History of Friendship Baptist Church
History of Friendship Baptist Church Friendship Baptist Church was organized, Saturday, April 17, 1982, at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Willie J. Hilton located at 381 Sampson Avenue, Hampton, Virginia. The devotions were led by Dr. Hilton, Pastor and Founder, which began with "Near the Cross," followed with a scripture coming from the sixteenth chapter and thirteenth verse of Matthews, and ended with prayer. The first order of business was a motion carried by Sis. Searlean Hilton and seconded by Sis. Frances Barner that declared the church duly organized. Dr. Hilton and attending members agreed to the motion. Dr. Hilton proposed "Friendship Baptist Church" as the name; all in attendance accepted the name.
The chartered members of Friendship Baptist Church are as listed below: Dr. Willie J. Hilton, Pastor Mrs. Searlean Hilton, Deceased Ms. Beverly Hilton Mrs. Deborah Hilton Mr. Deon Saunders Mrs. Minnie Saunders Mr. Ben Smith Mrs. Alberdie Wilkins, Deceased Ms. Pauline Williams Mrs. Frances Barner, Deceased Mr. Joe C. Barner, Deceased Mrs. Ethel Price, Deceased Mrs. Annie Weaver, Deceased Mrs. Tommie Weaver, Deceased The first officers elected were as listed: Church Clerk Sis. Deborah Hilton Treasurer Bro. Ben Smith Finance Secretary Sis. Beverly Hilton The first services of Friendship Baptist Church were held at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Hilton every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Using the offering plates donated by Bro. and Sis. Barner, the first offering of sixty-seven dollars and seventy-five cents was collected. The Lord had begun one of His many miracles for Friendship Baptist Church. Following God with a vast amount of faith and determination, the church family was ready to move; the church moved from our Pastor's home to the Union Hall on Victoria Boulevard. The late Reverend Hallie Richardson, Sr. of New West End, allowed the Friendship family to conduct services at the Union Hall without paying rent. God still directing the Pastor and church family, our time at the Union Hall was a short period.
During our stay at the Hall, membership continued to grow and we soon needed a facility to worship. Believing that God will never leave us alone nor comfortless, we stepped. further with faith. Our faith journey continued as God opened another door for the Friendship Baptist Church family. Through God's use of Reverend Richardson, another door was opened. Our church family was able to have services at the equipped church located at 2619 Shell Road in Hampton. As our church grew, new auxiliaries were formed to continue the Lord's work. The new auxiliaries are listed below with their first presidents: Usher Board Mr. Charles Hilton Senior Choir Mrs. Frances Barner Hospitality Club Mrs. Deborah Hilton Gleaner Board Mrs. Alberdie Wilkins Our Deacon and Deaconess Board was formed with the first Deacon and Deaconess Ben and Antionette Smith. Our Deacon and Deaconess Boards grew with the addition of Johnnie and Vanessa Isaac.
During this time, our Trustee Board was formed under the leadership of Bro. Barner. Still there was much work to be done on Friendship Baptist Church's journey of faith. On January 19, 1986, Reverend Vernon Sessoms was installed as Assistant Pastor. Our journey of faith brought us to the church's biggest project; the building of a new church to worship God in spirit and truth. Talking to Dr. Hilton through a vision, the Lord told our Pastor to "build my church." With dedication and trust, Dr. Hilton revealed the vision to the church family. He reminded us we had come this far by faith and God has never failed us yet. The church family believed all things are possible through faith, and the Friendship family knew their journey was far from completion. Willingly, the church family trusted and adopted the vision God gave our Pastor. Some doubted God could use a small number of people, while some called us "fools," and others fell by the wayside; still our Pastor taught us to be of good courage, sound mind and spirit, and that faith is the substance of things not seen.
Our trial begun as our Pastor and church family claimed the land at 37th Street and Roanoke Avenue as the site of the future location of Friendship Baptist Church. Shortly afterward, blueprints for the future church were drawn. Knowing the church's strengths and limitations, the Lord blessed the church family with plans. It was not long until our church family, on August 16, 1986, held a groundbreaking Ceremony. All praises to the Lord, our Pastor's vision was becoming reality. On the glorious day of January 2, 1987, the church's foundation was laid. Two months later, on March 19, 1987, fifty-five percent of the church's outer walls were up and the trestle was mounted on top of the church. Through support of the church family's financial, as well as labor donations, the new church was in the process of completion. A year and three months later, June 18, 1988, our church family, friends, and local citizens witnessed the Cornerstone Laying Ceremony of the Friendship Baptist Church. Still our job continued. We diligently worked on the interior of the church.
The future home of Friendship Baptist Church was in its final stages of completion. On February 9, 1990, at 7:00 p.m., we had the Dedication Service of our new home. Our faith journey had ended our largest test of faith because of prayer, determination and the Lord. The Friendship family worshipped and celebrated with other area churches, friends, families and local politicians. Because of the Pastor's obedience to the vision given of God, and the members willingness to catch hold of the vision, the expansion of Friendship Baptist Church is now a reality. Construction of the church addition began on June 1, 1999. Classrooms were installed for a theological school beneficial to the community and the church. As a Man of God, Bishop Hilton is concerned about the total person and committed to creating unity between youth and adults, training for the challenges of tomorrow, and enhancing excellence in character development in the lives of the church members and citizens of our community.
As we continue our "Faith Journey" with God leading us every step of the way, the Friendship Baptist Church family accepted God's appointment, and Bishop Willie J. Hilton fulfilled the order of God's instruction to install Dr. Beverly A. Ashburn as Assistant Pastor on November 14, 1999. Over the years, our church has been through the storm and marched through the sunshine, still Friendship has never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. We have prospered, grown and learned to depend on God only. Our faith journey is still an ongoing endeavor. Isaiah 55:8 tells us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."
With this in mind, Bishop Hilton does not question the visions that keep on coming. He has learned to trust in the Lord and lean not to his own understanding. Before one vision is completed, the Lord has given instructions for another from the building of the church, to the church addition, to the purchase of land for additional parking, to establishing the Friendship Institute of Theology school and Correspondence school, to opening the FBC Kids Block Learning Center, which is licensed through the Department of Social Services Division of Licensing, and the list of visions goes on. .
All to the Glory of God and the advancement of kingdom building here on earth.
Friendship will face new challenges