User Log On

Sylvannah Baptist Church Sylvannah Baptist Church

Church History Church History

Sylvannah Baptist Church, Spotsylvania, Virginia is one of the oldest African American churches in the county, organized in 1867.

The church first started when “a little band of Christian pioneers in 1867 began prayer meetings and preaching services in various homes of zealous folk.” These meetings were held in the homes of early members including, Saul Carter, Rena Tyler, Warner Carter, and Daniel Holmes. Services were held in a brush arbor during the summertime and in homes during the winter.

The earliest name of the church was "Sylvania Baptist Church." However it was later changed to "Sylvannah" to avoid confusion with other, later congregations that adopted similar names.

The earliest preachers at Sylvannah were lay leaders, including Rylan Taylor, George Madison, and Charles Dawson.

In the 156 year history of our church, we have had only ten pastors, with the last two pastors serving more than 75 years between them. Below is a list of our pastors:


The pastors of Sylvannah are as follows (photos):

  1. Rev. Walker Howard - mid 1870s-1892 (approximately 17 years)

  2. Rev. James S. Minor - 1893-1900 (7 years)

  3. Rev. Edmond C. Thompson - 1901-1904 (3 years)

  4. Rev. David W. Duval - 1905-1907 (2 years)

  5. Rev. Chinor H. Coleman - 1908-1925 (17 years)

  6. Rev. W. H. Carey - 1926-1928 (2 years – died while serving)

  7. Rev. Harry J. Ellis - 1929-1943 (14 years – died while serving)

  8. Rev. Clarence A. Chick - 1944-1946 (2 years)

  9. Rev. Leroy M. Bray, Sr. - 1947-1978 (31 years – died while serving)

  10. Rev. Dennis A. Woodard, Sr. - 1979 to present (more than 44 years)