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ABOUT US

ABOUT US

Everything that can be said in 211 words

Everything that can be said in 211 words

“Seeking Christ; Sharing His Love” is our vision.  It’s all about a relationship – with Jesus, with His Church, with each other, with His world.

As an incarnational community, all that we do seeks to offer access to Christ. We truly believe that, through His Resurrection, we can experience transformed lives.  This is why we focus not on programs but on spiritual growth and believe prayer and practice, when done in faithfulness, changes things. His grace, love, compassion and generosity mean the least, last, lost and lame are worthy of His life and our service. Words like biblical, Reformed and evangelical are compliments to us, as are growing, international and intergenerational. Called to be an inviting multiplying community, we seek to share the Good News of forgiveness and new life with more and more.

How do we live into all of this? Our more than 3,500 adults, children, and affiliate partners embrace the call to form a circle holding hands looking outward.  In the world but not of it, from our sanctuaries to our city’s slums, isolated villages of Latin America and African hospitals, from our classrooms to boardrooms, from the heart of a brand new believer to the eternal cloud of witnesses, you’ll find us everywhere – seeking Christ and sharing His love!  

“Seeking Christ; Sharing His Love” is our vision.  It’s all about a relationship – with Jesus, with His Church, with each other, with His world.

As an incarnational community, all that we do seeks to offer access to Christ. We truly believe that, through His Resurrection, we can experience transformed lives.  This is why we focus not on programs but on spiritual growth and believe prayer and practice, when done in faithfulness, changes things. His grace, love, compassion and generosity mean the least, last, lost and lame are worthy of His life and our service. Words like biblical, Reformed and evangelical are compliments to us, as are growing, international and intergenerational. Called to be an inviting multiplying community, we seek to share the Good News of forgiveness and new life with more and more.

How do we live into all of this? Our more than 3,500 adults, children, and affiliate partners embrace the call to form a circle holding hands looking outward.  In the world but not of it, from our sanctuaries to our city’s slums, isolated villages of Latin America and African hospitals, from our classrooms to boardrooms, from the heart of a brand new believer to the eternal cloud of witnesses, you’ll find us everywhere – seeking Christ and sharing His love!  

Our Story

Our Story

WHERE HAVE WE BEEN?

Founded as the “Church on the Elizabeth River”, First Presbyterian Church began its history in Hampton Roads nearly one hundred years before the birth of our nation, sometime before 1678. Since that time, our church has remained a beacon of His light in the community.

To learn more about this rich history, explore the links below. They will carry you back to times long ago when the yellow fever epidemic brought the church close to desolation, when the War Between the States saw our pastor forbidden from the pulpit and imprisoned. Through times of prosperity interspersed with times of great suffering, ours is a deep and layered past. We invite you to step into our story.

WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

In October of 2012, our session shared a five-year plan, ‘FPC’s 2012 Vision & Goals,’ with the congregation.  That plan included nine goals for the church – sharing the vision, spiritual growth, worship attendance, membership growth, small groups, children and youth ministries, evangelism, missions, and stewardship.

Our Staff

First Presbyterian’s Senior Pastor since 1999, Jim has a passion for sharing Christ with the world. Through his preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and local and global outreach, he seeks to bring His grace to the least, the last, and the lost.
First Presbyterian’s Senior Pastor since 1999, Jim has a passion for sharing Christ with the world. Through his preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and local and global outreach, he seeks to bring His grace to the least, the last, and the lost.

JIM WOOD
Senior Pastor

Valena has enjoyed being in ministry at FPC since 2000. She loves Jesus and desires to create spaces and experiences where people can encounter his grace and love. A graduate of Converse College in South Carolina, Valena earned an M. Div. and MA from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, and also has a Certificate in Spiritual Direction.
Valena has enjoyed being in ministry at FPC since 2000. She loves Jesus and desires to create spaces and experiences where people can encounter his grace and love. A graduate of Converse College in South Carolina, Valena earned an M. Div. and MA from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, and also has a Certificate in Spiritual Direction.

VALENA HOY
Associate Pastor for Worship & Pastoral Care

Hunter has been serving in children’s ministry at FPC since 2011. Prior to that, she worked as a FPC preschool teacher, a stay at home mom, and a public school art teacher. Hunter earned a bachelors degree in both Art History and Studio Art from Mary Baldwin College in 1998 and then received a post-graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Art Education in 2000.
Hunter has been serving in children’s ministry at FPC since 2011. Prior to that, she worked as a FPC preschool teacher, a stay at home mom, and a public school art teacher. Hunter earned a bachelors degree in both Art History and Studio Art from Mary Baldwin College in 1998 and then received a post-graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Art Education in 2000.

HUNTER JOHNSTON
Preschool Director and Director of Family & Children’s Ministries

Joel and his wife Amy joined FPC in 2006 and have been active members in several ministry areas. Their daughter Marisa loves participating in the children's ministry at the church. Joel has a Masters of Divinity degree from Regent University and is a Candidate for Ordination in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA).
Joel and his wife Amy joined FPC in 2006 and have been active members in several ministry areas. Their daughter Marisa loves participating in the children’s ministry at the church. Joel has a Masters of Divinity degree from Regent University and is a Candidate for Ordination in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA).

JOEL PHILLIPS
Director of Online Ministry

Throughout his time as an associate professor in the School of Divinity at Regent University, Antipas led and taught students in the area of practical theology and urban ministry. We enjoy his presence in our pulpit and in the Wednesday Evening Classes that he and Jim Wood co-lead throughout the year. He joined our staff as Theologian in Residence to help coordinate weekly adult discipleship classes and initiate ongoing connections between our community, city, and other churches.
Throughout his time as an associate professor in the School of Divinity at Regent University, Antipas led and taught students in the area of practical theology and urban ministry. We enjoy his presence in our pulpit and in the Wednesday Evening Classes that he and Jim Wood co-lead throughout the year. He joined our staff as Theologian in Residence to help coordinate weekly adult discipleship classes and initiate ongoing connections between our community, city, and other churches.

ANTIPAS HARRIS
Dean – Urban Renewal Center

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DIRECTOR URC
Director – Urban Renewal Center

Jackson Cooper has been on staff with us since August 2020. He and his wife Bailey met in their hometown of Elizabeth City, where Jackson received his Bachelors of Arts degree at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. He double majored in Ministry and Biblical Exposition. Jackson is excited to lead both the Youth and Young Adults through the challenges of a post-pandemic Church.
Jackson Cooper has been on staff with us since August 2020. He and his wife Bailey met in their hometown of Elizabeth City, where Jackson received his Bachelors of Arts degree at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. He double majored in Ministry and Biblical Exposition. Jackson is excited to lead both the Youth and Young Adults through the challenges of a post-pandemic Church.

JACKSON COOPER
Director of Youth

Lee Ann
Lee Ann

LEE ANN WARSTLER
Director of Administration & Finance

Jim Kosnik
Jim Kosnik

JIM KOSNIK
Organist

I joined FPC in 2018 with my husband, Donnie. We were seeking a more Bible-focused church and were invited to FPC by a friend who is a member. From our first visit, we felt the Holy Spirit and God’s Love from all and we knew this is where we need to be. Prayer, compassion, and listening are traits that I have embraced throughout my life.
I joined FPC in 2018 with my husband, Donnie. We were seeking a more Bible-focused church and were invited to FPC by a friend who is a member. From our first visit, we felt the Holy Spirit and God’s Love from all and we knew this is where we need to be. Prayer, compassion, and listening are traits that I have embraced throughout my life.

JOYCE BROCKHAUSEN
Children’s Music Coordinator

Joanne Whitaker
Joanne Whitaker

JOANNE WHITAKER
Director of Music

Rebecca
Rebecca

REBECCA TOPPING
Communications Director

Emily joined the staff of FPC in 2016 as the Assistant to the Senior Pastor. Born and raised in Norfolk, she completed undergraduate degrees in Animal Science and English at Virginia Tech and liked being a Hokie so much that she stayed in Blacksburg to earn a MA in English. The next few years took her to jobs in New York City, South Korea, and finally Washington DC, where she worked as an executive assistant for National Geographic Channels until wedding bells called her back down south.
Emily joined the staff of FPC in 2016 as the Assistant to the Senior Pastor. Born and raised in Norfolk, she completed undergraduate degrees in Animal Science and English at Virginia Tech and liked being a Hokie so much that she stayed in Blacksburg to earn a MA in English. The next few years took her to jobs in New York City, South Korea, and finally Washington DC, where she worked as an executive assistant for National Geographic Channels until wedding bells called her back down south.

EMILY EURE
Assistant to the Senior Pastor

Rachel Bender has been a member of FPC since 2011. Prior to joining the staff at FPC, Rachel worked for 15 years as a writer and editor. When she isn’t working, Rachel enjoys spending time exploring Hampton Roads with her husband and two children.
Rachel Bender has been a member of FPC since 2011. Prior to joining the staff at FPC, Rachel worked for 15 years as a writer and editor. When she isn’t working, Rachel enjoys spending time exploring Hampton Roads with her husband and two children.

RACHEL BENDER
Assistant to the Associate Pastor

Noel recently graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition which she plans to utilize in ministry and overseas missions. Noel is an avid foodie and loves to cook and bake. She experiments and creates her own recipes often! Noel grew up in Cleveland, OH in a homeschool family and is the oldest of six siblings. She loves theatre, music, dance, singing, and all things performing arts and has performed in over 25 different musicals/plays.
Noel recently graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition which she plans to utilize in ministry and overseas missions. Noel is an avid foodie and loves to cook and bake. She experiments and creates her own recipes often! Noel grew up in Cleveland, OH in a homeschool family and is the oldest of six siblings. She loves theatre, music, dance, singing, and all things performing arts and has performed in over 25 different musicals/plays.

NOEL WALLACE
Assistant to Preschool Director and Director of Family & Children’s Ministries

Linda Davenport started working in the Business Office in the fall of 2004. Prior to First Presbyterian, she worked as a bookkeeper and property manager for 20 years. Linda is a Norfolk native now living in Chesapeake. She has two grown children, daughter Toni and son Jonathan, and two beautiful grandchildren, Jacob and Madalyn. She is currently the treasurer and financial secretary and active in various areas.
Linda Davenport started working in the Business Office in the fall of 2004. Prior to First Presbyterian, she worked as a bookkeeper and property manager for 20 years. Linda is a Norfolk native now living in Chesapeake. She has two grown children, daughter Toni and son Jonathan, and two beautiful grandchildren, Jacob and Madalyn. She is currently the treasurer and financial secretary and active in various areas.

LINDA DAVENPORT
FPC Bookkeeper

FACILITY MANAGER
FACILITY MANAGER

FACILITY MANAGER
Facility Manager

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JOHNNY KIDWELL
Sexton

Barbara has been with FPC since 2007. Her favorite things to do? Set up for a dinner or lunch meeting with flowers and a beautiful table! She also takes wonderful care of Arnold. And if you don’t know Arnold, you need to visit the staff square and meet him.
Barbara has been with FPC since 2007. Her favorite things to do? Set up for a dinner or lunch meeting with flowers and a beautiful table! She also takes wonderful care of Arnold. And if you don’t know Arnold, you need to visit the staff square and meet him.

BARBARA WATSON
Housekeeper

Susan has been the Wedding Coordinator since July 2006 and previously worked in our preschool. She and her husband Chris were married at First Pres in 1982 and joined in 1998 along with their 3 daughters – Paige, Mallory, and Meredith.
Susan has been the Wedding Coordinator since July 2006 and previously worked in our preschool. She and her husband Chris were married at First Pres in 1982 and joined in 1998 along with their 3 daughters – Paige, Mallory, and Meredith.

SUSAN BROWN
Wedding Coordinator

Our Staff

Our People

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JIM WOOD
Senior Pastor

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VALENA HOY
Associate Pastor for Worship & Pastoral Care

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HUNTER JOHNSTON
Preschool Director and Director of Family & Children’s Ministries

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JOEL PHILLIPS
Director of Online Ministry

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ANTIPAS HARRIS
Dean – Urban Renewal Center

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DIRECTOR URC
Director – Urban Renewal Center

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JACKSON COOPER
Director of Youth

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LEE ANN WARSTLER
FPC Administrator

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JIM KOSNIK
Organist

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JOYCE BROCKHAUSEN
Children’s Music Coordinator

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JOANNE WHITAKER
Director of Music

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REBECCA TOPPING
Communications Director

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EMILY EURE
Assistant to the Senior Pastor

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RACHEL BENDER
Assistant to the Associate Pastor

Noel

NOEL WALLACE
Assistant to Preschool Director and Director of Family & Children’s Ministries

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LINDA DAVENPORT
FPC Bookkeeper

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FACILITY MANAGER
Facilities Manager

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JOHNNY KIDWELL
Sexton

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BARBARA WATSON
Housekeeper

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SUSAN BROWN
Wedding Coordinator

Our Session

OUR SESSION

CLASS OF 2022


Dave Breen
Ron Fritch
Mark Fulton
Page Weaver

CLASS OF 2023

Jeff Abney
Lakishia Biggs
Grayson Bryant
Mical Crumbly
Kristine Rand

CLASS OF 2024

Brian Collins
Creighton Holt
Peggy Mackey
Rashell Matthews
Joel Phillips

PASTORS:

Jim Wood (Moderator)
Valena Hoy

CLERK OF SESSION:

Mark Fulton

Session Notes

Session Notes

What we believe

What we believe

Our History

Our History

Visit the FPC History Archives for much more about the rich history of our church, including newspaper articles, writings of the pastors, sketches, photos and more.


Founded as the “Church on the Elizabeth River”, First Presbyterian Church began its history in Hampton Roads nearly one hundred years before the birth of our nation, sometime before 1678.

Sometime between 1670 and 1678, a number of Scotch Presbyterians migrated to this area of Virginia and settled on the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River. True to their Presbyterian heritage they gathered in different homes for the worship of God: “the house of Mr. Thomas Ivy on the Eastern Branch; Mr, John Roberts on the Western Branch and Mr. John Dickson on the Southern Branch.”

Records document the succession of pastors and other significant church events up until 1716. There then followed a period of eighty-five years when no records are available.

In 1801 Rev. Benjamin Grigsby was appointed by the General Assembly at Philadelphia to itinerate through the lower parts of Virginia. He found an organized church in the Borough of Norfolk and was invited to take charge of the congregation. A church building was erected in 1802 on the corner of Bank and Charlotte Streets which was known as the “Bell Church”.

Occupying our current facility since 1912, First Presbyterian Church was created through the consolidation of two Norfolk churches. Throughout its history, FPC has been active in missions, education and the expansion of Presbyterian churches to better serve our community. We have had a significant role in the founding of each of the following local churches:

First Presbyterian, Portsmouth, 1822
Second Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1872
Third Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1884
Armstrong Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1890
Knox Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1898
Ghent Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1901
Westminister Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1914
First Presbyterian, Virginia Beach, 1920
Ocean View Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1921
Coleman Place Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1929
Royster Memorial Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1941
Oakdale Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1949
Calvin Presbyterian, Norfolk, 1955. 

Donna Bluemink, a member of FPC, maintains the FPC History Archives site on the church’s behalf with a great deal of additional historical information.