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A firm foundation

A foundation laid 130 years ago in the old Nansemond County and the surrounding area still supports thousands of people of faith who are interested in growing and learning more.

The Nansemond-Isle of Wight Baptist Sunday School Union will celebrate 130 years of supporting Christian education in the area with a banquet this Saturday. The union was organized in 1887 at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church by slaves and sons of slaves.

It wasn’t easy laying a foundation back in those days. Older members have recalled traveling to other churches by train, boats and horse-drawn vehicles. From the two churches farthest away in the union, it was nearly a day’s journey. Members of the host churches provided food and shelter in their homes as well as hosting the meeting at their church.

But the faithful work bore much fruit. The union currently has 34 member churches and about 2,500 members. The union meets on Saturday and Sunday every time there is a fifth Saturday in the month, which is about three to four times per year. Services rotate to every church in the union, and Sunday school leaders get resources and training that helps bolster the Christian education back at their home church.

This form of cooperation among churches is important for the encouragement of the believers.

The union also does community service, having donated to numerous religious, community service and advocacy organizations. The union also gives scholarships each year.

We congratulate the Sunday school union on its 130th anniversary and thank its members and leaders for their many years of service to God, their churches, each other and our community.