Giovanelli leaving Calvary Baptist after 11 years
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:46

California native headed home to alma mater

by Ben Boehl

    It is the end of an era at Calvary Baptist Church, where the Rev. Cameron Giovanelli has been the pastor since 2003.
    The California native is headed back to Golden State Baptist College (GSBC) in Santa Clara, Calif., with his family. Giovanelli and his wife Sarah both graduated from GSBC in 2000.
    Giovanelli said he never planned to go back to California.
    “I fully don’t understand it, because I’m happy here, but it is God’s plan,” he said.
    “We planned on being here the rest of our lives. I never looked to see if the grass was greener.”
    Giovanelli has dealt with health issues that included having multiple tumors removed from his kidneys, but he said that health had no factor in his decision.
    Giovanelli will serve as executive vice president of the college and will  work along side GSBC pastor Dr. Jack Trieber in an administrative role at the school.
    “God has given [Giovanelli] an intense desire to train the next generation of Christian servants. We prayerfully anticipate all that God will do through his life and Golden State Baptist College in the coming days,” said a statement on the GSBC website.
    Many members of Calvary Baptist on Manchester Road were sad to hear the news.
    Bill Cain said he was out of town when Giovanelli announced on June 8 that July 13 would be his last service.
  

“I’m a big guy, but I bawled my eyes out. I felt like I’ve been punched in the stomach,” Cain said.     
    “I felt devastated, but then I realized that God is leading him in the next phase of his life.”
    Cain credits Giovanelli for building up the congregation and guiding the rebirth of Calvary Baptist School.    
    Cain pointed out that the school was located off campus in Fort Howard and was closed the first year Giovanelli came to Dundalk.
    Now, the school is located on church property and this year’s enrollment is expected to go above 300.
    According to Cain, only 75 to 80 people attended church on a weekly basis before Giovanelli’s arrival.
    “The church grew under [Giovanelli’s] leadership. Our balcony was used for storage [previously],” Cain said. “It was remodeled and today the balcony is full.”
    Giovanelli said he is proud how the church has expanded over the last 11 years, and he credits the growth to the people of the church.
    “I think we all love each other and we don’t look down on one another,” he said.     “No one is better than anyone else in our church.”
    Giovanelli added that one of his proudest accomplishments was when the Kessel family went over to Tanzania in Africa to start an orphanage for Calvary.
    It was last reported that five boys are in the orphanage.
    Mollie Kessel said from the orphanage that news of Giovanelli’s departure made it all the way over to
Tanzania.
    “Even though we are heartbroken, we and Calvary’s Love Children’s Home will continue and we will surely miss him and his family,” Kessel said from Tanzania via social media.
    Giovanelli said in his final weeks, he wants to finish “strong and right”
    “These have been the happiest years of our lives. Two of my three children were born here,” he said.
    “Calvary will always be a part of my life.”