Mt. Calvary Baptist Church is the oldest predominantly Black Church in Mesa. It began as a mission with the leadership coming from missionaries who commuted several miles each week. The first meeting place was under a tree in the front yard of the late Clara McPherson (wife and mother of the first black family to reside in Mesa). In 1918, the late Reverend J.B. Bell organized the mission into a formal church. These early members gave the church the name it bears today, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. From this humble beginning, Mt. Calvary had six known Pastors.
The first pastor was the late Reverend James Robinson. The second pastor was Reverend B.J. Bennett, who was the grandfather of the late Lottie Wheeler, wife of Reverend Jesse L. Wheeler, Pastor Emeritus). Reverend Williams, the third Pastor, served for a short time. Reverend William Hardison came to Mt. Calvary in 1934. He gave thirty-two years of dedicated, faithful and loyal service to the Church and the Mesa community. Under his spiritual leadership, the Church was completely organized with departments to meet the growth and spiritual needs at every level. The Church was relocated, rebuilt and remodeled twice before his resignation. During Reverend Hardison’s era, Mt. Calvary became involved in district, state and national endeavors and was one of the most outstanding churches in Arizona for Blacks. In 1983, the Church established a service award in his honor.
Reverend Jesse L. Wheeler became pastor in 1967. Under his pastorate, the Church continued to grow in membership and financially. Under his leadership, the Brotherhood Ministry was organized. In 1983, the Church was remodeled, choir furnishings were purchased, and a central heating system was added. During this same year (1983), the General Missionary Society established a scholarship for graduating seniors for outstanding achievement. The Outreach Ministry began under the leadership of Reverend Wheeler. The late Reverend Willie D. Willis was very effective in leading this Ministry. After 30 years of faithful service, Pastor Wheeler retired December 31, 1997.
On March 30th 1999, the Mount Calvary Baptist church extended the call to Reverend David L. Wade of Los Angeles, California. After the calling of Pastor Wade, Mount Calvary began a new chapter in the life and legacy of this historic Church in Mesa. After eighty-one years in the Mesa community, Mount Calvary Baptist Church took a calculated risk in becoming one of first churches to have a full-time pastor.
The church has experienced spiritual, financial, and congregational growth under his dynamic leadership. In the first five years of his pastorate, the sweet members of the Mount Calvary family were given the gracious privilege of hosting two of the Auxiliaries of the National Baptist Convention of America (Home Mission Board and Evangelical Board Annual Spring Tent Revival). Due to the phenomenal growth of the church experienced under the leadership of Pastor Wade, a thirty three thousand square foot, 2.5 million dollar Church building was purchased July of 2006. Pastor Wade serves as the treasure of Ministers Division of The National Baptist Convention USA.
Under the leadership of Pastor Wade,the Mount Calvary Community Development Cooperation a 501 C-3 was organized. The Cooperation was created with the express purpose of serving the members through education, tutoring, computer training within labs, summer youth programs and after school care. All programs were formed with the aspiration of aiding our church and community. Evangelism and discipleship has been Pastor Wade’s passion to make certain that the congregation knows how to share Jesus with joy.
Pastor Wade’s enthusiasm to share the good news of Jesus Christ has opened doors for him to preach both locally and nationally. Pastor Wade is a United Way board member, and serves as a board member of First Things First, a foundation developing quality early childcare. Pastor Wade is proud to be a third generation proclaimer of the gospel. The first two generations include his grandfather, the late Dr. J.C. Wade, pastor of the Salem Baptist Church of Omaha, Nebraska (affectionately known as Daddy Wade); and his father Dr. Melvin V. Wade, pastor of The Mount Moriah Baptist Church of Los Angeles, and Past President of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Although Pastor Wade graduated from the Seattle public schools, his quest for higher learning afforded him the privilege to matriculate at the historic Bishop College of Dallas Texas, Grace Seminary Long Beach Ca, G More Seminary Muncie, Indiana.
Pastor Wade has three wonderful children
Latrisha Tiffany Marques.