Calvary Baptist Church
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Botna Baptist Church
Calvary Baptist Church, Manning, had its beginning in the nearby community of Botna. Louis H. Miller, a student
at Omaha Baptist Bible Institute in Omaha (now Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, IA), came to Botna in the
summer of 1953 and held a Daily Vacation Bible School in the old United Brethren building. Pastor Miller with the
help of many of the area residents renovated the building.
In the summer of 1954, Pastor Miller with his wife and two daughters came and held another Bible School,
and feeling led of the Lord to have regular Sunday services, they came each weekend and returned to Omaha
for weekday classes. In the summer of 1955, he and his family moved to Botna to assume full-time ministry,
supporting his family by working for area farmers.
The church was organized January 10, 1956, with a charter membership of only eight members, becoming
associated with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. The Millers left Botna for ministries in other
places in Iowa but returned as pastor from 1975-1982. The church has enjoyed slow but steady and encouraging
growth through the years.
In 1963 the congregation saw an advantage to moving to Manning. In April 1963 they purchased the former Zion
Lutheran building on Second Street. The first worship service in Manning was held June 16, 1963, with Rev.
Wilburn Hon as pastor. The former parsonage was purchased in July 1964.
June 15, 1985 fire broke out destroying the roof and damaging the interior of the building. The congregation
was grateful for the firemen who responded to the alarm. Because of their efforts and the providence of God, the
structure was saved as well as the stained glass windows and a majority of the pews. Many were generous in their
offers of assistance: Zion Lutheran allowed Calvary Baptist to hold Vacation Bible School in their church during
the week after the fire; First Presbyterian Church invited them to use their building for Sunday services, which they
did for a month; and Pastor and Mrs. Miller, who were out of town building churches at the time, offered the use
of their home for regular services until the repairs were completed. After five months of intensive rebuilding, a
praise service was held in January 1986 to thank and praise God and to thank the contractors and individuals who
completed the project.
In the fall of 1986, off-street parking was added to the front property line. The congregation added a stair chair
in 1991, making the sanctuary handicap accessible. In March 1992 Pastor Louis Miller was installed as Pastor
Emeritus and recognized for being in the ministry 40 years.
In 1994 an Awana program was begun. This is part of an international organization striving to reach boys and girls
with the gospel of Christ and to train them to serve Him. “Awana” is an acronym of “Approved Workman Are Not
Ashamed” based on 2 Timothy 2:15.
The following men have been pastors at Calvary Baptist Church through the years:
1953 to April 1957 Pastor Louis H. Miller
May 1957 to January 1959 Pastor Wayne Vieman
January 1959 to August 1962 Pastor George Smith
August 1962 to April 1963 Pastor Walter Dish, interim
April 1963 to October 1965 Pastor Wilburn Hon
February 1966 to October 1966 Pastor Kenneth Blue, interim
October 1966 to August 1975 Pastor J. Lester Williams
December 1975 to November 1982 Pastor Louis H. Miller
January 1983 to November 1984 Pastor David Van Hooser
March 1985 to October 1993 Pastor Henry R. Jensen
January 1994 to August 1998 Pastor David Knudson
August 1999 to August 2002 Pastor Robert Carleton
May 2003 to June 2008 Pastor Stephen Moore
June 2009 to Present Pastor Shannon Chickering