Our Church was originally founded in 1904, starting from a small Sunday School class and growing over the next 100 years into the church family we have today.
The Very Beginning (1903-1905)
In the fall of 1903, Rev. Herbert Sholtz, then pastor of the First Christian Church (in the Berkley area of Norfolk, Virginia), organized a Sunday School in an old school house situated just in back of Mr. E. M. Tilley’s residence.
It faced Jackson Street (today Jackson Avenue) to the west between Guerriere and Ohio Streets.
On May 29, 1904, Rev. Sholtz organized the South Norfolk Christian Church with sixteen charter members. In 1905, he resigned and Rev. J.O. Cox became pastor.
Building our First Church (1906-1914)
In 1906 the church purchased the lot on the comer of Jackson and Guerriere Streets. A small house of worship was erected, and formally opened in November of the same year. In 1909, Rev. D. A. Keys became pastor,serving with marked success for five years. In 1914 Rev. L. L. Lassiter accepted a call to the church, but due to ill health was only able to serve a few months.
A New Building and Growth (1915-1984)
The church was without a pastor for almost a year, and many of the members became discouraged. They called on Conference officials to take over the work. Colonel J. E. West, chairman of the Horne Mission Committee, in cooperation with the Conference officials, extended a call to Rev. O. D. Poythress, which was accepted.
Rev. O.D. Poythress became pastor October 1st, 1915.
The new pastor was greeted by thirty-two faithful and loyal members. Over the next four decades of Rev. Poythress’ tenure, SNCCC had several milestones:
1. The Church reorganized
2. Paid off the old church with $2,000.00
3. Purchased the lot adjoining the church property
4. In 1925-1926 built present Church building
5. In 1954 built a beautiful parsonage at 1109 Decatur Street
Work on the present building was started April 11, 1925, dedicated “to the glory
of God and the extension of His Kingdom.” The cornerstone was laid April 3, 1926, and the building formally opened for worship June 6, 1926.
The church had less than $2,000 with which to start the new building, but with faith and courage, they began the work and saw it completed at a cost of $110,000
Since 1926 there have been several improvements:
1. 1963 – Kitchen and social hall were renovated and air conditioning added for the Sanctuary.
2. 1970 – The original pipe organ became inoperative and a new electronic organ installed.
3. 1975 – Several men in the church took it upon themselves to refinish the pews and paneling around the chancel area. The entire sanctuary was painted, and new carpet laid.
4. 1976 – A new sound system was installed.
In addition, an educational building was added in 1972 and was the original home for what today has become Cornerstone Christian School.
After serving as pastor of the church for 43 years, Rev. Poythress retired from the pastorate but continued to be active in the church and was honored with the title of Minister Emeritus.
His immediate successors were Rev. John Truitt, Jr. in 1959, Rev. William Cousins in 1961, and Rev. James Rumley, jr. in 1965.
On May 15, 1966, Rev. Willis Joiner became the pastor and served the church until 1985. In January 1968 the church voted unanimously to withdraw from the United Church of Christ, principally over Sunday School materials that seemed to question the inerrancy of the Bible. It has remained an independent church since that date.
Following Rev. Joiner were Rev. Nelson Hodges (1985-1992), Rev. Willis Dowling (1992-1996), Rev. Amos L. Eby (1996-2015), and our current pastor – Jake Tromburg.
1996 – 2015 Amos L. Eby
1992 – 1996 Willis Dowling
1985 – 1992 Nelson Hodges
1966 – 1985 Willis Joiner
1965 – 1966 James D. Rumley, Jr.
1961 – 1965 William A. Cousins
1959 – 1961 John Truitt, Jr.
1915 – 1959 O.D. Poythress
1914 – 1914 L. L. Lassiter
1909 – 1914 D. A. Keys
1905 – 1909 J.O. Cox
1904 – 1905 Herbert Sholtz