The Journey Begins
In the summer of 1985, Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax Virginia, entered into a discussion with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia about establishing a mission in the Western part of Fairfax County. Before the end of the year, about fifteen people from Truro began a process of discerning, through weekly meetings for prayer and Bible study, the establishment of that mission. By February 1986 it was decided to establish this mission and the first Eucharist was held in Franklin Intermediate School. The Reverend B. Clifton Reardon, affectionately known as ‘Father Bill,’ was appointed vicar. After the first year the Episcopal mission church of the Epiphany was granted parish status and ground breaking for the church building took place in March 1988; our first service was held in the building in February 1989.
In the ensuing years Epiphany Episcopal Church grew – increasing attendance, establishing a vibrant Sunday School, and establishing an extensive outreach program. After many years as Rector, Fr. Bill took a sabbatical in June 1995 and then retired in December of that year. During the interim between rectors we were blessed by the ministry of The Reverend Churchill Gibson until June of 1997, when the Rev. Robin Rauh was called as Rector. Soon after, the Rev. Luke Lucas became Associate Rector. The need for more classroom space and an outreach kitchen to feed the poor became apparent in 2000 as well as the need for a youth center, twenty-four hour prayer chapel, and new worship space. So we began a campaign to raise new funds for an addition. The campaign, entitled ‘Building on Christ’s Cornerstone,‘ culminated with the dedication of the addition in 2006.
Beginning with the rectorship of Fr. Rauh the parish began to experience a time of change in which the teachings of the Episcopal Church were challenged and over the course of several years questions of continuing within the Protestant Episcopal church arose. These questions culminated in the decision by those who no longer felt they could support the teachings of the Church to leave the Episcopal Church and align themselves as a Mission of the Diocese of Nigeria and Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). The majority of the members voted officially to disassociate themselves with the Episcopal Church. Those who chose to remain Episcopalians found themselves in a difficult position as they no longer had a place to worship or meet.
After experiencing a time of deep disappointment, wandering members of The Church of the Epiphany who wanted to remain in the Episcopal Church gathered and decided it was time to move forward. During the ongoing legal dispute over habitation of the church building, we worshiped in rented space in a school building from 2007 through 2012. With the legal dispute settled, members of the continuing congregation were energized at the prospect of returning to their church building.
Our first return Sunday worship service was held in the Epiphany Church building on May 6, 2012. Delighted by the return, immediately attendance grew and has continued to grow steadily over the years.
The Episcopal congregation has reinforced ministry partnerships with Epiphany Preschool and Boy Scout Troop 1257 which will remain a vital presence in the community and continue to reside in the building at Franklin Farm and Hidden Meadows, just off the Fairfax County Parkway. As well, Epiphany is home to the Boyle School of Irish Dance, Northern Virginia Church of Christ Youth and Family Ministries, New Hope Baptist Congregation, and the Lifeway Church. As we serve, grow and build, we welcome opportunities to embrace new initiatives.