Friendship Memorial Baptist Church
Friendship Memorial Baptist Church (FMBC) was formed on September 15, 1991. Sister Elsie Lee secured space at the Koger Center South where our first worship service was held on that third Sunday in September. Following service, Pastor Jesse J. Rufus held a church meeting with 20 members in attendance. Mrs. Thomasine Fox made a motion that we organize as FMBC. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Elsie Lee and carried by the votes of those in attendance.
FMBC found brief homes at Koger Center South, Brighten Green Community Center, Midlothian Middle School Auditorium, Huguenot Road Baptist Church and Reams Road Elementary School.
Dr. Charles Nunn and Reverend Steve Boothe were instrumental in aiding us in entry to the Southern Baptist Convention. Further, Pastor Boothe introduced our Pastor Jesse Rufus to Dr. Charles Chandler, who was Pastor of Huguenot Road Baptist church. On January 12, 1992, the Huguenot church family formally dedicated the use of their chapel as a place of worship for FMBC.
This was an unprecedented relationship in the history of race and Southern Baptist relations. They extended the use of their fine library, excellent caterer, and beautiful chapel. We participated in each other’s church programs such as Easter Sunrise Service and Black History Celebrations. During a joint baptism, our first convert was Sister Danielle Mauney. For these and many other blessings, we are grateful.
Pastor Jesse Rufus left our flock in August 1992 and our Deacon Chair, W. Joe Boyd, with the help of the Lord, kept the flock together. We thank God for him.
In November 1992, church members selected Reverend Rufus Adkins as Pastor. Installation services were held in April 1993. Reverend Adkins has been a rock of foundation and an engine of progress at FMBC. We are so grateful to the Lord for sending him our way.
The Lord has sent other human gifts our way. Deacon Larry Mauney was ordained on February 16, 1992. Our Deacon Alton Baskerville was ordained on August 15, 1993. Certainly, our Founding Members, listed below, and our Building Committee Members, were and continue to be critically important gifts from the Lord.
Our First Women’s Day and Men’s Day Programs were held in 1993. The Women of the Church were introduced to the Women’s Missionary Union by Mrs. Elwanda Cornelius with the help of Mrs. Dottie Sheppard, Director of Huguenot Road Baptist Church WMU. We continue to be affiliated with the WMU.
In 1994, we purchased 21.5 acres of land in western Chesterfield County for use as the site of our future church. In 1995 we engaged Temple Wilkerson as our church architect.
Reverend Adkins was forced to retire because of illness. He was then named Pastor Emeritus. Reverend Gerald Stewart was installed in November of 2000 as our third Pastor.
We officially embarked on our new church building project in June of 2001. A site development permit was received in September 2001. Under the leadership of Pastor Stewart and FMBC Trustees, contractors were coordinated for a period of 14 months.
Our temporary occupancy permit was granted on November 1, 2002 and a Ribbon Cutting Celebration was held on November 2, 2002. Several churches joined us on this occasion, including guest preacher, Reverend Doctor Wayne Faison, then the Coordinator of the African American Fellowship of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. We received our permanent certificate of occupancy on February 6, 2003.
Pastor Stewart was involved with the installation of the cabinets and warming area in our Fellowship Hall in December 2003.
Since occupying our own house of worship, we have been busily testing new opportunities for ministry. Also, we have been blessed to share our new facilities with several local churches.
We are most proud of the growth of our church family. In 2003 we welcomed new members through Christian experience and through nine baptisms.
We value all people regardless of race, gender, and age. We value the scriptures as the inspired word of God. We further value the physical and spiritual needs of our community and the gifts and participation of every member. We thank Friendship’s various members and friends who donated a communion outfit, offertory envelopes, Pew Bibles, hymnals, the Pulpit Bible, pulpit set, Allen Organ, 150 stoneware place settings, cookware, flatware, furniture, time and expertise, and other donated items and services.
Pastor Gerald Stewart left our flock effective January 31, 2004. Reverend Herbert Townes was called to shepherd our flock. Reverend Townes was installed on October 24, 2004. Reverend Townes left the flock in January 2008.
Reverend Al Jones served as Interim Pastor from June 2008 to May 2009. Reverend Al Jones was installed as our Pastor in May 2009. We have started two outreach ministries, Radio ministry on Rejoice 1540 and a Tape ministry. We have been blessed with eighteen new members, four Associate Ministers, two new Deacons, a new Trustee, two male ushers and a Male chorus. The Men’s Fellowship, the Women’s Fellowship, the Youth Ministry and the Deaconess Ministry have also been reestablished. We have also started a Children's Church Ministry.