New Walk Bible Church opened its doors to the public in November of 2019. However, the building itself is enveloped in history.
The Story of How God has Led New Walk Bible Church
In November of 2018, a group of members from Old Powhatan Baptist Church left that church to start a new Christian fellowship together. With great humility and a desire to continue to meet together and worship God together, they continued to meet for their Bible Study on Tuesday night. This group persevered to continue to let God lead them and to wait for God to show them the path that they should take. After about a month, it was suggested that they might want to meet on Sunday morning in a home as well, and they did. Almost immediately more people joined the group, feeling that God was doing something powerful and wishing to seek His will for their lives
Soon we sought a name for our new church. We felt that we wanted this church to have a different structure with a focus on walking with the Lord and waiting for Him to lead us. We wanted to pray and wait on God to show us the work that He wanted to be done. We wanted a church that was to follow the teachings of the Bible. We considered this to be a more humble walk with God, a new walk. The name suggested was New Walk Bible Church, and it felt right to all of us. On December 17, 2018, New Walk Bible Church was incorporated.
Acquiring the Church Building
Eventually, we began to think about where we might be able to have our church service other than in a home. The desire to have a building was beginning to surface in most of us. We were told that Emmanuel Episcopal Church was for sale.
The pastor and some members would walk over to the building and walk around it, praying to know if this was the place that God would provide for us. We eventually found out that the Episcopal Diocese was very interested in selling the building. Rumor was that they had already had someone try to buy it to turn it into a distillery, but that the Diocese was hoping it would remain a church. Then we heard that a church meeting in another public place wanted to buy it, but that this did not work out. We contacted the Episcopal Diocese concerning the price, and all they would only say was, “Make an Offer”.
The Episcopal Diocese had put out a great deal of money in the past few years in order to keep the church from becoming so damaged that it could not easily be brought back to a functional building. They had repaired the roof of the Sunday school building and put in new ductwork and ceiling panels.
An offer was made that we felt we would be able to honor. They responded by asking if we could do a little better. After consulting and praying, we offered a little more. They told us that they would let us know their answer the next day.
That afternoon a tree branch about twelve inches in diameter ripped from a very large tree and fell just a few feet from the church. There was little weather activity in Powhatan that day, that we know about. We went out and took a picture of the fallen tree.
By the next afternoon, the Diocese had cut down the whole tree, cleaned up the wood, cut the grass, and accepted our offer. We could not help but wonder if this fallen tree did not make the seller realize that more large trees could start to fall, and that the property could become an ongoing “money pit” if they continued to hold on to it. We felt very grateful that the Episcopal Diocese had been willing to work with us. We praised the Lord that they had accepted our offer.
As we prepared to sign the final contract, we began to consider how to secure a loan for the portion of the price that we could not yet pay in cash. Numerous members of the church were led by The Holy Spirit to make the church building a reality.
The Challenge of the Condition of the Church Building
As we became responsible for the physical condition of the Old Emmanuel Episcopal Church building and the task of making it a functioning building for New Walk Bible Church, we knew that we had a tremendous amount of work to do.
The building needed foundation work, shoring up of the flooring supports, windowpane replacements, floor refinishing and replacement, electrical and plumbing work, scraping and preparation of wall surfaces, and painting inside and out. The grounds needed driveway and parking provisions, landscaping, dangerous tree removal, and a sign designating the name of our church. And the well needed some carpentry work around it and a process for making the water drinkable in the building.
The Positive Reaction of the Powhatan Community to Our Church
As soon as members began working on the church, the community of people in Powhatan became interested in what was happening. People that we knew and people that we did not know started dropping by to see the building. We were very interested in showing the building to those who wanted to see it. We talked to people, we prayed with people, and we got to know people as they came by. The Lord made it clear to us that He wanted us to keep a presence there for those who wanted to come.
And very soon, as they watched our congregation work to repair the building, folks began to offer help in many different ways.
Early on, a woman asked if she could take care of the cemetery for us. When we went to get insurance on the building, the RHB Insurance Agency gave us a six months grace period before we had to pay the first premium. Hicks Tires made a substantial monetary donation that was much appreciated as we were starting from nothing. Luck Stone Company offered to give us free of charge a very large quantity of stone for the parking lot and driveways at the church. Larry Featherstone offered to haul the gravel and spread it for us free of charge.
Refurbishing the Sanctuary and the Fellowship Hall
One of the first jobs tackled was the repair and painting of the inside of the sanctuary. Women in the church helped with the painting of most of the interior sashing. The men of the church sanded and refinished the floors and replaced more than one hundred broken window panes.
The Sunday School rooms and the fellowship hall needed new flooring, painting, electrical, and plumbing. The nursery was decorated with a beautiful mural created by a friend of the church.
Preparing the Surface and Painting of the Exterior of the Church Building
The preparation and painting of the outside of the church building was an enormous task. Adult family sons and daughters of our church members were called in to help. The scraping of the church building in preparation for painting and the removal of brush from the property was largely done by the strong backs of these volunteers.
Working Together to Repair and Enhance our Place of Worship.
As the original group of church members was joined by others who wished to become a part of our church family, we became more closely bonded by the participation in the work that we did to make this beautiful building suitable for our church services and our Sunday School groups.
The Results of Our Work
Eventually, the results of all the hard work by so many people resulted in a beautiful place for us all to worship God.