Giving Thanks & Preparing For The Kingdom

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

The churches of the Pamunkey Baptist Association have been mercifully blessed by God with solid pastoral leadership and encouraging fellowship.  This month, the Bethany Baptist Church celebrated the Pastoral Anniversary of Reverend Shelwood Claude.  Oak Grove honored their Pastor, Dr. Raymond Palmer, on his First Anniversary as well.  Our Executive Board continues to handle the business of the association and the clergy continue in the spirit of the late Dr. Leo Wagner, “We Work Better Together.”

Rev. & Mrs. Raymond Palmer (© John Gresham)

We have also worshiped well together as we met at the Third Union Baptist Church for the PBA Division of Clergy Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 20th.  The Rock Spring Baptist Church led us in song with Mt. Sinai’s ushers in service.  We were blessed with a powerful sermon from Rev. Michael Ferguson who preached from Luke 17:11-19  “What Have You Done For Me Lately.”  We were well reminded to give thanks and praises to God for giving us his healing and mercy.

Rev. Michael Ferguson (© John Gresham)

Various churches are busy preparing to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into the world.  Bethany, Third Union, and Trinity will participate in the King William Emergency Ministries “Christmas Through Song” fundraiser to be held at Sharon Baptist Church on Sunday, Dec. 2nd at 6pm.

May God continue to bless and guide you this Holiday Season.

Revived and Serving

Farewell Dr. Wagner (© John Gresham)

The season of revivals has come to a close and the churches and ministries of the Pamunkey Baptist Association are giving God all the glory in worship and service.  We enter into the Autumn season with a tremendous loss  as the Lord has called Dr. Leo C. Wagner from labor to rest.  Dr. Wagner was the Pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, served two terms as the Moderator of the PBA, an instructor at the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and was active in many local organizations.  We praise the Lord for his years of leadership and friendship.

The Division of Women have been diligent in their efforts to care for ladies who are in crisis.  The “Pocket-book Full of Miracles” program has distributed a number of handbags to women filled with personal care items.  The Sunday School Union held their regular session recently bringing the Christian Education departments together from West Point to the Caroline border to encourage one another in teaching the Gospel.  There will be a Wholesome Life Conference held at Baptist Liberty Baptist Church on October 12th, 13th, and 14th.  I will post more details about it on the PBAFacebook Page and flyers will be sent to the churches.



Opportunities of Learning (© John Gresham)

Our non-profit co-workers of the Pamunkey Community Empowerment Center is hard at work as well.  The core of the board of directors has been finalized and has sent the proper papers to the IRS.  A needs assessment committee has been established and will best identify what programs will address the concerns of our community.  Both the PBA and PCEC will work with local social services agencies so that our efforts will be most effective.

The PBA will have meetings focusing on making preparations for the new year.  We hope to have an online calendar of association, literary union, and major local church events so that we can keep our programs from conflicting with another church as much as possible.  I welcome suggestions and comments on the website.  Please feel free to communicate with me.  May the Lord  bless and keep you in all things.

John R. Gresham, Jr.

Moderator PBA

Celebrating the Past & Changing for the Future

The Pamunkey Baptist Association’s 112nd Annual Session was held on Monday, July 30th to Thursday August 2nd at the Third Union Baptist Church.  This was a week of fellowship, reflection, preparation and worship for all who attended.

Fellowship of Pastors

Monday Night, Moderator Rev. John R. Gresham, Jr. of Trinity opened the session with our special guest from the Baptist General Convention of Virginia.  Two good friends of the PBA, Dr. Darrell K. White and Dr. Angelo Chatmon were in attendance representing our state-wide body and Virginia Union University.  Moderator Gresham gave a Spirit-filled sermon reminding us to remain true to our purpose as Christians; to reach people with the Gospel of Christ.  The Division of Youth led our Tuesday night devotions and we had a brief and effective business session.  Afterward, our very capable workshop leaders, Mrs Jane Talley, Minister Sally Green, and Rev. Shelwood Claude instructed us on ways to grow as youth, women, and men of God.

Rev. Claude the Teacher

The Wednesday night session centered around our theme as former-Moderator Evans White gave a detailed Powerpoint presentation of the PBA’s history.  Rev. Randolph Graham gave further details of the newly organized Pamunkey Community Empowerment Center and the role it will play in securing funds to renovate our historic building and provide faith-based services in King William County and surrounding areas.  The final night was led by our Women’s & Missionary Division with Rev. Helen Randall preaching the message and the Division of Clergy, led by Rev. Shawn Knight conducting our Holy Communion Service.

Rev. Randall with the closing sermon

A special thanks goes to Rev. Talley and the Third Union Baptist Church for hosting us, and the various committees and churches for making the week successful.  We pray that the Lord will keep us focused on the Gospel as we reach out to others in truth and love.

May Milestones and Music

Many pastors barely survive five years at a church.  It is a blessing to last 7 or 8 years.

Rev. Evans White (© John Gresham)

Reverend Evans White has occupied the pulpit of Providence Baptist Church in Aylett for 10 years now.  He is a knowledgable orator, skilled organizer, and man after God’s heart.  Rev. White has served as the Secretary and Moderator of the Pamunkey Baptist Association and is currently active in several committees in the community. We thank the Lord for his leadership and friendship on this Christian journey.

Rev. Robert Brown (© John Gresham)

And what is the Christian journey without a song?  Music was the focus of the Baptist General Convention Area A-2 closing service.  Reverend Robert Brown of St. Paul Baptist Church in Aylett gave an inspiring and informative talk on the Gospel music tradition in the African-American church.  Youth choirs from Mt. Nebo Baptist in West Point and Manquin’s Rock Spring Baptist sang in the more up tempo popular style.  The James H. Carter Men’s Chorus of Trinity gave more traditional spiritual offerings.

As you continue your walk of faith, celebrate the milestones God allows you to reach with a song in your heart.

Pastor Wilbert Talley: 40 Years of Faithful Service

In a time when many pastors don’t remain in their churches more than five years, King William County is blessed to have a leader who has continued faithful service for forty.  Reverend Wilbert D. Talley arrived at Third Union Baptist Church in 1972.  He had the task of taking over a pulpit that was once occupied by Dr. Alix B. James who would become Dean of the School of Theology and President of Virginia Union University.  Dr. Talley, who would also rise in the ranks of the university, was very effective as a preacher, teacher, and leader in the County.  Third Union’s physical plant is one of the most complete of any denomination.  He has been an advocate for adoption through his service to Virginia One Church One Child.  He has led the Pamunkey Baptist Association and played active roles in the Baptist General Convention of Virginia.

Dr. & Mrs. Talley (© John Gresham)

Despite having enviable credentials and degrees, Rev. Talley has remained at Third Union all of these years and has been an example of effective, humble leadership.  Other churches could have given him larger salaries.  He could have joined the circles of more well-known ministers (and preached circles around them).  But, in his words, God didn’t call him to go anywhere else.  Thus, he stayed put as a pastor and friend in a little country church.  We who are much younger in pastoral service would do well to consider his example.  Let us not chase after larger pastorates and influential offices too quickly.  Let us follow the call of God and do our best in where he assigns us to serve.

Good Friday: Seven Final Words

The Pamunkey Baptist Association Division of Clergy held this year’s Good Friday Service at the Rock Spring Baptist Church in Manquin with the host pastor, Rev. Michael Ferguson, leading us in worship.  Music was provided by the Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Good Friday at Rock Spring (© John Gresham)

We honored the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior with a traditional Seven Final Words format with the participating preachers speaking for seven minutes per scripture.  The speakers included Reverends Robert Brown of St. Paul, Delores Gwathmey of Providence, Hellen Randall of Ephesus, Shawn Knight of Baptist Liberty, John Gresham of Trinity, Shelwood Claude of Bethany, and Ray Palmer of Oak Grove.

We pray the service has blessed all who worshiped with us.  We have celebrated the resurrection of Jesus just this past Sunday in our respective churches.  May the celebration continue in the way we live our lives.

Behold, I Am Doing A New Thing

This is what I preached during the Pamunkey Baptist Association’s Annual One Day Session on Saturday, March 31st.  Those who attended have seen and heard of some of the new things that we have in the works.

Rev. Graham with his presentation (© John Gresham)

Firstly is the pursuit of funding for the PBA building.  I can’t say enough about the tireless and disciplined efforts of Rev. Randolph Graham and his committee.  We have given him the go-ahead to form the non-profit organization that will be able to secure funds to renovate the building.  The committee will meet again this month and we will soon have names of those who will serve on the board of the non-profit.  There may also be funding coming to us to secure the 501c.3 application as well.

Thank you Rev. Claude and the Bethany Baptist Church Family for hosting the One Day Session (© John Gresham)

Along with the exterior building, we are working hard to develop our body of Christ.  Rev.s Shawn Knight and Shelwood Claude will lead the first two monthly seminars for association members.  We believe monthly fellowships on timely topics will strengthen our bonds with each other.  The King William Minister’s Conference is also planning another county-wide revival that will bring us together in worship from the Caroline County border to West Point.  A skills assessment survey is also in the works so that each church will be able to know the needs and talents within our community to aid each other, and others, in a time of need.In speaking of new things, we have a Facebook page as well as this blog.  I decided to go with Word Press for the website because it is cost-effective (free) and I have had a lot of success with two other blogs I run with them.  I only ask that you do not let me do this alone.  If you have stories from your church activities and programs, please send them to me by e-mail (your church clerk should have mine or Sister Ernestine Kersey’s) and I will be more than happy to review and post your submission.  Also, you may print stories from the blog for members who do not have internet access.

Yes, God is doing a new thing.  He is allowing us to use knowledge, talent, and technology to bring us closer together as a people of faith and to spread the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Let us support this effort in prayer and participation.


Rev. John R. Gresham, Jr.