Canyon Lake Area needed a church In 1947 the American Lutheran Conference assigned to Canyon Lake area to the Home Mission Board. In December 1948, a call was issued to Rev. Oscar Laaveg to begin the work of Canyon Lake Mission at a salary of $3,500. Mildred Dybvig was sent by the Home Mission Office to conduct a survey in March, 1949 to determine potential membership. She found that 3,000 to 4,000 people lived in the Canyon Lake area and surrounding canyons and many were not affiliated with any church. Many were former Lutherans.
Miss Dybvig, Rev. Sylvan Moe of Trinity Lutheran, Pastor Laaveg and a few laymen met at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Hans Stone to discuss the purchase of lots for building. They agreed on property just off Canyon Lake Drive but learned that the lots had been sold to Missouri Synod. Further searching resulted in the purchase of eight lots in March 1949, from D. Hoseth for $4,000. The contract for the building to be located on Cottonwood Street was awarded to Chris Ness. The parsonage was started in April 1949, and the chapel in July. The parsonage cost $11,000 and the chapel $15,500. Morning worship began at Canyon Lake Lutheran September 4, 1949.
Members held the organization meeting on October 19, 1949. A motion to retain the name Canyon Lake Lutheran Church was defeated as the majority of the members felt a name with more meaning should be chosen. A motion was then made to let Pastor Oscar Laaveg select the name. Pastor Laaveg conferred with Mrs. Laaveg, and they present the name "Calvary Lutheran." The acceptance vote was unanimous.
Calvary Lutheran's Dedication Sunday was on October 23, 1949, a rather rainy day. That did not deter attendance at the worship service where Dr. L.A. Pierson, president of the South Dakota District, delivered the sermon and formally installed Pastor Laaveg. Charter membership consisted of 94 confirmed members and 58 children.