History

History of the Episcopal Church of the Advent

In 1919 sixteen citizens met to discuss possibility of forming and Anglican church in Ocean View.  On July 4, 1920 they held their first service in the old Post Office in Ocean View.  The congregation then moved to the second floor of the Ocean View Masonic Lodge.  By 1920 the communicants were holding services in an old abandoned seed store with priests from Norfolk coming once or twice a month to celebrate the Holy Eucharist.

The construction of a permanent church was begun at 157 A View Avenue in 1921.  The plans were drawn by architect and church member, Edward Murray Frost.  The cornerstone, laid in 1921, presently rests in our garden.  Later that year the church was in operation as a mission church of Christ Church in Norfolk, and the rector was voted a salary of $50 per month with a $5 per month expense account.  Due to the poor condition of the treasury, Advent was unable to keep a priest more than a year or two during the 20’s.  In 1925, the church purchased the white cottage adjacent to the church, for $4,000, to be used as a rectory and Sunday school classrooms.

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, a series of adversities, including hurricanes and a destructive fire in the parish house, plagued the congregation.  The church was seldom debt free.  To reduce expenses, we shared a priest with the Church of the Epiphany.  In the late 30’s and early 40’s Advent’s fortunes began to improve.  The Vestry began to discuss the building of a new parish house, purchased The Good Shepherd stained glass window from a church in western Virginia, and modified the church to increase worship space.

As the congregation began to outgrown the A View facilities, the Vestry engaged in heated debate, prior to a decision to purchase a part of Pinewell Country Club property from H. H. Pegus for the sum of $20,000.  The old clubhouse was renovated to provide a church, parish hall, offices and classrooms.  The first service was held in the renovated club house on November 21, 1945.  In 1946, Advent was declared an independent parish, and in 1948 a rectory was constructed behind the church.

Between 1945 and 1947 church membership grew to 201 active members.  The church school also grew, and by 1953 is boasted 405 member, prompting the Vestry to approve construction of a new Christian Education Wing.  This decision was soon followed by one to build a larger church on the existing parking lot.

The cost of the new 300 seat church was $130,000 with the Vestry financing $80,000.  The ground breaking took place in 1959, and the cornerstone was laid on September 11, 1960.

The baptismal font and the hymn boards in the present church were originally in the A View church.  The beautiful garden was designed by Charles Edward Gifford, a landscape architect and a member of the congregation.  The garden contains asters (in the back bed under the last window) which are original to the garden.