History of Blue Run Baptist Church
6435 Constitution Highway
Gordonsville, Virginia 22942
Blue Run Baptist Church is the oldest church in the County of Orange, having derived its name from the small stream that flows at the base of this hill, called Blue Run Creek. The land on which the church was erected was given to the white people by William Crittenden Webb in 1769 that was among the first settlers and owners of the property.
The church from its origin had among its congregation two Negro slaves of Mrs. Jane Webb, who was thrown from a horse and killed. Slave labor erected the vault in the shadow of the church over her grave.
November 3, 1884, George Reedy of Liberty Mills, along with S. D. Henson and Thomas Henshaw, who were trustees of the now called Colored Blue Run Baptist Church, signed the deed with Edgar Brown and Dick Green as witnesses. The Colored (Blacks) people paid $650 for the one acre of land and the church building on it. The deed was not signed over to the colored congregation until 1885. Though stricken in years, Rev. Tibbs was one in the midst of the colored who heeded the call. He helped set the backs apart and dedicated this place for worship. Rev. Tibbs led the congregation for several years and at the age of 90 departed this life. Other ministers who have served Blue Run are:
Between the years 1866-67, Mr. Reddie, of Liberty Mills, saw to it that the title was clear and the deed recorded in the Clerk’s Office of Orange, he being one of the trustees. Rev. Frank Tibbs led the congregation for nine years. He died at the age of 90.
Ministers who have served Blue Run Baptist Church are:
Rev. Willie Robinson, 1870-1911, 41 years
Rev. Charles H. Hawkins, 1911-1922, 11 years
Rev. D. H. Banks, 1922-1947, 25 years
Rev. J. O. Wright, 1947-1960, 13 years
Rev. F. E. Thompson, 1962-1974, 12 years
Dr. Westley J. Pittman, 1974-1986, 12 years
Rev. Winston R. Brock, 1896-1995, 8 years
Rev. Peggy M. Brice, 1996 - Present
In May of 1963, this church was struck by lightning and one-fourth was burned. Rev. Thompson rallied the officers and members, rebuilt the burned section, and on the fourth Sunday in August, the church was set for service. Upon the death of Rev. Thompson in 1974, Rev. Dr. Wesley Pittman was called to pastor this church. Under the leadership of Dr. Pittman, the church went through several changes: service was changed from one to two Sundays each month with Holy Communion each fourth Sunday. A communion table, artifacts, piano and hymn books were purchased. The Church was renovated with central heat and air conditioning, pastor’s study, dining hall, kitchen and restroom. Upon its completion, dedication was held at the church’s anniversary in June 1983. In addition, the Deacon and Trustee Boards, clubs and choirs of the church were reorganized. We thank God for all Dr. Pittman did to help us grow as a church family.
Upon the death of Dr. Pittman, the Blue Run Baptist Church family continued to put their trust in God. On March 18, 1986, Rev. Winston Brock was voted to lead the flock. On the fourth Sunday in June, 1987, his installation service was held and he officially took office as Pastor. Rev. Brock exemplified his motto: “Keep so busy working for the Lord.” Through his talent of singing and preaching God’s Word, physical changes continued throughout the church with many projects turning into accomplishments. The Lord hath done great things for us, and we give thanks for the blessing of Rev. Winston Brock, who departed this life on June 28, 1995.
Blue Run continues its history with the election of the first female to pastor this church, the Reverend Peggy M. Brice, who became pastor of this branch of Zion on September 22, 1996. Praise God for the spiritual changes and growth that the church has gone through since she has become Pastor. We now have church every Sunday, Sunday School every Sunday (except fifth Sunday), and Bible Study each Thursday night. We have Men’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry and Children’s Ministry now. We also have a Gospel Chorus and in January 2011, the Men’s Chorus ‘The Rising Stars” made their debut on the third Sunday. These are just some of the things we have accomplished since Pastor Brice has been here. We have many ongoing projects. One project that we are very thankful to God for is the completion of the Vestibule. God has been good to us!!
We thank God that He has sent us a powerful, anointed woman of God. He uses her mightily to preach and teach us God’s Word. She has taught us that “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” We extend our love and prayers to her as she continues to “Keep us moving on in the Lord.”
Through our history of being the oldest church in Orange County, Virginia, Blue Run was pictured in the September 1987 issue of the National Geographic. By the efforts initiated by Dr. Pittman and others, Blue Run was recognized as an historical site. We are indebted to our forefathers who strove and worked so hard that we may have a free, peaceful, and enlightened place to Worship. Let us build upon this heritage so that those who follow after us may have courage, strength, and will to continue working to the glory and honor of God. PRAISE GOD!!!
*cemetery on church premises
Contributed by Mrs. Doris Anthony