75th Anniversary of River Road Church

Over 75 Years of Ministry, Missions, & Care

In the musical South Pacific, there is a catchy song entitled “Happy Talk” which repeats the following lines: “Talk about things you’d like to do. You got to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” A few residents of Richmond’s far west end caught a dream together. On November 29, 1944, six dreamers met in the home of Dr. Oscar Hite on Forest Avenue and engaged in “happy talk.” They dreamed of founding a church just west of the University of Richmond and someone even mentioned that “the highest point of land,” an undeveloped tract on the northwest corner of River and Ridge was available for a bargain price of $10,000. Over the next year-and-a-half, “happy talk” continued at home meetings, worship services in the UR Chapel, and inviting neighbors. On Sunday, April 14, 1946, the dream was realized when River Road Church was duly constituted with 66 charter members.

Now, delayed a year due to pandemic, we are excited to celebrate River Road Church Baptist’s 75th anniversary! October 30, 2022 is our official day of celebration with Dr. Diana Butler Bass preaching in our 11:00 a.m. worship service and presenting a special lecture at 2:00 p.m. 

Leading up to, and beyond, the anniversary Sunday, there are many opportunities to join us and commemorate this historic milestone. As you scroll down this page, you will find a full listing of opportunities and details about how you can participate. Alternatively, you can click on the headings below to jump to that section of the page (on the bottom right of your screen is a gray arrow that will take you back to the top of this page). Check back often as more details are added and new opportunities are announced.

Sunday, October 30, 2022
11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary

Music and voluntaries will begin at 10:45 a.m. Our celebratory time of worship will begin at 11:00 a.m. We will honor God’s faithfulness to River Road Church, Baptist, for these past 75 years as well as remembering our commitment to faithful ministry and service in this community. Our guest preacher is Dr. Diana Butler Bass, a world-renowned author and speaker. Dr. Bass will be with us throughout the day as we commemorate the occasion.

We will distribute copies of Dr. Fred Anderson’s book on the last 25 years since our 50th anniversary, “A Time for Every Purpose” at the conclusion of the worship service.

Details about Dr. Bass’ visit and Dr. Anderson’s book can be found below (scroll down, or use the links above).

Just like all of our Sunday worship services, this service will be livestreamed at rrcb.org/live and on our YouTube channel (@riverroadchurch). Livestream replays are always available on our YouTube channel.

Lecture & Book Signing with Dr. Diana Butler Bass
“The Spiritual Practice of Honestly Engaging Our Past to Live Into Our Future”
Sunday, October 30, 2022
2:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary


Book Signing

Following Dr. Bass’ lecture, we invite you to join us for a book signing in our Music Suite. You can bring any copy of Diana’s books with you, or a limited number of her three most recent books (Freeing Jesus; Grounded; and Grateful) will be available for purchase at the event. More details coming soon. Scroll down to learn more about Dr. Bass and to view her bibliography.

About Dr. Diana Butler Bass

Dr. Diana Butler Bass is a world-renowned speaker, award-winning author, and the foremost expert on religion and the contemporary church. In addition to numerous books, Dr. Bass has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The Christian Century; and she has appeared as a commentator and special guest on CBS, CNN, FOX, NPR, PBS, and news outlets across the globe.

BBQ Luncheon
Sunday, October 30, 2022
12:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall

Lunch reservations are now closed.

IMPORTANT: If you are attending the luncheon, please enter the Fellowship Hall from the Plaza. Due to time and flow of foot traffic, the Upper Commons entrance should be reserved for those in wheelchairs or with strollers.

Reservations and pre-payment are required. Additional meals will not be available. Please follow the instructions carefully to make your reservations and payment.

Boxed Lunches

All boxes include Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Pickle, and Barbecue Sauce. Drinks and Cookies provided.

Entrée selections: BBQ Pork, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Portabella

Kids Box: Chicken Tenders, Potato Wedges, Applesauce

Reservations are now closed.

Reservations are required and seating is limited. Overflow seating in the Upper Commons classrooms may be available. The deadline to make your reservation and payment is October 23, 2022, but you are encouraged to reserve your lunch sooner rather than later. Extra meals will NOT be available.

Your payment is your reservation. Once we receive your payment, you will be added to the list.


Book: A Time for Every Purpose by Dr. Fred Anderson

A Time for Every Purpose reviews the last 25 years of ministry, continuing the story from River Road Church’s 50th anniversary. Books will be available at no cost, one per family.

We will distribute copies of Dr. Anderson’s book on the last 25 years since our 50th anniversary, “A Time for Every Purpose” at the conclusion of the worship service on October 30, 2022. After the anniversary weekend, books will be available in the church office and during TFC.

E. Carl Freeman Concert Series
Organ Recital—Johann Vexo​
Friday, October 28, 2022
7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary

Johann Vexo is the organist at Cathédrale de Notre Dame, Paris and Cathédrale de Notre-Dame-de-l’Annonciation, Nancy

This concert is co-sponsored by the Richmond Chapter of the AGO, Organ Repertoire Recital Series

The Legacy of Sarah Drummond
Using Nature’s Offerings for Flower Ministry
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Altar Flower Arrangement Demonstration, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Window Decorating, 2:45-4:00 p.m.

No flower arranging experience is required!  Only an interest in learning about using flowers for ministry.  We encourage all age groups to sign up to be a part of this 75th anniversary preparation. The workshop will be led by Diana Mahoney and Jane Terry. The flower team is requesting sign ups to help them plan for the event.

Altar Flower Arrangement Demonstration

Have you ever been interested in arranging flowers for our church, but didn’t know where to begin? The Flower Committee invites you to participate in a flower arranging demonstration where Diana and Jane will create altar scale arrangements that will be placed in the Narthex for the 75th Celebration Sunday.

Sanctuary Window Decorations

Following a session demonstrating how to create altar arrangements, you will be paired with a member of the Flower Committee to create a simple arrangement to decorate one of the Sanctuary windows for our 75th Anniversary Sunday.

Thoughtful Faith Community
Supper & Programs
Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Thoughtful Faith Community is a time for our congregation to come together to share a meal and spend time with one another on Wednesday nights. This fall, our program offerings reflect the celebration of the 75th anniversary (listed below).

Before the program begins, we share a meal and prayer time around tables. We also have activities for children and youth. Weekly reservations are required for supper, and open at 5PM the Wednesday before.

Upcoming Anniversary Programs

  • October 26, 2022: A Time for Every Purpose: The Last 25 Years at River Road Church led by Tuckie Paxton and Fred Anderson
  • November 2, 2022: Ministries of our Church in these Last 25 Years and Looking Ahead: Missions
  • November 9, 2022: Ministries of our Church in these Last 25 Years and Looking Ahead: Music
  • November 16, 2022: Ministries of our Church in these Last 25 Years and Looking Ahead: Education
  • November 30, 2022: Ministries of our Church in these Last 25 Years and Looking Ahead: Vitality
  • December 7, 2022: Christmas Carols around the Fireplace

Exhibit by the History Committee
October 28-November 7, 2022
In the Lower Commons

The Lower Commons will feature four displays curated by the History Committee. The history cabinet will encapsulate the church’s founding in 1946 with an overview of current ministries and activities. A timeline of the last 25 years will feature photos and highlights. A tabletop collage of photos will present a reflection of memories from the past 25 years, 1997-2022. Last, but not least, a River Road artifact, the church’s first organ, will be on display. The portable organ was used when early dreamers gathered in homes and in a dedication on the undeveloped site where our church now stands.

This exhibit will be on display from the anniversary weekend through All Saints’ Sunday on November 6, 2022.

Exhibit by the Arts Committee
October 28-November 7, 2022
In the Lower Commons

The Arts Committee will display a Fine Art Exhibit featuring works by RRCB members in the Sunday School class wing of the Lower Commons (near the Assembly Room).

This exhibit will be on display from the anniversary weekend through All Saints’ Sunday on November 6, 2022.

Call for Art
Deadline: October 10, 2022

The Art Committee is hosting a display of fine art as a part of the church’s 75th anniversary celebration. We are inviting members of our congregation to participate, but due to space constraints we can only accept two pieces per artist. All pieces must be ready to hang. If you are interested in participating, please contact one of the following: Bev Evans, Judy Dixon, or Michelle Gulick by October 10, 2022.

Commemorative Art & Prints
Watercolor Paintings by Judy Dixon

To celebrate the occasion, Judy Dixon, a master watercolor artist and RRCB member, has created two paintings — one of our chapel building and grounds entrance and one of the crest, which sits atop the chapel. The iconic imagery is easily identifiable as River Road Church.

The original artwork will be on display during the anniversary weekend before it is added to the church decor. Additionally, the paintings will be featured on the cover of the worship bulletin on October 30, 2022.

Notecards and prints featuring the artwork will be available by order forms.

  • Chapel and Crest Print – double image on 1 print – 13×19 – $50
  • Chapel Print – 11×17 – $40
  • Crest Print – 8.5×11 – $25
  • Notecards – package of 8 cards – $10

You can place your order on Wednesdays, November 2 and 9 during Thoughtful Faith Community; Sundays, November 6 and 13 at the reception; or by contacting Letty Wood.

The Arts Committee will continue to have these available for order over the next few weeks. Any proceeds will go towards the Arts Committee Education Fund. 

Contact Letty with questions.

Additional Information

Press Inquiries

Press inquiries should be directed to Cassandra Ducca, Communications Specialist (cassandraducca@rrcb.org or 804-288-1131 ext. 101).