"Everyone Needs an Epiphany"
Our Church History
Epiphany United Methodist Church was started in 1961 by the Methodist Alexandria Board of Missions to serve the Tysons Corner-Freedom Hill areas of Vienna. Epiphany became the second Methodist Church within the Vienna town limits, Wesley Church being the first. The population of Vienna was 12,500 in 1961.
Epiphany is the twelfth night after the birth of Christ. Tradition tells us that when the three wise men visited the Christ child, they were the first non-Jewish visitors. Epiphany symbolically has meant the time of Christ's light going to all persons.
Our first worship service was held on August 27, 1961, at the Freedom Hill School located on Lord Fairfax Drive off Old Courthouse Rd. Thirty-nine people were received into full membership on Charter Sunday, November 19, 1961. Sunday School classes began the same day with an enrollment that reached 60 by the close of the year. In getting started, help came from friends and sponsoring churches, Wesley and St. Luke's. Hymnals came from a member of Mt. Olivet, a pulpit from Vale, communion rails from Charles Wesley, dossal curtain and communion table cover from St. Luke's, and a cross and candlesticks from Wesley. Our first church budget was $6,337. By the end of 1962, church membership increased to 90 full members and Sunday School enrollment to 167. Present membership is approximately 200, including one of the charter members!
The church has been served by the Reverends Herschel J. Lynch (1961-68); David H. Smith (1968-73); Frank S. Crim (1973-79); Lee Roy Brown (1979-81); Gerald Miller (1981-86); Albert N. Honaker (1986-92); David E. Lough (1992-2003); David E. Schill (2003-2005); Michael Robbins (2005- 2007); Bass Mitchell (2007-2012); Robert b. Lloyd Jr (2012-2016); Brett Isernhagen (2016-present).
The Methodist Alexandria Board of Missions in May 1962 purchased five acres of land on Country Club Drive, NE, off Old Courthouse Road, at a cost of $37,500. Ground-breaking services were held on March 28, 1965. After the church service, the congregation traveled in a line of cars from the Freedom Hill School to the ground-breaking ceremonies at the new church site. A policeman directed traffic at the intersection on Old Courthouse and Chain Bridge Roads. At that time, both were two-lane roads, with stop signs on Old Courthouse Rd. Sunday traffic was light on both roads as the church caravan went through the intersection. Tysons Corner was then just another intersection a short distance away.
Our church property has a main building that includes the sanctuary, pastor's study and office, classroom, kitchen and large multipurpose room. Another building houses the Sunday School and preschool. The parsonage is on the property, facing Miller Lane. Church construction was sufficiently completed in time for consecration on the first Sunday after Epiphany, January 9, 1966. Reverend Raymond Wren, Secretary of the Northern Virginia Board of Missions, preached at a special consecration service in the afternoon. Reverends Jeryl Fink and James W. Rush, pastors of neighboring Wesley and St.Luke's Methodist churches, assisted in the services. In May 1985, our mortgage note for the church property was burned in an appropriate ceremony.
The original church parsonage was a rented house on the corner of Old Courthouse and Creek Crossing Roads. It served as the pastor's home until May 1962 when the church acquired its first parsonage, which was located on Drewlaine Drive. The present parsonage was completed on January 29, 1978, and a Service of Consecration was conducted on June 4, 1978 by Reverend William A. Lyons, District Superintendent.
Epiphany has provided a home for a preschool through most of its life. The Frances Meekins Preschool was at our church during 1966-69, before moving to its present location at Emmaus United Church of Christ on Maple Avenue. The Epiphany Preschool was formed in 1970 and has continued operation since that time. Starting with two classes of 32 children, it has grown to six classes of 96 children. The preschool program is actively supported by parent, teacher, and child involvement with Christian emphasis on the children's development, esteem and learning.
Epiphany congregation have been active leaders and participants in many church and community activities. We have conducted Vacation Church Schools since our beginning, initially with Wesley Methodist Church until our own church buildings became available. We sponsored Redeemer Methodist Church in Reston while still a young sponsored church. We have actively supported missionaries, particularly in Indonesia, Africa and Kentucky. Boy Scout Troop #979 has been sponsored by our church since we moved to our present location. Epiphany has been a long-term participant in the Committee for Helping Others (CHO), a group formed by 11 churches in the Vienna, Dunn Loring, and Oakton areas. As a CHO project, members assisted with the materials and labor to prepare a home for a low income family rental. Epiphany has also been actively involved in "Christmas-in-April" and/or Habitat for Humanity projects each year.
After the 1972 flood at Occoquan, Epiphany took furniture, clothing, food, and funds to flood victims. One of our members was part of a group of young people who went to Haiti to help build a school. Over the years our youth have participated in several work camps to help the needy in remote areas of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and New York. In 1993-94 Epiphany co-sponsored a Russian Refugee family, Boris Livschits, his wife, Tatyana Savoleva, and their daughter, Natalya, through Christian Refugee Outreach. In 1995 and 1996, we hosted six Russian children and one interpreter from Russia for seventeen days as participants in a ministry which allows children to live in a less polluted environment and thus build up their immune systems. The cross-cultural experience is also an important part of the program.
Church music from our carillon is enjoyed throughout the neighborhood as it is played for a short time at mid-day and evening each day.
In November 1986, our congregation celebrated its twenty-fifth year. The celebration included participation by former ministers, the District Superintendent, and many former members who traveled hundreds of miles for the occasion. We were fortunate to have most of our charter members among those who returned. There was a Saturday evening church party for friendship renewals, a special Sunday church service with participation by our present and past ministers, followed by a luncheon at a local restaurant. A short history, covering the twenty-five years of church life, was prepared and presented to church members.
As Vienna enters its second century of history, and Epiphany heads toward its half-century mark, our plans call for increased Christian emphasis and effort by the Epiphany congregation in church and community life, and for improvements and expansion of church buildings to support our goals and activities.