Newington's History

Located on the western edge of the Gloucester Courthouse village, Newington Baptist Church has greeted travelers and residents with a witness for Christ since the 1840's.

The church originated as a mission of Ebenezer Baptist Church who wanted to plant a Baptist presence in the village.  The first services were held under the guidance of Elders Scott and Councill in Newington Academy, from which the church took its name.  Elder Scott became the first pastor, overseeing the erecting of the first building in 1852 on an acre of land given by John Tabb.  It was a one-story wooden building measuring forty by forty-six feet and had galleries on three sides of the interior.  In 1866, the slaves who worshipped at Newington left to form Union Prospect Church, later to become part of First United Baptist.

The church remained a mission until March 7, 1873, when Newington became a constituted church with 23 charter members. Having moved from mission to church, Newington called Reverend W. E. Wiatt as pastor in 1875.  He served, with the exception of a short time as a missionary to the people of the mountains of Virginia, for sixteen months, until 1909.  He also served as pastor of Ebenezer and together these mission-minded congregations had the joy of organizing Beulah Baptist Church in Ware Neck in 1875.  Six years later in 1881, a house of worship was built, that in 1890 became Petsworth Baptist Church.  Reverend Wiatt pastored all four congregations, each church holding worship two Sundays per month, with Sunday School every week.  This arrangement continued through the pastorate of Reverend N.J. Allen and Reverend H.L. Corr in 1944, when he was named Pastor Emeritus.

Reverend Jean Stephens in 1945 became the first pastor to hold services every Sunday.  He was followed by Reverend W.E. Cholerton (1948-1951); Reverend Carlton Myers (1953-1954); Reverend Kenneth Russell (1955-1959); Reverend William P. Huff (1959-1963); Reverend Phillip Jenkins (1963-1965); Reverend Marion Dubose, Jr. (1965-1975); and Reverend George Turner (1976-1992).  Our current Pastor is Reverend Michael Gray (October 1992 - Present).

As the church continued to grow, additional staff was added to provide ministerial leadership in the congregation.  They included Mrs. Ann Argabright (Youth & Music 1964-1967); Reverend Rex Rachel (Y & M 1974-1977); Reverend Steve Markum (Y & M 1985-1989); Reverend Dale Saunders (Y & M 1981-1985); Mrs. Jane Mitchell (Y & M 1985-1989); Reverend David Patton (Education & Outreach 1988-1994); Reverend Larry Brant (Youth & Music 1989 - 1994); Reverend Bryan Jones (Students & Education 1996 - 1998); Reverend Glen Bohannon (Worship & Senior Adults 1996 - 2003); Reverend Doug Metcalfe (Youth & Outreach 1999 - 2004); Mr. Paul Lawton (Youth 2004 - 2008); Reverend Donald Ambrose (Traditional Worship 2003 - 2008); Mr. James and Heather King (Worship Leaders 2004 - Present); Mr. Jonathan Barnette (Children & Youth 2008 - Present).  In addition, two long term secretaries, Mrs. Elsie Haynes and Ms. Cathleen Baker (1993 - Present); have endeared themselves to the congregation.  Between the tenure of these ministers, the congregation has been blessed by many volunteers and interims who have added significantly to the life of the Newington family.

As the congregation of the church has grown, it has become necessary to add to the building multiple times: in 1928 a cinder block building was built to replace the original wooden structure; in 1944 a basement, hand dug by members; in 1956 a Sunday School wing; in 1966 our present sanctuary with fellowship hall in the basement; 1981 a pre-school wing with office space and enlarged paved parking lot; and in 1996 a three story addition with space for education, offices, fellowship hall and a gym.

NBC also added to its ministries by taking ownership of Newington Courthouse Preschool and Kindergarten in 1995.  Mrs. Arleene Hawkins is our current director.  In 2011, a campground ministry was added at Thousand Trails Campground and a new work started at the Carey House.

Missions have continued to be a strong focus at NBC.  For thirty-five years, the church sponsored Reverend Fred & Mrs. Shirley Harner, missionaries to Brazil.  Other past and ongoing Acts 1:8 missions include: a local jail ministry, food ministry, clothes closet, servant evangelism projects, nursing home and assisted living ministries, sponsorship of missionaries and teams to Brazil, China, Macedonia, South Africa, Mexico (Youth), Ghana and Honduras; Partnership missions, helping build two churches in Brazil, seven disaster relief trips, hosting relief teams following hurricane Isabel, being an Operation Christmas Child collection center, Stop Hunger Now events, GUEST ministries (housing and feeding the homeless), and many, many WMU projects that cover local and state missions from Bland to the Eastern Shore.

We are thankful to our Heavenly Father for His guidance and direction that has brought us to this time and place.  We are most grateful and indebted to those of the past who have led us well and to those who continue to lead in "Reaching People for Christ, Teaching People to Walk in Christ and Releasing People to be on Mission With Christ."  We do not know what the future holds, but we know the one who holds the future.