The History of the Gathering at Scott Memorial UMC

Scott Memorial UMC History

Around 1846, Providence Methodist Episcopal Church, South, located on Cape Henry Public Road (later known as Old Virginia Beach Road), is believed to have been on the Princess Anne Circuit from 1846 to 1886. This circuit consisted of Providence, Virginia Beach, Cape Henry, Nimmo, Tabernacle and Salem. Deeds reveal that land for Providence Church was purchased in 1848. In 1886, Rev. D. G. C. Butts arrived at Providence, with fifty four members on roll. Rev. Butts found the church falling into disrepair. With a prayerful heart, he suggested that the Trustees sell the old church property and find a new location. In the village of Tunis (later known as Oceana) they found a small triangular parcel of Mr. C.K. Runnell’s property a fresh clear water spring and many trees growing. It seemed divinely provided for watering and tethering the horses.   Also, God had caused to grow there a walnut tree that would furnish the boards needed for the pulpit and lectern from which His word would be proclaimed for generations to come; still in use today.
Rev. McNeer was pastor when Mr. S. D. Scott, Sr. died in 1942, leaving a piece of  property to the church. Under the leadership of Mr. J. B. Senter, assisted by Mr. F. W. Cox, the church raised the sum of $10,000.00, as stipulated in the Will. The executors of the Scott Estate sold the property and presented the Trustees of the church with the sum of $41,000.00.   Because of World War II, the money was invested in United States Savings Bonds, considered the safest investment.  Then in the Fall of 1949, with additional funds and much enthusiasm, a Building Committee was appointed, for sanctuary and joining education building.  After much thought and prayer, plans were submitted to the church for acceptance. The committee suggested that the name of our church be changed to Scott Memorial Methodist Church, in memory of its benefactor, Mr. Shelby Dale Scott.  On Mother’s Day, May 14, 1950, a ground breaking ceremony took place.  Mr. H. C. Brooks, general contractor, began construction with the cornerstone for the first unit and sanctuary of the new church laid on July 29, 1950.  

Scott Memorial Methodist Church held its first worship service September 16, 1951 at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary.  The Rev. J. Fletcher Osborne welcomed worshipers.  Over the next ten years, several more building projects were accomplished, resulting an extension of Church School facilities, changes to the Sanctuary, a colonnade in front of the memorial garden in memory of Mary E. Scott and a new parsonage in Oceana Gardens.  Scott Memorial became United Methodist in 1968 as the result of a merger with the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. 

The History was compiled by Miss Fannie Brock,   Mrs. I. J. Upson, Mrs. Foy C. Casper and updated by Mrs. Betty S. Horner, Historian and summarized for this purpose by Ms. Betty B. Mills. Updated – September 2014. 


Providence Methodist Episcopal Church South – Tunis, VA (Oceana) 1889
Mr. Shelby Dale Scott, Sr. 1942
Scott Memorial UMC – 1951
The Gathering at Scott Memorial UMC – 2021

The History of The Gathering UMC, the merge and The Gathering at Scott Memorial UMC

In March of 2015,  Rev. Rachel Gilmore, UMC church planter and founding pastor of The Gathering UMC, realized her church was growing so quickly that they would soon need a new place to worship.  The number of children in worship had gone from 50 to 70 in just a few months and with the lease in our warehouse space expiring in December of 2015, she started to pray about the next steps.  Rachel met with Rev. Wayne Snead, the District Superintendent of the Elizabeth River District of the United Methodist Church to talk about possibly merging with an existing church.  They prayerfully discerned that there might be a possibility of partnering with Scott Memorial UMC. 
Wayne called Rev. Vickie Seibert, the pastor of Scott Memorial UMC to see if the church might be open to merging and she felt God was in this process and shared the possibility with leaders from the church. After they agreed to continue discussing a possible partnership, Pastor Rachel met with the Trustees and Church Council to request sharing space over the summer for youth group, Vacation Bible School and a Women’s Bible Study.  Both churches enjoyed sharing the space and so in July leaders from both churches met to start talking about opportunities and challenges in a permanent partnership. 
Throughout July and August there were dozens of meetings between leaders from both churches to pray and set up parameters for a merger.  Both churches had church conferences in September of 2015 where they voted overwhelmingly to move forward with the unification of the churches. 
Renovations on youth and children’s Sunday School classrooms began immediately along with technology updates to the church and on November 8, 2015 both churches met in the same building for the first joint Sunday worship services.  On November 10th they voted on a unified leadership structure and budget and selected a new name for the church which is now known as “The Gathering at Scott Memorial UMC.”  It was an exciting and prayerful process with both congregations sensing the Holy Spirit at work in powerful ways.  We look forward to continuing our ministry together as one church!
In 2018 the church underwent renovations to the building. The City of Virginia Beach was in the long process of expanding First Colonial Road once again and was taking another strip of land from the church for the road expansion. Due to the road coming closer to the church building, it would no longer be safe to use the official entrance to the sanctuary off First Colonial Road, and the sanctuary underwent a renovation to flip the entire sanctuary. In November of 2019 the work was completed. As part of the renovation, the main bathrooms were renovated, a new entrance was added from the parking lot, as well as the entire sanctuary renovated.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we quickly pivoted to virtual worship and our food ministry continued. We held worship outside, drive in services and were excited to reopen our sanctuary on Easter 2021. As the needs of our community increased, we increased Fresh Food Wednesday food ministry and served 145,000 people in 2021!