The History of Calvary Chapel Fredericktown
The history of Calvary Chapel Fredericktown begins with John Thomas, a Potter by trade, and his wife, Shelly, from Huntington Beach, CA. John and Shelly were both saved during the Jesus movement in the 60's and began attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in 1974.
After sitting under the teaching of Pastor Chuck Smith for 10 years during which time, John was teaching a home bible study and working with various outreaches from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, God presented John with a challenge, to leave Southern California, and to venture out into a land he had never been and had never seen to share the love of God with those he had never met.
After committing the matter to much prayer, John felt that God was calling him to leave his extended family in Southern California and to venture to SW Pennsylvania. "SW Pennsylvania, you've got to be kidding!" was Shelly's initial response when John shared with her the vision that God had given him. He was asking her to leave everything that she knew, all her friends and all her family and move to a place with a totally different culture, where they knew no one and with no Beach or Ocean. John realized that if this was what God truly wanted him to do, then God would have to change Shelly's heart, and He did. One Friday morning at a Kay Smith Bible Study, God spoke to Shelly’s heart that what He was asking John to do was from Him.
After securing a job in a small pottery in Scenery Hill, PA, John, Shelly and their two children Leah and Elijah, packed all that they had and headed from Huntington Beach to SW Pennsylvania.
The first winter was one of the biggest trials that John and his family had ever faced. They were far away from their Church, their Family, and their Friends, living in a house with very little or no heat, and the job situation wasn't all that great. John began to wonder if he had made the biggest mistake of his life.
Eventually things got better. John opened his own Pottery Studio in the little town of Fredericktown and found a Calvary Chapel outreach fellowship in Pittsburgh. John and his family made the one hour drive from Fredericktown to Pittsburgh for 4 years where they became involved with the work of God in Pittsburgh.
During that time, John started a weekly bible study through the Gospel of John with a group of neighbor kids that would come into his Pottery to watch him make pots on the potter’s wheel. Over the weeks and months many of the kids made personal commitments to Jesus that resulted in life changing experiences. Soon afterward, the Parents of the kids that had gotten saved began to come to the bible study to check it out for themselves, the result of which, they too made commitments to Jesus as Savior and Lord.
As the bible study continued to grow, the group asked John if he would consider being their Pastor, committing himself to them on Sunday Mornings as well as the Thursday evening bible studies.
After much prayer, Calvary Chapel of Fredericktown was born on Easter Morning 1991.
The Church started out in the Bottom Floor of a Three Story Building that was once the neighborhood Moose Lodge.
As the Church grew we took over the entire building moving our meetings to the Third Floor which was once the Ball Room of the Moose Lodge. We used the lower floors for Offices and Sunday School Classrooms.
In 1996 the Lord gave the Church leadership a Vision for a Preschool as a means by which the Church could reach out more to the community with both the Love of God and a foundation of bringing up our Children in the "Nurture and Admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4) - "Training them up in the way that they should go" (Prov 22:6).
As a direct result of Gods Blessings on the Preschool, the Vision grew to pursuing additional grades, which we did by adding a grade per year, trusting the Lord for His guidence and provision day by day, month by month, year by year.
In June of 2012 we were blessed of God to Graduate our first 12th grade class, most of which had been with us since Preschool. (3 John 1:4)
The journey has not been easy but each and every day God has shown Himself to be Faithful and True in both - His Provision - and the Fruit that He has brought forth through a people that have put their trust in Him. To God be the Glory, Great things He has done….