Pastoral Leadership of Mechanicsville Baptist Church
Mechanicsville Church has been prominent in Baptist work, in the area and state. The ladies of the church are spoken of in the Goshen Association as leaders in missions work, and were present when the WMU of Virginia was organized. The first Sunbeam group in Goshen Association was at Mechanicsville. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mechanicsville was a generous contributor to missions work, at home and around the world. In 1860, 1883, 1889, 1929, 1946 and 1975, the church hosted the Goshen Associational meetings. For many years, the pastors of Mechanicsville served other churches, including Antioch, Foster’s Creek (Berea), Elk Creek, Orange, Zion, North Pamunkey, South Anna, Forest Hill, Goshen, Lower Goldmine, Gordonsville and Louisa. Mechanicsville remained in a “field” of churches, until 1954, when it called a full time pastor, Reverend Robert Shelton. Under Reverend Shelton’s leadership, in 1955, a parsonage was built and an educational building was erected, adjoining the sanctuary. A large part of the work, on both projects, was done by members of the church.
In 1968, extensive redecoration was done in the sanctuary, during the pastorate of Dewey Warren Ferguson. Reverend Clyde Sears led the church to capture a vision of need for an addition of a church vestibule and front porch. Plans were drawn up, while Reverend Roger Pittard was pastor. In June 1978, the church voted to proceed with the work. Reverend Dewey W. Ferguson returned as pastor, in 1977. The parsonage was sold and he built his own home. He was the second minister to serve the church, on two different occasions. The first pastor to serve, twice, was James B. Cook (1886-1887 and 1910-1914). In October 1986, Reverend Dr. George Alan Willard became the 28th pastor to serve Mechanicsville, in the congregations 158th year. Renovations were made to the sanctuary and educational buildings, during Dr. Willard’s ministry. Also, the Youth and Children’s program was developed, with the staff addition of a part time youth director. Becky Plott and Martha Patrick served in those positions.
During the pastorate of Reverend Gregory Alan Compton, with the assistance of Associate Minister of Spiritual Development, Reverend Sherri Brown, the church endeavored to become more involved in mission efforts. Youth and adults have given time and energy to mission opportunities such as Impact Virginia and Transformers, sponsored by Virginia Baptists. Others who have served in the ministry to Youth and Children are: Martha Parhis and Catherine Dunn. During Reverend Compton’s pastorate, Mechanicsville added the part time staff position of secretary, new bathrooms, a handicap ramp and a picnic pavilion. These additions became the reality through the dedication and willingness of members, lending their gifts and talents to the effort. Dr. Donald Preston Reid came, as interim pastor, in 2007. Soon after, he was called to serve as pastor of Mechanicsville. During the time he served, we began having an annual Hunters’ Dinner, completed the addition, including the newer fellowship, additional Sunday School rooms, pastor’s study and church office.
Following Dr. Reid’s death, Dr. James Riddell came, again, as interim pastor. We began having an additional Sunday service at 8:30 a.m. In March, 2012, Dr. George Theodore “Ted” Williams was called as pastor to Mechanicsville. Mechanicsville has always sought to offer Christian education and discipleship to adults, youth and children. We will continue to make this one of our top priorities. Mechanicsville continues to reach beyond the community, with the leadership of the Woman’s Missionary Union, through efforts such as Seeds for Liberia, sending cookies to aircraft carriers, inmate bags and promoting offerings for local, state, national and international missions. If there’s one thing that has characterized Mechanicsville, it is the desire of members to spend time with each other. It has and will continue to be a spiritual home for families who have represented up to four generations of members, at any one given time. It is the calling of Mechanicsville Baptist Church to continue to connect with the community, as a place of spiritual encouragement and formation as it has since 1828.