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“Calvary P. E. Church, Bishop Coleman Memorial is located at Fourth and Rodney Sts. This church was organized in a carriage shop at Front and Justison Sts. as a mission of St. Andrew’s Church, in 1857. A church was built on the s. w. cor. of Third and Washington Sts. The opening service was conducted by Bishop Alfred Lee, on Oct. 30, 1859, at which time the name ‘‘Calvary’ was adopted. Title to the property was assumed by Calvary Church on Nov. 7, 1861. The church was consecrated, by Bishop Lee, on Jan. 29, 1863. It was organized as a separate parish on Apr. 15, 1868, and was received into union with the diocese on June 3, 1868.


On May 7, 1872, the ground was broken for an addition to the rear of the church. After the rebuilding, which included a recess chancel, was completed the church was reopened on the afternoon of Oct. 26, 1872. During the week of Jan. 5, 1873, the benches were removed from the basement Sunday School room. The floor was carpeted, table desks were placed for the teachers and chairs for the scholars. In 1879, a triplet chancel window of cathedral glass was presented by friends of the rector.


In 1889, the tower was built to house the bell which had been purchased by the children of the Sunday School, in 1867, as a memorial to the Rev. James L. Hood. At this time a center aisle was added, new lighting fixtures and a new pipe-organ were installed and a portico was built over the front door. On Jan. 29, 1889, the dwelling at 505 w. 3rd St. was purchased for a rectory. In 1891, a stone font was presented. On Feb. 12, 1893, two memorial windows were unveiled.


In 1894-95, a prayer desk and stall were presented as a memorial to George Cox. A credence shelf was installed in memory of the parents of Col. R. M. Floyd. After extensive alterations, a service of benediction was celebrated by Bishop Leighton Coleman, on Dec. 23, 1898. He was assisted by the Rev. Henry W. Cunningham, the rector. A new memorial pulpit was consecrated, by Bishop Coleman, on May 28, 1899. Memorial entice were dedicated on Sept. 24, 1899, by the Rev. Henry W. Cunningham. A new altar and rail were installed in 1907-08.


This property was sold to the Wil. Board of Public Education on July 29, 1925. On Aug. 2, 1925, Bishop Philip Cook conducted a service to remove the sentence of consecration. This service marked the divorcing of the building from further service as a house of God.


The present site at 4th and Rodney Sts. was purchased on Mar. 14, 1923. The parish-house was built first and it was dedicated on Sept. 13, 1925, by Bishop Philip Cook. The church activities were transferred to the parish-house on Dec. 5, 1925.


The corner-stone of the church building was laid on Nov. 4, 1928, by Bishop Philip Cook. He was assisted by the Revs. Frederick M. Kirkus, D.D., and Geo. C. Graham, D.D., the rector. The formal opening of the church was held at a midnight service, on Christmas Eve., 1929. The church was consecrated on Memorial Day, Fri., May 30, 1941, by Bishop Arthur R. McKinstry at the morning service, assisted by the Rev. Dr. George C. Graham, the rector. Bishop Francis M. Taitt of Pennsylvania preached one of the sermons.


A litany desk, in memory of Mary R. Dickey was dedicated on Jan. 14, 1945, by the rector, the Rev. Henry N. Herndon. On Sept. 29, 1946, a stone baptismal font shelf was dedicated by the Rev. Henry N. Herndon, the rector. It was given by Mrs. Harry M. Palmer in memory of her brother, the Rev. Samuel F. Lyons. Stands of the national flag and the church flag were dedicated on Feb. 17, 1947, by the rector.” (1)


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Text Source:

1. Frank R. Zebley, The Churches of Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware, 1947, p. 63-64.

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