The congregation of Calvary Baptist Church is holding a 40-day celebration in honor of Pastor France Davis who has been a fixture on Utah’s faith front for decades.
On Sunday, the 67-year-old celebrated 40 years of leading Calvary Baptist Church. Even if his hairs have started turning gray but his futuristic approach is no less passionate or optimistic.
Former civil-rights activist Rev. Davis has led the state’s most prominent black church and is remembered for building bridges and relationships in Utah with people of faith, business leaders and political class.
He is slight, soft-spoken and carries himself with dignity. This is the man who rarely raises his voice but his each and every word carries an unmistakable moral authority which completely reaches across civic and religious boundaries and the government.
Rev. Davis shares his journey so far:
I am religious by birth. I grew up attending a Baptist church in Georgia every Sunday morning and reading the Bible every Sunday afternoon. Even in our school, we had prayer each day before schoolwork and closed the day with a devotion.
I never imagined being a pastor, but I did see myself as a serious and committed person. I made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ when I was 12 years old. I figured I needed a balanced life and a part of that was to be spiritually balanced.
When I was 19 years old, I decided that the ministry would be my life work, based on my sense of my calling from God. I was living in Fort Lauderdale at the time, after going to college at Tuskegee [in Alabama]. It was in the middle of my civil-rights involvement, right after the March on Washington in 1963, and the Selma [Ala.] march in 1965.