Church History

It was in the early 1900’s, approximately 1917, when a group of about ten persons formed their
first church in Norfolk, Virginia. The homes of this small group served as meeting places.
Service to God and man characterized this group as they flooded Norfolk with religious
literature, held open-air evangelistic meetings, prayed and studied the Bible with hundreds of
families and visited from house to house.

The corner of Calvert Street (now Virginia Beach Blvd.) and Maltby Avenue holds great
memories for the survivors of that first company. A meeting hall was purchased on that site and
used as a church. Christian Education was also provided there. In 1932 the meeting hall was
torn down and a church was erected on the same site. Bethel S.D.A. Church was dedicated in
1933 under the pastoral of Elder Burgess. Because of a redevelopment program we were
compelled to vacate this vicinity. A building program was started in 1954 under the pastorate of
Elder J.H. Farrow. It was during Elder Wagoner’s term that a new site on Corprew Avenue was
purchased for a church building and a school. We went into our new school building in 1958.

Our membership continued to increase. Cramped conditions and a change in the city ordinances
compelled us to vacate this building. Under the leadership of James Thomas and through the
untiring efforts of Sister Ada Peele, our Building Fund Chairperson negotiations began for the
purchase of our edifice at 1006 Oakwood Street. In 1965, our move from the school building to
the present structure was made possible under the pastorate of Elder W.C. Scales, Jr. and his
father, Elder W.C. Scales, Sr., our Bible Instructor. A change to a new building also called for a
change of our original name from Bethel S.D.A. Church to Campostella Heights S.D.A. Church.

Our church school continued to thrive and during our first year at Campostella Heights emerged
our first graduating class—Beverly Garris, Cheryl Dixon Matthew Corley, III, Carlton Hopkins
and Martin Scarborough. Our church has always been blessed with children, but it might interest
you to learn that Gordon Davis was the first baby born to Campostella Heights. Patrick Holley
and Suzanne Guilford were the first babies to be blessed. The first to be wed at Campostella
were Wayne and Gwendolyn McGill.

The baptistry was installed during Elder Brewer’s pastorate. Under the leadership of Pastor W.C.
Scales, Jr. and W.C. Scale, Sr. we conducted our first radio broadcast and television appearance.
During Elder Louis Preston’s pastorate, television appearances were made and a regular weekly
radio broadcast was instituted. The radio broadcast continued until 2015. Elder James Clements
conducted our first Revelation Seminar and under Pastor Oliver Cheatham we witnessed the
burning of the church mortgage. Pastor Byron Hill started our Prison ministry program which is
still active today.

Under Elder Colin Brathwaite we began a new “Building Program”. In 1996 Pastor Thornton
lead the church in adopting the nearby community of Oakleaf Forrest.  In this community, we held health fairs which included blood pressure checks, a community Sabbath School, cooking
classes, and Bible studies. The church continued to grow rapidly under Pastor Thornton’s
leadership. Pastor Banks saw the vision for a larger sanctuary and in January 2007 a new
sanctuary was dedicated. In 2008 Elder Michael Edwards became our pastor, and during his
tenure we established a vibrant community service program where more than 100 families
received food weekly, and celebrated 100 years as a church.

Over 100 years later we continued to make great strides in our Christian experience. The church
passed out hundreds of pieces of literature telling of God’s love, mercy and His soon coming.
Believing in the power of prayer and service we have prayer groups, health ministry, personal
ministry, Bible studies, music ministry, men, women and youth ministry. Our pathfinder club
drum core won first place at the 2015 Oshkosh camporee competition in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

In May 2018, Pastor Howard Duncan arrived, and under his leadership the church parking lot
was resurfaced and Campostella Heights YouTube channel was established that helped the church
to transition virtually once COVID-19 became a global pandemic. On January 9, 2021, Elder
Ishmael S. Wade was installed as the new pastor of Campostella Heights.

We look forward to experiencing more great things God has in store for us as He blesses us.

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