Collection HM1/956 - Calvary Hour Records

Identity area

Reference code



Calvary Hour Records


  • 1935-2007 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

71.50 Linear Feet

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Calvary Hour was a Mennonite radio show founded in 1936 by William G. Detweiler of Canton, Ohio.  Detweiler, the pastor of the Canton, Ohio, Mennonite Church sought a means by which to share the gospel with unbelievers and non-church goers.  Detweiler embraced radio broadcasting as the solution.  Because radio technology was still relatively new and "worldly," his decision to preach the Mennonite faith via radio was met with some disapproval in Mennonite circles.

The earliest broadcasts were titled "The Mennonite Hour," but at the Church's request, Detweiler soon changed the program's name to the Calvary Hour.  The weekly broadcasts featured religious music, prayer, and a sermon.

After William G. Detweiler's sudden death in 1956, his twin sons, Bill and Bob Detweiler continued the Calvary Hour together until 1989. In 1989, Bob Detweiler passed away, and his brother Bill continued broadcasting until 2007.

Name of creator

Biographical history

J. Robert "Bob" Detweiler was born in 1929, the second of twin sons to William G. and Anna Detweiler.  He graduated from Eastern Mennonite College in 1951 and from Faith Theological Seminary in 1954.  In later years he continued his education at Faith Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Bob married Marjorie Springer in 1959.  Together, they raised two daughters.

Bob and his brother Bill were ordained in 1957.  Bob pastored at Martins Mennonite Church (Orrville, Ohio - 1955-1960); College Mennonite Church (Goshen, Ind. - 1960-1974), and Yellow Creek Mennonite Church (Goshen, Ind. - 1975-1989).

Bob and his brother Bill also served as the "twin speakers" on the Calvary Hour radio show from 1956 until Bob's death in 1989.  In addition to the Calvary Hour, Bob was also known for his friendship with basketball coach Bob Knight.

Bob died suddenly on September 15, 1989, the day before he was to officiate at his daughter's wedding.

Name of creator

Biographical history

William G. Detweiler was born in 1903 at Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania and studied at Eastern Mennonite Academy and Temple University.  In 1927, Detweiler married Anna Landis, and in 1928 they served a Mennonite mission in Norristown, Pennsylvania.  In 1931, they began serving the Mennonite Mission in Canton, Ohio.

Detweiler was ordained in 1933 by O. N. Johns and pastored the Oak Grove Church and Pleasant Hill Church in Wayne County, Ohio.  In 1936, he founded the Calvary Hour, the first Mennonite religious radio show.  Although the Calvary Hour met disapproval within the Mennonite Church, Detweiler produced the radio show for the next twenty years. 

In 1953, Detweiler resigned his post at Pleasant Hill Church to devote more time to the Calvary Hour.  Detweiler died suddenly of a coronary occlusion on January 13, 1956.

Archival history

Material originally cataloged as HM6-99 and X-3; combined into HM1-956 in June 2010.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The Calvary Hour Records are divided into six series:

(1) Sermons, 1940-2002

(2) Publications and Publicity, 1935-2007

(3) Administrative Files, 1937-2007

(4) Photographs, Circa 1935-2002

(5) Sound Recordings, 1953-2007

(6) Radio Show "Formats," Circa 1965-2000

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

By series.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

This collection is open to the public.

Conditions governing reproduction

Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright not owned by the Mennonite Church USA Archives.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Researchers should contact the archives in advance to make arrangements to access the sound recordings in this collection.


Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Digital copies of selected photographs from the collection are available online.

Related units of description

The following collections are housed at the Mennonite Church USA Archives - Goshen:

William G. Detweiler Papers, 1919-1955. HM1-957

Bob Detweiler Papers, 1951-1990. HM1-958

Bill Detweiler Papers, 1951-2005. HM1-959

Related descriptions

Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion



  • English



Accession area