City of Refuge Baptist Church, True Blue, Virginia
History of City of Refuge Baptist Church
4433 True Blue Road
True Blue, Virginia
The City of Refuge was established on May 18, 2002 under the leadership of Reverend Robert Dyson, with approximately 25 members. Our first service was held at the Culpeper Rescue Squad building, where we took up our first tithes/offerings in a Styrofoam plate. Through much prayer and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Corena Holmes, who lovingly became known as Mother Holmes, was driving past the church on her way home and saw gentleman cutting grass there. At that time the church was the Palmyra Methodist Church. The gentleman turned out to be Brother Jerry Crane, who she knew and had taught his children in school. He also worked with Deacon Vernon Holmes. God is good all the time! Mother Holmes asked about the possibility of using the church and was told that the church was in pretty bad shape and was unsure if it was fit to use for church proposes. Being a woman of faith, Mother Holmes was persistent and anxious to see the inside of the church. He obliged, opening the door with a screwdriver. Now a picture of what was on the inside goes beyond what words could describe. Various wild animals had made this their home. At this point, she continued to walk by faith and not by sight. She asked if we could see what we could do with it and hold services here on Sunday, which was five to six days away. With a faithful few, a lot of hard work and a God given vision, the doors of the church were open for Sunday services. Brother Crane was so overwhelmed by the continual work, effects and progress that he witnessed; he became a member of the City of Refuge. The choir sang and then came out of the choir stand so the Pastor would have a congregation to preach to.
There was no running water, so therefore, no kitchen or bathrooms. His and Hers Port-a-Johns were used. Youth Sunday school was in the back of the church during warm months, but had to stop during cold months because if heaters were used in the back, it would throw the breakers. We knew God could do anything.
In October, 2004, due to health, family and job obligations, Reverend Dyson was unable to fulfill the duties as pastor. The dedicated and committed officers and congregation decided to keep the church doors open. Through sincere and fervent prayer, God sent the Reverends David Waller and Ronald Johnson who filled in for several months; helping us through a difficult time. With permission from their pastor, Reverend Jesse Jones, Jr., they brought us the word every Sunday, except second Sunday which was their Communion Sunday at Oak Shade Baptist Church. We had Sunday School on second Sundays. Eventually, Reverend Linwood Smith brought us the Word on second Sundays. Reverend Waller could no longer assist us due to other duties and responsibilities. Reverend Johnson came to us every Sunday except second Sunday. He also started our Bible study up again on Thursday nights.
On the second Sunday in June 2006, Reverend Ronald Johnson, being led by God, informed the City of Refuge church family that we would accept the awesome responsibility of becoming our pastor.
We were surprised because every time something was said to him about becoming our pastor, he would say, “Oh no, God hadn’t told him that yet.”
Deacon Luther Perkins would say, “Oh, yeah, you the man!”
Mother Holmes said before going on home to be with the Lord on February 22, 2006, that Reverend Johnson was going to be the pastor of the City of Refuge. She wanted him to preach her eulogy because he was her pastor. On March 24, 2006, Reverend Johnson was officially installed as the pastor of the City of Refuge Baptist Church.
Some accomplishments under his leadership are the following:
1. Three Sunday School Classes: Little Lamps 9 and under with three teachers and two assistants
Young Adult 10-17 with two teachers and two assistants
Adult class—18 and up with three teachers
2. Bible Study—awesome Bible study on Thursday nights with youth in the backs with five teachers and five assistants (Both average 65-70 people)
3. New members to date: 45+ new members (all attended The New Members Training Class)
4. Men’s ministry—Men of Vision Empowered (MOVE)
5. Women’s ministry—Ladies of Vision Empowered (LOVE)
6. Missionary ministry—Charles Stanley outreach ministry, nursing home ministry
7. Music ministry
8. Transportation Ministry (two vans)
9. Youth recognition/back to school with scholarships to graduates going to college
10. Choirs—Mass, Adult, Men’s Choir, Youth and JLP, voice lesions for all choir members.
Piano and drum lessons
In 2010, we were in the process of purchasing this building and the land. Be patient and wait on the Lord and again I say wait on the Lord. Since then, we have purchased the building and the land. The old vision was been replaced (which was to add on to this building). Our new vision is to build a new edifice from the ground up, to include classrooms, fellowship hall, Pastor’s study and more. We will continue to trust God as we walk by faith and not by sight.
The City of Refuge Family says, “Every Man a Beam to accomplish the Dream!”
*cemetery from previous church owner on premises
Contributed by Daniella Holmes, Church Clerk