May 23, 2019
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Providence United Church of Christ in Chesapeake, Virginia on its 165th anniversary.

Providence Church began as an informal group of slaves and freed blacks coming together to worship. In the beginning, they gathered for worship in parishioners' homes and in public spaces. This time together was important for African-Americans because it provided spiritual support and a sense of community.

In 1854, Providence Church was officially organized by Reverend Scott. Under his leadership, the congregation met every Sunday and grew in size. As the number of parishioners increased, the church was able to purchase property on Railroad Road and build a church. The church was built in 1872 and was located in the city of South Norfolk, Virginia. South Norfolk later became Chesapeake, Virginia in 1963.

Providence Church was renamed Providence United Church of Christ in 1957 when they joined the United Church of Christ family. Twenty years after joining the denomination and more than 100 years after the church's founding, Providence United Church of Christ expanded again in 1978. They were fortunate to build another addition in the form of an educational wing in 2003. Today many of their ministries take place in this new space.

Over the last 165 years, Providence United Church of Christ has continued to be a leader in the Hampton Roads community. The church serves the community through several ministries including the Christian Education Ministry, Senior Citizens Ministry and the Foodbank Ministry. Annual events include vacation bible schools, Kwanza celebrations, community confitmation classes, youth revivals and senior citizen celebrations. A unique feature of the church is that its congregation is divided into 12 tribes. These tribes provide a way for Providence United Church of Christ to reach different parts of the community.

It is impossible to commemorate the 165th anniversary of Providence United Church of Christ without recognizing its former pastors who helped build and grow this historic church--Reverends Scott, J. Jones, A. Harris, G.T. Hall, A.B. Jones, J.J. Faulk, J.R. Alston, R.R. Briggs, Ben E. Cox, V. Chambers, Clifton Thomas, Dr. Isaac McDonald, Dr. Samuel Varner, Dr. Alexander Jamison, Sr. and currently Dr. A. Jerome Danage, Sr.

Madam Speaker, as Providence United Church of Christ celebrates this historic milestone this weekend, its congregation can take pride in an inspiring 165 years of fellowship, worship and service. I would like to congratulate Reverend Dr. A. Jerome Danage, Sr. and all the members of the church's congregation on this joyous occasion, and I wish them many more years full of growth, prosperity and service to our community.