The First Baptist Church Of Colonial Heights, Virginia

Woodlawn Baptist Church was established in 1887. Our mission is to glorify God through love, worship, work, and witness.

Dr. Robert K. Breckenridge

Interim Pastor

Dr. Breckenridge is a native of Lufkin, Texas, and has served in ministry for over 27 years. He served as a Reserve chaplain (major), for the U.S. Air Force, and retired with 20 years of service and is endorsed by the North American Mission Board. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, a Master of Divinity, and, a Doctorate of Ministries from Luther Rice University, Atlanta, Ga.

His wife, Cynthia, is a native of York County. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Science in Music Education from Longwood University. She has served as a church music director and currently teaches at Colonial Heights High School.

History of Woodlawn Baptist Church

On February 10, 1887, our church was organized as Woodland Baptist Church by several members of Mount Calvary Baptist Church of Petersburg. One half an acre of land in then Chesterfield County bordering the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (now Rt. 1) was purchased from David and Eliza Wood for fifty dollars. The church members helped to build the church. The first sermon was delivered by Rev. J.M. Pilcher.

Rev. A. Woodyard served as Woodland's first pastor. During the first few years the pastor was paid a salary of $5 to $6 a month.

In 1894, during the pastorate of Rev. W.B. Brown, insurance was taken out on the church for three years for $5.

A dedication service for Woodland was held in May 1895 by Dr. Dickenson of Richmond. Later in the year, the clerk made an error in the church's name. Instead of Woodland, we became known as Woodlawn. At this time, the church had 70 members.

It was noted that until 1900, the pastors were called for a one year term. The members voted each year whether or not to extend the term.

In 1903, R.L. Matthews became our pastor, and with the exception of a three year absence, served us until his death in 1935. Many things were accomplished during his pastorate, including the purchase of our first church piano and a church bell. New classrooms were added, a church cemetery was begun, and 22, a baptismal pool, and electricity were installed.

During the pastorate of Rev. A.G. Wallace, a floor furnace was installed to replace the coal stove in the sanctuary.

While Rev. Paul Bard was pastor, a special service was held to honor the 70 men of our church serving in World War II. At this time, the church membership stood at 242.

In 1946, Rev. Parker Hooper came to serve Woodlawn. Soon afterward the church property was annexed by Colonial Heights. A building fund was begun to build a new sanctuary for our growing membership. The motto was "We lay bricks in fifty-six".

In 1951, land was purchased on Kamore Avenue to build our present day parsonage and church.

Rev. Gene Watterson came as pastor in 1954. During his first year at Woodlawn, the parsonage was completed and 138 new members were received into our fellowship. After much hard work, the new sanctuary was completed and dedicated in November 1957. Soon afterward, the name of Kamore Avenue was changed to Woodlawn Avenue.

Rev. John Grass came to serve Woodlawn in 1961. He strongly emphasized Sunday School for the grown of Christians. For several years, he trained new Sunday School teachers in the living room of the parsonage.

Rev. Timothy Langston was called to our pulpit in 1966. Before Rev. Langston left to enter the Navy, our education wing was begun.

In December 1967, under the pastorate of Rev. Wiley Wallace, the educational wing was completed and dedicated. Also during his pastorate, a church bus was purchased and the church was air conditioned.

In 1970, Rev. Robert McKinley began his pastorate at Woodlawn. Rev. McKinley was active not only in our church, but also the Southside Emergency Crew, where he served as chaplain and captain. In 1975, during his pastorate, an activities building was constructed behind the church.

Rev. Tommy Davidson became our pastor in 1977. During this time our church became two congregations.

After being served a year by an interim pastor, Rev. Phil Tomlinson, Woodlawn called Rev. Matt Davidson to the pulpit. Under his leadership, our membership began to increase. During this time, a mural was installed to enhance our baptistry, and a living nativity was performed several years.

In 1982, Rev. Harvey Skinner came to serve Woodlawn. During his pastorate, much emphasis was placed on the appearance of our church. In addition to upkeep, new choir robes and hymnals were purchased, our pews were cushioned, new draperies were hung, a bridal room as furnished, and the pastor's study was remodeled. For the first time, our church hired a combined music and youth director.

Our Known Pastors

  • Rev. A. Woodward 1887

  • Rev. William M. Robinson 1889-1894

  • Rev. W.P. Brown 1894-1895

  • Rev. G.W. Cox 1895-1896

  • Rev. R.H. White 1896-1899

  • Rev. R.L. Matthews 1903-1909

  • Rev. W.H. Lawson 1909-1912

  • Rev. R.L. Matthews 1913-1935

  • Rev. E.B. White 1935-1937

  • Rev. A.G. Wallace 1937-1941

  • Rev. Paul L. Bard 1941-1945

  • Rev. Parker Hooper 1946-1953

  • Rev. Gene L. Watterson 1954-1961

  • Rev. John Grass 1961-1965

  • Rev. Timothy Langston 1966-1967

  • Rev. Wiley P. Wallace 1967-1969

  • Rev. Robert C. McKinley 1970-1976

  • Rev. Tommy Davidson 1977-1978

  • Rev. Matt Davidson 1979-1981

  • Rev. Harvey W. Skinner 1982-1986