Abundant Life

Abundant Life in the Big Red Church

Calvary Presbyterian Church is a family, and the Big Red Church is our home. In a perfect world, home is a place of safety, a place of healing, a place of comfort, and a place of love. The Big Red Church seeks to be that kind of home in the heart of a city where home isn’t so perfect for many people.

The Big Red Church is also home to a number of other organizations and invited individuals and groups to find a home, even if just for a day. In sharing our home, Calvary finds an abundance of love, an abundance of hope and an abundance of peace. The abundance is in the sharing, and so the church seeks to share the Big Red Church with as many people as possible, hoping to not only to find abundant life for itself but to share abundant life with all who walk through its doors.

As the family of the Big Red Church, Calvary invite you to enter the Big Red Church. Entering the Big Red Church, you can find abundant life. Entering the Big Red Church, you can find home, so please, take a moment and come into the Big Red Church.



Calvary Presbyterian Church (the Big Red Church) is the second oldest extant church building on the West Side. The church was designed by local master architect, Henry C. Koch,in association with Julius Hess.  It is likely that Calvary was Koch’s first major independent work. Koch employed not only the best available craftsmen of the period, but also used the highest quality materials to produce a structure that ranks among Milwaukee’s best churches. Koch’s design made the church the first to utilize a very tall and narrow steeple remains unique in having local flora  designed into it’s stained glass windows.

March 3, 1872

The church was dedicated on March 3, 1872 and Calvary Presbyterian Church’s first congregation began to worship here.


Building extended

January 8, 1947

Learn more about the 1947 fire here.

March 1948

After the fire, the church need to rebuild the sanctuary and do extensive repairs to the nave and nave roof. Reconstruction finished in March of 1948.


Building extended

March 10, 1986

Building Added to National Register of Historic Places


Learn more about the sanctuary renovation.

American Institute of Architects of Wisconsin Design award winner


In just a few years Calvary Presbyterian, the Big Red Church, will reach its 150th anniversary, and you can help if get there. For more information about how, click here.




Say yes to Abundant Life!


To embrace and affirm all who come through our doors as people created in the image of God;

To love through compassionate service, innovative worship, nurturing education and scandalous hospitality;

To be a sanctuary for all who need, all who want, all who question, all who seek;

To lead in the work for justice and equality, to bind ourselves in solidarity with those who suffer, to be a sign of Christ’s love in the world;

To preserve this historic landmark building that serves as our wider community’s gathering place for celebration, discussion, reflection and the performing arts in the heart of the city.




Pastor Mark, a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) is our fulltime pastor.



Ashanti is a member of the congregation who also works as part time office manager for the church.