I recently reread the first couple of chapters of A History of River Road Church, Baptist 1946-1996. Those two chapters recount how River Road Church grew from a dream of about a dozen laypersons in 1944 to a congregation of 855 members by the end of 1960. My parents were charter members, and I remember going up and down the steps of Keller Hall at Westhampton College for Sunday School in the late forties before the Chapel was built. I recall attending church in the Chapel in the hot summers before the congregation could afford to install air conditioning in 1954. (One Sunday in the Chapel during worship I decided to fold the bulletin into a paper airplane and was all set to see if I could sail it up to Mr. Hasty in the pulpit when Mother with a panicked expression grabbed it from me.) I recollect sitting in Fellowship Hall for worship (before the Sanctuary was built) on those hard, extremely uncomfortable, wooden chairs, watching associate minister Paul Beam’s sermon notes blow off the pulpit stand.
Yes, fond memories of River Road in its early years are both a joy to recall and also remind me how fortunate I was to have been raised in this special spiritual environment. A generation later Kitty and I raised our son Philip in this same environment. We think a major reason he decided to become a pastor and to plant a church in Prague, Czech Republic, is because of the love and nurture he received from the entire River Road family. (Several years ago Philip, his wife, and their three children were attending our Easter service, and tears welled up in his eyes. One of his children asked him why he was crying, and he said, “Because this is my church.”) And now it is 2017, and River Road continues to be special to the Davis family.
God is love, and nowhere do Kitty and I experience that reality more than being part of River Road Church. It could be in the uplifting Sunday morning worship service, in Sunday School with Tom Graves leading us in thoughtful and challenging Bible study, in Joyful Hearts on Monday mornings with wonderful and caring women, or with the dedicated and hard working volunteers who come to FIXERS on Thursday mornings. Wherever and whenever our congregation gathers, Kitty and I are reminded that God is love.
That is why we support River Road Church.
Written by George Davis
This series is designed to give RRCB members an opportunity to reflect upon their own generosity to God. In reading their stories, we pray that your own life of generosity is encouraged and challenged as well.