Mercy Seat Baptist Church began with the blending of two God-given visions: (1) Rev. James A. Brown, a graduate of Boyce Bible School, dreamed of starting a Southern Baptist Church; and (2) The Peninsula Baptist Association (P.B.A.) dreamed of starting many churches throughout the peninsula to reach the unchurched.  (A long range planning study by the association during the late 1980s had revealed that about 75% of the population on the Peninsula was not attending a church.)

     On June 5, 1990, a meeting of great significance was held at the P.B.A. building with approximately fifty (50) persons including Rev. Brown, leaders of the P.B.A., and the Virginia Baptist General Board (V.B.G.B.) in attendance. The V.B.G.B. shared their visions of the new church and through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Briarfield and Aberdeen Roads in Hampton were chosen as the areas to concentrate efforts for our outreach and evangelism. Mercy Seat Baptist Church was chosen as the name of our church.

    We were very fortunate in having the support of several ministers and churches during our initial struggle. These included:  Rev. Trinkle, Rev. Tommy Harrell, Rev. Aubrey Rosser, Rev. J. Doyle (Orcutt Baptist Church, Rev. Glen Lutz (Riverdale Baptist Church), Rev. Don Harvey (Memorial Baptist Church), and Dr. David Goodroe (Temple Baptist Church). 

     Under the guidance of God and leadership of Rev. James A. Brown, Mercy Seat embarked on its Christian mission of saving souls. Mid-week Bible studies, led by Rev. Brown, began in August of 1990 at Riverdale Baptist Church. Thanks to the kindness and support of the Pastor and Riverdale Baptist Church, many of the earlier functions were held there.

     Our first service was held on October 14, 1990, at Lindsay Middle School on Briarfield Road in Hampton with Rev. Houston preaching the initial sermon. Our second church location was a trailer at West Hampton Baptist Church on Aberdeen Road in Hampton. On November 28, 1990, the Senior Choir was organized with eight (8) dedicated members and Mr. Walston as director and pianist.  Mercy Seat formally elected its first Church officer, Deacon Marvin Jenkins, who was ordained February 19, 1991, in a special service at Riverdale Baptist Church. The first Women’s Day program was held on May 10, 1991, and Reverend Mae Corbin was the speaker at West Hampton Baptist Church.  On June 2, 1991, our first baptism service was held at Riverdale and our first candidate was Mr. Dwayne McCoy.  In August of 1991, Rev. Fred and Betty Williams spearheaded our Vacation Bible Study for a week, with thirty-five (35) workers from Macon, Georgia assisting them. This event was called the “Big A” and activities were held in the Sweet Briar and Brittany Apartment area. To commemorate the church’s conception, our first anniversary was held June 3, 1991 at Riverdale Baptist Church with Reverend Brian Williams, Pastor.

     Of great significance in our church’s history was the organization of the Women’s Missionary Union (July 9, 1991) by Sister Viola Patterson, and the Acteen Club and Youth Choir  (January 1992) by Jacqueline Brown-Battle, Patricia Shufford, and Elsie McKoy. In 1993, we also became actively involved in the Food Bank Program which has been a source of help to many people. We were able to distribute bread and staple foods for 30 to 40 families. This food was delivered using a 1977 Ford Van purchased for $700.00.  On April 8, 1994, the Mercy Seat W.M.U. hosted the 92nd annual business meeting of the W.M.D. Peninsula Baptist Association. We had representatives from sixty-six (66) different Southern Baptist Churches. Catherine Gail was the director at that time. Reverend I. Charles Williams was selected as the Assistant to the Pastor and the Minister for the

Youth in 1996.  We also ordained Brother Linwood Batchelor and Brother Otis Squires into the Deacon’s Ministry that same year.  Reverend Williams was later ordained in a special service in June of 2000. 


On October 17, 2004 Deacon John Coles, Sr. was ordained in the Deacon’s Ministry.


     Our ministerial staff was expanded to include not only Reverend Williams, but Reverend James and Elaine Gray, Evangelist Eleanor Jeter, Reverend John Spruill and later in 2010 Reverend Georgette Fields joined in 2012.


    Our Founding Pastor, James A. Brown was called home to be with the Lord in January 2005.  The Church selected I. Charles Williams ad Interim Pastor.  In 2006 Pastor Williams was selected as our Second Pastor.  His installation service was held in April with the Reverend James Gray presiding.


         In 2006 the W.M.U. was re-organized and in their initial meeting they chose as their first ministry effort to provide meals to the students of Christopher Newport University.  Some of their other efforts included workshops for our youth, feeding the homeless, coats for the needy, the Angel Tree Christmas drive, kits for Africa, school supply drives and many other projects that are ongoing.


    In November of 2006, the Deaconess Ministry was established with previously ordained Deaconess Gertrude McNeil, Deaconess Bennetta Pankey, Deaconess Rosa Wallace, Deaconess Vivian DeVoe and Deaconess Virginia Fauntleroy. They were joined by newly ordained members Sister Jacqueline Brown-Battle, Sister Chelsie Williams, Sister Jerelean Coles, Sister Jannie Jenkins and Sister Constance Massenburg.  Brother Samuel Massenburg and Brother Joseph Battle were also ordained into the Deacon’s Ministry in the same special service with the Peninsula Deacon and Deaconess’ Counsel officiating.  In December of 2006, Deacon Everett Myers joined the Deacon Board.  In December 2007, Deacon Cecil Randall joined the Deacon Board. In January 2017, Deacon Otis Squires joined the Deacon Board. 


     In July 2010, Sister Carole Emanuel-Taylor was ordained into the Deaconess ministry and her husband Brother David Taylor was ordained into the Deacon’s Ministry in April 2012.  I January 2015 Brother Reginald Newkirk was added to the Deacon’s Ministry and Sisters Margienette Whitfield and Adrienne Butts were selected as part of our Deaconess Ministry.  Deaconess Linda Cowan, who had previously been part of the Deaconess Ministry of New West End Baptist Church joined our ministry in April 2015. In 2016, Deaconess Laura Garris joined our Deaconess Ministry and in 2017 Deaconess Ruth Squires joined.


     January 2015 Brother Reginald Newkirk was added to the Deacon’s Ministry and Sisters Margienette Whitfield and Adrienne Butts were selected as part of our Deaconess Ministry.  Deaconess Linda Cowan, who had previously been part of the Deaconess Ministry of New West End Baptist Church joined our ministry in April 2015. In 2016, Deaconess Laura Garris joined our Deaconess Ministry and in 2017 Deaconess Ruth Squires joined.


     Our church has been blessed to have gone through a renovation of our kitchen, new carpet and painting throughout the sanctuary.  The upgrade of our electronic system remains to be completed.  Mercy Seat is now part of the world-wide web at  As part of the Youth Ministry, our Praise


Ministry was established by Sisters Jacqueline Brown-Battle and Adrienne Butts.  This Ministry now includes a Mature Adult Praise Team.    


     In addition to the Mass Choir and the Male Chorus, our Praise Team was established to minister on the fifth Sunday.  All of our Music Ministry is devoted to the praise and worship of our holy and righteous GOD.

In response to all the signs that GOD is showing all around us, we had our First Annual Prophesy Conference in April of 2012.  The speakers were Pastor Jeffery Knight, Pastor Robert Addison and Pastor Williams.


     We have continued in the direction set before us by our founding Pastor James A. Brown to reach out to those that are hungry for spiritual and physical food.  We now feed 70 families with our Food Bank Ministry.  The Sweetbriar Apartments outreach, Neighborhood Outreach and other efforts to reach those who do not know or have drifted away from the Master are always ongoing.


      In obedience to the Great Commission, our church continues to grow in number and spiritually with a focus on Holy Living, sound Bible Teaching and being a witness to the goodness of our GOD.


      Our church motto is found in the words written in Romans Chapter 8 verses 28 through 39.  Those words are there to remind us that the love of our GOD will be with us no matter where we go or what we do.

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Our Founding Pastor, Reverend James Alexander Brown and

First Lady Elizabeth Brown 

"If I can help somebody along the way, then my living would not be in vain"

November 1, 1924 - January 12, 2006

Pastor Williams' Biography


Charter Members of Mercy Seat
Sister Mamie Batchelor, Deaconess Jacqueline Brown-Battle,
Deacon Joseph Battle, Sister Yvonne Brown, Deaconess Adrienne Butts, Deaconess Jannie Jenkins, Deacon Marvin Jenkins,
Brother Haverd McKoy


    I. Charles Williams was born in Van Vleck, Texas to the late Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Williams.  He is the middle child in a family of ten brothers and sisters.  He was raised in Bay City, Texas where he attended grade school and graduated from Bay City High School in 1970.  He attended and completed Wharton College in May of 1972.  He joined the U.S. Air Force, served for four years and was honorably discharged in 1975.  He later attended Jefferson Davis and Brazosport College and upon graduation was employed at Dow Chemical Company in Freeport, Texas as a Chemical Technician.  He is currently employed with the Williamsburg James City Schools in the Maintenance Department.

     In July 1983, He married the former Miss Chelsie Frazier and they have been married for over thirty years.  They have been blessed with four children, Omesha, Charles, Chandra and Christina and are the proud grandparents to three grandchildren, Kierstan, Collisa and Joseph.

     He was raised in First Sacred Memorial Christian Church and came to know Christ while a member of Bethel Baptist Church in Freeport, Texas.  He later joined Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Hampton, Virginia whre he served in the Male Chorus, Youth Leader and Sunday School Teacher.  He was later licensed to preach the Gospel under the leadership of Pastor Lloyd S. Dillard in 1993.

      Pastor Williams' religious training includes Evangelism training at Southcrest Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas and New Olive School of Evangelism.  He is a graduate of the Church Growth Institute at Regent University, a teacher and student of the Church Wide institute of Newport News, Virginia.  He is currently attending the Center for Biblical Counseling in Forest, Virginia.

     He later joined Mercy Seat Baptist Church where he served as the Youth Minister and assistant to the Pastor until he was called to be Pastor in 2006, where he is currently serving.  Besides John 3:16 his favorite scripture is Romans 8:28-39.  He loves GOD, preaching and teaching the word and serving GOD's people.  His desire is to walk humbly before GOD and hear Him say "Well Done."

    "Our focus on the coming Kingdom of God has given me the opportunity to look ever more diligently at what God is doing in this world.  As the lyrics of one songwriter says "Lord whatever you are doing in this season, don't do it without me," is my prayer.  Whatever He wants me to do, I want to do it and wherever He wants me to be, that's where I want to be.  Jesus talked much about the Kingdom of God and I want the Kingdom of God to become our goal and desire too.  Just the thought of someday being part of God's coming Kingdom should be encouragement enough to make us more committed to Kingdom building."

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