Northminster Baptist Church
(Thanks and Giving Celebration)
(Northminster Free Market)

The history of Northminster Baptist Church dates to 1891 with the founding of what was then the Barton Heights Baptist Church. The church members were reportedly among the most prominent residents of the neighborhood. The congregation worshiped in a building designed by John H. Rogers, a member of the congregation. The Rev. Robert Healy Pitt was the first pastor of the Barton Heights Baptist Church. He served from 1892 to 1897 and also served as the editor of The Religious Herald, the principal Baptist publication in the state. As church membership grew, parishioners moved first to a building on Hanes Avenue in the early 1900’s and then to their current location on Moss Side Avenue in the 1950’s. The previous church was given to the First African Baptist Church for a small fee. The new church was built by the church members with donated materials. Upon relocation, the church community decided to change their name to Northminster as to not confuse the location of the church with its name.

Northminster started as a traditional Baptist church, with a choir and Sunday school. Church membership was almost 1000. The church had such a powerful presence in the community during the 1980s that their weekly worship services were televised. Eventually church membership declined as members moved away from the area. Church leaders then decided to adopt a more contemporary approach by promoting a more community-oriented involvement and focusing their energy on getting the youth involve in church participation. Although the older members were skeptical at first, an agreement was reached through which the church would hold two formal services on Sunday. The early morning service is more traditional, with the pastor reading from the Bible. The late morning service appeals more to modern church goers. A band performs Christian rock music as the pastor delivers the sermon and encourages everyone to dance and sing. Usually about 250 members are present for the weekly Sunday services. Church leaders invite members to get involved in church activities during the week, which is where they feel the real spiritual bonding takes place. There is a mid-week study meeting at which members can speak with the pastor in a small group setting and openly discuss topics of interest on a deeper level.

There are a number of ministries within the church. Northminster supports a women’s ministry that hosts Bible study and a book club. Club 56 is a small group program is geared that meets on Sunday mornings and one evening during to provide recreational activities for fifth and sixth graders. The Northminster School of Rock and Worship offers music lessons to young members. There is an evangelism team that reaches out to and welcomes. There is an evangelism team that is dedicated to reaching out and welcoming potential newcomers to the church. Community involvement is strongly encouraged. Members host a free market and a food pantry for the homeless on Saturday mornings. Donated food and clothing as well was food from their garden fills a gymnasium sized room. Yearly retreats are also organized for those interested in building homes and neighborhoods in poorer parts of the country. The church is able to reach out and network with other churches in the U.S. and overseas for these trips through the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.

Northminster Baptist Church
3121 Moss Side Avenue
Richmond , VA 23222

Northminster Baptist Church music minister
Northminster Baptist Church website

Profile prepared by Veronica Bason
September, 2009