The Landstown Story

During the years of 1978-1979, there was an interest by three families living in the “Charlestowne” community of Virginia Beach to start an outreach and witness in that area. These families were all members of the Mt. Pleasant Mennonite Church in Chesapeake. They shared their concern with the pastors of the church, who in turn approached Harold and Twila Buckwalter concerning the possibility of giving leadership to such an outreach.

A primary concern was that evangelism and proclaiming the Word of God be its primary purpose. The name “Upper Room Chapel (Mennonite)” was agreed on. The first Sunday service was held September 14, 1980 in the Virginia Door Co. building. Pastor Harold’s first message was from Ephesians 4:1-11, titled “One Body, Members of Each Other.”

In June of 1983, developer R.G. Moore agreed to donate 3.6 acres at the entrance of Landstown Lakes. On August 1, 1985, Upper Room Chapel received the deed for 3.57 acres “free and clear” from the R.G. Moore Corp. A groundbreaking service was held on the property on December 8, 1985 and excavation began on December 23. The first service was held in the new building on April 5, 1987.

Harold Buckwalter presented his resignation as pastor in January of 1987 and concluded his ministry at Upper Room Chapel on May 24.

Beginning in November of 1983, consideration was given to change the name of the church. The spring of 1987 saw the name Landstown Community Church replace Upper Room Chapel as the name of the church.

In May of 1987, Noah Stoltzfus was called to be the new pastor. The Stoltzfus family moved to Virginia Beach in September. The following year the sanctuary was completed.

During the twelve years that Pastor Noah ministered at Landstown, missions giving and participation was encouraged. Outreach into the community was a priority. Vacation Bible School was held in the summer and Christmas caroling with horse-drawn wagons was held in December.

Pastor Noah participated in a fellowship group of local pastors and various other congregations either rented Landstown’s facilities over the years or joined LCC in community services.

One of Pastor Noah’s emphases was the need for small group fellowship. These groups were called Growth Groups and many who attended LCC participated in these groups. The use of spiritual gifts in the various ministries of the church was also a priority during the years that Noah ministered here.

Pastor Noah was known as a down-to-earth person with great compassion. He was a man of integrity and an encourager.

In 1997-1998, phase one of the building expansion was completed. The fellowship hall was expanded and three classrooms were added.

Pastor Noah concluded his twelve years of pastoral ministry at Landstown at the end of June, 1999. He passed away in January, 2008.

Sam Scaggs was called as an Interim Pastor for a year in 2000. Sam’s emphasis in his year of ministry was empowering leadership and holistic small groups. Following Sam’s ministry, Merlin and Linda Miller were called early in 2001.

Pastor Merlin led the Landstown congregation in Operation Mr. Roy, a program to encourage Bible reading and outreach into the community. LCC also participated in 40 Days of Purpose which energized the small group ministry. Under Merlin’s leadership, the church also revised the constitution and by-laws.

In the fall of 2005, conversations were initiated by Pastor Merlin and the elders with Pastor Gerald Martin of Cornerstone Church and Ministries regarding the Landstown congregation coming under the ministry of CCMI.

In early 2006, Landstown withdrew from the Virginia Conference of the Mennonite Church and began to work toward a relationship with Cornerstone. LCC officially became a Cornerstone congregation  in June of 2006 and Marlin and Ruth Sharp were called to be the pastor couple.

Landstown celebrated our thirtieth anniversary in September 2010.

Categories Pastors Blog | Tags: | Posted on April 9, 2012

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