Church sets anniversary celebrations

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pleasant Union Baptist Church is preparing to celebrate the 116th anniversary of the church with special services throughout the month of September.

The church began in 1897 and met outside near what came to be known as Webb Street, where its building is now located.

Pleasant Union Baptist Church, with Pastor Vaurice T. Chambers and his wife and co-pastor Naomi P. Chambers, will celebrate its 116th anniversary in September.

Pleasant Union Baptist Church, with Pastor Vaurice T. Chambers and his wife and co-pastor Naomi P. Chambers, will celebrate its 116th anniversary in September.

To the Rev. Vaurice T. Chambers, who has led the church for 41 years, and his wife, co-pastor Naomi P. Chambers, the reason for the church’s longevity is obvious.

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“It’s because of the founder of the church, who is Jesus Christ,” she said. “Generations come and go, but He says upon this rock He will build His church. The church is not necessarily in the hands of people, it’s in the hands of the One who is head of the church.”

From those humble outdoor beginnings in 1897, the Suffolk church has grown to provide a number of community services. The building provided a home for the S.T.O.P. program and other educational opportunities, along with a food program for the needy.

The Rev. Chambers began serving at the church in 1967, when it still had concrete floors. The building was completed only a few years later, and several pieces of land surrounding it have been acquired for outreach buildings and other needs.

Chambers left the church for five years in the 1970s and then returned.

The church also housed the Suffolk teaching site of the Virginia University of Lynchburg until 2011, when it closed so the university could move most of its distance-learning programs online.

Naomi Chambers also said the church has been able to achieve such longevity because of the stability of leadership and the faithfulness of members whose families have been in the church since the beginning.

“They have a love for what their ancestors started,” she said.

“Even in the midst of transient families in the neighborhood, the church has still stood,” Vaurice Chambers added.

The church currently has an attendance of about 100 most Sundays, Vaurice Chambers said.

“It has declined because of moving away from the area,” he said.

“We’re still in anticipation the church will grow,” Naomi Chambers said.

Services to recognize the church’s anniversary are as follows:

  • At 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1
  • At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • At 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8
  • At 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15
  • At 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22
  • At 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.

For more information, call 539-0367.