Calvary Tabernacle has been considered a flagship church in the United Pentecostal Church International and in the Apostolic movement for decades. The following is a brief history of how the church first began and the key milestones that led Calvary Tabernacle to where it is today.
The year 1932 saw the first opening of the doors of worship at the Prospect Street location. The first pastor of this growing assembly was Oscar Hughes. During these early years, a building located on the corner of Fletcher and Cedar Avenue was purchased for the church, known then as the Fletcher Pentecostal Church. Following Pastor Hughes, Oliver Fauss was elected pastor of Fletcher Pentecostal Church. He and his family served for almost two years before making the decision to move to Houston, Texas. In 1937, the church chose 21-year old Raymond Hoekstra to pastor the church. Under his leadership the church grew quickly. The white frame Fletcher Pentecostal Church was razed, a cinder block church was built, and the new church building was named Calvary Tabernacle.
Upon Pastor Hoekstra’s resignation in 1949, Nathaniel A. Urshan became the pastor of Calvary Tabernacle. Rev. Urshan pastored until 1979 when he moved to St. Louis to assume the leadership of the United Pentecostal Church International as General Superintendent. During his pastorate Calvary Christian School,which had been initiated and built by Raymond Hoekstra in 1945, became a wellspring from which flowed a steady stream of Jesus Name preachers and Christian workers.
During Rev. Urshan’s pastorate, Mayor Richard Lugar was asked to change Cedar Street to Calvary Street. The city council passed the request with a 100% vote. Today, if you are traveling south on I-65 and I-70, you will see the sign that signifies Calvary Street on the freeway. The sign is a symbol of the impact this church has made on the city of Indianapolis.
In 1956 Calvary Tabernacle and Calvary Christian School were enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of worshippers. From 1949 to 1979, over one-thousand people were added to the congregation.
In 1979, James N. Larson was elected as Pastor of Calvary Tabernacle. The Calvary Tower with the three large crosses, which has become an iconic feature of this church, was built during Rev. Larson’s pastorate. The large tower, rising hundreds of feet, is easily seen by travelers on the nearby freeway and can be seen from an airplane on a clear night. The Calvary Tower stands as a monument to the people who make Calvary Tabernacle their place of worship and as a beacon of hope to the thousands of souls spread across the city of Indianapolis.
In 1988, the Calvary Tabernacle membership voted to call Paul D. Mooney to pastor its flagship church. Shortly thereafter, in the year 1989, Pastor Mooney led the church in accept- ing the work of Indiana Bible College. Today young people from across the country, and even around the world, come to Indiana Bible College to allow God to shape their hearts by the Word of God.
In 2001, upon paying off the mortgage of the Calvary Tabernacle and Indiana Bible College properties, the relocation of Calvary Christian School was launched. After investigating several locations around the city, the church purchased a large property and building at I-65 and Keystone Avenue. In 2006, after years of fund-raising, the church held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Keystone location. Over the next year the defunct grocery store building was transformed into a state-of-the-art, two-story school and family life center. The doors opened to students in August of 2007. Today, Calvary Christian School is a thriving, accredited Elementary, Middle, and High School institution that is well respected in the City of Indianapolis.
Rev. Mooney continued his faithful service as Pastor of Calvary Tabernacle for many years until his retirement in the Spring of 2020. During his 32 years of leadership at Calvary Tabernacle and to this day, Pastor Mooney is recognized for his dynamic leadership and his steadfast adherence to the Apostolic Doctrine.
In June of 2020, shortly after Rev. Mooney’s retirement, Joshua B. Carson was elected as Pastor of Calvary Tabernacle. Since his election, Pastor Carson has stepped into the pastoral role with passion and anointing and has rallied the congregation around our mission: to reach into all areas of the community, to connect people to God as well as one another, and to disciple people toward Jesus Christ.