HONORING THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF COLOSSIAN BAPTIST CHURCH

October 16, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 150th anniversary of Colossian Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia.

Colossian Baptist Church was established in 1867 on Mulberry Island, Virginia. Reverend Henry Harris and Reverend Walter Williams worked together to organize the church along with other members of the First Baptist Church in Hampton and locals from the Island. The group began to meet together with the hope that they could build a congregation born out of community and anchored in faith. These early services were held in a barn on Mulberry Island's Follies Farm, led by Reverend Williams.

Reverend Williams served as the church's pastor for its first five years. Following his service, he was succeeded by Reverend Thomas Poole in 1872 and Reverend Thomas Wright in 1887.

The congregation of Colossian Baptist Church continued worship in the Follies Farm Barn until it burned down in a fire. Reverend Aaron Wyatt, elected as pastor in 1894, oversaw the church's transition into their new building.

The church was then rebuilt in 1915 following a devastating windstorm, but the congregation soon needed to move again. In response to the outbreak of World War I, the United States Army bought and repurposed the Colossian Baptist Church property. That area is currently the United States Army Transportation Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Following their displacement, the church moved to Newport News, and has remained there ever since.

Reverend Irvin D. Melvin was named the first full-time pastor of Colossian Baptist Church in 1989, and the church has only grown stronger since that time through the expansion of their music, fellowship, and youth programs.

Reverend Peter A. Evans became the church's third full-time pastor in 1999. Under his leadership, the church broke ground on a new edifice in 2005, and construction was successfully completed in 2006.

Over the years, Colossian Baptist Church has continued to grow as it expands its outreach to the community. The church works with Greenwood Elementary School in a partnership dedicated to mentoring young men. Since 2014, the church has overseen the ``Christmas House'' program during December, which serves the local community by providing an avenue for the needy to access clothing, food, and more free of charge.

Over the last 150 years, Colossian Baptist Church has been served by many dedicated men of faith--Rev. Henry Harris, Rev. Walter Williams, Rev. Thomas Poole, Rev. Thomas Wright, Rev. Aaron Wyatt, Rev. Frank Ashby, Rev. David D. Harris, Rev. Thomas Ash, Rev. Andrew D. Holmes, Rev. Frank Rylander, Rev. William Cheeseman, Rev. Elick Edlow, Rev. James M. Lee, Rev. Irvin D. Melvin, Rev. Steven W. Banks, Rev. Lloyd Williams, Sr., and Rev. Peter A. Evans.

Mr. Speaker, as Colossian Baptist Church of Newport News, Virginia celebrates this historic milestone, its congregation can rejoice in 150 years of successful discipleship and service to the Hampton Roads community. I would like to congratulate Reverend Peter A. Evans and all of the members of the church's congregation. I hope that their next 150 years proves to be as rewarding and fruitful as the first.