern, communion table and chairs crafted by John Middleton, and a large, hanging cross crafted by Cliff Mefford, we praised God for our good fortunes. Kim and Daryl Meyerrenke were the first to be married in the new sanctuary.

IN THE MEANTIME

The building wasn’t the only thing being constructed during the mid-‘70s. A Men’s group was formed in 1976 and session was increased from 8 to 9 members in 1977. We shared our church building with a newly formed Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. Not only did we move into our new sanctuary in 1978, we began a new worship planning process – liturgy teams. Pastor Rick was pursuing a doctorate at McCormack and his studies led him to seek wider congregational participation in worship. After he taught a Takestock  course to some in the congregation the liturgy teams were launched, and remain popular and effective to this day. For the first time, children were permitted to celebrate Holy Communion, regardless of age. At the end of 1978, our membership was 259.

 

  MOPPING UP!  

From mid-1978, when we moved in to the new sanctuary, until the end of the decade, there was so much work to be done, facility-wise. The men’s group began work on a new kitchen in the church fellowship hall. At the same time, the old sanctuary was renovated into four classrooms and a chapel, which gave so much more room for Sunday school activities. The legal battle among Calvin, the general contractor and the sub-contractors was successfully negotiated without going to court. Then, early in 1979, Pastor Rick’s parents were involved in a terrible auto accident, and Rick spent much time caring for his parents. The session and congregation picked up the slack and performed well during his absences. Choir Director Jane Wiseman led the church in hosting a Mission #8 Choir Festival. Helen Lang assumed responsibility for our Food Locker distributions. The Ron Verwold memorial garden was completed. Charlie Jones replaced Jim Arganbright as the adult Sunday school teacher when Jim moved away, and Pastor Rick received his Doctorate degree. At the end of 1979, our membership was 252. What a decade!

On to The Ambivalent Eighties

Back to The Sizzling 60's 

 

Home Page: A History of Calvin Church

 


During 2007, Bob Bridges, our church's resident historian, reminisced about each decade of Calvin’s existence. Although he wasn’t at the church in the ‘50s, he's spoken with many who were. He has pieced together a sketch of those earliest years.

 

 
   

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