Matoaca Gospel Hall, VA

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History

Evangelists Alexander Lamb and William Beveridge secured a hall in Matoaca, Virginia in 1895 with only planks for seats, but the place was crowded. A tent season followed and there were very few homes in that village that did not witness the grace of God in the salvation of some of the members of their families. The preachers Lamb, Bradford and James Hamilton from Scotland built Matoaca Gospel Hall for the new assembly in the summer of 1895, which continues to meet in the original building.

A report from 1896 in The Believer's Magazine from Ireland gave this report: "Alex. Lamb, W. Beveridge, and James Hamilton have had six months' work at Matoaca, where the Lord saved many souls. After the tent came down, a hall was built in which the work goes on. An assembly of over forty is now gathered there in the Lord's Name. Let saints praise the Lord for this, and pray that they may go on following the Lord fully.

Gospel Pioneering in Virginia, an article written by W.R. Simpson in Letters of Interest in Nov. & Dec. 1946, contains much relevant history about the early days of assembly planting in Virginia, including Matoaca.

Also, in a Letters of Interest issue from 1953, John W. McEwen wrote, "God has visited his people in Matoaca and the neighboring assembly of Petersburg. On Feb. 8, brethren Gordon N. Reager and Paul Plubell began gospel meetings which at the time of writing were then in their fifth week, with nine having professed to be saved. The gospel hall in Matoaca, a community of about 750, was built 58 years ago. It seats 117, and has been nearly filled each night of the current series of meetings."

Since 1991, Matoaca Gospel Hall has sponsored an annual conference in early March, either at the Hall or at the Matoaca Elementary School. In the Spring of 2009, several families came out from the Amish religion in the southwestern part of Virginia. A few of them were saved, and in early March of that year, they attended the annual conference at Matoaca and five more professed in March and April of 2009. The two ex-Amish families began driving 2 1/2 hours to visit the Denver Gospel Hall, NC, and on Oct. 9, 2011, 13 local believers in Crandon gathered to remember the Lord for the first time in a building they had acquired and renovated with the help of brethren from NC. See Crandon assembly history for more on this.

First Wedding

Reported on Nov. 9, 1899 in the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk: "Petersburg, Va., Nov. 8: The first marriage of the kind that has occurred for some years in this section was that which was solemnized tonight at Gospel Hall in Matoaca, Chesterfield county. The marriage was in accordance with the rites of the "Believers'" denomination, and the contracting parties were Mr. Samuel McEwen and Miss Annie Johnson. Rev. W.D. Best officiated. The groom is a popular young tailor of this city, and the bride is a most attractive young lady of Matoaca. The marriage, which was a very pretty one, was preceded by a Gospel meeting, which was conducted by Rev. Henry Turner, of Richmond, who is a returned missionary from Africa."

Locations

@ 6204 River Rd.  1895-2020+

Correspondents

  • Grover Cleveland Skinner +1927+ (b. 1885 Lunenburg, VA - d. 1958 Pembroke, Petersburg, VA);
  • Samuel Moody McEwen, Jr., 213 River Rd. +1936-1969 (b. 1903 Matoaca, VA - d. 1976 Petersburg, VA)
  • John Paul Rockey 1970-1973/1975 (b. 1926 Norfolk, VA - d. 2015 Cedar Falls, IA)
    •  ?-1965 @ Shurm Heights Gospel Hall in Richmond; ca. 1965-1973 @ Maoaca, 1973-2005 @ Bryn Mawr Gospel Hall in PA, then 2005-2015 @ Cedar Falls Gospel Hall in Iowa.
  • Samuel McCracken Ellison @ Petersburg 1975-1980 (b. 1895 Belfast, Ireland - d. 1982 Petersburg, VA)
  • John Nobles 1981-2020+

Alumni

Visiting Itinerants

Sources

  • Ancestry.com
  • AAB’s 1904-2020
  • Our Record 1901-1904
  • 1895 start date from Matoaca Gospel Hall photo of Messr. Lamb via John Noble