Pastorate of Edward S. Crosland

1901–1916

On October 20 Brother Crosland was at Calvary, and preached his first sermon. His salary was to be $1,200.00 per year.The choice of the Provincial Elders Conference to replace Brother Thaeler was truly inspired: Edward S. Crosland was a perfect pastor for Calvary at this particular moment in its history. He was physically a chubby, happy-dispositioned gentlemen. Lucille Atwood remembered him as “a fine fellow.” In fact when he left in 1916 her mother urged her to be confirmed before Crosland left because “we might not like the next pastor as much.” So she joined up—at age 10. Sadie Smith remembers him visiting in her father’s tailor shop by the hour. He was a fun companion, and Miss Ludie Tesh’s and Mr. Peter Blum, Sr.’s family remember hilarious times around the dinner table with Ed Crosland. 1 Reverend Crosland was first to spend his entire pastorate in the newly built sanctuary. So a description of the “old church” might be appropriate here:

The church was of somewhat round design, with a small choir loft which held no more than 8 or 9 singers. When Dr. Crosland began having Easter cantatas, the choir overflowed onto the pulpit area and into the congregation’s seats. Back then, we always had an orchestra for special services—a peculiarly Moravian contribution to the new town of Winston—and Mr. Jamie Kapp was director (he was Sarah Martin’s father).

The organ was in a niche hidden behind the pulpit. Actually this placement was contrary to Moravian tradition, which normally has the choir and the organ off to the side or in the balcony so as not to distract from the true focus of our worship. The organ was manually pumped by the janitor or whoever among the young people might want a reprieve from sitting in the pews. These included Arthur Fishel, J.L. Clodfelter, Ham Horton, Sr., and the pastor’s daughter, Caro.

There were no separate Sunday School class rooms: Each class sat in separate sections of the main sanctuary, separated from each other by sliding doors. The adult classes were the men’s Baraca class, taught by Mrs. H.V. Horton, and the women’s Philathea class, taught by Mr. W.W. Conrad (Mr. W.W. Conrad was Ophelia Conrad Fordham’s father). When the sanctuary was crowded, the doors would simply be slid back and the sanctuary space thus increased. Mr. J.A. Jones, proprietor of J.A. Jones Shoe Store, taught the young boys and the teenage girls were taught by Mrs. J. W. Brown (mother-in-law of Oscar Hege’s aunt and Mrs. Etta Schultz’s mother’s first cousin. Talk about family connections!) Mrs. Brown also had charge of Junior Christian Endeavor, a group which met Wednesday afternoons and included Ralph Ogburn, Oscar Hege, Ralph Blum, Ham Horton, Sr., Peter Blum, Sr. and Etta Schultz. They met in the balcony. When Mrs. Brown moved away, Mrs. C.E. Johnson took over, and later still, Mrs. Della Walker.Miss Prather, who lived just across the street, taught infants to 6 year olds in a small room where the lovefeast coffee also was made.

Dr. Crosland began the custom of lantern slides (4 x 5 inch slides!) to illustrate biblical settings during the Sunday evening services. On these occasions the Church was always full.

He also began a tradition of Sunday School picnics at Nissen Park in Waughtown. Mrs. Etta Schultz recalls how Mr. Henry Brandon would arrange street cars to be lined up on Fourth Street at Poplar. She remembered the cars themselves as being open with seats across: The conductor collected fares by walking the running boards. The children would climb aboard at 9:00 o’clock a.m. The older members of the Church would come later.

Meanwhile, the youth would play in the Nissen Park Pavilion, admire the fish pond with its gigantic fish and lily pads, enjoy the skating rink, ride the miniature train, and visit the zoo. Mid-afternoon, Calvary women would spread an immense assortment of succulent food on long tables (an ability they continue to this day) and then the entire congregation would retire inside the pavilion for a slide show. At 9:00 o’clock p.m. according to Miss Etta, the street cars would bring everyone home to Calvary, exhausted.

This was a period of vibrant growth for Calvary, spurred in part by the vital Sunday School program. Calvary’s Baraca class was during this time the largest in North Carolina. Our Sunday School effort was aided in attracting people from beyond the Moravian community by the traditional insistence of our domination that we not “poach” on other church’s members: We are all heading to the same summit, as Zinzendorf said, though perhaps by different paths. It has never been our style to demean or criticize a fellow Christian church, and hence those who seek among Moravians a more intense and warm Christian fellowship have always been able to do so without concern that they would be proselytized.

In 1905 communicant membership was 250. In that same year the first state convention of the Christian Endeavor Movement took place at Calvary. And the Memorabilia of that same year for Salem congregation records that the “Carrie Shelton Ogburn, Memorial Gallery” had been built in Calvary Church, and thus the interior altered into “perhaps the most beautiful one in Winston.”

June 7, 1908 was Calvary’s “Crystal Anniversary.” Bishop Rondthaler noted, significantly, a greater use of Moravian services, especially at Christmas and during Passion Week. The significance, of course, was that Calvary was an expansion into a totally new area, and many, if not most, of the congregation came from non-Moravian, non-liturgical church backgrounds. A liturgical service is a noble tradition, binding us with generations of Christians from the time of Christ himself, but a tradition which may seem awkward to those whose church background does not embrace that blessing.

Also in 1908, new rules for Salem congregation were placed in effect as a result of the remarkable success of Bishop Rondthaler’s efforts to expand the Moravian Church beyond Salem. Before this, there was one Salem congregation and the pastors of the new churches were technically assistant pastors of the “Home Church.” By 1908 with a total congregation of more than 2,000 communicants, it was obvious that the new churches were to be permanent and ultimately totally self-supporting. For this reason, the Salem Congregation Constitution was amended so that each church would be able to have its own pastor, but the congregation would still be a constituent member of the larger Salem congregation. The Church in Salem would remain the “Home” Church, but now could no longer interfere with the local Boards—something it had tried assiduously to avoid anyway. The result was that Calvary was now considered a mature congregation and on its own.

The sanctuary proved too small by 1909 to accommodate the Baraca class. 2 A 2,200 square foot addition to the church was erected—the funds raised by members of the class and friends. This new expansion by Calvary was consecrated on the first Sunday in December 1911 with all the Baraca classes in the City participating.

Under the leadership of Dr. Crosland and inspired Boards, the church membership in 1908 was 339.

In 1911 the membership had climbed to 509 (313 females, with only 196 males!). This membership was about as large as that of the Home Church congregation when Bishop Rondthaler began his pastorate 35 years before.

Even more important, a Woman’s Missionary Society was formed and began to provide support to a Moravian worker, Brother Meficolo in Tanganyika. Tanganyika (now Tanzania) was then a German colony in East Africa, and Calvary’s choice underscored the truly worldwide unity of our church, whatever language or nationality:

The Archives contain a 1913 letter from Brother Rotengano in Tanganyika to the Calvary Women’s Missionary Society. Apparently we had also helped Brother Zeeb in Isoko, Tanganyika, who had recently returned to Germany. The letter asked whether Calvary’s Women’s Missionary Society would be willing to assist a mission helper, one Meficolo. So it seems Calvary was already launched on support for foreign missions—a direction that for hundreds of years has been a dominant one in our denomination, and which has, somehow, paralleled our greatest periods of growth. When the Moravian Church has looked outward toward spreading the gospel to foreign lands, it has grown. In those times when it has looked to its own congregational needs, it has faltered.

By 1914 the congregation had grown to the point that the interior of Old Calvary had to be rearranged to provide yet more seats. This was done and the seating capacity became 675.

And in 1915 Calvary became totally self-supporting.

That next year, 1916, Dr. Crosland was called to be pastor of the Lititz, Pennsylvania congregation—a blow to a burgeoning Calvary which had come to love him.


  1. Later a bishop. So many bishops have served Calvary, a wag once remarked that Calvary is such a hard church to pastor, anyone who can survive us ought to be a bishop!
  2. The name comes from the Hebrew “Berakah” meaning “blessed.” The Baraca classes were an international order of men’s Bible classes.

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