In late April of 1979, members of West End Assembly of God, Mechanicsville Assembly of God, and Huguenot Assembly of God convened to muster a sufficient number of worshipers to organize a new church in Chester, Virginia. It seemed to those present that the Assemblies of God should expand their influence to the Chester community. Dr. H. Robert Rhoden, Pastor of West End Assembly of God and the parent church, strongly felt this need for the establishment of a new church in the Chester area. Gary Williamson, a local resident of the Chester community, corresponded with Pastor Rhoden to express his concern. Williamson previously had attended a Bible college and stressed to Pastor Rhoden his own personal belief in a new church. One week after the meeting, on Sunday, May 6 th, 1979, Pastor Williamson held the new church’s first worship service. The congregation of 110 gathered in a renovated plumbing shop on Centralia Road in Chester and was then named Cornerstone Church. Since then, the church membership has grown and has met in larger venues. The first relocation occurred in 1980 when the church moved its meetings to the Chester Community Center. The service was moved to the Thomas Dale High School auditorium in 1983. In January, 1986, Cornerstone moved to its present location on Chalkley Road, and the church has continued to grow. The church currently has a 300 seat sanctuary that nearly fills for each service. However, total church membership approaches 1,000; as a result, the church is considering a larger sanctuary.
Joining together in the power of the Holy Spirit to be healed, transformed, and sent by Jesus to a world in need,” as the church’s vision reads, ultimately sheds light to what the church regards as its most important attribute, a sense of community. Shortly after the church’s conception, the church’s founders adopted a doctrinal system in what is called their Statement of Fundamentals Truths. This outlines the sixteen beliefs the church and its congregation upholds. Four of the sixteen are considered the core beliefs from which the others emanate, and they include: Salvation through Jesus Christ, Divine Healing, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the Second Coming of Christ.
Cornerstone operates three Sunday services, from early to late morning. The services are conducted with readings from the Bible followed by teachings from the scripture. Mixed into each service are several hymns and contemporary worship songs that involve the congregation. The children have their own services during the first and third main services as well as their own programs held on weekday evening. There are also three youth groups, the college and young adults, the high school youth, and the middle school youth groups.
A large part of the mission at Cornerstone involves the Cornerstone Revitalization Center. This is an outreach to the residents of the church’s community to provide faith-based government and mentoring opportunities while restoring moral, faith, and family foundations that enable a community to have stability and a positive direction. The center also wishes to re-establish economic vitality and develop leadership within the community to promote future growth and prosperity. The church has numerous outreach programs that operate each month consisting of Bible studies and visits to local shelters.
Something unique this church offers is its own Bistro and Café. Here one can enjoy a full-service coffee shop that plays host to live music and other designated events. On Sunday mornings, the café opens its doors to the community providing a full breakfast with the proceeds supporting the various missions and ministry opportunities.
Cornerstone Assembly of God Church
10551 Chalkley Road
Richmond, VA 23237
Cornerstone Assembly of God website
Cornerstone Assembly of God representative
Profile prepared by Christopher Hyner