Chamberlayne Baptist donates entire church building to Bethlehem Baptist, debt free

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Offering a new place of worship, Chamberlayne Baptist Church is donating its entire building to Bethlehem Baptist Church – 100% debt free.

Chamberlayne Baptist Church has existed since 1953 and they will hand over the keys to Bethlehem Baptist during a joint service on Sunday, June 13.

Brenda Ellis and Carrie Woodall are longtime members of Chamberlayne Baptist, and they said God told them it was time for their next faith journey.

“I’ve been here since I was 6 years old,” Ellis said. “There are a lot of tears, there are a lot of memories here that we will take with us. But we have come full circle and are totally excited for Bethlehem to come and see what they can do. The work we have started they can continue.

“Our whole church has blessed that trust,” Woodall said. “We voted for donation and disbandment, so we feel like our church has accepted that.”

The Chamberlayne congregation is disbanding with the building’s donation – and Bethlehem will move from the East End after 128 years and three different buildings.

Bethlehem Baptist Church The congregation is in the heart of the city and has not been able to expand its ministry.

“We were landlocked, so we couldn’t expand,” Jamet Jackson said. “Even if we had the funds to do it, we couldn’t grow. Our hands were tied. »

But Jackson said she was completely thrilled with the decision to move.

“When I first heard the vote that we had the church, I was like ‘thank you Jesus, Hallelujah!’ Because there were so many things we had to do in Bethlehem that we weren’t able to do it,” Jackson said.

Reverend Tony Webb of Bethlehem Baptist Church said he was grateful for the donation.

“I could be here all day and just couldn’t say enough about the giveaway,” Webb said.

He said the congregation is moving in memory of their late senior pastor, Rev. Victor Davis, who died May 10.

“One of the last things in the conversation I had with him is ‘and Chamberlayne? What are we doing?’ And he said, ‘move on.’ These are the last words he said to me. “You all have to move on,” Webb said.

The new building will provide more parking, classrooms and a new gymnasium for youth basketball, which Chris “Pav” Crowley is well known to be a fan of. Crowley is Director of Music Ministry at Chamberlayne Baptist.

“If anything, it’s a fantastic example of death, new life, resurrection, all these fantastic things that we say if we’re going to preach it, live it,” Crowley said. “You never fully know what’s coming next, but knowing it’s going to happen in love, with Christ – that’s a powerful feeling.”

Bethlehem Baptist has invited the Chamberlayne congregation to come worship with them for the future, and Woodall said they plan to attend.

WATCH: Bethlehem Baptist Church’s 125th anniversary video to better understand the history of the congregation

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