The Staunton Mennonite Church is located at 2405 Third Street in the city
of Staunton, Virginia.
Augusta County in which Staunton is
located, was formed in 1745. Staunton was capital of the State of
Virginia during the Revolutionary War.
This historical sketch indicates that the
Mennonite Church was a late comer to Staunton. Mennonites began moving
to and establishing churches and worship centers in Augusta County in
the 1820’s and 30’s, but about a century and a quarter passed before
they moved into the city of Staunton to begin a witness.
Students of Eastern Mennonite College who
were commissioned by the Young Peoples Christian Association began
holding cottage meetings in the early to mid 1950’s. It is reported that
there was good attendance, but there was no Mennonite Church where
interested persons could worship.
In 1958 Mrs. Bedie Coffey opened her house
on Kalorama Street for the college students to have regular services. Mrs.
Coffey was a member of Mountain
View Mennonite Church and worked as a nurse at Kings Daughters
D. Kiser served as the first pastor of the
fledgling church. As the attendance outgrew Mrs. Coffey’s house, it became
necessary to look for other quarters. A stone front building along the
railroad at the intersection of Stuart and Haile Streets became available
for the congregation to move there in January, 1960. As these facilities
became outgrown and better accommodations were needed, the Lord made
available the present location on Third Street.
A Baptist congregation outgrew this
building and offered it for sale. It was purchased in early 1962 to more
adequately meet the needs of the Mennonite congregation. The dedication
service was held in April, 1962.
Former pastor Roy Kiser preached the
dedication sermon. In his message he said he hoped the congregation would
grow to fill the building. Then instead of building larger, he hoped the
congregation would reach out to start a second Mennonite place of worship
As the congregation
entered the decade of the 70’s the need seemed apparent for more Sunday
School rooms, a nursery, fellowship room, and a more adequate kitchen.
So remodeling began in 1975, with a dedication service in June, 1976.
Additional improvements, such as public
address system, improved exterior lighting, and enlarged parking areas
have made the present church facilities what it is today.
Roy, 58, Virginia Conference leader, died of
cancer on Feb. 4, 1989 in Waynesboro, Va. He was the founding pastor of
eight-year-old Waynesboro Mennonite Church and bishop of the
conference's Southern District. He also chaired the Board of Directors
of Mennonite Board of Missions 1979-85. In 1987 he and his wife,
Charlene, received MBM's Lark Award for their work in church planting.