Praise the Lord! Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church is 20 years!
Our mother church, then known as Christian Baptist Church was founded in 1986 by the Rev. Pastor Kingsley Appiagyei in Rallye Park. The church became Trinity Baptist Church in 1996.
At a Christmas dinner in December 1993, Rev. Kingsley gave a charge to his Assistant Pastor, Rev. Francis Kwame Ampratwum Sarpong to lead a 20-member group to take over the East End for Christ.
On 14 January 1994, a month after the charge was given; Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church (CCBC) was born. The 20-strong core member group had to be conveyed by coach to church every Sunday. Just as God’s servant Moses crossed the Red Sea amid challenges and miracles, Reverend Sarpong led God’s people across the Thames to modestly start his ministry in Newham. He continues to enjoy very good relationship with his spiritual Father (an expert on the subject of marriage) who regularly visits to impart his wisdom in a unique style.
The Calvary journey from humble beginnings ….
Atherton Leisure Centre: January-December 1994
CCBC started at the Atherton Sports Centre in Forest Gate. The 20 member congregation could only worship in the sports centre on Sundays so the other services had to take place at the Mayflower Centre in Canning Town. To choose a name the church fasted and prayed to God for guidance. Some proposed Charismatic Baptist Church and others Calvary Baptist Church. In the end they joined the two names to make Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church.
Later in the year a dinner was organised and members invited their friends and family. About a hundred guests attended and nearly half of them decided to join the church.
Poland House 1995 to early 1996
As the church could only use Atherton Leisure Centre on Sundays, God laid it on Pastor Francis’ heart to start looking for a place where the fledgling church could lease for some time. He found Poland House in Stratford which had the potential to seat 100 plus. Not all the Leaders were keen on the move because it was felt that the premises were not big enough but Pastor Francis, who felt strongly led by the Holy Spirit was able to persuade his Leadership to sign the lease. As fate would have it, as the lease was being finalised for the move to Poland House, the Leisure Centre gave them a month’s notice to quit the following week due to planned renovations which were scheduled to be carried out over a period of about a year. Thank God Pastor Francis had yielded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. In December 1994, CCBC moved into Poland House and the church experienced tremendous joy and growth.
During our stay at Poland House, CCBC recorded one of the largest baptisms in the history of the Baptist Union with a record of 65 baptisms in one night. Many Christian artistes and preachers passed through Poland House. These included Rev. Eastwood Anaba, Evangelist Evans Walker, Tagoe Sisters and Safari.
At a Leadership meeting in late 1995, Pastor Francis confirmed that the Lord had laid upon his heart for the church to buy its own place of worship. This revelation caused some unrest among the Leadership because some believed it was too early for the church to be taking such a gigantic step.
The desire for buying the church’s own place was committed to prayer. Pastor Francis had his personal all night once a week and after one of such nights, when driving home the Spirit of the Lord redirected him to go via Barking Road instead of his usual Romford Road. After a few minutes’ drive from Canning Town roundabout, on the left side of the Barking Road, he saw a group of handymen putting up a for sale sign on a car show room. He took down the contact number and called them same few hours later. The agents were surprised by this quick response as the sign had only gone up some few hours ago.
A deal was made and the Baptist Union gave CCBC the loan to buy Barking Road. The Baptist Union members who were supportive of this venture were David Golder, Peter Wortley, Douglas Mackbain and Paul Martin.
The big church on Barking Road
In Barking Road, CCBC saw an exponential growth in numbers and became more conspicuous. The main English Service was first divided into 2 services. Not too long after this four new services were established in languages other than English: The French Service, The Lingala Service, The Swahili Service and the Twi Service.
We had Cell Groups in the different areas of East and South East London (Beckton, Elephant and Castle, Forest Gate, Hackney, Barking). There were about 15 to 20 members in each one and these groups became the local branches and also grew in numbers.
In Barking Road, Calvary became a revival centre with Preachers from all over the globe including Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, Rev. Eastwood Anaba, Revs. Steve & Stanley Mensah, Bishop Pius Muiri, Bishop Margeret Wangiri, Bishop Ayo, Pastors Mathew & Yemisi Ashimolowo, Rev. Rick Godwin, Rev. Dr. Richard Roberts, Evangelist Teresa Wairimu, Bishop Agyin Asare and many many more.
With the congestion in Barking Road, it was clear to the Leadership that there was the need for a bigger venue. The search for a bigger place went on for more than 5 years until we finally got a breakthrough. A minister friend called Rev. Babatunde who was connected by Rev. Joe McDavid eventually connected us to the Agents who helped us to buy the John Wesley Methodist Church in Poplar, London.
The Prayer Temple (formerly Trinity Methodist Church in Poplar): 2007 to date
The grace of God helped CCBC to purchase the church in Poplar on the East India Road even though there were 13 bidders who had gone ahead of Pastor Francis. Not knowing where the finances were coming from Pastor Francis made a bold leap of faith and ‘bragged’ in the name of the Lord just as Paul said and the Lord was true to His word. The Prayer Temple was opened by Rev. Mrs Yemisi Ashimolowo on 16 December, 2007 and CCBC has moved from strength to strength.