Around 1918 the family of Michael’s Bakery purchased a bicycle for their youngest son, Johnny, to be used to help deliver packages for a downtown clothing store in Roanoke. When the bike was subsequently stolen from the family residence, Johnny and his mother set out to find it in a poorer neighborhood in the Franklin Road area. What they discovered in their search was a neighborhood in need of a church.
Mrs. Margaret Michael asked a mother where she and her family went to church. The mother, a Mrs. Smith, said, “We have no clothes to attend the fine churches in town, so we just don’t go.” Her heart was touched by the children’s need for the gospel. Margaret Michael and her husband, Walter, started a Sunday School in the mother’s house and named it Franklin Road Mission. With help from the 2nd Presbyterian Church in funding, resources, and materials, the small mission survived both the influenza pandemic and the Great Depression.
As the mission grew, it moved into a grocery store, then into its own building in 1935 when it became Franklin Road Chapel. The church continued to grow and eventually land was purchased in 1953 to build a bigger building in which to meet. The church congregation raised all the funds for the materials, and amazingly, constructed the church themselves. All of the work had to be completed after regular work hours and on weekends.
On March 24, 1957, the congregation voted on a new name for the church and thus, Calvary Memorial Church was born. Under the 22 years of leadership of Paster Larry Eenigenburg, the church again had to expand for growth in 1993, and added the current auditorium and foyer. In the late 1990’s the church purchased the current youth house, duplexes, and additional parking.
In 2001, Mark Vaughan became only the 4th pastor in the church’s history. As CMC has continued to grow, we have added Greg John as administrator in 2007 and Chris Goerner as assistant pastor in 2009. While the story of Calvary Memorial Church’s physical growth is exciting, the most blessed part has been its spiritual growth. We can only praise God for His care over the past, current, and future church body of Calvary.