Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Church of the Brethren

A series of profiles that run on the fourth Saturday of each month. Please submit your suggestions for congregations, large or small, that you would like to know more about, or recommend yours.

The Rev. Dava Hensley of First Church of the Brethren in Northwest Roanoke leads a Wednesday morning Bible study.


The Rev. Dava Hensley of First Church of the Brethren in Northwest Roanoke leads a Wednesday morning Bible study.

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2001 Carroll Ave.

Roanoke, VA 24017


The staff

Pastor: The Rev. Dava Hensley

Minister of music: David Hensley

Organist: Jim Wood

Administrative assistant: Nancy Royer

Custodian: Melvin Poindexter

Spanish-language pastor: Daniel D'Oleo

Attendance: 80

Church history

The region's first Brethren congregations settled in Daleville and Peters Creek. In 1893, a group of Brethren met in a hall over the Carriage Factory of P.S. Miller and Co. on Holiday Street Southeast and founded the German Baptist Brethren, with 35 members. In 1894, the group built a church on Loudon Avenue at Eighth Street Northwest, which they sold in the 1940s to Loudon Avenue Christian Church. They moved about 1 and a half miles to Carroll Avenue Northwest, where the church stands today.

Service times and types

Bible study: 9:30 a.m.

Worship: 10:30 a.m.

Renacer Hispanic worship: 2 p.m.

Physical description

Three-story brick building.

Personality of the congregation

The congregation takes to heart Revelation 3:8: "I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut." The Rev. Dava Hensley says this means the church keeps its doors open to people who have called the congregation their home for years and to strangers who want to witness and experience unconditional love. The congregation has also opened its doors to the YMCA's Women, Infants and Children program, which meets there Monday through Friday during the summer; the Roanoke Academy for Math and Science, for which it is the safe haven in the event the school evacuates in an emergency; and to members of the Northwest Roanoke Faith Partnership, who meet the first Thursday of the month to talk about ways they can make the neighborhood safer. Finally, the church hosts Renacer, a Hispanic congregation.

Pastor's favorite Scripture

Psalm 121:1-2. "I lift up my eyes to the hills -- from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth."

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