Oakton Church of the Brethren
The history of the Oakton Church of the Brethren cannot be written on a few pages. Therefore names of the numerous persons who created the congregation and have continued the mission of the church over the past one hundred years cannot be acknowledged here. During the period of 1903-2003 about 1,825 people became members. Their faithful service has brought us to this day.
The Brethren migrated to Northern Virginia from Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley. The first organized congregation in Virginia, east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was Midland in 1883. Two years later, the Nokesville and Manassas (Cannon Branch) congregations were organized. The first known Brethren in FairfaxCounty came in 1875. Those Brethren families who followed soon afterwards were affiliated with the church in Manassas.
On December 25, 1902, the Fairfax German Baptist Brethren had their first recorded meeting in Oakton. At a meeting on February 7, 1903, at the Oakton school house, the Brethren decided to organize as a congregation. The membership, including eight received by letter that day, was 32. In 1908, the name was changed to Fairfax Church of the Brethren. When more Brethren churches were established in Fairfax County, the name became Oakton Church of the Brethren in 1950.The original church building, a small white frame structure, was built on the site of a Civil War fort. It was dedicated in April 10, 1904 with a membership of 91. The Oakton congregation started mission points at Buckley’s Chapel, near Centreville, Hatmark school house at Fairfax Circle, Bull Run and Dranesville. Of these mission points, today only Dranesville remains and is now an independent congregation. From its beginning, Oakton Brethren always had a Sunday School. In 1913, the church was partitioned to make classrooms and in 1915, a balcony was added that served as Sunday School rooms, three above and three below.
After the Second World War, the frame structure was completely demolished and a larger modern brick building was dedicated in May, 1951. It contained a sanctuary, balcony, fellowship hall with a stage, kitchen, pastor’s study and class rooms. This building soon proved inadequate for the growing congregation and a new education wing was dedicated on May 3, 1959.
The old parsonage on Hunter Mill Road was sold and a new home, situated next to the church, was dedicated on November 25, 1979.
The church building remained much the same until 2001-2002 when a renovation project added an elevator and changed the front of the sanctuary to make it handicapped accessible.
Ministerial Leadership (click here for photos)
During the early years, the congregation was served by the free ministry of: S.A. Sanger, Albert Hollinger, Isaac M. Neff, John Miller Kline, B.F. Miller and Lewis B. Flohr. In 1925, the congregation called Casper Miller Driver as their first salaried minister. He remained until 1932. Possibly because of the Depression era, there was no regular pastor for several years. Byron M. Flory came in 1935 as a part-time pastor, sharing his time with the Manassas church. In 1939 A. Joseph Caricofe came as a full time pastor and remained until 1946.The following pastors have served since 1946: 1946-1954 Marvin E. Clingenpeel; 1954-1961 David L. Rogers; January to September 1961 Henry C. Eller, interim; 1961-1966 Edward K. Ziegler; 1966-1970 Albert L. Sauls; 1970-1981 Wendell C. Eller; 1982-1983 William E. Arick; May to July 1983 David L. Bowman, interim; 1983-1986 Robert Miller; 1987-1989 Kathy Hauger and David Leiter; 1990-1993 David Wilson; November 1993 to April 1994 Howard Miller, interim; May to April 1994 Kathie Kurtz, interim; 1994-2003 R. Kurt Borgmann. Kenneth Gibble was an interim pastor during Kurt Borgmann’s sabbatical in 2002; and Del Keeney and Dean Miller served as interim pastors before Christopher D. Bowman (2004-2014). Most recently, Randy Yoder and Richard Shreckhise served as co-interim pastors until our current pastor, Ken Miller Rieman, was called in 2015.
Brethren have now served in this place for over one hundred years and much has been accomplished through the faithfulness of many. Our prayer is that greater things may be done in the future and that we will rededicate ourselves fully to “the Glory of God and our Neighbor’s Good.”
Revised for the 100th Anniversary Celebration, September 28, 2003, by Mary Ludwick.
Revised for the web site, November, 2013 and June, 2016.