Rev. Adrian Van Andel was concluding his four-year tour as a Navy chaplain in 1957. He saw that servicemen in Norfolk needed spiritual encouragement. Chaplain Ade and his wife, Margaret (Marty), found a home in Ocean View ideally suited for the work of hospitality. They began this work in the summer of 1957, when he was released from the Navy. Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt worked alongside the Van Andels. In December 1958, Rev. Van Andel and family left for Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia) for post-graduate study. Mr. and Mrs. George De Vries, Jr., were the hosts most of 1959 and early in 1960. The De Vries family moved for a business assignment in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The servicemen’s home needed permanent leadership.
In 1960, Rev. John Rickers accepted God’s call to work in a hospitality house for sailors in the US Navy called the servicemen’s center. Over the years that a congregation formed around that hospitality house. In 1963, a church was planted under the leadership of Rev. John Rickers. On January 9, 1964, we purchased the building on the corner of Beach View Street and Hillside Avenue from Norfolk Christian Schools. That plant grew, and the congregation was formally established on January 18, 1975. After 32 years of ministry in Ocean View neighborhood, Pastor John retired on September 30, 1991. Rev. Jim Nikkel served as our pastor for 3 years from 1993 through 1996. Dan Mulder, who had served as the director the servicemen’s center for 8 years, became our next pastor. Pastor Dan began in 1996 and was ordained on March 4, 1997. He served our congregation for 9 years, until June 19, 2005, when he accepted a call to a sister congregation in Bozeman, Montana. Rev. Gary Roest accepted God’s call to serve as our fourth pastor in September 2005. Pastor Gary arrived at Ocean View on January 8, 2006 and after 8 years, he retired from full-time ministry on February 28, 2014. On September 21, 2014, our congregation called our current minister, Pastor Petr. He has been serving at Ocean View since October 2015.
Ever since 1960, our mission has not changed; we remain committed to serving our neighborhood and providing hospitality to servicemen and their families. The majority of our members live in Ocean View or adjacent neighborhoods. Many of the families have someone who is active or retired military.