History of Emmanuel
History of Emmanuel Church – Greenwood, VA
Some 17 miles west of Charlottesville on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenwood was once a flag stop on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad where the trains climbed upgrade past Afton and Waynesboro into the Shenandoah Valley. In the early 1850′s a small group of area residents began holding services in their homes and in the Baptist Church at Hillsboro. Construction began on Emmanuel Church in 1862.
First Service – Christmas – 1863
With about fifteen persons giving thanks and saying prayers for peace, the first service was conducted by Reverend Dabney C. T. Davis on Christmas Day in 1863. The Davis family lived in a log parsonage nearby. Emmanuel Church was consecrated in 1867 by Bishop John John’s assistant, Bishop Whittle, who later described it to the Diocesan Council as being a “neat, comfortable and substantial building of brick, beautifully situated. Its completion in these times of pecuniary depression afford evidence of a healthy state of religion in the parish.”
St. Paul’s – Ivy, Emmanuel – Greenwood, and St. George’s Chapel – Crozet
In 1868 St. Paul’s – Ivy and Emmanuel – Greenwood joined forces under the same rector, an agreement that was to see both churches through the financially strapped reconstruction era and into the next century. Services were held at Emmanuel twice a month. By far the most famous and influential rector was the Rev. Frederick W. Neve, who came to Albemarle County in 1888 and remained until his death. He spent seventeen of those years (1888 – 1905) as rector for Greenwood Parish, and it was under his leadership that St. Georges Chapel was constructed in Crozet. Services were held there from 1899 to 1941. Today, a small altar and plaque at Emmanuel preserves St. George’s Chapel as a vital component of our church’s history.
Church of the Holy Cross, Batesville
In 1900 Archdeacon Neve established the Church of the Holy Cross as a mission of Emmanuel – Greenwood. This beautiful and well-maintained frame chapel, four miles southwest of Batesville, also has a Parish Hall and Outreach Building which formerly housed the deaconesses who lived and served there during its period as a mission. Consecrated in 1902, Holy Cross has from the beginning been closely associated with Emmanuel, and in both of them the missionary spirit so strongly established by Mr. Neve has remained very much alive. A bell tower named for Mr. Neve was attached to the building.
A Traveling Ministry
During his three years here (1908-1911), Rev. Walter Russell Bowie held services at Emmanuel every Sunday morning; on the first and third Sundays he rode to Holy Cross Mission in the afternoons; on the second and fourth Sunday afternoons he went to St. George’s Chapel in Crozet for services, after which he then took a train to Waynesboro for services there.
Replacement of the Original Church Structure
Nancy and Phyllis Langhorne gave Emmanuel a bell tower in 1905. In 1908, a rectory was constructed next to the church (now called the Marston-LaRue House). In 1914 the little Greenwood church was replaced with a new one on the same spot, including a Parish Hall with connecting arcades. Several elements were taken from the old church and placed in the new. The “tray” ceiling from the old church was placed in the new Parish Hall, and the circular windows from the 1905 bell tower were used in the new church tower.
With the exception of the move of the organ from the first floor to the gallery, relatively few changes have taken place within the Church since its re-consecration in 1915. The Parish Hall was expanded in 1959 with the addition of the fully equipped kitchen, restrooms, and Sunday School classrooms. The main meeting room remained intact.
Although both the Church and the Marston-LaRue House suffered minor fires, each time the flames were extinguished before any major damage was incurred.
Holy Cross Church – Batesville
During the early 1900′s a series of deaconesses ministered to Holy Cross. In 1918 Deaconess Margaretta James and Miss Hallie Worsham came there and remained until the Rev. H. Lee Marston became rector of Greenwood Parish in 1937.
Throughout their two decades Deaconess James and Miss Hallie administered a Clothing Bank, a Food Bank, a Medicine Bank, and made home visits, as well as performed the normal duties of running a church. Through their efforts Holy Cross was blessed with an increase in both the congregation’s size and its activities. In 1940, after extensive effort and commitment to self-reliance, Holy Cross was able to evolve into a self-supporting (with the exception of sharing the cost of the rector) sister church of Emmanuel.
The Rev. H. Lee Marston, Rector
From 1937 until 1969 the Rev. H. Lee Marston was our priest, preacher, teacher, and friend. He sparked the building of Lee Hall, which contains the parish Hall and Sunday School space for Holy Cross, and provided leadership in service for the entire community, spending many hours with Scouts, area youth and teaching thousands to swim at the Greenwood Community Center.
The Rev. Howard A. LaRue, Rector
Upon Mr. Marston’s retirement we were blessed by the arrival of the Rev. Howard A. LaRue, who preached his first sermon here in October, 1969. He was a gifted preacher and a loving shepherd to his parish. During his twenty-six year tenure both churches grew steadily in numbers and spiritual strength. He was instrumental in forming several outreach programs, most notably the Greenwood Parish Bread Fund which is housed at Holy Cross and staffed by volunteers from both supporting churches. This is the largest outreach program of its kind in the Diocese of Virginia. Reverend LaRue retired from his position as rector of Greenwood Parish on December 31, 1995.
The Rev. Charles A. Mullaly, Rector
After a 20-year career as a Medical Service Corps officer in the U.S. Army, Chuck Mullaly entered Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. As a seminarian, he served at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Burke, Virginia. Following his ordination, he served at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, VA. Chuck and his wife Leith came to Emmanuel in November of 1997 and he retired in August of 2012.
The Rev. Sarah Kinney Gaventa, Associate Rector
In 2005, Emmanuel called its first Associate Rector, the Rev. Sarah Kinney Gaventa to serve alongside the Rev. Charles F. Mullaly in leading and shepherding the Emmanuel Church community. Sarah’s primary focus was on Christian Education, Youth, and Newcomers. After serving at Emmanuel for four years, Sarah moved to Princeton, NJ to accompany her husband Matthew who was entering seminary. In the spring of 2013, Matthew Gaventa accepted a call to serve as pastor of Amherst Presbyterian Church which brought the Gaventas back to Virginia. Sarah currently serves as associate rector at St. Paul's Episcopal in Ivy.
The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Associate Rector
The Rev. Peter M. Carey entered seminary after a 15 year career teaching history and religious studies and coaching lacrosse and soccer in independent schools in VT, DC, NC, and PA. He was sponsored for ordination by St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, PA, and served at Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring, Maryland while in seminary. After graduating from Virginia Theological Seminary, he served as head chaplain at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond. From 2009-2012, the Rev. Peter M. Carey served as Emmanuel’s second Associate Rector, led the Christian Formation programs, assisted with worship, governance, pastoral care and preaching at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Pamela Webb, Interim Rector 2012-2013
The Rev. Christopher Garcia, Rector
In August of 2013 the vestry of Emmanuel Episcopal Church elected the Rev. Christopher M. Garcia as rector. Father Christopher was previously at Christ Church, Georgetown, in the Diocese of Washington, where he served as Assistant to the Rector. For twenty-five years, Christopher served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer and later as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Assignments at the Pentagon brought the Garcia family to Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Burke, Virginia, which sponsored him for ordination. Christopher earned undergraduate, M.B.A, and law degrees from Cornell University. His seminary education was at Virginia Theological Seminary, in Alexandria, Virginia. Christopher accepted a call from Christ Church Port Republic, MD and will begin his ministry there October 1, 2017.
The Rev. Mignon Sarah Brockenbrough, Assistant to the Rector
The Rev.’d Brockenbrough has been serving Emmanuel Greenwood since October 2015. Sarah was ordained to the diaconate in May 2014 and to the priesthood in December of that year. At Emmanuel, Sarah shares in all aspects of parish ministry, with particular emphasis on ministry to visitors and newcomers, Christian formation, and outreach ministry. A native of Savannah, Georgia, Sarah was Youth Director at Christ Church Episcopal, Savannah, before attending Virginia Theological Seminary. Sarah double-majored in English and Secondary Education at Vanderbilt University; she earned a masters degree in Historic Preservation at the University of Georgia. Before accepting a call to Emmanuel Greenwood, Sarah served as the Associate Rector for Family Ministries at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Sarah is married to Will Brockenbrough. They live in Nelson County.