A Brief History of First Baptist Church Morrison


In July, 1882 being fully aware for the need of establishing their own place to worship, a small band of concerned Christians assembled together in the county of Warwick at a little red schoolhouse, near a railroad junction called Oak Grove.

This church grew out of the Queen Street Baptist Church in Hampton, Virginia. Feeling the pressing need of a spiritual leader, they selected the Rev. John Corbin as the first pastor. Rev. Corbin organized every officer and auxiliary of the infant church. The Church, being established in the neighborhood of its members, grew and the hand of the Lord was upon them.

The Rev. John Corbin was a man of vision, and he had a group of God-fearing officers working with him. The infant church needed a home they could dedicate and consecrate to the work of the Lord. Their hearts were full of praise; their minds were full of work; their desires were to find a place, buy it, build it and call it their own. So the group purchased a piece of land a short distance from the little schoolhouse, and the name of the junction changed to Morrison. The church grew under the leadership of Rev. Corbin. Before his passing, he asked the body to elect the Rev. Dr. J.M. Bray to preach in his stead.


After the death of Rev. Corbin, the body elected Rev. Dr. J.M. Bray to be their second pastor. The name of the church changed from Oak Grove Baptist Church to the First Baptist Church Morrison. The Rev. J.M. Bray resigned after sixteen years of growth and fellowship. The Rev. W.M. Brown was called to pastor the church at Morrison. His pastoral work also caused the church to grow. He resigned after a period of eleven years.

Again, the Rev. J.M. Bray was called to pastor the flock at Morrison. During his second term, the trustees of the Mariners Museum purchased the property at East Morrison, and the building was relocated to 12365 Warwick Boulevard.

The church then called the Rev. Joseph H. Brown in 1949. Under his dynamic leadership, the body finished the work of renovation it had started during Rev. Bray’s administration.

The Rev. W.F. Ivey was called to pastor in February 1959, and he served for eleven years. His administration brought forth a second renovation to the building. Rev. W.F. Ivey worked with zeal and his messages were inspirational and spiritually uplifting. He resigned in February 1970.

The Rev. Dr. Marcellus Lee Harris, Jr. was called April 18, 1971. Rev. Harris was the seventh pastor called to serve Morrison in 124 years. He was a qualified man of God, and well loved by the members of Morrison. In 1976, under the leadership of Rev. Harris, a dream became a reality, the church was expanded, a fellowship hall and multi-purpose room were completed. Then, the Lord entrusted him with a vision for a new church edifice.

In 1999, Christopher Newport University was divinely guided to aid our growth by sharing their dream of expansion. They sought to and did purchase our Warwick site. We were mightily blessed and were able to acquire an anointed parcel of land, here where we stand. January 1, 2003, we moved in on this holy ground at 12720 Patrick Henry Drive. On this Founder’s Day 2019, we are being spiritually led by God sent Pastor-Elect Rev. William J. Spencer.

We are ever grateful to God for bringing us thus far and we are eternally grateful to all the Saints of Morrison, those living and those gone home to Glory, who have kept the bloodstained banner of Jesus waving high. We are ever growing, spreading the good news that God lives. He’s real. He loves you and me. And through all of us He’s doing great things!