Horse and carriage will deliver 125th anniversary speaker Sunday
as it appeared in 1896
as Dr. W.E. Hatcher
A bit of Urbanna’s history will come alive Sunday, November 10, when Urbanna Baptist Church marks its 125th anniversary. A horse and carriage will roll through the streets delivering a re-enactor portraying Dr. W.E. Hatcher, who preached the first sermon in the church when its building was completed in 1896.
The day’s events will also include a tribute to the man who designed and built the local landmark.
According to “Urbanna Baptist Church, 1888-2003, A Little Church with a Large Ministry,” written by local resident and church member Evelyn Q. Ryland, the small congregation that became Urbanna Baptist was organized on November 11, 1888. Eight years later it had completed and occupied the central portion of the church that continues in use today.
Dr. Hatcher was a famous and much sought-after Baptist preacher in those days. He will be portrayed during the 11 a.m. service by Dr. Fred Anderson, executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, who has taken on the role over 400 times on similar occasions.
The church sanctuary was designed and built by Charles H. Palmer, a charter member who learned the carpentry trade while working for several years in New York state. He also built many of the Victorian homes in Urbanna. At 2 p.m., his contributions will be recalled by his great-grandson, Larry S. Chowning, who lives in Palmer’s home across the street from the church. A marble plaque in Palmer’s honor, to be erected in the old portion of the church, will be unveiled.
Anderson spends an hour applying makeup and donning period clothing before appearing as Dr. Hatcher. His horse and carriage will leave the Urbanna firehouse area at approximately 10:30 a.m. Sunday en route to the church. Everyone is invited to witness the procession and join in Sunday’s events at Urbanna Baptist Church.
For those interested in more details about the church’s history, the book mentioned above will be on sale Sunday and can be obtained at the church office until noon on weekdays for $20.