History of RUMC
Compiled by Former RUMC Historian, Linda Meadows Butler
July 1, 2009
Remington Church began as a mission church with a few families in the mid-1800s. Remington was a lot smaller back then! These families had a strong vision that God needed a faith community here. Through the years, Remington Church has served the needs of thousands of families in our area, especially in times of financial crisis and illness. We are continually at work throughout our county, nation, and world!
The Remington United Methodist Church is incorporated into the Remington Historic District, as designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, on May 5, 2005. The Remington Historic District is a well-preserved late-nineteenth century town that by the early twentieth century had assumed much of its present character. It contains a wide range of building types and architectural styles that are typically found in mid-sized rural communities of that era. The area settled in the early to mid-nineteenth century and from 1839 was known as Millview, in reference to a mill that stood on the nearby north bank of the Rappahannock River near the present-day railroad bridge. The Rappahannock River still has evidence of canals along the river banks which carried products downriver to Fredericksburg. The community was renamed Bowenville after the prominent Bowen family in town around 1850 and became known as Rappahannock Station after 1852 when the Orange and Alexandria Railroad was completed through town. The railroad contributed to the growth of the town as milk, grain, and passenger trains made daily stops. The first Battle of Rappahannock Station took place between August 22 and 25, 1862, as part of the Northern Virginia Campaign. Over several days of fighting, the two armies met in a series of conflicts along the river, resulting in a few hundred casualties. The two armies met again at Kelly’s Ford in the spring of 1863, just 7 miles downriver. This battle set the stage for the largest cavalry battle of the war, the Battle of Brandy Station on July 9, 1863.
The town’s name was changed to Remington in 1890 after a request by the Post Office Department, which frequently confused mail with Rappahannock and Tappahannock. It was named after a Southern Railroad conductor, Capt Remington, who worked the passenger trains and was well liked by passengers who made their stops in this small town. Folks in town used to dress up to go down to the train depot in the evenings just to see who was coming to town.
In 1870, there was no church in the village of Rappahannock Station. There had been an Episcopal Church further up the Rappahannock River, but it was burned during the War Between the States. In 1872, under the guidance of Edward Hugh Henry, pastor of the Fauquier Mission, a few Methodists of this country village met in a small school room about half a mile west of the village center of Rappahannock Station on the site of the earlier village of Millview, for the purpose of organizing a church. Millview was first founded in the early 19th century, and was a mere crossroads -- now the site of Wankoma Village on Freeman's Ford Road in Remington.
Out of the religious gatherings held at Millview came the Rappahannock Station Methodist Episcopal Church. As it was the only church structure in the village at the time, services were attended by Baptists and Episcopalians, as well as Methodists. The dining room of the Rouse house was one of the original buildings at Millview, which consisted of a country store, a school, and 4 or 5 houses at a crossroads.
On the 3rd Sunday in August, 1874, a group of young men rode their horses into town to attend Sunday School services in the carpenter shop of Mr. A. J. Harris. Along the way, as was their custom, they filled their pockets with apples to eat during class, and then threw the cores out the shop windows. During those days, journeys took a long time and any food you ate when you got hungry you took with you. When the boys arrived in town, they were told to go to the new church where services were being held for the first time. During class, the boys got out their apples, but were told by their teacher, Mr. Wilbur Brannin, that while eating apples in a carpenter shop was quite all right, it just did not seem reverent in a church.
August 1874 - The first time services were held in the new church. This one-story, cross-gable-roofed, Gothic Revival-style church was a rectangular, box-like white frame building with the entrance directly in the center front and a balcony across the interior over the entrance. In 1893, the balcony was removed, a vestibule and steeple added, and a bell installed. The church was heated by two big wood stoves. The ladies sat on the right and the men on the left; there was no board in the middle as was the custom in some churches. In 1893, the balcony was removed, a vestibule and steeple were added, and a bell installed. In the church’s glass historical showcase is an original accounting where ladies of the church collected funds to help defray the cost of that bell.
Miss Rosie Rouse wrote the first documented history of the church. Miss Rosie, as she was respectfully called by all who knew her, was a lifelong and faithful member of the church, the church’s librarian, historian, and Sunday school teacher. The historian duties were passed on to another RUMC life timer, Virginia Shaw Meadows, and then to her daughter Linda Meadows Butler.
Note: Here are some interesting facts taken from their combined historical records. Names of the church have changed throughout its history.
1872 – 1894: Rappahannock Station Methodist Episcopal Church, South
1894 – 1939: Remington Methodist Episcopal Church, South
1939 – 1958: Remington Methodist Church
1960s - present: Remington United Methodist Church
Miss Susan Stringfellow bought and donated the lot where the church now sits at the corner of Bowen and Church Streets. Virginia Shaw Meadows, the former Church Historian, wrote, “I often wondered who Susan Stringfellow was and why she was so honored by that beautiful stained glass window behind the pulpit.” It seems that the first deed to this land was faulty because of inadequate delineations of boundaries. Miss Stringfellow then bought the land again and had the deed made out to Church Trustees. She also gave freely of her time and energy to getting the church organized. When she died, she left a generous endowment to the church. The stained glass window behind the pulpit was given in Miss Stringfellow’s memory. The weight of the old stained glass began to cause a sagging at the bottom of the window and the ones in front of the church as well. Repairs to those over 100 year old windows were completed during the summer of 2009 by Rich Kaiser of Stained Glass Works in Culpeper, Va. These repairs were made possible by a generous endowment from the Ruby Leazer Williams estate and the family of Marjorie Steiner Rice.
In 1904, the church was entirely rebuilt after a fire totally destroyed the original building, with the exception of the foundation and floor of the sanctuary, a recess choir left added behind the pulpit, a Sunday School assembly and classroom added, and the vestibule and steeple moved to the southwest corner of the building. The entire cost of this work was $2,800 and that included furnishing the new Sunday School room, the purchase of a new organ, and a new fence around the church property.
In 1950, 2 classrooms were added behind the Sunday School room for the children. The woodwork was refinished in the church in 1953 with donations and labor from young adults in the church. The small children sat at plywood tables in tiny chairs while Mrs. Grace Ashby conducted Sunday School class. Miss Nell Leazer and Miss Edith Perrow conducted classes for the older children and teens.
2006 - Removing the old bell. The original bell removed from the steeple.
In 1958, Grace Church separated from the Remington Charge, leaving a three-point circuit – Liberty, Morrisville, and Remington. Liberty later split off the Charge in the 1960s leaving a 2-point Charge with Remington and Morrisville.
In 1960, the church laid a cornerstone for the Education Building to house the Church School and the fellowship hall, stage, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and storage rooms, and be linked to the sanctuary. Previously the only bathrooms were the ones in the classrooms behind the Sunday School room, which after 1962, were “decommissioned” and used as storage closets. The following articles were placed within the stone and remain there today:
History of the church by Miss Rosie Rouse, 1870-1958
Directory of Church Officials
List of steps taken for the planning and construction of the Educational Building
Copy of magazine, June 23, 1960
U.S. coins minted in 1960
Pictures of the original church and as is in 1960
Copy of the current issue of newspaper
The Education wing was completed in June 1961, with many thanks to local member and builder/architect, Claude Ritchie. Mr. Ritchie left a beautiful legacy on the front of the building with tile mosaics. Membership in 1960 was 175. The annual budget in 1960 was $4,664. During the 1960s, the pews were replaced and the old ones moved over to the old Sunday School room to the left of the sanctuary, and the altar furniture was replaced. The folding doors separating the 2 rooms were removed about 3 years ago to open up the church and allow for growth in worship attendance. This last improvement incorporated the old Sunday School gathering room into the sanctuary. Comfortable chairs were donated by members of the congregation for seating in that section.
The organ was replaced in the sanctuary in the 1980s. Arnold and Helen Helm donated a set of chimes in the late 1990s to add to the music program. Memorial funds received for the choral fund in honor of Virginia Shaw Meadows were used to buy a sound system in 1998, which was improved upon in 2000 with additional speakers and microphones. The piano in the sanctuary was replaced with an electronic Technics keyboard in 2001. Improvements to the music program are due to the unselfish and tireless efforts of the Music Director, Kaye Rich. The audio visual system was upgraded with the overall building improvements of 2006 with Roger Hart’s expertise to keep in running properly.
During Pastor Mike Payne’s tenure in the 1990s, the Evans Groves house adjoining the church property on James Madison Street came on the market for sale. With encouragement from J. Arnold Helm and Evelyn Meadows Olinger, the church voted to purchase the home and renovate it. This is the only land the church has for future expansion since we are bordered by the street and the elementary school property. For now, it is rental property, but could eventually be upgraded for a parsonage. The parsonage was sold when Remington and Morrisville separated as a two-church charge. Just as important as the purchase of the Groves house was the vacating of the 25-foot right-of-way between the church and the Groves house by the Fauquier County School Board (recorded March 12, 2007) which paved the way for the subsequent boundary line adjustment, adding .04270 acres of the Groves house to the church property. Both documents are recorded in Fauquier County Court House, facilitating future expansion without legal complications. Because of street boundaries and the school property, this is the only access the church has to adjoining property for expansion.
A very exciting change to our ministry was the addition of an Associate Pastor in the Fall of 2002, and the additional contemporary New Beginnings services at Remington and Morrisville. Pastor Mike Payne shared his ministry with Pastor Sandy Boone, an Associate Pastor, just out of Seminary. Pastor Sandy was ordained by the Virginia Methodist Conference in her last year here. We felt like we had a crowd if we had 10 people for that service in the beginning. It is now a very important part of our ministry and often has 60 to 70 folks in the congregation. In 2005, Morrisville and Remington both went station and the Associate Pastor position was dropped, but both the 8:30 New Beginnings service and the 11:00 traditional service was continued with one pastor.
Also of importance during Pastor Payne’s tenure was the addition of the wooden cross, stage, benches and lighting in the lot across from the church. The Methodist Youth Group was instrumental in making this happen with the leadership of John Waldeck, David and Roxane Rachocki, Aaron Barlow, and Ed Boggs, whose labor of love led to the installation of the stage, bench seating, and lighting.
The Three Crosses
Our current sanctuary was 105 years old in 2009. The foundation and heart pine floors are all that remain from the original building and are 135 years old. In 2005, a Construction Committee was formed and authorized the architectural firm of Berry, Rio & Associates to submit the Phase I plans for the 2006 renovations. Local architect, John Mills, designed the renovation plan and donated many hours of his time to this project. The work included renovation of the narthex, a new steeple, removal of the old bell and spire, two new offices, two additional bathrooms near the offices, removal of the vertical support between the sanctuary and the old Sunday School room, shoring up of the sagging foundation, and new siding. Member Ed Boggs volunteered to offer his contracting expertise to oversee this renovation project on the Building Committee. While Ed Boggs coordinated with the contractor, Graystone Homes, Inc., and Fauquier County Building & Zoning Office, Evelyn Meadows Olinger spent numerous hours in securing a loan from Marshall National Bank and getting necessary approvals from the District Superintendent’s office in Alexandria. The cost to complete the work was approximately $465,000.
RUMC as it appeared in 2009:
Renovated Sanctuary 2006 – with original 1874 heart pine floors
Eagle Scout Project Playground. In 2007, Wesley Waldeck, a local Boy Scout and youth member of the church, designed and constructed a small playground behind the church. This project was Wesley’s Eagle Scout project.
In May 2009, through the leadership of the church Treasurer, Alex Fedorov, the church replaced all the 1960s windows in the Education/Fellowship Building. This was possible through a generous donation from the estate of Ruby Leazer Williams. Not only did this greatly improve the appearance of the building, but resulted in a huge energy savings.
RUMC Pastors History
1868 – 1872 Edward H. Henry
1872 – 1873 L. H.Baldwin
1873 – 1877 H. A. Gaver
1876 D. J. Little
1877 O. Tackett
1877 William H. Wolfe
1877 – 1881 James S. Porter
1877 Frazier Furr
1878 L. M. Lyle
1881 – 1885 J. W. Wolfe
1885 – 1889 D. F. Eutsler
1989 – 1890 Lee M. Lyle
1980 – 1894 William E. Miller
1894 – 1896 Saul B. Dolly
1896 – 1898 John L. Grant
1898 – 1900 John C. Sedwick
1900 – 1904 William H. Marsh
1904 – 1908 Bernley D. Harrison
1908 – 1909 John D. Davison
1909 – 1913 Edward A. Roads
1913 – 1914 H. L. Blevens
1914 – 1915 William H. Waters
1915 – 1916 J. H. Kuhlman
1916 – 1917 E. Frank Fielding
1917 – 1921 George W. Gaither
1921 - 1921 George W. Staples
1921 - 1922 Wendell Allen
1922 – 1924 A. B. Sapp
1924 – 1929 W. H. Gray
1929 – 1930 C. M. Wright
1930 – 1931 Earnest T. Harrison
1931 – 1933 S. C. Stickley
1933 – 1935 Earl D. Miller
1935 – 1938 Reuben D. Marshall
1938 – 1941 Edgar A. Swann
1941 – 1945 J. D. Russell
1945 – 1946 Herman D. Strawn
1946 – 1950 L. W. Griggs
1950 – 1951 Norman J. Preston
1951 – 1955 Z. V. Johnston
1955 – 1957 Melville L. Johnson
1957 – 1958 J. Chapman Mercer
1958 - 1961 W. Stewart Maxey
1961 - 1966 Robert Watts
1966 - 1972 Herbert T. Parker
1972 - 1974 Virgil B. Shrader
1974 - 1978 Ashton Archer
1978 - 1979 Bill Moore
1979 - 1981 Dave Reynolds
1981 - 1985 Brad Phillips
1985 – 1989 George Insley
1989 - 1993 Clyde Weaver
1993 - 1996 Cathy Bealor
1996 - 2004 Michael D. Payne
Associate Pastor Sandy Boone
2004 - 2005 Kathleen Monge
Associate Pastor Sandy Boone
2005 - 2006 John Brenneke
2006 - 2010 Charles Stacy
2010 - 2018 Walter Westbrook
2019 - Present Donald Williams