Calvary Mennonite Fellowship (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)
In 1988 Brunk, a long time evangelist, writer, and seminary professor at Eastern Mennonite College, withdrew from the Mennonite Church (MC). For many years he believed there had been increased apostasy in the Mennonite Church, reflected in a de-emphasis in Biblicism and an erosion in visible signs of separation from the world. For Brunk the “last straw” came when the Virginia Mennonite Conference approved the ordination of women for ministry.
For two years Brunk was part of the independent Timberville Mennonite Church, but planning soon began for formation of a new congregation that would theologically stand between the Virginia Conference and the Southeastern Mennonite Conference that had itself divided from the Virginia Conference in 1972.
On 21 January 1990, 55 people met in the Eastern Mennonite Seminary chapel to form the new Calvary Mennonite Fellowship. George R. Brunk, then 78 years of age, served as pastor of the congregation until 1998. During his leadership membership peaked at 55 in 1993. Attendance dropped into the 30s and 40s later in the decade as internal tensions affected the congregation. One issue was the effect of contemporary Christian music on Calvary Mennonite Fellowship. By the end of 1998 membership had dropped to 20.
In 1998, Paul Emerson, one of the founders of the Biblical Mennonite Alliance (BMA), was invited to take leadership, and in February 1999 the congregation joined BMA.
Subsequent growth led the congregation to purchase an old public school in Mount Clinton. They took possession of the facility in January 2001. Part of the building was used as the sanctuary; the older part became the home for Calvary Christian Academy, which opened with 37 students in August 2001.
By 2004 attendance had reached 170. In 2006 small “discipleship groups” were established to strengthen relationships within the congregation. That same year the one-week Shenandoah Christian Music Camp was established to support music literacy and a cappella singing.
In 2012 a second Calvary campus was opened in Augusta, Virginia, where Calvary preached Sunday afternoons in a rented church. In 2019 about 75 persons worshipped in the Augusta group and 280 at Harrisonburg.
In 2014 the congregation moved to leadership through teams of Elders and Deacons. Stephen Byler continued leadership as one of the five Elders.
Biblical Mennonite Alliance. BMA Congregational Directory with Pastors. August 2015.
Biblical Mennonite Alliance. Directory (2019): 18.
Biblical Mennonite Alliance. "Directory of BMA Congregations." Web. 2 May 2012. http://www.biblicalmennonite.com/congregations.html.
Emerson, Paul and Gail. “History of Calvary Mennonite Fellowship.” 2010. Web. 15 August 2016. http://www.cmfva.org/home/180012864/180012864/docs/Calvary%20History%20edited%20by%20JIB.pdf?sec_id=180012864
Hershberger, Brenda. Anabaptist (Mennonite) Directory 2012-13. Harrisonburg, VA: The Sword and Trumpet, 2012: 37.
Address: 6083 Mt. Clinton Pike, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Website: Calvary Mennonite Fellowship
Leading Pastors at Calvary Mennonite Fellowship
|George R. Brunk II||1990-1998|
|Paul M. Emerson||1998-2012|
Membership at Calvary Mennonite Fellowship
|Date Published||May 2019|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "Calvary Mennonite Fellowship (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2019. Web. 21 May 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Calvary_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Harrisonburg,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=163984.
Steiner, Sam. (May 2019). Calvary Mennonite Fellowship (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Calvary_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Harrisonburg,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=163984.
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