History of Bermuda Hundred United Methodist Church
On Wednesday, February 15, 1956, the formation of a new church in the Bermuda area was initiated by 19 members at a special service of prayer and dedication. This service was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Beville on Forest Glenn Circle. These nineteen members were:
Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Beville
Mrs. Edwin T. Carroll
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick T. Gray
Mr. and Mrs. John E. Grundy
The Rev. Edward P. Hornlein, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Earl O. Kennedy
Mr. and Mrs. Silas McNew
Mr. and Mrs. Raymond L. Ozmore
Mr. and Mrs. John C. Poarch
Mr. and Mrs. Francis G. Sloan
Mr. Robert J. Spence
The first service for the new Bermuda Hundred Methodist Church was held on Sunday, February 19, 1956 in the log church located one-quarter of a mile off of Route 10 on Point of Rocks Road in Chesterfield County, Virginia. In May of 1956, this church was purchased from the Rivermont Presbyterian Church for $2,500.00. This money was borrowed from a local bank and backed by personal notes of $250.00 from ten of the men in the membership.
On Sunday, May 13, 1956, Charter Day was held at the Log Church with 69 Charter Members being accepted into membership. In addition there were 16 members on the Charter Preparatory Roll. These names are inscribed on the Church Charters in the vestibule of the present church. Dr. Carl J. Sanders, District Superintendent, was in charge of this program. At the evening service on this same day the Woman’s Society of Christian Service was chartered and its officers were installed.
The Log Church proved to be too small. It was enlarged to include another classroom, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. Most of this work and repairs on the original structure were done by the members of the Church. We are also indebted to many Methodist Churches for contributions of necessary items to enable us to have a more meaningful place in which to worship. Hopewell First Methodist Church contributed chairs, tables, hymnals, and needed Church School materials. Hopewell Wesley Methodist Church gave us handmade communion linens and Branch Memorial Methodist Church of Richmond contributed a communion service and pulpit furnishings. The Randolph Macon Methodist Chapel donated pews, which were later given to a new Church in the area.
Land for a new church building was purchased by the Petersburg District of Methodist Churches and consisted of 9.67 acres fronting on Route 10 near the Enon School. On August 25, 1957, a congregational meeting voted to accept the property.
The Building Committee, which had been tentatively formed at the time the church was chartered, met on September 26, 1957 to begin formulating plans for a new building. This committee consisted of Francis G. Sloan, Chairman, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Beville, J.W. Brendle, G.R. Garrett, W.A. Garvin, F.T. Gray, J.E. Grundy, C.A. Hall, E.O. Hogarth, Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Leach, R.S. Magruder, R.L. Ozmore, H.W. Parker, J.C. Poarch, B.S. Partin, Jr., J.R. Ross and Mrs. F.G. Sloan. During February, 1958, with the help of The Rev. Ralph L. Haga from the Virginia Conference Board, an estimate of support drive was conducted and pledges were made in the amount of $22,662.87.
Tentative plans were approved by the congregation on May 11, 1958. Final plans were approved in August of the same year. Bids were opened later that month and all were in excess of our estimates of support and help from the Petersburg District, the Virginia Conference, and the National Board of Missions. In view of this, it was voted to sub-contract the church under the supervision of the Building Committee. Ground breaking was held on September 29, 1958 with Dr. H.M. Burleigh, District Superintendent of the Petersburg District, in charge. Work on the
new building began on October 12, 1958. The cornerstone was laid on May 10, 1959. At this time the third anniversary of the church was observed with special services in
the log church and dinner in the basement of the new church. The Rev. E.P. Hornlein, Jr., and Dr. H.M. Burleigh were guest speakers.
The new church was used for worship for the first time on November 22, 1959. This building has a sanctuary seating of 256, Church School classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen, three baths, office, and full basement. The new structure with furnishings cost approximately $75,000.00. Furnishings for the sanctuary were given by members and interested friends of this church, and plates suitably engraved record these. However, at this time, painting, landscaping, and the basement were still incomplete. On the first Sunday in the new building, special services were observed at the eleven o’clock worship, which was followed by a dinner with approximately 250 present, and an open house through out the afternoon with over 250 more visitors.
Since the original erection of the church, partitions have been added in the nursery and fellowship hall to make additional classrooms. Members have contributed to the construction of these as well as to the painting, the laying of tile, and the adding of shrubs and trees to beautify the building. In 1965, our parking lot was enlarged and surfaced.
In order to house our ministers and their families properly, the construction of a parsonage on property owned by the church was authorized in May 1967. It was completed in December 1967 at a cost of $24,754.00. Redecorating and refurbishing have been done at the change of ministers.
The W.S.C.S., which later became The United Methodist Women, has always been actively involved in improving our building and grounds and in furnishing the church and parsonage, as well as contributing to the missions of our church in the community and throughout the world when there is a need.
The Youth Fellowship have consistently contributed to the programs of our church in many ways; clean-up, painting and keeping the Nursery. They also participate in mission work in the community and the world.
In 1962 a class of acolytes was organized. The young people have assisted in the service of worship throughout the years.
Our church began sponsoring the Scouting Program in 1967 with Randolph Garrett as leader of the Boy Scouts. We still continue to sponsor the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. In the 1970’s it was determined that there was a need for a Singles Group in our community which we provided. We continue to provide the facilities for the A.A.’s in our community which began in 1980.
The Methodist Men’s Club was organized in 1977. The UMM normally meet every third Tuesday of the month at Cesare’s Restaurant. They are actively involved in the maintenance and beautification of our church.
A preschool program under the direction of Katie Sloan began in September 1984 and has continued to grow and serve a definite need in our community.
Music has been important to the life of our Church. Under the direction of William F. Leach, a Choir became an integral part of the church from the first service in the Log Church. Through his efforts and those of many others, the area of music has expanded to include chancel, youth, children, folk, and all-male choirs. These choirs, through the use of the talents of many, have brought much pleasure to our congregation.
Our memorial contributions in memory of many of our members and friends have added much to our worship service and the beauty of our building. These gifts have included reredos, baptismal font, paraments, organ fund, carillon and tapes, trees, shrubs, choir robes, pew cushions, brass candelabras and brass cross in rear of sanctuary. The beautiful stained glass window located behind the pulpit and facing the congregation was dedicated in May 1993 in memory of Fred Gray. Our first stained glass window, which was placed on the side of the sanctuary, was installed in April of 2002 and dedicated in memory of Francis and Sue Sloan. Others have been installed and dedicated in honor or in memory of loved ones. The windows tell the story of the life of Jesus.
Our church continued to grow through the 1980’s and in October 1987 a building committee was formed to study the needs for our church. In 1988 plans were made for the expansion of our church school building. The Virginia Annual Conference offered $100,000.00 for the expansion program of our church, because of the growth potential in our area. With Frank Linkous as chairman of the Building Committee, our new addition of kitchen, social hall, class rooms, office space and the renovation and air conditioning of the entire building were completed in September 1993. Consecration services were held on October 24, 1993. Many hours of time and generous contributions from all membership helped make this project possible so that we may better serve our community.
The pavilion in back was built in 2001 by the men of the church with the help of George Emerson and a sound system was also installed.
From that little Log Cabin on Point of Rocks Road to our home church now, our primary purpose has and will always be to share the love of God in Christ in our community as we work to meet the spiritual and physical needs of all kinds of people.