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Utah civil rights legend France Davis celebrates 44th anniversary as pastor of a growing Calvary Baptist Church

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Rev. France A. Davis and his wife Willene, celebrated Davis' 44th anniversary as pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. The two are greeted and congratulated by members of the congregation, Sunday, April 22, 2018, as they enter the nave. Davis, who arrived in Salt Lake City in 1974, has built the African-American congregation to more than 700 members.

Calvary Baptist Church, one of Utah’s largest and oldest African-American congregations, celebrated the Rev. France Davis’ 44th anniversary of ministry Sunday.

The special 3:30 p.m. service of preaching, singing and prayer at the church, 1090 S. State St. in Salt Lake City, was presided over by the Rev. Michael Ross, pastor of Boise’s St. Paul Baptist Church.

Davis, a veteran of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and a participant in the historic Selma-to-Montgomery, Ala., voting rights march, came to Utah in the early 1970s and became Calvary’s pastor in 1974.

Under his leadership, the church has garnered a reputation for community and civil service as its congregation has grown to more than 700 members.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Rev. France A. Davis celebrates his 44th anniversary as pastor at Calvary Baptist Church with members of his congregation, Sunday, April 22, 2018. Davis, who arrived in Salt Lake City in 1974 with his wife Willene Davis, has built the African-American congregation to more than 700 members.

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