Our History

First Baptist Church South Portsmouth

1445 Centre Avenue

Portsmouth, Virginia 23704

Office: 397-3948

Fax: 397-3130

Email: amlet@firstbaptchurch.hrcoxmail.com

First Baptist Church South Portsmouth


1889 – 2022

In 1889, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, a group of people from Mars Hill Baptist Church, South Hampton County VA, met at the home of Mr. Moses Grayson on Shell Road, now known as George Washington Highway, Chesapeake, VA.  They decided to purchase two lots on the corner of Beech Street and Centre Avenue, measuring 50 X 110 feet.  The group built a frame building 24 X 40 feet, thus the new structure was known as the First Baptist Church of Brighton.

The First Pastor was Rev. R. W. Mason from South Hampton County Va.  Some of the first deacons of the church were: Eugene Jones, G.W. Morgan, W. F. McGlone, David Brown, and Archie Walker, R, Watford, Cornelius Bower, Joe Sears, Wesley Gibson, Thomas Knight, Paul parker, Lee Smith, and Tom Watford.  The first trustees were: Willie Darden, Cornelius Browser,   J. H. Turner, Eugene Jones, Les Smith, and Tom Watford.   The first choir was organized in 1910 with Mr. Lonnie Parker serving as president, and Mrs. Janie McIntosh as organist.

In 1918, under the pastorate of Rev. E. W. Brown the members began to make plans to build a larger church.  The present edifice that we now enjoy was erected at an estimated cost of $85,000.  The church was renamed First Baptist Church of South Portsmouth.  Over the next eighteen years several ministers served the congregants including:  Rev. C. M. Morris, Rev. S.M. Thomas, Dr. H. L. Hertfield, Rev. S.D. Scott, Rev. J. S. Smith, Rev. P. L. Boone, Rev. E. M. Tyree, Rev. G. L. Parker, Rev. H. C. Odem, Rev. C. H. Burke, and Rev. Lathan.

In 1936, Dr. Augustus Benton Bingham became pastor of First Baptist Church South Portsmouth.  New ministries and fellowships were established including; the Pastor’s Aid, Deaconess Board, Early Morning Prayer Service, Usher Board #2, Gospel Choir, the Teachers Council, the Young People’s Choir, Youth Department, Baptist Young Peoples BYPU, Daughters of Pilgrimage Club, Thrifty Ten Club, Boy Scouts, and Girls Scouts.  The Pipe Organ with Chimes and a Baby Grand Piano were purchased.  The sanctuary was remodeled, redesigned, and built by two brothers Elbert and Hamiel White.  New Deacons were added: David Green, Sylvester Battle, Stephen Green, Washington Hatchell, David Blackwell, Charles Taylor, Haywood Johnson, Milton Hill, James Womack, William Wingate, Linon Vann, Walker Spivey, J. C. Johnson, J. R. Walker, Milton Hill, Robert Haywood, Lawrence Buie, and William Watts. New Deaconess added were:  Dora Womack, Hattie Green, Senora Green, Mary Spivey, Beravitt Haywood, Bessie King, Jennie Mae

Hatchell, Marie Turner, Mary Watts, Mary Watts, Inez Wingate, Haile Buie, Sarah Vann, Gladys Hill, and Eselene Taylor.  New trustees were also added:  Pomp Smith, C. J. Jones, Hamiel White Jr., Charles Harrell, John Staton, Willie Murray, James Womack, and Lenjamin T. Cummings.  During the summer of 1943 the first Vacation Bible School was held, and a Scholarship fund was established.  After 23 years of faithful service, Dr. Augustus Bingham resigned.

In 1960, Rev. James Wynn was installed as pastor.  Under his pastorate new deacons were added including Virgil Hollomon and Lenjamin Cummings.  The new deaconess added was Ella Holloman and Geneva Cummings.  New Trustees added included:  Sidney Herring, Willie Owes, Roy Watford,

Arthur Dillard and Eugene Bryant.  New ministries’ and fellowships were added including the Wynn Singers, Annie Jones Missionary Circle, Aggie Dozier Helping Hand Club, and Nurses Unit.  Three more sons of the church were added:  Rev. James White, Rev. Clarence Grave, and Rev. Ernest Flynn.  In 1966 Rev. James Wynn resigned.

In 1967, Dr. T. Van B. Rhoe became pastor.  Plans were made to execute a $65,000 renovation of the church.  In addition, a new Education Building was constructed in 1975 and named the A. B. Bingham Annex.  New ministries added were Christian Education, and the Male chorus.  Mrs. Ruth Bingham was appointed the first Director of Christian Education.  New deacons added include:  Leroy Lovett, Bennet Walton, Lenie Wilson, Robert Steele, and George Hinton.  New deaconess added were Willie Mae Lovett, Shirley Richardson, Lucy Anderson, Mary Wilson, and Ernestine Moore.  Trustees added include:  David Blackwell, George Weston, John H. Jones, Thaddeus Davis, Sr., Reuben Gaines, and Linwood Southall.  Rev. T. Van B. Rhoe resigned.  

After the resignation of Dr. T. Van B. Rhoe, Rev. Daniel Burton became Pastor in 1976.  The men of the church did extensive renovation of the main sanctuary.  Three sons entered the ministry: Rev. James Womack, Rev. Robert Mitchel, and Rev. Marvin Leathers.  Rev Daniel Burton resigned.

Our Present Pastor:

In 1990, Pastor Warren E. Amlet was called to pastor First Baptist Church South Portsmouth.  He and his lovely wife, Irene S. Amlet have been faithful to the call of God.  With a vision form God, a gift for preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and exceptionally leadership skills, Pastor Amlet has led the growth and development of the church. The church has grown exponentially.  The Ministers and Evangelists were licensed:  Rev. Gary Jones, Rev. James Gilmore, Rev. Gayle Gilmore, Minister Evangeline Davis, Evangelist Katherine Brooks, Evangelist Sandra Nance, Evangelist Jessica Smith, and Evangelist Carolyn Williams.  Other Associate Ministers who have served are Rev. Dennis Davis, Rev. Torrance Mitchell, Minister Jimmie Allen, Minister Brenda Oliver-Blount, Minister Howard Glover and Minister Gino Evans. 


Deacons appointed:  Alphonso Battle, Thaddeus Davis, James Hyman, Arthur Vann, Johnny Bond, Clayton Jackson, Bennell Green, Jerome Hewlett, Irvin Jones, Jefferson Smith and Melvin Blount, Sr. 

Deaconess appointed:  Erma Thomas, Sylvia Weston, Hattie Diggs, Esmond Lambert, Luella Harrell, Evangeline Mills, Geraldine Dillard, Phyllis Logan, Theresa Bateman, Barbara J. Hyman and Regina Cummings Fletcher.  

Trustees added:  Thomas Taylor, James Reavis, Redell Brown, Sevella Barcliff, Betty Bynum, Barbara J. Hyman, Golethia Smith, Tamara Woods, Eugene Davis, Sandra Patterson, Adriane C. Moore, Jerome Harris, Paul Hampton, Phillip Fletcher, William Jones, and Deidra Ward.

New ministries created:  Jail Ministry, Tract Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Singles Ministry, Intercessory Prayers, “We Care Food Ministry,” Youth Praise Dancers, Praise Team, Mime Dance Group, The Mighty Women of Praise and “Manna From Heaven’ weekly Radio Broadcast. Instructional training has been expanded to include Adult/Youth Bible Study, Footprints, Young Warriors, Young Adult/Renaissance Church School Class, and Power for Living, and New Members class, Tutorial Program, Tabron-Bingham Scholarship, and Church Newsletter Ministry.    

Additionally, under Pastor Amlet leadership, the church has completed or instituted the following:  Parking lot pavement, land purchases, a new van, a new organ, keyboard, Bose sound system, computers and various office equipment. 

In November 2008, under guidance of the Holy Spirit followed by a vote in early 2008, the members voted to build what would come to be called the Amlet Fellowship Hall, a beautiful 250 seat facility, with its own entrance, two restrooms and a full-service kitchen.  Also, the Bingham Annex, offices and classrooms were remodeled and the Gothic Sanctuary was remodel and the replacement of stained-glass windows has begun.

As a spirit-led couple, Pastor and First Lady have been an inspirational example of what God can do when a husband and wife adhere to His Word.  With his eyes and heart stayed on God, Pastor Amlet is well equipped to continue his leadership of the First Baptist Church South Portsmouth.