About Us

Who Are We?

From its very beginning and through most of its life, Samaria Baptist Church has shared a common history with the Chickahominy Indian Tribe. The two entities have been intertwined.  This began to change in the mid-twentieth century and the church began taking in members with other heritages. Besides the obvious cultural diversity one sees on a typical Sunday morning at Samaria, perhaps the most concrete evidence of this shift was in 1987 when the church changed its name from Samaria Indian Baptist Church to Samaria Baptist Church. Another characteristic of the church is that most of its members grew up in Samaria Baptist Church. Nearly 30% of church members share the same last name, Adkins. Several other family names (Stewart, Canaday, Cannada, Bradby, Holmes, and Jones) account for another large percentage of the membership. This heavy family representation has created strong values, trust, and traditions among all church members. Support for strong Christian families is a major focus at Samaria.

Under the leadership of Pastor Jay, the current church vision is to "Reach Charles City County for Christ" (CCC4C). We have reviewed the demographics and recognize the huge ministry to "be Christ" in the community right on our doorstep. There are 2400 people, including about 400 under the age of 18, within a 3 mile radius of our front doors. We share that radius with 4 other churches, Samaria being the largest. If all five churches were filled to capacity on Sunday mornings we would not be serving much more than a quarter of that population. "The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few".

What to Expect Sunday Mornings

COVID 19 Update, December 27, 2020:

Our buildings remain shutdown for all but administrative activities, but the Church continues to meet in the parking lot on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am. Please come join us for worship at this time. We have loud speakers setup so you can hear the service through your windows or tune your FM radio to 105.1 and listen there. Please remain in your vehicle. The restrooms are available, but please wear a mask when outside of your automobile. If you cannot attend with us, the services are being live streamed on Facebook and posted after the service to the Church You Tube Channel (there are links at the top of this page). There is Pre-Worship Music starting at 9:00 am  each Sunday - join us at 9:00 and get a headstart on worship for the morning. Our ushers will circulate through the parking lot to collect tithes and offerings and there is a link to our PayPal account for that same purpose, also at the top of this page. We celebrate communion on the first Sunday of each month. We have developed a "return to the building" policy but no date for that return has been set. The weather has cooperated very well with us as we have yet to miss a Sunday Morning Service. We have had one or two soggy days and the warm sunshine thawed us to just above freezing before we left the service this morning. God is good and worthy of all our worship. Please come join us.

One day soon we will hopefully return to this "fomerly" normal way of worship described below. Worship of God, the Creator of the universe and father of our Savior Jesus Christ is what we do in Sunday Morning Worship. Bible based preaching is at its core with worship through prayer, song, testimony, and offering rounding out our expression of love for and devotion to God. Bible Study for every age, or as we call it "Sunday School", begins at 8:45 with refreshments and fellowship immediately preceding at 8:30. Our Worship Service follows Sunday School and begins in the Fellowship Hall at 10:00 a.m. Our worship style is probably best characterized as "blended" with contemporary music and traditional hymns and piano as well as CD/DVD accompaniment. Attire is mixed with both "coat and tie", business casual and jeans. A nursery is available for young children during all services. We celebrate communion on the first Sunday of each month. All to the glory of God.

Facility Map

Place image of facility map here.

Welcome and Secure

In addition to teachers and other workers, we have greeters and ushers spread throughout the facility to ensure your welcome, comfort and safety while you worship, praise, celebrate and learn with us. All of our children and youth workers are required to pass a background check before they begin service and every five years of continued service. As to security, our facility is rather spread out from end to end and you may encounter a locked door as we attempt to reduce our security risk at the extremes of an activity. Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

Becoming a Member

Candidates for membership may present themselves in one of the following ways: by profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church, by receipt of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist church, by statement of Christian experience, describing previous church membership, profession of faith and believer's baptism, by restoration (see bylaws for details). Before a membership vote, candidates for membership shall have completed the prospective member class (as led by pastoral staff) and fulfilled the requirements for Voting Membership as described in the Membership Designation Policy.

We make a big deal of baptism at Samaria. When someone comes forward to make known to the world what has already taken place in their heart and mind, we celebrate. We set aside time on Sunday Mornings to interview and vote on the candidate for baptism and membership. The Pastor or other church leader will address the candidates for baptism to discuss baptism and the implications of following Christ. Following the baptism will come the presentation of the baptismal certificate, a Bible from the church, and other necessities of church membership. Finally we all celebrate communion with our new brother/sister in Christ.

Senior Pastor

Rev. Jay Hurley

Rev. Jay Hurley (or “Pastor Jay” as he prefers to be called) hails from Washington, D.C.  He is married to the love of his life, Kathy.  Pastor Jay worked in various professions and served in the U.S. Army before he came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He graduated from Florida Baptist Theological College with a Bachelor of Ministry in Biblical Studies Degree and holds a Master of Arts in Christian Education Degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Early in his ministry he served as Minister of Education and Minister of Youth. He then served as Pastor to Greenbrier Baptist Church in Boonsboro, MD. Immediately before coming to pastor Samaria Baptist Church, he served 17 years as Pastor of Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Smithfield, PA.

Pastor Jay has a heart for God, a love for people, and a desire to see people everywhere come to know and serve Jesus.

Church Governance

Samaria Baptist Church located in Charles City County, Virginia at the intersection of Lott Cary Road and Samaria Lane was organized in 1901, adopted its first Constitution and Bylaws April 11, 1987 with most recent updates being completed June 8, 2015. The Church Vision is "Growing Christian Families". Our "Beliefs" can be found under that tab here on the website. "The government of the this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it." "This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches." "The membership reserves the right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership." "Those members of Samaria Baptist Church who have met the Voting Member requirements of the Samaria Baptist Church Membership Designation Policy are considered Voting Members." "Becoming a Member" is described under another tab on this website. The church has officers including the Senior Pastor, other pastoral staff, the deacons, a moderator, an assistant moderator, a clerk, a treasurer, trustees, a Sunday School Director, an assistant Sunday School director, and others as required. There are committees such as nominating, personnel, finance, ushers, special programs and benevolence and program organizations such as Sunday School, The Baptist Women, The Brotherhood and The Music Organization. While most church business is conducted at quarterly business meetings of the body, there is a church council which meets between business meetings to conduct business within limits set out in the Constitution and Bylaws.

Church History

On May 26, 1901, Rev. P. E. Throckmorton, who served as pastor until 1921, organized the Samaria Indian Baptist Church.  The process actually began, on April 13, 1901, when 48 members withdrew from Cedar Grove Baptist Church. This newly organized church was received into membership of Dover Baptist Association at the annual meeting the same year.  The building used was the same one used by the original Samaria Baptist Church, which had been organized in 1876 and disbanded in 1888. The landowners, Robert and Benjamin Evans, leased the building to the Indians for use while they were getting together their meager gifts to build a new church. L. M. Nance, Commonwealth Attorney of Charles City County, deeded two acres of land, one mile east of Samaria, to the members for this purpose.  On this plot, the neat little edifice was completed, and was dedicated May 10, 1910. The dedicatory sermon was delivered by, Dr. R. H. Pitt, who was the editor of the Religious Herald.  By that time the membership had grown to ninety.  The Dover minutes of 1945 gave the membership as 210.  The membership as of January 2016 is 675.    

The first Sunday in September 1945, following a revival, which had recently been held, 22 boys and girls ranging in ages from nine to fifteen years, were baptized into the membership of the church.  This was largely the result of personal work by the teacher of the Indian school, a Native American girl of the Chickahominy tribe, and the earnest efforts of the Sunday school teachers, the fathers and mothers, and Rev. Harvey Custalow, the pastor of the church. Rev. Custalow was the first Native American pastor to serve.

In 1953, a motion was carried to build a new church where the old one stood.   There were several fund drives formed to raise the necessary funds to build this church. A special drive was held the 4th Sunday in May of that year where each member pledged within himself to give a certain amount.  Newspapers, magazines and other recyclable items were also collected and sold.  In 1955, it was decided that each member would set aside a little money each week, and one week between March 12th, and the 4th Sunday in May each member would give one tenth of a weeks earnings toward the building fund. 

In 1961 it was decided that the offering would go to the building fund on the 4th Sundays of March, June, September and December until the building was completed, and the debt paid. The present church was built in 1962, replacing the first church built in 1909. In both buildings, many have come to the saving knowledge of the Lord: with two of the members serving as missionaries and two others being ordained to preach the gospel. The mortgage was paid off and the building fund offering was discontinued in 1967.

Sisters of the church were not permitted to attend quarterly church business meetings until 1954.  Before 1956, male members would have to ask for forgiveness for not attending a meeting.  In 1960 compulsory attendance and the taxation of males at the business meetings were discontinued.

On October 1 1987, the day that the church’s new constitution became effective, the name was officially changed from Samaria Indian Baptist Church to Samaria Baptist Church.  It was the desire of the members to open the church to all who would come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.  This was a difficult decision for many of the membership but they knew that as Christians there is no exclusion in the Kingdom of God and God’s Church should be open to all peoples.

The former Samaria Indian School building and land, adjacent to the church, was purchased from the County in 1995. Members pledged to give money each week toward the renovation of the building for Sunday school classes and the construction of a new Fellowship Hall.  Ground was broken on December 6, 1998 for a major expansion/renovation.  This construction joined the old school building and the church into one unit. Homecoming dinner was served in the new fellowship hall on Homecoming Sunday, August 13, 2000. On Sunday, September 10, 2000 Sunday school classes were held in the new facility for the first time.  The Dedication service for the new church facility was held October 28, 2000 with Steven Allsbrook Executive Director of Dover Baptist Association as the guest speaker.

We have been fortunate to have only had five pastors in our first 100 years. The Rev. P. E. Throckmorton was called as Samaria’s first pastor, and served from 1901 to 1921. The Rev. Thomas E. Whitlow, served from 1922 to 1924. The Rev. Charles D. Danzy served from 1925 to 1927. The Rev. Harvey N. Custalow served from 1938 to 1976. The Rev. Claude L. Evans served from 1976 to 2010. It was during Pastor Evans term, January 1, 2001, that the church moved to make the senior pastor position full-time versus part-time. On March 1, 2011, Rev. Ernest (Ed) Johnson was called as the Intentional Interim Pastor for the church until a senior pastor could be called. The Rev. Jay P. Hurley began service as Senior Pastor of Samaria Baptist Church on October 6, 2013.

Rev. Susan Morris, our first Youth Minister served from 1996 to 1998 and returned as Assistant Pastor from 2005 – 2009. It was during Rev. Morris’ time with us that we added an 8:00 a.m. Sunday Morning Worship Service and the Carnival for Christ on the first Saturday on June each year. Other Children’s and Youth Ministers have been the Rev. Jennifer N. Peterson who served from 1998 – 2001 and the Rev. Sandy J. Rogers-Lathan who served from 2002 – 2005 and the Rev. Kevin Brown, Jr. served from 2010 – 2015. The Rev. Darius Webster began service as Associate Pastor and Youth Minister in March of 2017.

The Deacon body has grown from the original six male members when the church was first organized to about 20 male and female deacons today. The first female deacons were elected in 1989 and the last deacons elected to a lifetime term were elected in 1973. Deacons are elected to a four-year term today.

The Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) was organized in Samaria Baptist Church on May 26, 1927.  Through the years the WMU has seen many changes.  It continues to be a vital part of our church work.

Members of Samaria have served as missionaries and others have been ordained to preach the Gospel. These include: the Rev. Lewis Baber who currently pastors a church in Burlington, NC; the Rev. Kevin Brown, Jr. who is an Associate Pastor at a church in Barlow KY; and Peter and Angela Adkins who have heeded God’s call to develop a Christian Elementary School on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, ND. Samaria also contributed to the sponsorship of two Virginia churches, Kentwood Heights Baptist Church in Quinton, and Atlee Community Church in Hanover.

Samaria has grown both spiritually and financially over the years.  We pray for the church’s continuous growth as our Lord and Savior grew “in wisdom and knowledge, and in favor with both God and Man.”

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