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ReNewed Hope at Calvary – A Year Later

ReNewed Hope at Calvary – A Year Later

ReNewed Hope at Calvary – A Year Later

In early 2020 a chance encounter at a local restaurant set into motion the unification of Calvary Baptist Church with Second Baptist Church, Lancaster. When the leadership of Calvary Baptist Church approached Dr. Brian Saxon one fateful evening in Panera Bread, neither of them realized that they were setting in motion a series of events that would change the course of both their churches forever.  Since its formation in 1924, Calvary Baptist had faithfully served those living on the Mill Hill of Lancaster County.  When Springs Industries sold its holdings and closed its doors, Calvary Baptist Church began to suffer. Then COVID struck in 2020, and the church on Barron Boulevard was close to having to shutter its doors.  The leadership of Calvary exhausted all its means to keep the church afloat, and unless a miracle occurred, they would have to close for good.  In a courageous leap of faith, Calvary Baptist Church voted to follow the recommendation of its leadership and unite with Second Baptist Church, Lancaster to form a multi-cultural church with a campus at Calvary dedicated to this cause.

Once the two churches had united under the temporary leadership of the Associate Pastor, a search was undertaken to find a campus pastor. The Deacon Administrative Team, serving as the search committee, began investigating applicants. It quickly became apparent that one candidate stood head and shoulders above the rest.  Pastor Argenis Taveras is a native of the Dominican Republic where he faithfully served his church and its school.  He and his family began to pray diligently about relocating to the United States to pastor the new campus.  Even though it meant selling everything they owned and moving their three beautiful children to a new country, they were willing to follow God’s leading. As Pastor Argenis says:

Deciding to come here was a bit difficult for me since I had to leave everything behind and I had been serving in that ministry for about twenty years, things in the ministry were going well and it was never in my mind to come and live here in the United States. However, the Lord works in special ways that still surprise us, just as unexpectantly the Lord put in the hearts of Second Baptist the replanting of Calvary Baptist church. It was suggested that I apply for the position because they were looking for a pastor who could help start a Hispanic ministry and also continue the work with the American brothers. After a few months of praying for the Lord’s will and seeing the number of churches that close their doors every year in the US (900 churches close each year; 4-5 thousand are close to closing), The Lord began to burden my heart and give me a passion for this church. And without knowing her I began to have love and vision for this multicultural church. I came to realize that throughout my life in the ministry the Lord had been preparing me for this very purpose.

After settling in the US, one of the first things Pastor Argenis put in place was a leadership team representing the diversity of the existing church.  In the following year, Calvary Campus:

·       Tripled its weekly attendance

·       Reestablished Sunday night and Wednesday night services

·       Established an ESL program for the local community

·       Started One Nation services

·       Now broadcasting Sunday services in Spanish

·       Hosted a visiting mission team from Ohio

·       Vacation Bible School on its campus

·       New bilingual LifeGroup classes

·       Launched a Discipleship program designed to mentor new believers

“It is truly a joy to visit this campus and see the blend of cultures and age groups all joining to worship the risen Savior and to serve Him in the surrounding community,” said pastor Brian Saxon. “Visiting Calvary Campus gives us all a taste of what Heaven will be like.”

The mission of the Hope for Churches is to strengthen churches so each church can advance the Great Commission together. Through the leadership of this SC Baptist ministry offered by the Chuch Strategies Group, a struggling church was able to see that there was a pathway to become relevant and make eternal impacts in her community. It was through this process that a dying church is now part of a growing, thriving multi-campus church and is now a bilingual campus of Spanish and English worshipers! The SC Baptist Convention serving in partnership with local leadership at Calvary and Second Baptist have forged a partnership to help this local church reimagine how she can be a vibrant ministry in her community and world.

If you would like to learn more about this specfic partnership, contact Second Baptist Church through information on their website,

For partnership opportunities to help an at-risk congregation or if your church would like to start a conversation about their hopeful future, email

Article by Liz James (Church Administrator at Second Baptist Church, Lancaster)

  • James Nugent

    James Nugent

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