Eternal Life Church celebrates 10th anniversary
Published 1:37 pm Saturday, January 31, 2015
by Merle Monahan/Contributing writer
The Rev. Alvin Blow founded Eternal Life Church in Franklin, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, but the beloved pastor admits that in the beginning he was a reluctant preacher.
“I had known for years that God was calling me to preach,” he said, “but I told myself that I couldn’t do it. Even though I was active in church, I felt like it would be too much responsibility.
“But God kept showing me what He could do for me. I survived several accidents, where, in one, I broke my leg in seven places and He healed me.
“In another, my other leg was broken in four places, and I walk today as well as I ever did.”
The final revelation came, the Southampton High School assistant football coach said, “when in 2002, a student, who I did not know stopped by my office and said in effect, ‘God says that if you go back, He will not help you.’
“The student left and I never saw him again.” Blow said. “But I remembered what he said. In my heart I took this to mean that God expected me to preach.”
The young grandfather said he knew he could not ignore what he had just heard and began then to prepare for the ministry.
A 1981 graduate of Virginia State University with a degree in agricultural education, Blow entered Norfolk Seminary — some 20 years later. He was ordained in 2004 by Pastor Melvin Early of Pine Level Baptist Church.
Although always active in church, Blow, 55, said during his early years he did not envision the life he now leads.
Born and raised in Southampton County, he attended Southampton County schools, where he excelled in sports. At Southampton High, he was a member of the famous “Big Red Machine,” and later went on to teach and coach at this same school for 22 years.
After leaving this position, he founded A&B Custom Designs LLC, a business that contracts and builds commercial and residential structures.
Although this is his current business, he said he missed sports. In addition to his pastoral duties, he now coaches as Southampton High.
The son of Dorothy and Johnel Blow, the father of four said he was raised in the church and knows he is where he is supposed to be. Married to Felicia for 24 years, who he says is his backbone and strongest supporter, the pastor praises God for her and their family, children Erin James, 3; Victoria, 19; and Trevor, 13. Alvin Jr. is deceased.
It was in 2001 when Blow had a vision from God to start a non-denominational church. Soon a charter was drafted and Eternal Life Church selected as its name.
His first congregation of about 10 met and worshiped at the Comfort Inn in Franklin.
With Pastor Blow at the helm, the church began to grow and in 2010, the congregation moved into an old Chinese restaurant they repurposed on Barrett Street in Franklin. The membership of 100 meets there today. Last weekend, members and friends celebrated the church’s anniversary with a prayer breakfast on Saturday and a service followed by dinner on Sunday.
“Although our membership, which includes members of my family, has increased dramatically, the church has grown even more spiritually, which is most important,” said Blow.
He added that his church consists of a group of Christians with very big hearts and a passion for God.
“Eternal Life serves the true and living God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Blow anticipates big things for his church in the future and members have already purchased land on Route 58 for expansion.
“The best truly is yet to come!”