Westover Hills United Methodist Church
Westover Hills United Methodist Church was founded in the mid-1940s and has “served around 63 years in the ministry.” At the time of its founding, the church met in a small stone house on Forest Hill Road. In 1945, the land for the church’s current location was purchased, and the new church was built. As the church grew, the building was expanded 1955. At the front of the large sanctuary is
the alter, which is surrounded by the chancel railing where the congregation receives communion. Two long rows of pews run the length of the sanctuary. Behind the alter table and chancel railing, on the hanging on the wall, are “chancel plaques,’ symbols that were created and carved by a member of the congregation to depict “faith” and “good works.” The basin that is used for the infant baptisms also was made by a member of the congregation. There are stained glass windows in the chapel, which is much smaller than the sanctuary and used for only a few special occasions. In the chapel there is hand-made pulpit. Both the windows and the pulpit were constructed by members of the congregation.
The church describes itself as rooted in the Bible, the written Word of God, which has “been given for instruction and inspiration.” On this basis, the congregation holds firm to the spoken word of Christ and have feel that they have, as disciples, been called to model Christ. There are early and late morning services every Sunday. The early service, which began in 2005, is more contemporary in style. At this service, a rock praise band plays contemporary worship songs that are projected onto a large overhead screen. At the later service, hymnal books are used instead
of the band and screen, in addition to an organ, piano, and choir. Dress at the later service tends to be more formal. There are also special services held every All Saints Sunday, Advent, Christmas, Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter), Easter, Thanksgiving, and Linte [(The special service is held on the first day of Linte: the forty days leading up to Easter, during which Christians will give up something from their life in order to, in a way, “suffer with Christ”/draw closer to Christ.)], Ash Wednesday (the first day of Linte). There is a special dinner to commemorate the Last Supper. During the 1970s and 1980s there were 1000 members with an average attendance of 500-600. The church is now smaller in size, with 400 total members and an average of just over one hundred people who attend on an average Sunday.
Westover Hills United Methodist Church supports several external ministries to reach the surrounding community. These include Bright Beginnings, a ministry sponsored by the YMCA that provides school supplies and clothing for children; the Belmont United Methodist Food Bank; the Eleventh House, which is a home for (mostly teenage) girls in crisis; and the Greater Richmond Children’s Choir. The church allows the Children’s Choir to use the building for a summer camp. Other ministries are the Vacation Bible School for children; the Tot Lot, the church’s playground (which was voted the busiest and number one children’s playground in Richmond); the Emergency Men’s Shelter, where at least once a month the members of the church feed the homeless at the church; the Fall Festival, which includes games, food, music, and the gospel to reach out to the surrounding community; the pumpkin patch and pumpkin carving parties (through which the church sells pumpkins to raise money for a mission center in North Carolina that supports Native Americans in poverty); and finally, missionary teams that work throughout the United States (in places such as rural West Virginia and the Gulf of Mexico in response to Hurricane Katrina).
Westover Hills United Methodist Church
1705 Westover Hills Boulevard
Westover Hills United Methodist Church pastor
Profile prepared by Robert Daniel Hudson