A Short History of Emmanuel Church, Middleburg, Virginia
On June 25th 1842, four trustees of the Protestant Episcopal Church of
Middleburg purchased a quarter acre lot to erect a church. On July 21st,
1843, Virginia Assistant Bishop John Johns consecrated Emmanuel, a
30’ x 40’ building, seating 40. In 1853, Emmanuel separated from
Upperville and joined Aldie in the new Johns Parish, named after the
bishop. Also, Reverend Ovid A. Kinsolving became rector, serving until
1870. Emmanuel purchased a building in 1856 as a parsonage which
Senior Warden William Benton enlarged. Senior Warden Asa Rogers,
an original trustee, became a Confederate Brigadier General in 1861.
In 1863, Union troops imprisoned Rector Kinsolving for several months in
Washington, on suspicion of preaching secession.
After the war, the Bentons, their fellow parishioners the Nolands and
others successfully fought the Freedmen’s Bureau attempts to expropriate
their allegedly abandoned lands. Over the next several decades, Emmanuel's prominent families unsuccessfully tried to restore the post-war economy. In 1873, the Vestry began discussing enlarging the sanctuary, a debate that lasted fifty years. Parishioner Charlotte Haxall Noland opened Foxcroft School in 1914 which she headed for 40 years. Many of her all-female students attended Emmanuel. Rector Robert Goodwin was a chaplain in France at the end of World War One. His dynamic successor, David Campbell Mayers became rector in 1921 and served 24 years.
Church enlargement finally began in 1926, prompted by the gift of a large pipe organ from a wealthy New Yorker whose daughter had attended Foxcroft. The church grew to 30’ x 60’, seating 70. A number of influential parishioners founded the private Hill School in 1928 and sent their children there. During the Depression, Rector Mayers, PTA president, rallied the congregation to help the public schools. In 1935, Charlotte Noland opened the Foxcroft Social Service Clinic to provide medical aid to the poor. Paul Mellon continued the work by establishing the Middleburg Health Clinic which Emmanuel parishioners directed. Emmanuel celebrated Middleburg founder Leven Powell’s 200th birthday in 1937, installing a large stone tablet inside the church. Parishioners provided active home front support during World War Two, with four local casualties. The church celebrated its centennial on May 23rd 1943. Church parishioners began the annual Fabulous Rummage Sale that year to help the needy, an event which lasted six decades. In 1948 Emmanuel began the annual Christmas Shop, with proceeds also going to help the needy. In April 1961, Rector Ernest A. deBordenave (“Froggy”) racially integrated the Red Fox Inn over a pleasant, incident-free lunch with black leaders and multiple parishioners. In 1965, Rene Llewellyn, co-parishioner Nancy Manierre and Rector Neale Morgan started Middleburg FISH for locals in need.
The church was remodeled in 1976 to accommodate a smaller organ, now seating 115. Parishioner Rene Llewellyn, helped by Gladys Tartierre and Rector Neale Morgan, founded the Windy Hill Foundation in April 1983 to renovate a local slum. Johns Parish sold its parsonage in 1987 and it became the Middleburg Country Inn. In 1993, the church celebrated its 150th anniversary. Parishioner Chet Low wrote an informative historical essay. In May 2001, Emmanuel re-dedicated a large bronze bell in memory of deceased infant parishioner Sarah Elizabeth Rehm. Between 2004 and 2007, the Parish House, home of the Christmas Shop and center of church activities, underwent major renovation.
In 2010, Reverend Anne Hallmark became the rector. Her tenure has supported continuing programs in formation, music, outreach and ecumenism. In addition, the congregation has deepened its community focus and support by enhancing programs and facilities in age friendly directions, increasing its technological capabilities, and retiring its renovation mortgage.
Please see “Historical Timeline” in the following section for details of more recent history.
Historical Essay by Chet Low with Courtney Kohler
Click HERE to view a Historical Essay of Emmanuel's history written by Chet Low and researched by him and Courtney Kohler, in honor of Emmanuel's 150th anniversary.