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River Road Methodist Church

Originating as a reform movement in the Church of England prior to the American Revolution, Methodism was the first official church formed in America. It was in 1790 that a group of Methodists met in the Henrico courthouse at 22nd and East Main Street. By 1799 they had erected a small building at 19th and East Franklin Street in Richmond that was named the First Methodist Church. The Methodist congregation grew from 88 members in 1808 to over 400 members by 1827. As a result of membership growth, the Trinity Methodist Church was built in 1828, and it continued to grow until 1857. In that year Trinity Methodist Church divided into two congregations over the issue of slavery, the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the Broad Street Methodist Church.

The new Broad Street United Methodist Church which was located at 10 th and Broad Street, Richmond Virginia. The Broad Street Methodist Church relocated to 8800 River Road in 1960 when the city of Richmond purchased the building to construct the New City Hall and accompanying parking lot. In 1961 the church was renamed the River Road Methodist Church. Reverend James Duncan was one of the most instrumental individuals in forming the River Road Methodist congregation. River Road Methodist Church was renamed the River Road United Methodist Church following the merger of three Methodist bodies in 1939 (the Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, and Methodist Protestant churches). In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren and The Methodist churches merged.

River Road United Methodist Church hosts a large congregation (over 950 members), and defines itself as theologically traditional. The services are traditional and contemporary with a wide variety of music during the three services held each Sunday. In addition, Sunday school classes for all ages are held each Sunday, and there are evening services held throughout the week. The congregation consists of mostly middle and upper middle class families of all ages, and most members are of European descent. The church pastor is Reverend Kirk Nave, and he is supported by a large staff.

The church administers a variety of programs for parishioner: discipleship, visitation, evangelism, youth ministries, children’s ministries, music and preschool. In addition, the River Road United Methodist Church is actively involved in many local outreach programs. These include music, radio, youth and children ministries, educational schools, nursery, and preschool. The church also contributes to the support of the six United Methodist Colleges, United Methodist retirement communities, homes for the mentally retarded, the Richmond United Methodist Family Services, the Richmond United Methodist Urban Ministries, and the worldwide missionary of the United Methodist Church. Members participate in hands-on missions such as the Appalachia Service project, Crop Walk for World Hunger, Angel Tree Project, Congregations Around Richmond Involved To Assure Shelter (C.A.R.I.T.A.S.), Rebuilding Together (formerly known as “Christmas in April”), March Food Program, Highland Support Project, and the Volunteers in Missions.

Sources:

River Road United Methodist Church Website at http://www.riverroadumc.org/Content_home.htm
Additional information provided by Reverend Kirk Nave – Pastor

Profile prepared by John Lack
October 2006

 

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