History

In 1938, Mrs. Emma Voorhies gave Dr. Charles F. Blaisdell, Rector of Calvary Church, $10,000. Dr. Blaisdell purchased four acres at the corner of Poplar and Perkins and caused to be constructed a chapel building. The first service in that building was held on Sunday, January 1, 1939.

Thereafter, Morning Prayer was read by the Superintendent of the Sunday School and classes were held for children of Calvary members and others living in the vicinity. First Sunday School Teachers were Christine W. Rodgers and Elizabeth Wilson. Charles M. Crump, the first Superintendent, was succeeded in 1943 by Guernsey D. Livaudais who served until the late 1950's.

Dr. Blaisdell retired in 1939 and Dr. Theodore N. Barth became Rector of Calvary in the spring of 1940. By 1947 attendance at the Chapel Sunday School had grown to the extent that Dr. Barth conceived the idea of building a church and parish house.

The Vestry of Calvary approved Dr. Barth’s plan of purchasing 20 acres at the southwest corner of Walnut Grove and Perkins Roads for $25,000 and conducting a campaign to finance the construction of a church building chaired by Edmund Orgill. The Office of Walk C. Jones was selected as the architect and the construction contract was awarded to Building Construction, Inc. James T. Canfield, President. Charles M. Crump chaired the Building Committee.

In the spring of 1948 the Rev. Eric S. Greenwood was called by Dr. Barth to be the Vicar of the Chapel of the Holy Communion. When Dr. Barth was consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor of Tennessee in September 1948, the Rev. Mr. Greenwood became also the Priest in Charge of Calvary. He continued with the dual responsibility until the Rev. Donald Henning was called as Rector of Calvary in 1949.

On Sunday morning, January 1, 1950, the last service was held in the little chapel building at Poplar and Perkins. After the service the folding chairs were loaded into station wagons and transported to the new church building. In spite of rain most of the day the Church was filled at 4:00 in the afternoon for a glorious Evening Prayer service led by the Rev. Dr. Henning, Rector of Calvary. During the service it was recalled that at a dedicatory service of the little chapel in the spring of 1939 it had poured rain. Dr. Blaisdell had stated rain makes things grow and possibly the chapel would grow as a result. His words were prophetic, because the little chapel grew and then the permanent chapel and its congregation grew. Today, 74 years later and 63 years after the Opening Service in the new building, the Church of the Holy Communion is a large, strong and vibrant church in the center of Memphis.

Our Rectors

  • The Reverend Eric S. Greenwood 1950-1971
  • The Reverend Harold E. Barrett 1971 – 1980
  • The Reverend Reynolds S. Cheney II 1981 – 2001
  • The Reverend Gary D. Jones 2001 - 2005
  • The Reverend C. Mark Rutenbar 2006-2012
  • The Reverend Alexander H. Webb, II 2013-