Guthrie Memorial Chapel is a tiny building with a long history of abandonment and redemption.

Click on photos below to enlarge.
Special thanks to Brittany Scheib for sharing her photographic talents.

Our Chapel building was first constructed around 1890 at a remote location in Buckingham County, Virginia, some ten miles from where it now sits. It has the distinction of being the first Seventh-day Adventist church in the area. (The Seventh-day Adventist denomination is not affiliated with Guthrie Memorial Chapel.)

During the 1950s, it was taken down, piece by piece, and moved to its present location in Cumberland County. This was done to make it more accessible to good roads. Here, for approximately a dozen years, it was again used for worship by the SDAs.  Nancy and Willie Guthrie, who are honored in the Chapel's name, led this SDA congregation. To this day, the SDA cemetery sits adjacent to our Chapel.

When the SDA congregation moved to yet another location, the Chapel was abandoned, and eventually sold to a Farmville, Virginia realtor. It sat vacant for a long time until it was bought by a local Cumberland family and made into a home.

Again,  it was abandoned, and sat empty for years. In a terrible state of disrepair, it was purchased for a token amount in 2001 by Dr. Fillmer Hevener and his congregation. It took two years of remodeling to restore the chapel to its original purpose. Under the blessing of the Lord, this was accomplished by the congregation without incurring any debt. In 2003 it was rededicated as a house of worship - Guthrie Memorial Chapel - for the glory of God.

The Chapel continues to take seriously the great commission of our Master, Jesus Christ. He told His followers to go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptizing in the name of the Trinity.

Locally, the Chapel has engaged in such charitable practices as: helping families whose homes are burned-out, conducting healthful-living seminars, helping folk to stop smoking, distributing Christian literature, visiting and encouraging the sick, practicing home visitation, volunteering at shelters, and assisting needy families with food and clothing. In addition, we have sent Christian literature to various needs overseas.

We wish to thank the following, who have given of their time and/or talents to help Guthrie Memorial Chapel:  Dick and Rosella Trim, Edith Townsend, Don and Barbara Twombley, Archer Mosley, John Baker, Gail Derringer, Heather Easter and Brittany and Joshua, Nevada Williamson, Vaden Townsend, Bill Atkinson, Dr. Fillmer and Celia Hevener, Jo Waite, Jim Messer, Juanita Huffman, Ellen Cunningham, Mickey and Bernice Warren, Evelyn Scott, David Norman, Horace and Ellie Wimmer, Debra Fulton, Pete Woodard, Randy and Ginger Guthrie, Clifford Hevener, Bobby and Nellie Hevener, Steve and Ella Guthrie, Crystal Ramsey, John and Lois Frantz, Moses Luswata, Dennis and Fe Hevener, Ross Hevener, Frank and Yolanda Scheib and Brittany and Kelli Scheib, Frank and Fran Bondurant, Houston and Doris Hatcher, Derwood and Jane Guthrie, and many others too numerous to mention. May God's richest blessings rest upon you and yours as you dedicate your life to following the GOOD LIFE, IN JESUS CHRIST!


On August 16, 2001, Fillmer Hevener, Jr., his wife Celia Achenbach Hevener, along with some eight other persons met for the first time at Heritage Baptist Church, Farmville, Virginia.

Although the Heveners, along with W. T. Guthrie, had been founding members of the Farmville Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA), during the spring and summer of 2001, they decided to leave the Seventh-day Adventist denomination and begin their own Christian organization. Even though Fillmer had serious concerns about the denominational view that the writings of Ellen White are inspired, his primary reason for severing his relationship with the SDA Church was the church’s position on tithing.

Questioning various church officials, Fillmer tried to find out whether or not the church considered all of Ellen White’s views to be inspired. Although most SDAs don’t take a clear position on this issue, many seem to believe that most of her writings are inspired, but not everything that she penned. For example, her writing of a grocery list, or a friendly letter to a neighbor, would not be considered inspired by many, perhaps most, SDAs. When Fillmer asked church leaders how they separated her inspired writings from those that are not inspired, he was told that “You can just tell by reading the passages.” Such a casual, subjective method of determining a selection’s inspirational validity did not satisfy Fillmer. Also, after studying many of White’s writings and comparing them to earlier writings or writings by others of her day, Fillmer concluded that White had gotten many of her ideas from other writers, even though she had largely denied doing such.

Fillmer had even stronger disagreement with the SDA Church on the issue of tithes. In its official book outlining its twenty-seven major doctrines, the church states that it takes as its “model” for support of the church the tithing requirements outlined in the book of Leviticus. In the same book summarizing its doctrinal views, the SDA church teaches that the Levitical (Ceremonial) system was done away with at the death of Christ; it was the death of Christ, the sacrificial Lamb, that takes away the sins of the world. The sacrificing of animals in the Levitical system was a foreshadowing of the Messiah, fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of this inconsistency in the SDA Church’s position, Fillmer could no longer, in intellectual honesty, continue as a member of that body. Rather, he subscribes to the apostolic method of church support outlined in the New Testament. This method was used by the apostles, including Paul. The early Christian churches were supported by free-will giving, not tithe. In addition, the apostles were supported by the labor of their hands as well as by gifts and courtesies afforded them by believers and friends. (For other relevant information, see articles.)

Although Hevener, and those of like belief, began meeting at the Heritage Baptist Church on August 16, 2001, the group did not formally organize itself until November 4, 2001. This organization took place in Buckingham County at the home of Vaden Townsend. A church board of five members was chosen. This board consisted of: Frank Bondurant, Sr., Nevada Williamson, Don Twombley, John Baker, and Dr. Fillmer Hevener. Earlier, on September 2, 2001, a bank account had been opened with a deposit of $18.00. Under the blessings of the Lord, to date the members have spent some $45,000 on the building without incurring any debt. 


On June 28, 2007, in a letter from Robert Kyte, General Conference attorney, to Fillmer Hevener, Pastor of the Chapel, the Seventh-day Adventist Church threatened legal action against Guthrie Memorial Adventist Chapel for using the word ADVENTIST in its name.  Although the Chapel did not agree with the SDA Church that the Chapel was illegally using the word ADVENTIST, it followed the instruction of Christ and Paul to reconcile, if possible, rather than go to court against a fellow-Christian. Therefore, on July 14, 2007, the Chapel membership voted to remove the word ADVENTIST from its name, effective August 1, 2007.  (For a detailed discussion of "Name Change," go to our home page and click on the NAME CHANGE button to the left of the screen..) PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT OUR BELIEFS HAVE NOT CHANGED.


Included in the roster of charter members were: Dick and Rosella Trim, Edith Townsend, Don and Barbara Twombley, Archer Mosley, John Baker, Gail Derringer, Heather Easter and Brittany and Joshua, Nevada Williamson, Vaden Townsend, Bill Atkinson, and Dr. Fillmer and Celia Hevener.


Only God knows what lies ahead for our Chapel. However, with His guidance and blessings, we hope to: build a fellowship hall, which will be attached to the Chapel, continue our local and foreign mission outreach, and disseminate the Biblical truths which God has entrusted to our care. We ask for your prayers.


If you should wish to contribute to our charitable work, you may send your donation to: Guthrie Memorial Chapel, 224 Mohele Road., Farmville, Virginia 23901, U.S.A. All gifts will be receipted. The Pastor and all other church officers volunteer their time. No one is paid for serving the Master.


The Hevener church was founded in 2001, by Dr. Fillmer Hevener of Farmville, Virginia. Its first organized congregation was the Guthrie Memorial Adventist Chapel, located in Cumberland County, Virginia. In July, 2007, the Chapel was renamed Guthrie Memorial Chapel (under protest) after the General Conference of SDA forced the Chapel to remove the word ADVENTIST from its name. The Hevener Church has believers internationally. It is a Christian denomination. Among its fundamental beliefs are: that one is saved through faith in Jesus Christ; that Jesus Christ will return the second time; that the Ten Commandments are still binding (this belief includes the fourth commandment, which calls for the keeping of the seventh-day sabbath); that pastors should serve on a voluntary basis without salary, as did the early apostles; that the church should not accept tithe under the New Covenant, but should be supported by free-will offerings; and that the believers' physical body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and should, therefore, be kept pure and healthy -- consequently, a vegan lifestyle is encouraged. The Hevener Church is independent, not being affiliated with any other Christian denomination.

Dr. Fillmer Hevener, a graduate of James Madison University and the University of Virginia, has taught at the college and university levels from California to Virginia. He has written three books and numerous professional and scholarly articles. His biography appears in Who's Who in the West and Southwest, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who in Education.

Guthrie Memorial Chapel is an active congregation that meets weekly and is engaged in mission work at home and abroad. It is located near Farmville, Virginia.


  • www.guthriememorial.org

  • Marquis' Who's Who Editions

  • Longwood college Catalogue

  • La Sierra College Catalogue

  • Frostburg State University Catalogue

  • University of Virginia records

  • James Madison University records


If you should wish to consider joining our movement, please contact Dr.Fillmer Hevener.

May God bless you as you dedicate your life to following Him!


Pre-restoration, 2001

The whole interior had to be restored, down to the floor joists.

Framework to front addition going up.

The new exterior, with stonework and stained glass window.

The new Guthrie Memorial Chapel sanctuary.

The temporary plywood wall in the rear will be replaced with the addition of the fellowship hall.

"This do in remembrance of Me."

Annual Guthrie family reunion.

Some friends and members of Guthrie Memorial Chapel.

Sister Edith Townsend

  2005 Guthrie Memorial Chapel