In the autumn of 1940, the Norfolk Baptist Council purchased a field in a sparsely settled residential section of Norfolk called Talbot Park. The site was located at Sinclair Street, one-half block off Granby Street. The Reverend Scott C. Hutton was sent to the Talbot Park community by the Baptist State Mission Board of Virginia in early 1943. Finally, on May 23, 1943, an organizational meeting was held at Granby High School. Attendance at this meeting was composed of 96 people from the surrounding community. It was at this meeting that Talbot Park Baptist Church was born. The church met every Sunday at Granby High School, and soon plans were being formulated to erect a church building.
Our country was at war in 1943, and any new building was extremely limited due to a shortage of materials. Nevertheless, this small group of enthusiastic Christians could not be discouraged. Acting on faith and armed with hope and love, two representatives were sent to acquire from Congress the priority to build a church. The priority was granted, the money was borrowed, and the contract was given to begin construction. Many area Baptist churches made financial gifts toward the building fund. The first spade of ground was turned on October 10, 1943, and the first church building was completed in July, 1944. Today, the church owns the square block bordered by Granby and Sinclair Streets, and Brackenridge and Colonial Avenues.
Our first pastor, Reverend John A. Wilcox, served our church from October, 1943 until his resignation in November, 1946. In October of the following year Dr. Fred T. Laughon, Jr. became the pastor and ministered to the congregation until mid-1954, with a great emphasis on the youth of our church and our community. Dr. Ernest L. Honts was pastor from February 1955 until his resignation on March 5, 1971, to become Executive Director of Virginia Baptist Foundation in Richmond. Dr. Eslie R. Phillips was pastor from November, 1972 until July 31, 1986, when he left for the foreign mission field in Bogota, Colombia. Dr. Harry (Tim) Dixon, Jr. began his ministry with Talbot Park Baptist Church on October 18, 1987, coming to us from Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. On March 30, 2003, he retired after spending over fifteen years as our senior pastor. Dr. Tom Miller became interim pastor on Aug. 1, 2003 and stayed until the Fall of 2005, when the church called Dr. Robert Carpenter as senior pastor. Dr. Carpenter began his ministry with us on January 29, 2006 and left in May 2011 to become the pastor of Wilroy Baptist Church in Suffolk, Virginia. The church is now blessed to have Rev. Aaron Brittain serving as our Senior Pastor. He began his ministry with us in October of 2011.
In 1962, the church began a mission in Aragona Village, and from that mission the Aragona Baptist Church (later re-named Calvary Baptist Church) was organized in 1964. In 1969, we gave $6,000 to that congregation for the purpose of purchasing land for a proposed church building. In 1970, the new church building was dedicated.
Over the years, the church has sponsored a family from Latvia, two families from Cuba, and a family from Vietnam. A highlight of our early ministry to the community was the annual presentation of a living nativity, an outdoor Christmas pageant. The living nativity was resumed in 1993 and remains an important yearly outreach to the community.
During 1993, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary at which we enjoyed a reunion with many of our former pastors and members. The celebration included a special worship service and dinner on the grounds.
Since 1984, the church has offered a Weekday Preschool Program to children ages two through pre-K. In 2016, the Preschool expanded its ministry to include infant care. The Preschool program was begun by Mrs. Sue Rigau. From 1997-2020, Mrs. Dana Costas led the Preschool. Currently, the Preschool Director is Mrs. Anna Selvy.
In the Spring of 1995, we launched our involvement in Habitat For Humanity by renovating a home in Park Place. The renovations were completed in the Spring of 1996 and dedicated on October 20, 1996. In the Spring of 1999, a second Habitat project involving new construction was successfully completed in cooperation with ten other churches. For many years, the church has participated in the local NEST program, in which we provide shelter for a week for the homeless in our community. These activities stem from the church's felt need to be involved in more hands-on local ministries. The church is a strong supporter of national and world missions through the Baptist General Association of Virginia, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the Bridge Network.
In the early 2000s, we undertook several significant building projects, including upgrades to the sanctuary and the parlor. In addition, an elevator was installed in the education building facing Granby Street. In 2018, the church celebrated its 75th anniversary with a special worship service and luncheon. A 75th anniversary offering raised over $75,000 for projects around the church, including a renovated youth suite, organ repairs, and a new office meeting area. As we move into the 2020s, Talbot Park continues to look for ways to serve beyond our walls and carry out our mission in Christ.
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