Emmanuel Episcopal Church

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Emmanuel Episcopal Church is a historic Episcopal church in Greenwood, Albemarle County founded in the 1850s. The original church building was built in 1863.


Construction on the Church began in 1862, under the leadership of Rev. Dabney C.T. Davis, and cost about $2500. The first service was held on Christmas Day of 1863, with 15 attendees. Although Davis had been a founder of the Church, he found the salary too small to live off of and left the Church in 1864. Through the rest of the war, traveling preachers served the Emmanuel Episcopal Church. No fighting took place in the vicinity of the Church during the Civil War.

Following the war, tight budget constraints saw the Church united under one rector with St. Paul's in Ivy. Services were held at Emmanuel Episcopal twice a month until 1872, when it went vacant until 1886.

In 1888, Rev. Frederick W. Neve came to Albemarle County from the English countryside after graduating from Oxford University. He served as rector of Emmanuel Episcopal until 1905, during which time he also founded chapels around Albemarle County. Neve was a key religious leader for Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, who lived nearby at Mirador from 1892 to 1897. Astor and her mother, Phyllis, sponsored the purchase of a new bell tower in 1905.

Following the death of Phyllis Langhorne in 1914, her children that still lived in the area gave money for an entirely new Church to be constructed on the spot where the former one stood. The new building included a Parish Hall and spaces for Sunday School education. That building is the one the Church uses today.

During the World War II, the Church was divided over whether or not to display the American flag inside the chapel. The pastor at the time, Rev. Lee Marston, was a pacifist and opposed to the idea. During services one Sunday, someone unfurled the flag in the chapel, at which point the rector forced attendees outside until the flag was removed, claiming the Church could either have the flag or him.[1]


  1. Web. The History of Emmanuel Greenwood, Emmanuel Episcopal Church