Historical Highlights
of Riverview Baptist Church
Organized 1885 

In the spring of 1885, a small group of Christians began a movement to organize a church. They met in the home of Hezekiah Johnson on Lombardy Street. In the fall of that same year, a parcel of property was purchased at 1500 Jacquelin Street. It was named RIVERVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH.  Ebenezer Baptist Church is the mother church of Riverview Baptist Church.  The name Riverview was chosen because there was a clear view from the church site to the James River. Our Founders were Dea. Emanuel Lewis, Mr. Hezekiah Johnson, Mrs. Susan Brock, Mr. Lee Jasper, Mr. Noel Wren, Mr. Mamos Garnes, Mr. Ned Mosby, Mr. Jack Funn, Mr. Melvin Hill, Mr. Charlie Lewis, Mr. Robert Walker, Mr. William Brown, and Mr. James Hackett.

  • Rev. George B. Johnson, elected first pastor; served for 15 years, the Board of Deacons and Board of Trustees were organized.
  • 1900 – Rev. I.M. Champ, a student from Richmond Theological Seminary, elected pastor.
  • 1902 – Rev. Mitchell, elected supply minister
  • 1904 – Rev. West, elected pastor
  • 1906 – A new frame edifice on our first church site was dedicated 
  • 1907 –  Rev. Dr. Edward Daniel Lewis from Lynchburg Seminary and College was chosen by a unanimous vote as the church’s fifth pastor; property  on the corner of Jacquelin and Lombardy Streets was purchased for expansion
  • Under Dr. Lewis’ administration  in 1923 a new edifice, our second  church site, completed at Jacquelin and Lombardy Streets; purchased electronic organ and mimeograph machine; introduced church bulletin; initiated scouting program; and organized deaconess, male ushers, ladies auxiliary, junior ladies auxiliary
  • April 9, 1949 – Dr. Lewis passed away
  • April 2, 1950 -  Rev. Dr. E. Theodore Jones, Dean of Chapel, Virginia Union University, elected as the church’s sixth pastor

In May 1950 a monument was unveiled at the grave site of the late Dr. Lewis in St. John’s Cemetery; Pastor-elect Jones presided at the ceremony

  • During Dr. Jones’ tenure – first churchwide Installation of Officers was initiated;

Ministry of Christian Education organized; an outside bulletin board erected; a Central Banking System and an Annual Report introduced; Holy Communion after fourth Sunday Morning Worship recommended; first  Church Constitution was adopted; sponsored an annual church school outing; scholarships granted to high school graduates; aid given to tornado victims; weekly Religious Center Activities were held; a Children’s Choir, Mission Council, and Girls Junior Usher Board were organized;  our church suffered a great loss by fire

  • June 1962 – Dr. Jones resigned to assume a position with American Baptist Churches, USA
  • April 1963 – Rev. Everett Eugene Smith, Jr., elected  as the seventh pastor
  • Under Rev. Smith’s pastorate – moved to present site, third church location, at 2604 Idlewood Avenue in April 1965; refurbished pastor’s office and deaconess room; purchased new organ and church van; organized Gospel Choir
  • 1973 – Rev. Smith resigned to accept a position at Florida Avenue Baptist Church, Washington, DC
  • April 1974 – Rev. Dr. Ralph Reavis, Sr., elected as our eighth pastor
  • During Rev. Reavis’ tenure – paid mortgage on present church edifice; first revision of Church Constitution adopted;  installed central air-conditioner and public address system; ordained the first five women ministers and eight men ministers; ordained the first seven women deacons; reactivated the Mission Council, Ministry of Christian Education and Children’s Choir (Treblettes); erected outside bulletin board; organized weekly Bible Study Class; refurbished nursery and first-aid room; Nurses Corps organized; established food bank and clothes rack for the needy; purchased second church van; organized Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir, Senior Citizens, American Baptist Christian Women’s League, Young Adult Ministry, Homework Assistance Program, Rebecca Giles Missions, Pastor’s Advisory Council, Stewardship, Evangelism, and Pastoral Relations; Friends and Fellowship;  AB GIRLS, and new mission groups; computerized church office; installed ADT security system; purchased parking lot; repaired steeple through partnership of 360 Communications; established E.E. Smith Endowment Scholarship Fund; committee appointed to draft church’s Personnel Manual
  • August 27, 2000 – Dr. Reavis retired; April 19, 2004, elected pastor emeritus
  • February 2001 – Rev. Lawrence B. Samuel, elected interim minister
  • November 4, 2002 – Rev. Dr. Stephen L. Hewlett, elected as our ninth pastor

Under Rev. Hewlett’s administration – purchased baby grand piano and synthesizer; refurbished pastor’s office; changed the name Treblettes  Choir to Youth Choir; installed risers and new brass railing to choir loft; licensed female minister; ordained three ministers and seven deacons; consecrated three deaconesses; installed six trustees; honored four deacons emeritus and two trustees emeritus; Church Personnel Manual adopted; second revision of Church Constitution adopted; Youth Minister added to staff; purchased two church vans; Friends and Fellowship renamed Discipleship and Fellowship Ministry; organized churchwide Discipleship Training Classes; instituted a churchwide planning process; first Sunday designated as Youth Sunday with the Youth Choir singing; merged the Sanctuary and Unity Choirs; renaming them the Sanctuary Choir.

 

Riverview Baptist Church © 2018