As the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Mt. Calvary African Methodist Episcopal Church in Towson, Maryland honored its own civil rights pioneers who helped steer the church through 124 years of physical growth, spiritual stability and community service. During a special ceremony that marked the one year anniversary of the opening of the church’s Family Life Center, the congregation, led by the Rev. Dr. Ann Lightner Fuller, paid tribute to three trailblazers who were instrumental in the preservation of the church and its ministries.

“Honoring Attorney Iglehart, Dr. Byrd and Mrs. Doris Jackson was the fulfillment of a dream I’ve carried for many years. Attorney Iglehart and Dr. Byrd stepped into the life of Mt. Calvary at a crucial time, Rev. Lightner Fuller said. “In 1996, as were preparing to build our new sanctuary, they attended a trustee board meeting and asked me to share my vision for the Church with them. After telling them our desire and need for more space for our growing congregation and our desire to serve East Towson in a greater capacity, they offered to give us the lots adjacent to our church and a monetary gift of $50,000.”

She said the whole congregation was overcome with excitement and thankful to God for opening such a wide door of opportunity.

Rev. Lightner Fuller said Sister Doris Jackson’s life was poured out as a love offering to the people of Mt. Calvary and beyond.

“When I was young and had very little finances and the church could only afford a meager salary, Sis. Doris and her husband made the difference with personal gifts to me and my son. She was really like a mother to me and made sure I lacked nothing as I attended A.M.E. Conferences.”

Iglehart and Byrd, both noted civil rights activist in the Baltimore area, joined forces through the Metropolitan Housing Incorporated to create better living conditions for African Americans living in East Towson. Jackson, a lifelong member of Mt. Calvary AME Church served as a lifelong missionary, reaching out to the local community to help educate children and to provide food and shelter to those in need. The three, including Rev. Fuller, had rooms in the Family Life Center dedicated in their names in honor of their commitment and personal sacrifice in helping to improve the East Towson Community. One of the rooms includes a food pantry that is open to the surrounding community. The Iglehart-Byrd Visioning Center (Pastor’s Board Room), is the place where leaders continue to “write the vision and make it plain upon tablets” (Habakkuk 2:2).

As the congregation celebrated the milestone of 124 years of continuous service, the dedication of the Family Life Center was made even more significant as the church continues to build its future in the growing East Towson community, keeping the legacy of Iglehart, Byrd and Jackson alive. With an eye towards that goal, Rev. Fuller says the “the Family Life Center will set out to reach even more souls for the Lord through service ministries like the Doris Jackson Food Pantry, Saving Our Sons Ministry (S.O.S), Daughters of Destiny (tween ministry), 20Something (mentoring program for young women), Campus Ministry reaching out to students at surrounding colleges, and many more ministries that serve to make Mount Calvary the HUB of the East Towson Community.” 

For more information about the Mt. Calvary AME Church Family Life Center please call 410-296-9474.