What kind of church is Old Donation?

This is a question we often hear. The best answer is to simply say we are a group of people trying our best to be faithful to God, following Jesus Christ, praying that we hear and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But of course, we know that lots of people and churches try to do that simple thing and end up looking very different, so some explanation of the details is helpful.

Old Donation Church is part of the Episcopal Church. It was the first Christian church of any kind in what is now Virginia Beach, and founded in 1637. We first met in the parlor of Adam and Sarah Thoroughgood's home. Clearly, we have a long history of worshiping and serving Jesus Christ! As you might expect, we honor history and tradition, but we are not a museum. Rather, we are a very active, alive parish using the best of the past, along with the best of the new, so long as it honors God and advances the work of God’s kingdom.

The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, making us the third largest group of Christians in the world, following Roman Catholics. There are over 80 million Anglicans worshiping around the globe. The Episcopal church is often called a “bridge church”. We are similar to the Roman Catholic church in some ways, and our theology includes both catholic and protestant perspectives. The sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion are central to our worship life, and we have four orders of ministry: lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. The authority of Holy Scripture, interpreted through tradition and reason, is the foundation of our understanding of God, creation, and our life, and guides our life as we try to live out our Godly purpose.

Worship that Feeds and Teaches

Our worship is a balance of Word and Sacrament. We use more Holy Scripture in a typical service than most churches, typically having four Scripture readings, in addition to prayers that find their root in the Bible. Preaching is very important to us at Old Donation, and we have a history of explanation of Scripture that helps us understand what God is saying about God, our own lives, and how we are to live. We always want preaching to be understandable and practical. 

Almost every service includes Holy Communion, also known as Holy Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper. This emphasis is because it was Jesus’ own instruction to the disciples that we should join at the Table where Christ’s presence would feed us the “heavenly food and drink” that would strengthen us for the journey of life.

Grounded in Scripture while

Serving Christ in the World

Old Donation places a high level of importance on education and formation for all ages. From young children learning the stories of God, continuing all the way to classes for adults, there is something for everyone. We have adult classes for beginners, and other classes which could classify for graduate education, offered by a team that includes many people with graduate degrees in theology and scripture.

We are committed to serving others, so have many different ministries and missions that help others. We believe God expects each  to use our talents and resources to serve the least, the last, and the lost.

With a Place for You

Old Donation is a church that welcomes every person. We believe that in God’s kingdom there is no distinction that separates God’s people. All races, all ages, with no regard for who we are or what we’ve done, both rich and poor are simply equal members of one church. In Old Donation we have some people who would think of themselves as conservatives, others who might consider themselves as liberals, and others who don’t care. The labels of the political world are irrelevant here. We are all simply Christians first, trying to be and do what God expects, and go where the Holy Spirit leads.

There is a place for you. The very best way to understand us is to come worship, study, and serve with us for a while. You will experience people who love the Lord and who love each other. Ultimately, as was true of the first century Christians, we hope that we, too, can be people who are known by their love for one another.

Come and check us out!