The congregation of Calvary OPC began on July 13, 1936, with twenty-nine people gathering in the home of Mr. and Mrs. John S. Wurts at 267 East Johnson Street in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Eighteen of this group would eventually sign the congregation’s articles. Originally called Calvary Presbyterian Church of Germantown, on July 29, 1936 the Presbytery of Philadelphia received the new congregation for membership in the regional church.
Initially the congregation met in rented facilities at 66 West Chelten Avenue, the site of the Germantown YWCA. As the congregation grew it moved to Germantown Orange Hall, also a rented building. Finally in 1949 the congregation decided to buy property in nearby Glenside and construct a building adequate for its purposes. Until the church building was completed in 1951, the congregation met for two years at Westminster Seminary.
As the congregation grew, it supported the planting of a daughter church in Hatboro, approximately six miles from Glenside. Trinity Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Hatboro was the fruit of this work in home missions, begun on July 12, 1953. Two years later thirty-two members of Calvary were transferred to Trinity Church.
The congregation presently meets for worship at its original Glenside property, across the intersection of Willow Grove Ave. and Church Road from Westminster Seminary. Because of its proximity to the seminary, the congregation has enjoyed the fellowship of numerous faculty and students, including Cornelius Van Til, Ned B. Stonehouse, Paul Woolley, E. J. Young and their families. Other notable members of Calvary have included John Welsh Dulles, the brother of Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, and the Schaeffer family, which included for a time Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith.
The pastors of Calvary have served in this order:
Cary Weisiger (1937-1940): a native of St. Louis, Missouri (born in 1910), and a graduate of Westminster Seminary in 1931, Weisiger was ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1937 at the time of his call to Calvary OPC. After his time at the congregation he ministered in the southern Presbyterian Church (PCUS) and the United Presbyterian Church of North America. He died in 1994.
Theodore Jansma (1941-1943): born in 1909 in the Netherlands and a graduate of Calvin College and Westminster Seminary, Jansma pastored at St. Andrews, Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Baltimore before being called to Calvary. He went on to teach at Christian schools and to work as a chaplain at a Christian Reformed Church healthcare facility. He died in 1994.
Eugene Bradford (1944-1951): a native of Philadelphia (born in 1915), Bradford studied at Wheaton College and Westminster Seminary before being ordained in 1941 by the Presbytery of Philadelphia to minister in Fawn Grove, Pa. After his service at Calvary, he ministered in the Christian Reformed Church and served as executive secretary of the board of trustees at Westminster Seminary. He died in 2010.
Robert Atwell (1952-1961): born in 1910 in Emlenton, Pa., Atwell attended Grove City College and Westminster Seminary. He was originally ordained in the PCUSA and was a member of the OPC’s original Assembly. He served at OPC congregations in Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey before being called to Calvary, and continued to serve in the OPC for the rest of his career. He died in 1988.
Larry Sibley (1963-1967): born in 1932 in Deerfield, New Hampshire, Sibley went to Gordon College and Westminster Seminary. He pastored in Lisbon, New York before being installed at Calvary. Since then he has worked in publishing and editing and continues to edit publications for Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia).
Henry Coray (1967-1971): born in 1904 in Pittston, Pennsylvania, Coray was a graduate of Wheaton College and Westminster Seminary. He served briefly in the PCUSA before working for the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions as a missionary to China. Before taking a call to Calvary, he served as minister in a number of congregations in California. He continued to pastor OPC churches until his retirement in 1987. He died in 2002.
Robert Drake (1972-1977): a native of Minneapolis (born in 1944), Drake attended Bethel College, Westminster Seminary, and Bowling Green University before being ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia and installed at Calvary. He is currently a minister in the PCA in Asheville, North Carolina.
Daniel Morse (1978-1980): born in Birmingham, Alabama, Morse studied at Belhaven College and Reformed Theological Seminary. He served in the Presbyterian Church in the United States (southern) and the PCA before taking the call to Calvary. Since he served at an OPC work in Sacramento, California and at a PCA congregation in Germantown, Tennessee.
Steve Miller (1981-1994): born in 1950 in Westfield, New Jersey, Miller is a graduate of Covenant College and Westminster Seminary. His first call was to the OPC congregation in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. After serving at Calvary, he became an OPC missionary to Eritrea. He is currently a minister at Nashua Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
A. Craig Troxel (1995-2007): born in Kearney, Nebraska in 1961, Troxel studied at Anderson University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia). Before being ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1995, he was a minister in Wasilla, Alaska, for the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana). He is currently pastor of Bethel OPC in Wheaton, Illinois.
J. Mark Sallade (2008-present): a native of Reading, Pennsylvania (born in 1980), Sallade studied at Grove City College and Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia). He was first ordained in 2006 as associate pastor of Calvary, and installed in 2008 as pastor.