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Calvary S.D.A. Church, Gordonsville, Virginia


Church History of the Calvary S.D.A. Church

200 Charles Street; P. O. Box 534

Gordonsville, Virginia 22942

Organized 1950


In September of 1936, the late Professor Nathaniel E. Ashby came to Orange, Virginia to serve as principal of the Orange Graded School. Professor Ashby had formerly been employed at Oakwood Junior College (now Oakwood University of Seventh-Day Adventists) in Huntsville, AL and decided that he would like to have some experience in the rural elementary system. During 1936-37, he and his wife, Lillian Burgess Ashby, began giving Bible studies on Sabbath afternoons in the home of Sister Ophelia B. Hill in the town of Gordonsville. Sister Hill had accepted the truth in Evanston, Illinois, under Elder G. E. Peters and Elder C. E. Moseley, Jr. in 1929. Sister Hill was the first African-American Seventh-day Adventist in Gordonsville.

From this small beginning, an interest was awakened and others began to inquire about the Bible. Among those who sought information was Mrs. Alberta Bolden, a member of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in the Gordonsville community. She opened her home for Bible studies. In the summer of 1937, Professor Ashby accepted a call to serve as principal of the summer school at Oakwood Junior College in Huntsville, AL. Sisters Hill and Bolden continued meeting for Bible studies until Sister Bolden accepted the truth and was baptized in Washington, DC by the late Elder J. Johnson, pastor of the Ephesus S.D.A. Church (now Dupont Park S. D. A. Church).

In August 1939, the late Elder J.B. Mallory moved to Gordonsville and connected with the company meeting at the home of Sister Alberta Bolden. Soon others joined this group: Brother and Sister Alvin McGhee, Brother and Sister James N. Jackson from the First S.D.A. Church in Washington, DC, Brothers Gleason and Tinsley Thoms with their families, Brother and Sister John Mennifield and family, Sister Mary B. Jackson, Brother and Sister Romeo Williamson, Brother Rudel Holmes, Brother Joseph A. Hill and others. These and some others who joined later became the charter members of the Calvary S.D.A. Church.

On Sabbath, May 27, 1950, the Gordonsville S.D.A. Church was organized at the home of Sister Alberta Bolden by the late Elder J.W. Wagner, President of the Allegheny Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. Three sites were purchased from time to time by the congregation. The first, at Green Springs in Louisa County, Virginia, was purchased in 1947, but no church was built there, and that property was later sold. The second, a double lot in the town of Gordonsville, was bought in 1951, but again no church was built. Finally the present location at Charles and Depot Streets was purchased from the Episcopal Diocese in March of 1954. The name was then changed to Calvary Seventh Day Adventist Church. After extensive additions and repairs, the first service was held here on Sabbath, August 7, 1954. The church was dedicated free of debt on Sabbath, October 24, 1964 under the pastorate of Dr. D. J. Williams. The congregation has had twenty pastors since it was organized: