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Church of the Week: Calvary United Methodist

In an effort to renew our Church of the Week series, The Crossroads Chronicle reached out to Paster Tom Tidwell of Calvary United Methodist Church to get some historical background, current membership, and future plans. The following narrative is from the information he shared with us.

The very first service was held July 25, 1954 at the Emanuel County 4-H Clubhouse under the water tower. Rev. Bobby Gene Coleman was the pastor, and there were 27 in Sunday school and 37 in morning worship in that first service.

Later in September of that year, a tent revival was held on the ground where Calvary UMC now stands. Thirty-eight charter members, including Annette Evans who is still active today, joined the church that day.

In 1955, members began raising funds for construction of their new church with groundbreaking and construction beginning on August 19, 1956. The new church was completed December 2, 1956 with Rev. Gene Coleman and the district superintendent was James H. Wilson. Calvary UMC has been a beacon of the Swainsboro community since that time.

On September 22, 2011, the church was completely destroyed by fire. That did not deter the spirit of the good folks of Calvary UMC. Construction of the current church began soon after the fire with the first service in the new church being held December 16, 2012 with Reverend Nick Hazelton as the pastor. From the very first meeting in 1954 until today, the fine folks of Calvary have been blessed by God and, in return, have been a blessing to the community. Pastor Tidwell stated that as they continue to minister to Swainsboro and the surrounding communities, the church’s prayer is that the congregation continues to glorify God in all it says and does.

There have been 17 pastors serve at Calvary with Reverend Tom Tidwell being the 18th, which he says is a blessing. He was called into ministry in 2006 as a part-time local pastor. His first appointment was at Garfield UMC. The Tidwells served at Garfield for five years until 2011. In 2011, they were moved to the Girard Charge (Bethany and Bethesda UMC) where they served for 10 years until this year. Calvary UMC marks the Tidwells’ third appointment and Rev. Tidwell’s first full-time. In addition, Rev. Tidwell was a bivocational part-time local pastor until he retired from Southern Nuclear in April of this year after 40 years of service. His wife, Nona, and he have been married for 43 years. They have two children, a son and a daughter, four grandchildren, and are expecting their first great-granddaughter in December. Rev. Tidwell and his wife say they are excited and blessed to be here at Calvary, and they’re looking forward to serving with the folks at Calvary and seeing the great things God has in store for the church.

The community always looks forward to the annual fall festival where Calvary’s pumpkin display is a sight to behold as you drive by on South Main. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 concerns, Calvary will not hold this year’s event. Pastor Tidwell stated they are still looking at their calendar to determine what holiday activities they will have this year.

In closing, Reverend Tidwell shared the mission statement of Calvary United Methodist Church. It states, “Rooted in God’s love; we endorse his Grace and Mercy for all people.”

The Crossroads Chronicle thanks PastorTidwell and with all of the turmoil in the world today, we feel this mission statement might be what we all need to hear.

If you’d like to sign up your church to be featured in a future edition of The Crossroads, call 478-331-7251 or email There is no charge.

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