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Westover Bapist Church
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Our History

1940 - Founded August 12

1942 - First Building Unit completed

1945 - April 30, Boy Scout Troop 162 chartered

1950 - Second Building Unit dedicated

1958 - Third Building Unit completed

1968 - Stained-glass Baptistery Window installed

1972 - Women’s Mission Union began Westover Preschool and Parents’ Day Out

1978 - A 43-rank Pipe Organ built and installed 

1979 - Iglesia Bautista Hispana Congregation founded. 

For these years, please see “Full WBC History”

2015 - 75th Diamond Anniversary Celebration 

2016 - First Women’s Conference, “Investing in Your Own Excellence: Achieving Financial Freedom”

2017 - Sanctuary Choir formed 

2018 - Passion Walk for Easter; Preschool Director Kelly Polsinelli replaced retiring Sue Brigham 

Senior Pastors

1940-43 Rev. Perry L. Mitchell

1943-77 Rev. W. Barker Hardison

1979-84 Rev. James O. Compton

1984-90 Rev. James G. Banks

1992-97 Rev. Chester Smith

1999-2003 Rev. Wayne L. Colton

2005-2014 Rev. W. Terry Barber

2014-present Rev. Michael Youngblood

Full History

View from 1940 to 2013

2014 – Rev. Michael Youngblood, Westover’s current Senior Pastor, is called after Rev. Barber retires.

2015 – Rev. Patricia Fears is called to be Associate Pastor of Programs, and Rev. Pamela Moyer joined the staff as Associate Pastor of Communication and Administration. During the year, WBC held Special Worship Services honoring Arlington’s Finest (Police, Fire and EMS), the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), and Boy Scout Troop 162. A meaningful  Good Friday Service was arranged combining the Chinese, Hispanic, Mongolian and English-speaking congregations. Westover initiated Movie Night events as an outreach to the Westover community and beyond. Events are hosted outside in the courtyard during the warm weather season and inside during colder months. Refreshments are served and games are planned for children who attend. Annual Vacation Bible School was launched with 35 participants and many volunteers with the theme of Veggie Tales. Westover celebrated its 75th Diamond Anniversary with Guest Speaker, Dr. Dee Whitten, Executive Director of NorthStar Church Network and a luncheon following worship. WBC hosted a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and initiated a Watchnight Prayer Service at 11:30 pm to end the years in prayer and welcome the New Year in prayer.

2016 – Winter Blizzard, Jonas, dropped 26 inches of snow in the Washington metropolitan area. With roads impassable, 15 members remotely met and held a modified worship service with Bible Study and prayer by online and telephone conferencing. We continue to offer Bible study by remote dial-in each week for those outside of our geographic area. Westover hosted its first Women’s Conference: “Investing in Your Own Excellence: Achieving Financial Freedom.” Michelle Singletary, nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post was our Keynote Speaker; eight sessions led by other financial leaders were conducted plus a catered lunch for participants. This year, Westover participated in the “Food Fight,” a massive non-perishable food packing event, hosted by the NorthStar Church Network which partnered with Feed My Starving Children and Capital Area Food Bank to battle hunger both globally and locally. Westover initiated and continues to offer Tuesday Evening Prayer Time, where the Sanctuary is open to the church and community for prayer. With guest speaker, Rev. Danielle L. Bridgeforth, JD, MDiv., Director of Enrollment and Development at John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington, Westover celebrated its 76th Anniversary. Worship was followed by a light luncheon. For the Westover Church Homecoming, Rev. Michael Catlett was our guest speaker.. As an outreach, Westover began hosting Friends and Family Sunday on the 5th Sunday of the month. Inviting friends and family members into fellowship strengthens the ties of our Christian bonds as we get to know one another in a more casual setting over Bible Study, Worship and a light lunch. Reverend Patricia Hailes Fears, Westover’s Associate Pastor for Programs, was called to be Senior Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church of Washington, D.C. Continuing the Family Movie Night outreach, we invited the community’s children and parents to a Fall Free Movie Event, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and a Free Christmas Movie Event, “Polar Express”, with pizza, snacks, crafts, and games.  Christmas Day was on Sunday;, worship was held with the hope to also connect families who were travelling or stationed elsewhere. Worship was held with Remote Video and Audio Feed for participation by individuals who could not attend and to facilitate family members to worship together. One member’s daughter dialed in from Africa to be with her siblings and father on Christmas Day!

2017 – WBC formed a Sanctuary Choir. A Community Shred Event was co-hosted with a local realtor, where neighbors and members could bring up to 5 boxes of documents for secure destruction. Refreshments, water, VBS flyers, worship invitations and conversation were shared. We hosted a youth group from Ball Camp Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tennessee for their Summer Mission Project. They participated in Bible Study, Worship and helped set up for Vacation Bible School. Rev. Dr. Trisha Miller Manarin, Coordinator for the Division on Mission, Evangelism and Justice at the Baptist World Alliance, Executive Coordinator with the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the Director of Supervised Ministry for John Leland Center for Theological Studies helped us celebrate our 77th Anniversary. For our July Friends and Family Sunday, we celebrated the dedication of two ladies with a combined 91 years of experience serving Westover Baptist Church: Mrs. Margaret Greene and Mrs. Charolette Brown. Neighbors and family attended worship and a special luncheon, where people could share warm stories of their contributions.

2018 – The new year welcomed baptisms, new baby dedications and guest speaker, Dr. Jeffrey Willetts, Professor at McAfee Theological Seminary. For Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, Rev. Youngblood created a Passion Walk with several meaningful stations symbolizing Christ's journey to the cross and His ultimate Resurrection. As the congregation came forward to nail sins or burdens to the cross, communion was served to each as soft contemplative organ music played. June recognized the retirement of Sue Brigham, Preschool Director for many years. As a result of a thorough search, we discovered a qualified individual within the Preschool itself. New Director, Kelly Polsinelli, was hired to fill this position. Another transformational Vacation Bible School attracted 85+ children, ages 3-completed 5th grade from our church, preschool and community; the children collected canned food for Arlington Food Assistance Center and raised $810.63 for Arlington Bridge Builders (ABB), a partnership of area churches, Christian organizations, and individuals that operates in the Arlington community, has strong neighborhood ties and provides social services, including monthly food, clothing, educational services (ESL) and financial assistance to people in need. In July, WBC celebrated its 78th Anniversary, with Dr. Michael Catlett speaking about our relevant, timeless faith. Our WBC Homecoming in September welcomed Visitors and former members; thanks to the Dunbar family, our barbeque pot luck meal was nourishing both physically and spiritually! Fall was a devastating season of hurricanes, so we encouraged donations to BGAV (Baptist General Association of Virginia) to aid recovery. October and November are months we support Global and Local Hunger relief both through financial gifts and non-perishable food collection.

Organ History

“Praise Ye the Lord . . . praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise Ye the Lord.” Psalm 150 KJV

Music is one element of the worship service that inspires. Historically, organ music has filled cathedrals and hearts to transcend the daily routines and connect one with God and the spiritual. A sense of awe prepares the mind and heart to receive the Spoken Word of God.

In 1978, after enthusiastic research, securing proposals and sacrificial giving, Westover Baptist Church’s congregation voted to have a new organ built and installed by the Möller Organ Company, from Hagerstown, Maryland. It is a beautiful and fully functional organ used in our Worship still today.

It is comprised of forty-three ranks split into four divisions or departments. A rank is a complete set of pipes of the same type (or sound), controlled by one “stop knob” (switch). Typically, a rank contains one pipe for each key on the keyboard (or pedalboard). Each division is a mini organ of sorts that is controlled by its own “manual” or keyboard.

The Great organ, fully exposed, is mounted at the front wall on either side of the baptistry and interior stained-glass window. This division or “organ” contains the fullest and most foundational stops (sounds). Its design and pipe display were intended to accent the effect of the interior stained-glass window of Christ (for detailed and theological explanation, please see below.)

The Swell organ is enclosed in an expression cabinet located in the north chamber on the left side of the interior stained-glass window. Allowing for volume control, the Swell cabinet or “box” has “swell shades,” similar to Venetian blinds, operated by a pedal on the console. In the Swell division are the softest stops (sounds) as well as some that can serve in a solo capacity.

The Positiv (pronounced pose-eh-teef’) organ, also under expression (in a “box” with swell shades operated by another pedal on the console), is located in the south chamber on the right side of the interior stained glass window. This division is designed for accompanying a choir and contains stops appropriate in sound and volume to do so.

The Pedal organ is located in both right and left chambers outside the expression boxes and is basically exposed, or just behind special cloth fabric. Operated by the pedal “keyboard,” this division contains the lowest notes of the organ.

Each of these divisions is a complete organ in itself, with fundamental voices and mixtures to generate and reinforce a myriad of pleasing effects. Supporting each division is a full pedal department designed to provide a proper foundation or “foot” for any registration.

We are very fortunate to have Doug VanDenBerg as our organist. Doug received his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He pursued an advanced degree from the University of Michigan, earning a Master of Music degree in Piano. While working on both degrees, organ study was also an integral part. His organ music portfolio and experience come from Reformed, Presbyterian, Lutheran and now Baptist traditions. Doug selects pieces that reflect the planned Scripture passages, the liturgical time of year, the sermon message, music history continuity and our choral requirements to create an inspiring and uplifting worship experience. You are invited to visit every Sunday at 11:00 am.

Interior Stained-Glass Window

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

In 1968, the beautiful stained-glass window in the baptistery of the Sanctuary which depicts the Trinity was added by Russell Church Studios of Mount Airy, North Carolina. How appropriate to view the Savior, Jesus Christ, as the focal point of the Pulpit and with the same line of sight as the Great organ pipes.

At the top of the stained-glass window is a hand coming from the clouds, representing the hand of God the Father and His creative power while pointing to the sacrificial gift of His Beloved Son, Jesus (John 3:16). Christ is shown in full resurrected glory with outstretched arms welcoming all to believe in Him. Several small red stained-glass pieces dot the image, subtly depicting Christ’s blood of the Cross. The dove at the base of this window represents the Holy Spirit, as it descended onto Jesus at his Baptism (Matthew 3:16-17 - As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”) This window has a dedicated lamp to enhance its dramatic impact and allow the viewer to see detail and engage contemplatively.

    Westover Baptist Church
    1125 Patrick Henry Drive | Arlington VA 22205-3517
    P 703.237.8292 | F 703.237.3864
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