About Seventh-day Adventists
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Christian denomination with approximately 22 million members worldwide, including 1.2 million members in North America. The Church currently operates over 8,000 schools, colleges and universities with 2 million students, nearly 200 hospitals, and over 50 publishing houses around the world.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) works within communities in more than 130 countries to provide community development and disaster relief.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to enhance quality of life for people everywhere and to let people know that Jesus is coming again soon.
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Brief History of the Waynesboro Seventh-day Adventist Church
The work of Seventh-day Adventist Christians in Waynesboro (VA) began in the summer of 1885. Basic City and Waynesboro were twin boom towns at the intersection of the new Shenandoah Valley and Chesapeake & Ohio railroads.
Concluding their "first tent meeting of the season" in Port Republic, young evangelist B. F. Purdham of Stanley and his associate R. D. Hottel of New Market (who became the president of the new Virginia Conference in 1889) arrived in Basic City July 9 on the steam train. Their tent meetings lasted until August 2.
In the August 18, 1885 "Review & Herald", Purdham reported "...nine have signed the covenant and others have promised to keep the Sabbath." A small Sabbath-keeping group formed and was still meeting in homes when Purdham returned the following year. The Port Republic group was organized into a church in 1886, but sometime after Brother Purdham returned to Battle Creek College, the little Waynesboro company eventually declined and disbanded.
The present church traces its beginnings to another center-pole tent pitched on the vacant lot at 101 E. Main Street in the summer of 1942. Fresh out of the Washington Missionary College (Columbia Union College, and presently Washington Adventist University), Fenton Froom and William Coffman held evangelistic meetings, assisted by tent master Duke and Bible worker Miss Faree. Nine people were baptized by Elder Chris Sorensen at Sherando Lake on September 26, 1942, with six more Adventist members from Staunton joining the little group. Elder Froom continued as pastor of the Waynesboro Company, and two more believers from the meetings were baptized at Seawright Springs on July 17, 1943.
During the winter of '42-'43 the group met in a rented storefront near 131 N. Wayne Avenue, across from the old city hall. In the Spring, the small congregation began meeting in various member homes, first Naomi Shumate's at 278 Florence Avenue, then in Alice Dodge's house on 12th Street.
Early in 1945 property on West Main Street was purchased, and Elder Crofoot preached a tent series on the new site. By September the congregation had outgrown the Dodge home, and moved to the Moose Hall at 157 S. Charlotte Avenue.
The group of Adventist members was officially organized by Elder Robert F. Woods as the Waynesboro Seventh-day Adventist Church on March 23, 1946 with twenty-nine charter members. On June 1, 1946 a building committee was formed. While working toward building their own church, the congregation worshipped Sabbath mornings at the First Baptist Sunday School building at Chestnut and 11th Street, then in the American Legion Hall on North Delphine.
The Stone Church was built in 1952-53 under the supervision of Pastor William H. Coffman. Coffman actually cut and laid some of the Catawba sandstone himself. Elder W. H. Grotheer saw the church to completion and on October 1, 1953 began the first evangelistic series in the sanctuary.
The Waynesboro Church School was started in the church with Mrs. Alice Page as teacher. It quickly grew into a two-teacher junior academy, which merged with the Staunton school in 1960 to form C. F. Richards Jr. Academy. Pastor Herbert Brockel drove the school bus in addition to his pastoral duties.
The church experienced steady growth in the 1960's and 1970's. A new Community Service Center was opened under Pastor Vel Kotter. In the 1980's evangelism under Pastor Marlyn Kurtz and Ken Ford swelled the congregation, and on August 14, 1985 the church purchased 18.8 acres of land for a new church at Lyndhurst Road and Interstate 64. A planning process for a new church structure was guided by Pastor Merle Whitney.
In April 1993 construction was begun on a new brick church at 1700 Lyndhurst Road. Pastor Rick Greve led the congregation in a special first service in the half-finished church on August 28, 1993, and the first full worship service in the completed sanctuary was held June 4, 1994.
WAYNESBORO CHURCH PASTORS (1942-2023)
Fenton Froom, Ralph Waldo, Kenneth Crofoot, Robert F. Woods, D. S. Weinberg, William H. Coffman, W. H. Grotheer, Glenn S. Sharman, Robert Kistler, Elmer Malcom, Herbert Brockel, Robert C. Clarke, Elwin Hewitt, Douglas W. Cross, V. J. Puccinolli, Clarence M. Philpott, Vel Kotter, Marlyn Kurtz, Ken Ford, Merle Whitney, Richard Greve, Harry J. Sharley, Will Johns, Denton Grady, and currently Pastor Amilcar Gröschel, Jr.