Bahai News - Choices In Churches Area Houses Of Worship Are Diverse

Choices In Churches Area Houses Of Worship Are Diverse

Finding a house of worship is like buying a new suit. You need to shop around and try out the fit.

Nancy Warman, pastoral associate at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 8 N. Laurel St., said: "Take your time and go to a number of different churches. Keep looking until you feel comfortable."

Think about the type of service you want, she added. In the Episcopal Church that means a high or a low service. Small churches often are more close-knit, while larger churches often are more diversified.

People also need to consider their special interests and whether they are reflected in the church's ministry. "Some people come to Grace and Holy Trinity because we have a good, highly professional choir," Warman said.

Selecting a place of worship can be difficult. But with about 1,000 houses of worship in the Richmond area, there is something for everyone. There are large congregations and small congregations. Some of their buildings are old and historic. Others are new and modern.

There also is a lot of diversity. There are synagogues and mosques as well as Catholic and Protestant denominations. In addition, the area is home to a number of ethnic churches.

If a person has been involved in a certain denomination, consider congregations in that tradition first, suggested Dr. William A. dePrater, pastor of Overbrook Presbyterian Church at 2605 Dumbarton Road.

"Look at congregations that you feel comfortable with. Go to worship and attend Sunday school for a couple weeks before deciding," he said. "We have a feeling whether something feels right or not. If it doesn't feel right, then look at some more."

"Ask yourself: Do you feel you are part of the community? Do you feel welcome? Are you comfortable with the music and the way the service is conducted?" dePrater said.

Sometimes people will select a church because it reminds them of a church from the past, he added. "One of my daughters chose a church because it reminded her of a congregation she was part of in college."

The Rev. David Phillips, associate pastor of Monument Heights Baptist Church at 5716 Monument Ave., finds people no longer look for a church by denomination. They look for things that have a direct impact on their life.

"A family with young children often look for ministries and programs that appeal to young children. A family with teen-agers would look for a church with a good youth program. People with a special interest in music or other performing arts, look for a church with that. Others may look for a more traditional worship similar to what they grew up with," he said.

Monument Heights gets several calls a week from people asking about the church's programs, Phillips said. "Most callers ask if we have a contemporary service and contemporary music. . . . They are looking for something new and different from what they have had."

A church should be exciting and fun, said the Rev. Joseph R. Anderson, pastor of Stratford Hills United Methodist Church at 7740 Cherokee Road.

Some people want a church where they can sit down and be comfortable, he said. Others want a church where they can be challenged and grow.

"There are so many wonderful churches around," he said. "People have to look at what they want as far as ministry. Many people want opportunities to be in ministry."

Stratford Hills has a prison ministry, Anderson said. "People come here if they have a heart for prison ministry. They are looking for a place to plug in where they can serve."

He added: "Choose a church where you can give of yourself. That also makes you feel a part of the church. If you are just a receiver, you won't feel a part."

Religious Denominations

This is a list of telephone numbers for some of the religious persuasions (space does not permit listing in dividual churches) that are available in Richmond:


Anglican Catholic Church........................................358-5231
African Methodist Episcopal Hood Temple.........................643-8157
American Apostolic..............................................282-3818
Assemblies of God...............................................740-7042
Baha'i Faith....................................................378-3399
Baptist General Convention......................................228-2421
Brethren........................................................288-6439
Catholic Diocese of Richmond....................................359-5661
Chinese Baptist Church of Richmond..............................745-0709
Christian (Disciples of Christ).................................359-3509
Christian and Missionary Alliance...............................270-0440
Christian Methodist Episcopal...................................232-5680
Christian Science...............................................353-1065
Church of Christ................................................321-2479
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.....................330-9620
Congregation Beth Ahabah (Reform)...............................358-6757
Congregation Or Ami (Reform)....................................272-0017
Congregation Or Atid (Conservative).............................740-4747
Congregation Christian..........................................276-5338
Eastern Orthodox................................................798-3799
Eckankar Center.................................................378-7815
Ekoji Buddhist Sangha...........................................355-6657
Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia....................(800) 582-8292
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia...................................643-8451
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America..........................355-9185
Faith Landmarks Ministries......................................262-7104
Free Will Baptist...............................................270-9463
Greek Orthodox..................................................355-3687
Hindu Center....................................................346-9954
Holiness, Cathedral of Life.....................................230-6133
Islam Islamic Center of Virginia................................320-7333
Masjid Bilal....................................................222-9825
Jehovah's Witnesses, Richmond Assembly Hall.....................233-0265
Keneseth Beth Israel Synagogue (Orthodox).......................288-7953
Lubavitch Center................................................740-2000
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod..................................222-5416
Wisconsin Synod.................................................744-8869
Maronite........................................................270-7234
First Mennonite.................................................359-1340
Nazarene........................................................746-0335
New Covenant Presbyterian.......................................743-8163
Orthodox Church in America......................................288-9363
Presbytery of the James.........................................262-2074
Pure Land Buddhism..............................................355-6657
Reformed Presbyterian Church in America.........................272-8111
Richmond Baptist Association....................................329-1701
Richmond Buddhist Association...................................672-7167
Richmond District of Va. United Methodist Conference............359-7313
Richmond Friends Meeting House (Quaker).........................358-6185
St. James Armenian Church.......................................282-3818
Seventh-day Adventist...........................................353-2331
Theravadan Buddhist.............................................730-3946
Temple Beth-El (Conservative)...................................355-3564
Temple of Judea.................................................780-0841
Tibetan Buddhism................................................355-6657
Tikuat Israel Messianic Congregation............................320-0624
Unitarian.......................................................355-0777
United Church of Christ.........................................358-9291
United Methodist................................................359-9451
United Pentecostal..............................................276-1105
Unity...........................................................278-6489
Virginia Baptist General Board..................................672-2100
Young Israel of Richmond-Congregation Kol Emes (Orthodox).......353-5831
Zen Buddhism....................................................355-6657


©Copyright 2000, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Top 19 Baha'i Sites Page last updated/revised 122500
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page