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Our History

 

The establishment of the Church of the Brethren in Charlottesville was the realization of a great dream held for many years by interested members of the denomination. It was in the fall of 1923 that Rev. I.L. Bennett first became interested in seeing a church started in Charlottesville. It was in the days of the street car, and Bennett traveled via street car from the Belmont section to the University of Virginia where he was a day student. One morning, on the street car, he chanced to meet Rev. I.N.H. Beahm, who was very interested in a Charlottesville Church of the Brethren.


Together Beahm and Bennett worked out a plan by which Bennett preached in a private home in the Belmont section. These weekly services continued until the Spring of when Bennett left Charlottesville, never forgetting his dream of a church there.


In 1950, Rev. Bennett returned to Eastern Virginia as pastor of the East Mt.Carmel Church in Greene County. This move put him close to Charlottesville, and renewed his interest in establishing a church there. Soon he became acquainted with H. S. Knight, a retired Brethren minister, who offered the basement of his home on Elliott Avenue as a meeting place for worship services.


In 1956 Rev. Bennett became a member of the Eastern Virginia District Board of the Church of the Brethren, and at the first meeting he attended, he proposed the establishment of a church in Charlottesville and found that this project was also uppermost in the mind of Glen Weimer. Cooperation was soon secured from many other districts in Virginia, from the Regional Board, and from the Brotherhood Board in Elgin.


On September 29, 1957, the Eastern District of Virginia sent board members Glen Weimer, Carl Smith and Guy Wampler to help organize a fellowship. This first meeting was held in the Christian Church, at the corner of Cleveland and Cherry Avenue. There were present twenty seven adults, who elected the following steering committee:

W. W. Moore, Chairman Homer Kline, Assistant Chairman
Bettie White,  Secretary Joyce Wampler,Treasurer Margaret Horn


Upon the shoulders of this committee fell the responsibility of all organizational and business matters of the group as well as the securing of guest speakers for the regular Sunday night meetings. It was largely due to their untiring efforts, along with the continued support of the Eastern District Board, that the fellowship group progressed so steadily toward becoming a church.


Weekly meetings continued and on August 6, 1958 our group was officially recognized as a church. November 15, 1958 a down payment was made on six acres of land on Rio Road for our church building site and on August 2, 1959 ground breaking services were held. The first sermon was held in our new church on June 5, 1960.


Our church has continued to grow and in April 1995 construction started on the new sanctuary with completion in December 1995. With God's blessings we will continue to grow in His work.