September 16, 2010
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia: Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate a storied institution of faith in the Third Congressional District. This year, Queen Street Baptist Church is celebrating its 145th anniversary, and I would like to highlight some moments from the history of the church and its contribution to our community.
The Story of Queen Street Baptist began in 1865 with a group of newly freed slaves. Originally members of First Baptist Church, Williamsburg, these freed men gathered in the Hampton Courthouse and took the name Second Baptist Church. Under the direction of Rev. John Smith, their first pastor, the church met in several locations until eventually erecting a building constructed with ``used'' boards on a plot of land between Holt and Victoria Avenues, now Settler's Landing Road. The church members saved funds and in 1875 had enough to build a new church at a cost of $2,800. Upon Rev. Smith's death in 1881, Rev. Ebenezer Byrd assumed the pastorship for a brief period, until Rev. Thomas Shorts was called as third pastor in 1883.
Under Rev. Shorts' leadership, the church grew rapidly. Additional land was needed to build a larger church, and during Rev. Shorts' tenure, the site where the church now stands was purchased. It was also at this point that the church was renamed Queen Street Baptist, taking its new name from its new location. A fire in 1905 destroyed the church building, but Rev. Shorts encouraged the congregation and led them in the rebuilding effort. Sadly, he died before the completion of the new church building, which still serves as the current sanctuary of Queen Street Baptist.
Fourth pastor Rev. J.A. Brown carried the charge to rebuild that Rev. Shorts began, and the new sanctuary was completed during his tenure (1918-1929). Fifth pastor, Rev. Berryman Johnson, oversaw the purchase of a parsonage on West Queen Street, which is still in use today. Rev. George Russell became pastor in 1935, and gave 31 years of progressive and innovative service to the church before dying in 1966.
Rev. Calvin Jones and Rev. Omie Holiday each served as pastor for four years in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1978 Rev. Marcus Pierce was installed as the ninth pastor, and during his 10-year tenure, numerous members of the church were licensed to preach, a testimony to the Reverend's influence.
The current pastor of Queen Street Baptist, Rev. Anderson W. Clary, Jr., was installed in 1991. His priorities of teaching the Bible in a manner understandable to young and old, and teaching Christian doctrine in all aspects of life have been adopted by the Queen Street congregation.
As Queen Street Baptist Church gathers to celebrate this historic milestone, the church can truly remember its past, celebrate its present, and focus on the future. I would like to congratulate Rev. Clary and all of the members of Queen Street Baptist Church on the occasion of their 145th anniversary.