Welcome to Calvary Episcopal Church
As a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, Calvary is a faith community in downtown Louisville. The teachings of Jesus Christ are central to our faith, as we strive to make God's love known in word and action.
Calvary draws its members from all walks of life and from many different neighborhoods in and around Louisville. We take great joy in the way our members join together in worship of God and in service, drawing from our many backgrounds.
We welcome you to come worship with us and serve our community. As the sign outside says, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You." Calvary and its sacraments are open to all people.
As Calvary plans for its future, we invite you to read our Strategic Plan which was adopted in 2017.
Click on the link If you to take the 3D Tour of Calvary before attending a service.
A Brief History
Calvary Episcopal Church was founded on December 24, 1860, when the congregation of Sehon Chapel seceded from the Methodist Episcopal Church and became a parish in The (Protestant) Episcopal Church (TEC). The congregation still worshiped in the former Sehon Chapel, while pursuing plans to build a new Church structure.
On July 2, 1872, the cornerstone was laid at 821 South Fourth Street, Calvary's current location. The beautiful high-Victorian, Gothic stone church was completed in 1888 by the Louisville architecture firm, McDonald Brothers. Calvary's interior is blessed with beautiful stained glass windows from the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Since Calvary's founding, she has called 16 rectors, has completed several structural additions, and has endured for 158 years. The Church has persevered through lean and fat times, two World Wars and other military conflicts, The Great Depression, and the Great Flood of 1937. As Marshal B. Hardy, Jr., a life-long member of Calvary, wrote, "At every turn, Calvary has been blessed, rescued, resuscitated, and revitalized. Someone up there looks after us."
The commitment of Calvary's parishioners continues to be one of its best assets. We are poised to continue and preserve what those that have gone before us strove to build, not only with bricks and mortar, but also with divinely inspired human resolve. In recent years, Calvary has strengthened it's two major programs, Music and Outreach, as it serves out its mission at 821 South Fourth Street in Louisville.
New To Calvary?
No matter whether you have been a life-long member of Calvary or are visiting for first time, we affirm that Calvary is a welcoming, inclusive community of faith. If you are new to Calvary or exploring, we invite you to read the section below about what you might expect should you decide to visit.
Q: How long do services typically last?
On Sundays, the services run about 55 minutes at the 8:30 am service and 1hr 10 min at the 11 am service. The longer service time at 11 am is due to the use of congregational hymn singing and choir anthems.
Q: What should I wear?
At Calvary, members of the congregation typically dress in "business casual" attire, although we stress that it is not required to do so. Some wear jeans and tennis shoes, but some are more formally attired. Please consider yourself welcome no matter what you wear.
Q: What is the difference between the 8:30 am and 11 am services?
At the 8:30 am service, Rite I (traditional language) is always used and there is limited music (no choir or hymns). This congregation tends to be smaller and more intimate. At 11 am, Rite II (contemporary) language is generally used although can change depending on the liturgical season. The Choir leads the music during this service with the congregation joining on the service music, hymns and occasionally the psalm. The 11 am service is the most attended. For more information about Calvary's worship, click here.
Q: How do I follow along in the service?
When you enter, an usher or greeter will welcome you to Calvary and hand you a bulletin with the order of the service. All prayers and congregational hymns are printed for your ease of reading. The Episcopal Church and Calvary uses the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for all its services. If you prefer, you may use the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal 1982 which are found in the pews. You can also watch our Facebook Live stream every Sunday by visiting Calvary's Facebook page.
Q: May I take Communion?
In the Episcopal Church, all baptized Christians may take Communion, also called Holy Eucharist. You are also welcome to walk up to the Communion rail and place your hands across your heart to receive a blessing from the priest of Eucharistic Minister if you don't wish to receive Communion. Click here to watch a short video geared for kids on how to take Communion in the Episcopal Church. (Thanks to St. Paul's, Chattanooga, TN).
Q: How do I get to Coffee Hour?
One of the best things about Calvary is our Coffee Hour. Everyone is invited for fellowship, light snacks, and of course, a cup of coffee. After the service is over, you may walk to the front of the church and enter through the red door on the left to go to Frazier Hall.