History

On November 1st, 1868, a few Episcopal Christians in a small dairy farm community in Herndon Virginia met together to worship and give thanks on that All Saints’ Sunday. The service was led by a school teacher and licensed Episcopal layreader; it was the first recorded service of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. By 1872, a Sunday School with three teachers and seven students had been formed and a small building at the corner of Grace and Vine Streets, once used as a cheese factory, was acquired and renovated.

The first church building (now the Masonic Lodge at the corner of Elden and Grace Streets) was consecrated in June 1881, and the bell was hung in its steeple in 1882. St. Timothy’s status reverted from church to mission and back again several times prior to World War II, but the church remained active thanks to the dedication of a few committed families, two well-liked rectors, and students from the Episcopal Seminary in Alexandria. The need for a parish hall to house the ever-growing Sunday School, meetings and social gatherings, was of constant concern. But the budget was already strained with the demands of building maintenance and salaries. So, the congregation raised funds with horse shows, rummage sales, and phantom auctions, and invested the proceeds in War Bonds. The parish hall was finally built in 1947.

Crowded conditions prevailed again during the 1950s, but it was the construction of Dulles Airport and the growth of Reston and Sterling Park in the early 1960s that compelled the Rev. John C. Henry and church leaders to plan seriously for major expansion. With more years of creative fundraising, ten acres of pasture was purchased and the structure which is now Henry Hall was built. Consecrated in 1969, it served as church, education building, and parish hall. Upholstered pews (constructed by parishioners) were moved aside after each service so the congregation could socialize and enjoy refreshments.

A strong tradition of liturgical music has been maintained throughout the church’s history, thanks to the dedicated efforts of talented choir directors, organists, volunteer instrumentalists and choir. An antique two manual Tracker organ was acquired in 1972. A plaque detailing its acquisition and restoration is displayed on the narthex side of the instrument.

In the early years, St. Timothy’s was dependent upon students from the Episcopal Seminary in Alexandria for Sunday services. Today, St. Timothy’s serves as a site where second and third year students from Virginia Theological Seminary develop practical skills. St. Timothy’s still has a Sunday nursery, Sunday School, and summer Vacation Bible School. Christian education programs are offered at various times for people of all ages.

St. Timothy’s also has a strong tradition of outreach, both within and beyond the community. The acclaimed preschool was founded in 1974. We welcome children of all faiths. The Closet, Herndon’s highly successful used clothing outlet, had its beginnings at St. Timothy’s in the 1970s. A young deacon initiated the first shelter for the homeless in Fairfax County in 1984. Volunteers set up cots and provided dinners in Henry Hall. Other churches joined in the effort, which continued until the Embry Rucker Shelter was built in nearby Reston. Parishioners support annual youth mission trips to Appalachia, adult mission trips to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and a mission to Chapoteau, Haiti. Through our Service Ministry, clergy discretionary funds, volunteers, and special appeals, the congregation also supports Cornerstones, LINK (an ecumenical food ministry), Helping Hungry Kids, the Hypothermia Shelter, children and youth with special needs, Episcopal Relief and Development, and many other noteworthy Christian ventures.

The present sanctuary, which seats 350, was consecrated November 11, 1982. The baptismal font and hymn boards date from the late 19th century. The bell from the 1881 church building has been electrified and continues to ring before every Sunday service and major holy day as it has for more than a century.

Another capital campaign, “Building Tomorrow’s Heritage”, was launched in 1995 to add additional Sunday School, Preschool, Music, Altar Guild, and meeting space for twelve-step groups. Existing Sunday School, Preschool, parish hall, office, and Narthex spaces were renovated. This project was completed and dedicated in January 2004.

By the grace of God St. Timothy’s will be a vibrant, luminous, and faithful witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit until Christ comes again, and God’s Kingdom is established for ever.