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Rev. Dr. Michael L. Sumler



Rev. Dr. Michael L. Sumler is a native of Norfolk Virginia.  He is the son of the late Mr. Otis L. and Mrs. Blanche Sumler. He attended Norfolk Public Schools, the Uzzle School or Music, Norfolk State College, Old Dominion University, Tabernacle Theological Seminary, Virginia Bible University and the English Language Institute of America.  He received a Bachelor of Divinity Degree, Master of Theology Degree in Religion, a Doctorate of Theology Degree, and a Doctor of Divinity Degree.  He has received numerous certificates and awards for outstanding civic and community service.  He holds membership in many religious and community organizations.  He volunteers as a Chaplain for the Newport News Police Department.


Dr. Sumler was employed at the Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star Newspaper Company for 22 years, where he held managerial positions in the Circulation Department and as an Advertising and Marketing Consultant. He was recognized by the Virginia Press Association for Creative Newspaper Advertising in 1981; and received a Certificate of Merit from the Virginia Press Association in 1992; Certificate of Accomplishment from Xerox Cooperation’s Learning Systems in 1982; and a Certificate of Achievement Award from the Integrity of Training System in 1993.


He was Minister of Music and an Associate Minister at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Norfolk, VA.  He was an instructor at Virginia Bible University, Norfolk, VA, where he served as president from May 1999 to May 2001.  He has held and still holds membership in many local, state and national organizations.  His former memberships include:  former Board member of Hunton YWCA, Norfolk, VA; Board member of the Chesapeake Optimist Club; Kiwanis Club; Tidewater Area Musicians; Town Point Club; Toastmaster; and Former Vice-Chairman and Chairman of Landmark Communications Employees Credit Union.  He is currently affiliated with:  The Tidewater Metro Baptist Minister’s Conference; a member and treasurer of the Peninsula Baptist Pastor’s Council and the National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc.


He was licensed to preach in June 1997 and ordained by the Old Dominion General Missionary Baptist Association in May 1998.


On November 2, 2000, he accepted the call to labor in New Grafton Baptist Church’s vineyard at 4401 Chestnut Avenue, Newport News, VA, and was installed as its eighth pastor on December 17, 2000. 


Because of his abundant wealth of wisdom, knowledge, religious principles and practices, the church is flourishing.  He has implemented many new educational and religious projects and programs, such as:

  • Youth and Teen Church

  • Boys and Girls Scouts’ Programs

  • Purchase of land and real estate property adjacent to the church

  • Acquisition of a handicap van and a 28 passenger bus

  • Community Link Food Bank

  • Expanded the Music/Arts Department

  • Greeters Ministry

  • Sumler’s Shining Stars adult liturgical dance ministry

  • God’s Little Angels youth liturgical dance ministry

  • Golden Ages Ministry

  • Virtuous Women’s Ministry

  • Couples Ministry

  • Widows/Widowers Ministry

  • Building Pledge Committee

  • Purchasing Committee

  • Computer Training Class

  • Special Projects Committee

  • Physical Fitness and Exercise Ministry

  • Youth Advisor’s Ministry

  • NGBC Outreach Ministries, Inc.

  • The Completion of a New Sanctuary -- “The Miracle on 44th Street”

  • Adopted the Newsome Park Community Youth thus providing special youth activities and food on Wednesday evenings.



Added to his credit was the intense training and ultimate ordination of eleven new deacons to the Diaconate.  History was made when he appointed the first two females to the Deacon Ministry.   He added twelve new trustees to the Trustee Ministry, and he licensed and ordained two Associate Ministers.


During his tenure as pastor of the church, the membership continues to increase.  His greatest vision in 2005 was to carry New Grafton Baptist Church to the next level by involving the church in building a new sanctuary.  His vision was fulfilled and on July 23, 2006, the congregation officially walked into a beautiful new $2.5m, (800 – plus)-seats, new Sanctuary -- “The Miracle on 44th Street.” The Dedication Services were held September 10-15, 2006.  Other renovations are slated for phase three.


In 2006, Pastor Sumler was elected to teach the Adult Church School class.  Because of his leadership, teaching techniques and wisdom, the Church School has shown tremendous growth in both the adult and youth classes. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2007, the Official Board of New Grafton Baptist Church voted unanimously, that the newly renovated fellowship hall be named in honor of the pastor “The Michael L. Sumler Fellowship Hall.”  The Lord is not through blessing him yet, because in October 2007, he orchestrated and raised enough money to purchase a 28 passenger bus. He was instrumental in getting the old fellowship hall and connecting hallways tiled with luxurious porcelain tiles. On November 3, 2007, Pastor Sumler was presented with a beautiful plaque and the prestigious “Doctor of Divinity Degree,” was bestowed upon him by the Norfolk Theological Seminary for his great work and many accomplishments.  On February 19, 2011 Pastor Sumler was honored by the Newport News Branch of the National Association For The Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was awarded the prestigious “2011 Local Living Legends Award,” for his many accomplishments in the church, community and other areas. 


Pastor Sumler believes in children, and believes that the church can make a difference in their lives, therefore he opened the New Grafton Baptist Church Childcare Center and School in August 2011.


Rev. Sumler is married to the former Ann Walker of Smithfield, VA, and they reside in Chesapeake, VA. They have one daughter, Dr. Michele L. Sumler. Rev. Sumler also has two sons, Michael, Jr. and Aaron and two grandchildren, Michealla and Aaron.



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