First Chinese Baptist Church of Virginia Beach
|First Chinese Baptist Church of Virginia Beach|
|Location||228 Pritchard Road Virginia Beach, VA, 23452|
First Chinese Baptist Church of Virginia Beach was one of the oldest Chinese churches in Virginia. It aims to serve and minister to the community of Hampton Roads and southeastern Virginia, with emphasis on those of Chinese heritage.
On May 5, 1901, the First Chinese Sunday School of Norfolk was founded in a prayer room in the lower Church Street and called “The Union Chinese Mission School”. The Meeting was one of great and deep interest to those who were present, and were so enthusiastically to have such work in order to bring the Chinese of Norfolk under the soul-saving knowledge and influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was strictly interdenominational in character. Those at the meeting were Rev. Bombay Edwards, a returned missionary from India, A.B. Walker, A.G. Adhley, A. McAlister, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Evans and Willie Chin Sing. The services were held in the Union Mission each Sunday afternoon. In June 1902, Rev. B. D. Tucker of St. Paul Episcopal Church invited the School to meet in his church chapel. Later the workers united in prayers and believed that Mrs. William H. Evans, a pioneer full of faith, was the one whom God called to do this work. Therefore, they encouraged her to carry on and under her leadership the School became affiliated with the Baptist denomination in 1916. Then she took the Mission School to her church – Park Avenue Baptist on Brambleton Avenue.
After World War II and into the early 1950s, there was a small influx of immigrants to this area as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1880 was finally repealed in 1943. In addition to preaching the Gospel, the church seemed to also serve as a place where Chinese could meet socially in a somewhat closed society at that time. During this time of small growth, the Norfolk Baptist Association acted to minister to this group and encouraged helpers from various churches within the association.
In 1985, the church building on Pritchard Road in Virginia Beach was completed. The first worship service at the new church was held on June 2, 1985. After 25 years of using buildings belonging to other congregations, the First Chinese Baptist Church once again had its own building.
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