A Brief History of GBPC
In 1960, the Norfolk Presbytery (now the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia) recognized a need for a church in the Great Bridge area and purchased six and a half acres of land on the corner of Cedar Road and Briarfield Drive (across from the current Chesapeake City Hall) in anticipation of building a church on that site.
Rev. Ira B. Watson, Jr., was the church’s first pastor in 1962 and after two months of ministry had 35 in Sunday School and 48 in worship. The faithful met at a charter member’s home and then for two years in what is now Great Bridge Primary School. The church was officially organized on February 23, 1964, and the completion of a sanctuary (now the fellowship hall) occurred in 1967. The preschool wing was added in the 1980’s and a new sanctuary was completed in 1999.
In 2014, GBPC celebrated 50 years of ministry and mission, providing opportunities for people to worship, grow and serve in our church, community, country and throughout the world. Three long-term pastorates have provided stability for this ministry and mission. Rev. Conrad Crow succeeded Rev. Watson in 1982 and served GBPC for 14 years. Rev. Ralph R. Herbert was called in 1996 and retired in 2019. Pastors Kelly and Mike Nieto served from 2019 until 2021.
Ministries include a vibrant preschool that has educated the children of the community since 1972. Mid-week programs, Sunday School, retreats, Vacation Bible School and dedicated staff ensure that children and youth learn about the love of God and his promise of salvation. Adults are encouraged to connect in a myriad of small group opportunities to study the word, share, pray and serve together. A dynamic music ministry encourages the use of musical gifts by providing vocal choirs for all ages, flutes, handbells, praise team, instrumental ensemble, sign language, and drama.
We define mission broadly, and support ministries that teach literacy, house the homeless, feed the hungry, provide clean water, resource the disadvantaged, help the broken-hearted, visit the imprisoned and seek to touch all we encounter with the love of Christ. We look forward to renewing missions that were interrupted due to COVID, including sending mission teams each year to support the work of Vida Joven (Young Life) in Nicaragua and install clean water systems through Living Waters for the World. We are also eager to reestablish youth mission trips soon.