The Pastors of Calvert

Rev. Alexander H. Calvert (Dec. 15, 1868 – Nov. 30, 1901)
Rev. S.E. Irvine (July 1, 1902 – April 1, 1912)
Rev. J. Gerald Houston (Oct. 1, 1912 – May 1, 1932)
Rev. E. Joseph Vandervort (1932 – 1939)
Rev. Frederick J. Lenk (1939 – 1943)
Rev. Fred A. Huston (1943 – 1953)
Rev. Robert J. Crawford, Jr. (1953 – 1958)
Rev. James Bigley (1959 – 1962)
Rev. David W. Philips (1963 – 1967)
Rev. Orville L. Kuhn D.D. (1967 –12/31/76)
Rev. H. Andrew Bruder (Interim 1/1/77 – 10/31/77
Rev. Roy Langwig (10/77 – 10/31/86)
Rev. Bob Harvey (Stated Supply 2/1/87 – 4/30/88)
Rev. Thomas Menk (5/22/88 – 2/14/94)
*Rev. Robert Miller (Interim 7/1/94 — 8/97)
*Rev. Jack Bowers (Interim 8/97 – 8/31/98)
Rev. Cynthia I. Jackson (6/28/92 – 10/18/05)
*Rev. Thomas Menk (Stated Supply 2/13/05 — 2006 )
Rev. Beverly James (2006 – 2009)
Rev. Thomas Menk (2009)
*Karen VanderPloeg  (Student Minister 2009 – 2011)
*Bonnie Taylor (Student Minister 2011 – 2012)
*PJ Pfeuffer (Student Minister 2013 – 2015)
*Tor Voller (Student Minister 2016 – present)

A Quick Glance at Our History

The congregation of the First United Presbyterian of Etna was organized on Feb. 13, 1868 with 46 members. In July of 1868 the Rev. Alexander Calvert was called as the first pastor. Mr. Calvert died Nov. 30, 1901. On the 50th anniversary of the church in 1918 the church was renamed Calvert Memorial United Presbyterian Church in memory of its beloved first pastor. It was said that he was loved and respected by people of every faith in Etna and the Sharpsburg areas.

On Nov. 12, 1906 the building committee recommended the purchase from the Spang Land Company of Lots 31, 32, 33, and 34 at the corner of High and Locust Streets, for the sum of $4500. Plans for a new church building provided seating of 350 in the main auditorium and 250 in the Sabbath School. (total 600)

Many Community outreach programs have been developed and implemented by Calvert Memorial Church in recent years. The Bread of Life Food Pantry, established under Reverend Menk, who also established the Wednesday Club which served as the model for today’s Kids Corner and the Tuesday Club. In addition, Calvert has always been known for programs that benefit the children of Etna including Vacation Bible schools and Summer Reading camps.

The present building was designated a historic landmark under Reverend Jackson.

The First United Presbyterian Church of Etna History More in Depth

The McPherson family were members of the First U. P. Church of Allegheny. In 1867, Mr. Campbell B. Herron; also a member of that church, suggested to the McPhersons the advisability of starting a U. P. Church in Etna. It was proposed to use the Episcopalian Church Building, which had been idle for sometime. Mr. Herron suggested the matter to the Allegheny Presbytery also, and Dr. John B. Clark was appointed to investigate. The McPhersons were informed that John L. Robertson; manager of the Spang Chalfant store was a member of the Seventh U. P. Church of Pittsburgh. Mr. John S. McPherson called on Mr. Robertson and explained the visit and plan of Dr. John B. Clark. The German Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg was secured, and Dr. Clark preached on the Sabbath of August 1867.

Due to the absence of Mr. Spang; the use of the Episcopal Church in Etna, could not be secured until his return. In the meantime, Dr. Clark reported to the Presbytery and recommended that preaching be held every other Sabbath afternoon. For this purpose the use of the German Lutheran Church of Sharpsburg was secured for a period of three months.

At the end of this period; Mr. Spang returned from Europe, and gave permission to use the Episcopal Church building in Etna. The Presbytery in turn; held a meeting on the Third Tuesday of January, 1868, appointing Dr. Clark to organize a congregation.

After paying the members of the Episcopal Church what expenses they, as individuals had incurred; they released all their rights to the premises. Our people rented the building for One Hundred Dollars a year. Dr. T. H. Hanna of the Second U. P. Church of Pittsburgh, preached the first sermon on the Fourth Sabbath of January, 1868. There were a large number of people present. The church was on Bridge Street next to the B&O Crossing between Etna and Sharpsburg.

On February 13, 1868 Dr. Clark met with the people and organized a congregation consisting of 46 members, 37 of whom were accepted on Certificate and 9 on their Profession of faith in Christ. Messrs. Archibald Kelly, John S. McPherson and John L. Robertson; nominated for the office of Ruling Elder, were unanimously elected. They are considered to be the original Session members. Mr. John L. Robertson was nominated and elected Treasurer to serve one year. Messrs. J. W. List, John S. McPherson, John L. Robertson, James M. Stewart and William Strain were nominated and elected Trustees to serve one year. John L. Robertson was nominated and elected Clerk for one year.

A Sabbath School was organized on the Second Sabbath of March, 1868, and Mr. John L. Robertson was elected Superintendent and served over fifty years in this capacity. Miss Linda Kelly, Miss S. A. McPherson and Mrs. Isabella Robertson as a committee, collected $90.00 with which to secure books and to launch the Sabbath School.

The congregation notified Dr. Clark of their desire to furnish the pulpit with a pastor of their own, and Presbytery granted permission at a meeting on the First Tuesday in April, 1868. The Second Wednesday of July, 1868 the congregation met at 7:30 p.m. to call a Pastor. Nominations were open and were as follows: Rev. J. M. McFarland, Rev. J. T. Wilson, Rev. A. H. Calvert and Rev. W. S. Owens. Nominations were closed, and vote was by secret ballot, on the first ballot, Rev. Calvert received the largest number of votes, and Rev. McFarland received a fair proportion. It was then, by motion, resolved that the names of the others be eliminated. A second ballot was then cast for Rev. Calvert or Rev. McFarland. The second ballot resulted in Rev. Calvert receiving 29 votes and Rev. McFarland 6 votes. It was then resolved to extend a unanimous call to Rev. Calvert with a pledge of $900.00 per year. The Board of Home Missions advanced $300.00 to the congregation on condition of a settlement later. Rev. Calvert accepted and, his certificate was forwarded by the Frankfort Presbytery to the Allegheny Presbytery, which passed it on the third Tuesday of September, 1868.

Rev. Calvert took charge on November 8, 1868, preaching his first sermon in the afternoon, using as his text Ephesians, Sixth Chapter, Eleventh Verse: “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” On November 11, 1868 Rev. Calvert and his wife moved to Etna. Installation and Ordination took place on December 15, 1868.

By deed dated April 1, 1873 the former Episcopal Church property was conveyed to the Board of trustees by Spang Chalfont Company. The Price paid was $6,000.00, the Home Mission Board donating $500.00 and loaning is $500.00. The Church was incorporated September 12, 1874 under the name The First United Presbyterian Church of Etna. On Nov. 12, 1906 the building committee recommended the purchase from the Spang land Company of Lots 31, 32, 33, and 34 at the corner of High and Locust Streets, for the sum of $4500. The present church building was dedicated. In the cornerstone in a copper box are the following items:

1902 Dollar                                                    1908 Pittsburgh Gazette Times
1908 Half Dollar, Quarter, Dime           1908 Sharpsburg and Etna Herald
1865 3-Cent Piece                                       1908 U. P. 6-Cent International Coin
1888 5-Cent Piece                                       16-Cent Special Delivery Stamp
1869 Copper 2-Cent Piece                       Other Postage Stamps
1908 Penny                                                   1866 Psalm Book

On the 50th anniversary of the church February 13, 1918 the church was renamed Calvert Memorial United Presbyterian Church in memory of its beloved first pastor with memorial windows to Rev. Calvert, Mr. John Kerr, Archibald Kelly and the McPherson Family.

Calvert Church had a softball team in the North Suburban Church Softball league and according to the trophies in the case they were champs in ’54, ’53, ’55, ’59, ’68, ’69.

The church has started several outreach programs. The Bread of Life food pantry started in 1989 by Rev. Thomas Menk is still going strong. It serves 150 families. Also there have been several after school programs that encouraged group involvement, fair play, artistic abilities, theatric abilities, academic abilities and fellowship. The church also provided Vacation Bible Schools and a Summer Reading Camp also.

The following are the names of the original congregation received on Certificate:

Mr. William Boyle                                           Mr. Archibald McPherson
Miss Mary Durham                                         Mr. John S. McPherson
Mr. John Dickson                                            Miss Margaret McPherson
Mrs. Jane Dickson                                           Miss Mary McPherson
Mr. William Francies                                     Mrs. W. J. McClelland
Mrs. William Francies                                   Miss Sara A. McPherson
Mr. John Glasgow                                           Mrs. John Nicholson
Mrs. Barbara Glasgow                                  Mrs. Mary Nicholson
Mr. Archibald Kelly                                      Mr. John Patterson
Mrs. Mary A. Kelly                                       Mrs. Agnes Patterson
Miss Lydia Kelly                                            Mr. John L. Robertson
Miss Margaret Kelly                                     Mrs. Isabella Robertson
Mr. J. W. List                                                   Mr. James M. Stewart
Mr. Harvey List                                             Mrs. Caroline Stewart
Mrs. Susan Love                                            Mr. William Strain
Miss Elizabeth Love                                     Mr. George Taylor
Mr. James Lackey                                        Mrs. Eleanor Taylor
Mrs. Eliza Lackey                                         Mr. John Thompson
Mrs. Rosanna Thompson

The following are the names of the original congregation received on Profession of Faith in Christ

Mrs. Mildred Blakey                                    Mr. Jacob McDonald
Mrs. J. P. H. Cricks                                       Mrs. Grace McDonald
Mrs. Esther E. Cricks                                  Mr. M. V. B. Sallade
Mr. John Kane                                              Mr. Robert Smith
Mrs. M. L. Tomlinson