The Oakton Church of the Brethren (first known as the Fairfax church) has been served by a number of ministers over the past century. At the organizational meeting of the congregation, February 7, 1903, there were four ministers present: Elder S. A. Sanger, Elder Albert Hollinger, Isaac Neff and John M. Kline.
Many congregations had more than one Elder. Usually the elder who had served for the longest period of time was called the presiding elder or elder in charge. Although the elders worked within the congregation, the presiding elder had the initial responsibility for council meetings and handling congregational concerns. Only elders could preside at Love Feasts, baptisms and installation of newly elected elders and other officials.
Since there were two elders at the first meeting at Oakton, a vote was taken and Elder S.A. Sanger was chosen to have the oversight responsibilities. From this group of ministers, and later with the ordination of B.F. Miller and Lewis B. Flohr (1907), the Oakton congregation was well supplied with free ministry. By 1907 Elder Hollinger had moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Lewis Flohr wrote in the book “A History of the Brethren in Virginia” by David H. Zigler (Published 1908) “There are one hunderd (sic) and thirty-six members in the Fairfax church. Four Sunday Schools are conducted with an enrollment of two hundred and twenty-four, which makes an average attendance of one hundred and twenty five. The Christian Worker’s meeting has an average attendance of forty and the Sisters’ Aid Society has thirty members.” (p. 204)
The first quarter of its century the Oakton Brethren were served by the free ministry. The congregation was served by more than one preacher, who earned his livelihood in another occupation, usually as a farmer. He gave his service to the church without charge.
With an ample supply of ministers, the Brethren were soon establishing Sunday Schools and preaching points in other parts of the county. At one time, there were six different missions, and the congregation constructed two other churches. Dranesville eventually became a congregation and Bull Run was closed in the 1940’s.
With the rise of professional or salaried ministry, pastors assumed the traditional functions of the elder. The Church of the Brethren replaced the term presiding elder with moderator in 1955 and discontinued the office of elder in 1967.
The first salaried minister called to Oakton church was Casper M. Driver, who served from 1925 to 1932.
During the next three-years there was no pastor, probably due to the Depression era.
Byron M. Flory served the Oakton and Manassas churches beginning in 1935 until 1939.
From that time on the Oakton congregation has had full-time salaried ministers:
Randy Yoder, Co-Interim Pastor
Dick Shreckhise, Co-Interim Pastor
Compiled by Mary Ludwick, 2003 (edited in 2013, 14, 15)