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Calvary Santa Fe

It’s been a busy time in the Santa Fe church scene; so far as I can tell our local Potter’s House Christian Center has disappeared altogether and Praise Tabernacle moved from Airport Road into the former Potter’s House building. Berean Bible Church sold its building to our local Vineyard Christian Fellowship [link] and moved to a private home. And two of the successor churches to our now-defunct Calvary Chapel are also making transitions. Blaze Christian Fellowship moved to a new space in a business park on the south end of town [link], and Calvary Santa Fe appears to be in the midst of a pastoral succession.

Calvary Santa Fe sign

Sign with pastor name

The pastor who led Calvary Santa Fe to drop its Calvary Chapel affiliation, Paul Scozzafava, originally came to Santa Fe from Albuquerque, where he was on the board at “Big Calvary,” and served in that capacity during the Skip Heitzig/Pete Nelson succession controversy. He initially came to Santa Fe in response to a request from a group of people who had left the then-existing Calvary Chapel; for a very brief time there were two Calvary Chapels in Santa Fe. When the pastor of the existing church resigned, Scozzafava became the pastor of a merged church with Calvary Chapel affiliation.

Over the course of the next few years he and the church moved in a more Reformed direction, and eventually dropped their Calvary Chapel affiliation. Very careful observers will note that the cross on the sign above has been cut down from the more complicated fish/dove/cross Calvary Chapel logo. Scozzafava has also suffered from some poorly-diagnosed or undiagnosed condition [link] that may or may not be Parkinson’s disease, and has not spent much time in the pulpit since September 2009 [link]. It is my understanding that he spent the last year-plus finding and training a successor, missing at least one agreed-upon deadline for stepping down along the way.

Now it looks to us amateur Kremlinologists like the transition is finally underway; the most visible of the church’s signs do not currently list a

Recently modified church sign, no pastor listed

Not Shopped

pastor by name, the church has announced that it will be consolidating its two Sunday morning services into one [link], and it has apparently budgeted for additional publicity. Flyers and signs announcing the current sermon series (not pictured) have started appearing around the south side of town.

I for one hope this turns out to be nothing but a good thing for all involved; that Mr Scozzafava can get the medical treatment and work schedule he needs, and the church gets a pastor that is able to serve the needs of the congregation. If I were looking for the future of Calvary Chapel (a post-Chuck-Smith movement moving in a more Reformed direction) I might be inclined to look at this church, so I hope it is able to find its feet soon. I hesitate to mention that the predecessor church ran four services on Saturday night and Sunday circa 2001, totaling somewhere in the vicinity of 1000-1200 people, and attendance this church has been steadily declining over the last five or so years, coinciding with both the pastor’s illness and the church’s drift into Reformed theology. While the announcement linked above suggests that the consolidation is intended to improve fellowship and community, I can’t help but wonder if it doesn’t also have the beneficial side effect of cutting the pulpit time (not to say the preparation time) in half.

I’m sure you’re wondering where Calvary Chapel is in all of this; it turns out they’ve started a video service at a movie theater on the other end of town [link] under the leadership of Nate Heitzig, son of Skip, and Ray Del Toro. I haven’t visited them yet and mean to do so soon.

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