River Road Church – Baptist
River Road Church-Baptist, with its impressive architecture and steeple, was established in 1945 and was constituted in 1946. River Road Church rests at the corner of Ridge and River roads only a quarter mile from the University of Richmond campus entrance. The church was started by a group of professors from the University of Richmond who saw the need for a church in the rapidly developing suburban area of Richmond. From the outset, the founders hoped that the church would meet the diverse needs of the community. Even though the church is declared Baptist, the church has an “open-door” membership policy so that other Christians from other Christian evangelical denominations can become members without re-baptism. This makes it easier for couples of different Christian denominations to come and worship together as members of the same church. In this way the church has fulfilled its dream of meeting the diverse needs of the community. The church holds a Sunday School and worship service on Sunday mornings and a youth worship service and Bible study meeting on Sunday evening. There is a healing and hope service one evening during the week.
The church supports its own cemetery, named Columbarium Memorial Garden, which is located adjacent to the church. Columbarium Memorial Garden accepts the ashes of members of the church and their immediate families. The ashes may be buried in the ground, with identifying plaques mounted on the garden wall or may be placed in urns that are placed in niches located in the garden wall.
River Road Church is affiliated with or supports several Baptist organizations, including the Baptist Collegiate Ministry on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus and the Baptist World Alliance, which defends human rights and religious freedom. Locally, the church supports Interfaith Services of Henrico, which seeks to meet the living needs of those whose needs are not met by government agencies. Camp Alkulana is a project that helps inner-city schools and children by undertaking clean-up days in designated areas. The church also participates in Congregations About Richmond Involved in Shelter (CARITAS), which assists the homeless by providing food, shelter and hygiene for one week during the year. River Road Church also participates in Habitat for Humanity on the local and national levels by helping with construction and reconstruction projects. A related program is Mission Tours through which church members assist in remodeling other churches and working to increase the church’s attendance following the construction work. Finally, River Road Church started a Prison Ministry at the Bon Air Center to witness their beliefs and offer support to incarcerated youth.
The church is also very active in helping with English as a second language projects. In Henrico, members serve as translators in classrooms and tutors at Crestview Elementary School. This partnership makes it possible for the students and the teachers to overcome the language barrier in classroom situations. English As a Second Language is another related program. Members tutor adults in the area gain sufficient fluency in English to obtain better jobs and participate in the community.
River Road Church-Baptist
8000 River Road
Virginia Baptist Historical Society
River Road Church – Baptist website
Profile prepared by Kevin Garrett