Calvary Baptist Church and Worship in New York City in a Pandemic

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Calvary Baptist Church has learned how to worship together in New York City

As you may know if you listen to Ed Stetzer Live on Moody Radio, I finished up a lengthy interim at Moody Church this summer. Not long after that, I began an interim at another historic church, Calvary Baptist Church in New York City. There’s actually several connections between the Moody Church and Calvary Baptist Church historically and a lot of interchange has come between each through the years.

A church with a rich history

Calvary Baptist Church, like Moody Church, has a rich and varied history. Established in 1847, the church was an early adopter of the medium of radio in the 1920s. For many years in the 20th century the Stephen Olford served as pastor. Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton worshipped at the church; evangelists Billy Sunday and Billy Graham preached there.

It is what we might call a “skyscraper church,” located on W. 57th Street just down the street from Carnegie Hall on what has been called Billionaires Row. The area is currently experiencing a huge new growth spurred from high-rise condos as well.

Calvary Baptist has been without a pastor since David Epstein retired in 2018. Guest speakers have filled the pulpit in the time following his retirement. However, since March they church stopped meeting publicly and did not meet face-to-face again until we gathered together on November 1. (We are planning to meet again on December 20.)

This spring, New York City was hit harder than almost any place in the world by the coronavirus. Thus, the meeting rules in New York City are very stringent. In fact, the city recently made national news regarding some of these rules. We recently posted an article here from John Inazu expressing his agreement with the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding New …

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