CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST
Theme: "Pressing Forward Despite Challenges"
Scripture--Phil. 3:14 I Press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus .
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Faith and Hope Temple Church of God in Christ was founded by Superintendent Randolph N. Johnson. On May 1, 1963, Superintendent Johnson, Mother Lula Brown, and Mother Beatrice Hill purchased the chapel at 401 South West Street, Petersburg, Virginia, and it became the location for Faith and Hope for the next thirty-one (31) years. The chapel and annex were purchased from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. Due to financial difficulties, the congregation sold the annex within a few years to Mrs. Alice D. Lanier.
Prior to the purchase of 401 South West Street, the church family worshipped in an old church located at the corner of Miller Street and North Crater Road. Superintendent Johnson had a vision for a more comfortable place of worship; however, the majority of the people did not share his sentiment and refused to go with him to the new location. The Brown, Hill and Parker families, along with a few other members accompanied the pastor to the new church, while others scattered to various churches. Very few members continued to worship at the corner of Miller Street and Crater Road. Eventually, the church was sold by Elder Clarence Dunlap and Mother Gertrude Morris. Many of the members expressed that they did not have the financial latitude needed to purchase sixteen thousand dollars ($16,000.00) worth of property, but that did not discourage this courageous pioneer. With unwavering faith in God, and the few members that stood with him, they burned the mortgage in March of 1971. After the split of 1963, Faith and Hope suffered a tremendous decrease in its membership and growth. Many sarcastically referred to Faith and Hope as that church that split. Nevertheless, Superintendent Johnson served faithfully until his death in August of 1978. As a result of his faithfulness, a few members returned, and at his death he had approximately twenty-five (25) active members.
After overcoming many financial obstacles, the founder's wife, Mother Geneva Johnson, adopted the name Faith and Hope Temple because by faith they purchased 401 South West Street with only a few members and very limited funds. Likewise, they had hope in the fact that God would bless them to maintain it, and they did. The meaning of Faith and Hope's name is embedded in its Insignia. The Shield of Faith, which embraces the handshake, represents the fellowship of the saints, and the hope they possess by their fellowship with the Father through faith in the Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, the logo is "We’ve come this far by faith, and by hope in God we shall continue."
Upon the death of Superintendent Randolph Johnson, Bishop Levi Willis assumed interim pastorate until a further pastoral appointment could be made. On March 18, 1979, Bishop Willis appointed Elder Herman Crockett, Jr. as pastor of Faith and Hope. On May 11, 1979, two months after Elder Crockett had been appointed pastor, the church faced a great disaster. The front end of the building caved in as a young man attempted to remove the steeple. Nevertheless, by God's grace and much hard work, the congregation resumed worship in its edifice after one month of worshipping in Tucker's Funeral Chapel. By January 31, 1980, the old chapel, which had been equipped with one restroom, and no office space, had been remodeled with two restrooms and office space. In August of 1992, the congregation repurchased the annex that had been sold in earlier years. Since that time, in an effort to establish collateral, the congregation has continued to purchase property in Petersburg.
In 1982, Elder Crockett was promoted to the office of Superintendent of the Capital District, and he continued to build upon the foundation laid by Superintendent Johnson for Faith and Hope. Under the leadership of Superintendent Crockett the church began to grow. As a result of the growth in membership and ministry, it became necessary for the church to move from 401 South West Street to another location. On the first Sunday in June 1994, Faith and Hope held its first service in the church on 2138 Richmond Avenue. As of September 1997, the membership had grown to more than 300 active members. This growth and the demands of ministry necessitated a need for more space. Consequently, plans were initiated to acquire a larger worship center. In June of 2002, a contract was made between Antioch Christian Center and Faith and Hope Temple. This contract was closed on July 16, 2002.
The worship center, located at 1800 E. Washington Street, is situated on 4.5 acres of land and can seat over eight hundred people. Additionally, it is equipped with an administrative wing, an executive suite, an educational wing, and a multiple purpose wing, which includes a dining hall to accommodate three hundred or more people that will be completed in the near future.
Faith and Hope had its first worship service in its new location on Sunday, July 28, 2002. The congregation accompanied the Pastor to the new facility with an understanding that they were on a God-given assignment: "Fill God's house, complete God's house, and minister to the Robert E. Lee Community in such a way that we will impact the entire city." As of today, the church family is actively working to fulfill this assignment so that God will be glorified. "To God be the Glory!"