Mt. Sinai Baptist celebrating 135th anniversary

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, at 6100 Holy Neck Road, is celebrating its 135th Church Anniversary during the month of November and four churches and their congregations are scheduled to take part from the first through the fourth Sunday. All services will take place at 4 p.m. at Mt. Sinai.

Today, the Rev. George Smith and his congregation of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church on Butler Drive will be special guests. Other special guests and dates include:

Email newsletter signup

On Sunday, Nov. 9, the Rev. Daniel Crump Jr., pastor and congregation at St. John Baptist Church in Stony Creek; on Sunday, Nov. 16, the Rev. Charles E. McCollum and his congregation at oak Grove Baptist Church in Littleton, N.C.; on Sunday, Nov. 23, the Rev. Phillip E. Knight Sr., and congregation at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Prince George;

Mt. Sinai originated from white churches and during the middle and late 19th century, a new beginning for black spiritual worship emerged. There were groups of white worshipers being formed or organized in the state of Virginia with blacks having membership and taking part in services with white churches. Black members later emerged into whatever kind of sanctuary they could afford and some recovered help from their white friends who aided them to build a place of worship.

The first pastor, Israel Cross, was converted and joined the Reedy Branch Baptist Church in 1860 and was given a chance in this white church to learn more about God. In 1860, another black, Joe Gregory, joined the same church. Before too long Gregory made known that God had called him into the ministry, was examined and licensed. In 1866, he went to the little village of Franklin and through William Barrett, was given a site to build a church and named it Cool Spring Baptist Church.

In the same year, Cross asked to be dismissed from Reedy Branch Baptist Church to join the Cool Spring Baptist Church and made known to the Rev. Gregory that God had also called him into the ministry. He was then given a hearing and licensed to preach.

In the meantime, the group that worshipped in a bush shelter on the Reedy Branch Baptist Church had moved and built a second bush shelter on the Dempsey Hare Farm. Shortly afterward a disagreement arose and Benjamin Howell, an unconverted man, told this group he would give them a piece of land for a church site.

In 1867 Cross came to this log building and began preaching and in 1868, he held a great revival and 39 souls were converted. After that success, he sighted a permanent church and withdrew his membership from Cool Spring Baptist Church. He then induced all black members belonging to Reedy Branch to come and to organize their own church.

In October 1868, the congregation assembled in the log house, with Gregory and some of his members and organized the Mount Sinai Baptist Church with deacons David Porter, Thomas Drake, James Hare, Prince Cross, Pastor Preston Hunter and Cross. The church prospered and the membership increased greatly and in 1871, the congregation made the decision to replace the church with a more worthy frame building. The building was remodeled in 1908 with stained glass windows in front, choir stand, chairs and organ.

Cross pastored for 42 years and taught the congregation to educate their children, buy land and to build homes. Cross died in 1911.

Since his death seven pastors served at the church: the Revs. W.B. Ashburn from Franklin-1911; Lovelace J. Alexander from Wise, N.C.-1916;

Galvin R. Daughtry from Isle of Wight County-1945; Ralph Reavis from Brunswick County; 1962; Haywood R. Watkins from Kenbridge-1966; and Roma L. Colmore Jr. from Madison Heights-1980.

The eighth and present pastor, the Rev. Joseph H. Goode from Chesterfield, became pastor of Mt. Sinai in June 1985. He was married to the late Shirley Shands Goode for more than 40 years and to this union five children were born. He is now married to the former Marvia Cherry Eubanks of Suffolk. To this union one daughter was born.

History submitted by the 135th Anniversary Committee of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church