About Us

Church History

On October 8, 1916, a group of 21 men and women met and organized the New Chestnut Baptist Church. The first worship service was held in the hall, which has since been removed. In 1917, Rev. Promise Anderson was called as the first pastor. In 1920, during Rev Anderson’s pastoral leadership, the present structure was erected.  Among the founders and the first deacons of this church were the late James Fells, Baylor Weatherless, Andrew Napper, George and Ellen Anderson, William Anderson, Nannie Allen, Botley Lewis and Sally Anderson. In the year, 1920, under the leadership of the late Rev. Promise Anderson the church moved into the present structure. 

Our first church clerk was the late Deacon Richard Allen. Succeeding him was sister Gladys King, Deacon Horace Dabney, Deacon James Dabney, Deaconess Yvonne Dabney, Sister Deidre Wright, Deaconess Sharon Dawson, Sister Katrina Henley, Sister Portia Gonsalves, Sister Latesha Thompson, Sister Shakita Fox,Sister LaKesha Hobson, and Rev. Lessie R. Alcin who presently holds this position.

Our first usher board was organized in 1940.  Among the first on the board was Sister Joyce Fox, the late Deaconess Hattie Turner, Deaconess Sally Morton and the late Sister Callie Carter. The late Deaconess Hattie Turner served as President for forty-nine years.

In those days, our music was the soul-stirring patting foot songs, rendered by the saints of this church, accompanied by our organist, the late Sister Susan Johnson. In 1931, the first choir was organized with the late Deaconess Estelle Fox, Sister Althea Jones, the late Deaconess Arthalia Allen, the late Deacon Junius Wingfield, the late Deaconess Eunice Brooks, and the late Brother Earl Wingfield along with Mr. Charles Johnson as the director.

In 1931, Reverend Newton Hunter of Hanover County, Virginia was installed as pastor.  Succeeding him was the late Rev. S. M. Thompson, Rev E. M. Kent and Rev. Robert L. Stuart, all of Richmond, Virginia.  In 1945, the late Rev. Andrew W. Jackson of Ashland, Virginia became the sixth pastor of the New Chestnut Baptist Church and served faithfully for 18 years.  Succeeding him was Rev. Frank Ruffin of Richmond, Virginia who served for 16 years. Rev Danny L. Bell of Chicago, Illinois served as pastor for two years. 

Under the leadership of Rev. Jackson, Rev. Ruffin, and Rev. Bell, electricity was installed, along with a pastor’s study, baptismal pool, new pulpit, pulpit set, heating system, choir stand, restroom, choir room, and central air along with many other renovations.  Prior to the years 1979, as most rural churches, we were having service twice a month.  As the third Sunday service was added, so were two choirs and two more usher boards.  A pastor’s aid club was also organized.

In 1960, the New Chestnut Church Junior Choir was organized under the direction of Sister Henrietta Doswell-Gattison, assisted by her sister Ellen Rose Jefferson.  The choir was later reorganized as the Henrietta Doswell Ensemble.

In 1982, Rev. Bobby L. Gattison,  pastor emeritus, took charge.  Under Rev. Gattison’s leadership, we began having service every Sunday.   Eight brethrens were ordained as Deacons, and seven Deaconesses added.  Rev. Gattison also ordained four women as Deacons.  The B. L. Gattison choir, young adult choir, men’s choir were also created. In December of 2005, Rev. Gattison retired after 23 years of service.

We have been blessed by having wonderful youth pastors that have been a shepherd to our youth: Rev. Loretta Washington-King, Rev. Robert Slaughter and Rev. Amin Flowers. In December of 2004 Rev. John Rustin joined us as an associate minister  and was ordained to preach in August 2005. From January 2006 to April 2007  Rev. Rustin served as our interim pastor. Following Rev. Rustin's interim period Rev. William J. Wright was elected as pastor and was installed in July 2007. Under Rev. Wright's leadership  we started our Video Ministry, Overcomers Outreach and our Benevolence Fund. Rev. Wright returned to his home state in January 2009. From January 2009 through September 2010, Rev. Adrian Sledge served as our Supply Pastor . 

In October of 2011, we were blessed to have Dr. Deborah M. Martin serve as our interim pastor.  After going through the proper process of electing Dr. Martin as  pastor on Sunday, March 18 2012, on Sunday, April 8 of 2012, Dr. Martin  accepted the call to be the first senior female pastor of the New Chestnut Baptist Church and was installed on Sunday, August 26, 2012.  Dr. Martin is a native of Miami, Florida and has blessed New Chestnut Baptist Church each meeting with a glorified spirit filled message. 

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