CHURCH HISTORY

Cary’s Baptist Church of Yorktown, Virginia* was organized on June 25, 1881 under the leadership of Rev. Carey Hopson of Hampton, Virginia.  Meetings were held under a “Hoy Tree” located on the same property where the first frame building was erected in 1882 and rebuilt on an adjacent lot in 1922 (facing what is now Victory Blvd). The founding members of the church (Carey’s Chapel, as it was initially named) were Brothers William Porter, Mercury Lamb, John Hayes, Willie Ash, Curtis Combs, Peter Banks, Josiah Combs and Sisters Pollie Banks and Alice Hayes.

After the passing of Rev. Hopson, Rev. Lovett (a teacher) assumed the pastorship. During his eighteen-year tenure, he was lauded for providing inspiration to the youth of the church. Cary’s next two pastors were Rev. Thad W. Nettles and Rev. A. A. Hudgins.  Rev. Nettles served until his demise in 1920.  At that time, Pastor Hudgins accepted the call to serve.  In 1922, Rev. Hudgins encouraged the congregation to build a new structure at the intersection of Cary’s Chapel Road and Yorktown Road (currently, Victory Boulevard).

For the next several years, Pastors J. D. Black (seven years) and Y.B. Williams (five years) served as shepherds of the church.  Under their guidance, the church prospered consistently. Following Rev. Y. B. Williams, Pastor J. D. Atkins was called to Cary’s (1940’s/50’s).  However, not only did he serve at Cary’s, he also served as pastor of a sister church, New Bethel Baptist. He delivered sermons at both churches on alternating Sundays.

In the mid-1950’s, Reverend T. O. Wilson accepted ministerial duties at Cary’s where he served for four and a half years.  During his administration, the church purchased the old Cary’s Chapel School building in 1955 and used it as a fellowship hall.  For the first decades of Cary’s existence--excluding the official boards--the basic ministries of the church included the Senior Choir, Ushers and Missionaries. In 1957, however, the Sisterhood was established.

In l960, the Reverend Albert G. Graves succeeded Reverend Wilson and served as pastor for five years and nine months.  Through his guidance, the congregation elected to brick the church. Rev. Graves inspired the birth of the first youth choir which was organized  under the direction of Mr. David Banks. 

From October 1966 to July 1988, the church flourished as Reverend James I. Bridgers, an elementary school principal, introduced new programs and ministries. Focusing on   building a new edifice, Pastor Bridgers initiated the building fund and the Stewardess  Ministry. In February of 1981, a groundbreaking ceremony was held where the old school building once stood.  A year later (1982), the congregation moved into the new building debt-free thanks to the generosity of twenty-plus members who donated $1,000 each to honor the balance of the loan. The pastor and his wife, the late Dorothy Bridgers, were instrumental in the development of several other ministries: The Women’s Auxiliary, the Christian Adult Fellowship, the Education Board and the Men’s Chorus. Upon Mrs. Bridgers’ death, the Dorothy W. Bridgers’ Scholarship Fund was established in her memory (1986).  During his tenure, Pastor Bridgers ordained Rev. George Gholson, Rev. Sidney Perry and Rev. Alfred McQueen. While Reverend Bridgers retired in 1988, he continued to be revered as Pastor Emeritus of Cary’s until his demise.

In September of 1990, Reverend Bobby D. Williams accepted the call to serve as pastor and was installed on October 21st of that year. He continued in that capacity for 12 years.  Pastor Williams had a beautiful voice and focused on evangelistic ministry. During his pastorship, a brick marquee was added to the church parking lot and stained glass windows were installed in the sanctuary and office areas.  In addition to continuing the ministries of the former pastor, Reverend Williams inspired the birth of the Gospel Belles, “Kids Night Out”, and the Good Shepherd’s Society. With a heart for the work of the NAACP, he motivated the congregation to raise large sums of money for the organization.  This resulted in Cary’s capturing the Miss NAACP crown for several years.  In 1994, for the first time in the church’s history, women (Sisters Janice Barkers, Judith King and Margaret Tynes) were appointed to the Trustee Board. Also in 1994, Rev. Williams ordained Rev. Raymond Debreaux, who continues to serve as an associate minister.   In 2002, Cary’s purchased a lot on Cary’s Chapel Road, adjacent to the church property. 

For the three years that Cary’s was without a pastor, God did not fail to provide leadership from within the church and support from neighboring pastors and fellowships. In 2003, Associate Minister Sidney Perry organized the Eagles of Faith Gospel Choir.  In 2004, the Youth Ministry was established and in that same year, Reverend Walter Johnson of Zion Prospect played a major role in the training and ordination of four new deacons:  Dwayne Banks, Melvin Russell, Lewis Swann and Calvin Townsend.

God continued to bless Cary’s as the fellowship welcomed its 12th pastor, Rev. R.A.  Watson and his wife First Lady Patsy Watson on December 4, 2004. Having established churches in Kenya, Pastor Watson preferred the title of “Bishop” and was fondly Cary’s first full-time pastor. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of Pastor Watson, Cary’s became a tithing fellowship and witnessed an increase in membership as new members joined and former members returned.  In honoring the Master’s charge to use our gifts to minister to others and spread his word at home and abroad, Bishop Watson inspired the church’s active involvement in the mission field.  In 2007, Cary’s supported its newly established Foreign Missions Ministry by sending eleven missionaries to Nairobi, Kenya for ten days to participate in the Kenya Baptist Convention and host the First Annual Convocation of the Refuge of Hope Centre. Those missionaries included the pastor and first lady, Rev. Raymond Debreaux, Rev. Karol Hopson, Deacon Alvin Russell, Deaconess Lornia Russell, Sisters Evelyn Staton, Dorthea Thomas and Peggy Harmon, Trustee Louis Thomas, Sr., and Brother Weldon Staton. Likewise, in 2008, Cary’s sent two members of its first Home Mission Team: Trustee Colon Oliver, Jr. and Sister Jean Oliver to New Orleans, Louisiana to help restore homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Bishop Watson encouraged and supported new ministers who answered the call to serve.  Not only did he ordain Cary’s first female minister, Rev. Karol Hopson (2008), he also ordained Rev. Rex Ellis (2009) and licensed five ministers including his wife: Ministers Patsy Watson and Shawn Overbey (2008) , Ministers James Hill and Lamar Slade (2009) and  Minister Evelyn Staton (2010).  Under Pastor Watson’s leadership, the church witnessed growth in all areas: Two Bible Study Classes were added (2005); new pews and carpet were installed (2006);  the first website was created in June (2006); a Women’s Sunday School Class and a “New   Members’ Class” were created (2009); an Audio-Visual Team with A-V Room and state of the art technology were established (2010-11); first intercessory Prayer Ministry was initiated--led by Rev. Debreaux (2010) and the Children’s Church was organized (May, 2011).   
In June 2011, God determined that Rev. Watson’s earthly work was complete and summoned him home.  At that point, the Chairman of the Diaconate Ministry, Deacon Dwayne Banks, assumed the responsibilities of lay-leader of Cary’s. In addition to the other deacons, deaconess and trustees, he was supported by the associate ministers: Rev. Raymond Debreaux, Rev. Dr. Karol Hopson, Rev./Dr. Rex Ellis, Minister James Hill, Minister Shawn Overbey, Minister Evelyn Staton, and Minister Patsy Watson as well as a compassionate and grateful congregation.
 
Eleven months after the demise of Rev. Watson, our beloved Pastor Emeritus James I. Bridgers answered the Master’s call on Monday, May 21, 2012 at the age of 98.
 
Continuing to stand on God’s promises, Cary’s once again received favor as He guided Rev. Dr. Rex Marshall Ellis to accept the pastorship.  An associate at Cary’s and the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Pastor Ellis was elected pastor on December 4, 2012 and officially installed on March 24, 2013. During his three-year tenure, Dr. Ellis licensed one new minister, Eugene Comithier; ordained one of our associate ministers, Rev. Evelyn Staton; and sanctioned the nomination of two deacons-in-training: Brothers James Johnson and Michael Combs.  In addition, he encouraged the church’s purchase of property at 1608 Cary’s Chapel Road and inspired the expansion of technology via Skype and automated calling.  Multi-talented, Pastor Ellis used his oratorical and musical gifts to minister to the congregation. He was committed to Cary’s efficient and strategic management of God’s resources.  Both Pastor Ellis and First Lady Paulette Combs Ellis encouraged the congregation to focus on maturing spiritually through faithful Bible Study and fervent prayer. While he remains an associate minister, Rev. Ellis’s resignation terminated his role as pastor effective April 30, 2016. 
 
Again, Deacon Dwayne Banks assumed the role of our lay-leader and continued to serve in the capacity as we awaited the calling of a new pastor. Our associate  ministers continue to honor God’s charge through faithful service. In the last year, Rev. Staton has added a new Women’s Bible Study and Rev. Debreaux has implemented a "Dial-in Prayer Line”.  In April, 2018, Rev. Debreaux also represented Cary’s on a mission trip to Haiti. A few months prior, Rev. Comithier answered the call to serve as pastor at Zion Hill Baptist Church. Obviously, God continues to pour out His blessings on Cary’s and remains faithful after 137 years.
 
O praise the Lord all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord.”  (117th Psalm)
                                                                       Prepared by Jean Oliver, May 26, 2018

 (Update:  Effective March 1, 2019, Rev. Warren D. Choice accepted the call to serve as Cary's Pastor)

* While the geographical location has not changed, the names of the town have.  At the time of the church’s origin, the area was called Moore’s and later became Poquoson. Once Poquoson separated from York County, the name changed to Tabb. Currently, the postal system identifies the property as Yorktown. **Over the years the spelling has changed to “Cary”.