Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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History of Christ Episcopal Church

 

 Established in 1872, Christ Church has ministered to Page County and the Town of Luray for over 140 years.  Church member Clarence W. (Bud) Martin wrote a detailed history of the church, titled    A Journey of Faith, which the basis for the information on this page

 

 

  

Our history began in 1871, when Bishop Francis Whittle ordained John Ambler of Markham Station, Fauquier County, Virginia, and assigned him to officiate at Luray, West End, and the adjacent missionary stations.  Through the efforts of the Reverend Ambler in 1872, the church congregation petitioned the 77th Council of the Diocese of Virginia to form a new parish to be called Luray Parish.  Upon approval of this petition a committee of local citizens began plans to finance and erect a church building.  By 1873, the funds had been obtained to purchase the necessary land, located on Main Street, across from the present Mimslyn Inn. 

 

 

From 1874 to 1882 there was no rector in Luray; however, services were held in the church by the Reverend Walker, rector-in-charge of the Episcopal Church in Mt. Jackson, Virginia.  On April 1, 1884, the church was consecrated by Bishop Whittle, and in May of the same year the Bishop assigned the Reverend Mosley Murray as the first resident Episcopal minister in Luray. 

In 1895, church members organized the Ladies’ Guild.  This group of women worked diligently to raise money in support of the church’s budget and to help furnish the interior of the church building.   Throughout the parish’s history there has remained an active women’s group raising funds for church projects and other causes. 

Around 1900, the Diocese of Virginia began a mission work program known as the “West Blue Ridge Mission,” and Christ Church was to play an important role in this work.  In 1905 Archdeacon F. E. Neve, who was in charge of this mountain mission, recommended that because of the large area and the amount of work this mission required, Luray Parish should move and separate itself from the mission churches of Pine Grove and Shenandoah.  Therefore, plans were made to relocate Christ Church to a site more central and within closer reach of the town’s people.  On October 8, 1914, the vestry voted to purchase a lot on the corner of Amiss Avenue and Jamison Road in Luray.  On Christmas Day, 1915, the Reverend Churchill Jones Gibson held the first service in the new church building.  In June of 1921, the church debt was paid and plans were begun to build the rectory, which was completed the next year. 

On October 29, 1922, the consecration of the new Christ Church took place along with the 50th anniversary celebration.  The prayer book that was used at that service by Bishop Gibson had been given to Mrs. Robert E. Lee in 1869.  At the time of the consecration, it was owned by congregant Robert T. Morrison.  This same book is still in the Morrison family and was used again at the 125th anniversary in September 1996.  It is of interest to note that there are in the church today active members who are descendants of some of the founders of Christ Church. 

The parish hall was dedicated in 1953, uniting the rectory and the church buildings and providing a much needed space.  With this new area Christ Church began a new role in the community.  This hall became – and remains - a center for community events, as well as providing space for offices and Sunday school. 

In 1983, the vestry implemented a five-year plan which led to Christ Church obtaining its goal of independence.  Under the leadership of the Reverend Frederick R. Trumbore, the vestry applied for independent church status.  On January 26, 1989, at the 194th Annual Council of Virginia, Christ Church of Luray was recognized and accorded full church status. 

In 1990, land adjacent to the church was purchased in preparation for growth or other needs.  A large parking lot was made for the benefit of the congregation and other organizations using the parish hall. Over the past few years the church and parish house have been air conditioned and the rectory has undergone a major renovation. 

After fourteen years of service to Christ Church, first as vicar and then as rector, Mr. Trumbore retired in 1999.  Following an interim period, the parish called the Rev. Martyn Pinnock from the Church of England as priest-in-charge.  After a year’s service, Mr. and Mrs. Pinnock returned to England in the spring of 2002.