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Staunton Mennonite Church

2405 3rd St - Staunton, VA 24401

History of SMC

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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 1820s and 30s, 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 1950s. 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 Hospital.

Roy D. Kiser served as the first pastor of the fledgling church. As the attendance outgrew Mrs. Coffeys 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. Stonefront building at Intersection of Stuart & Haile Streets

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 in Staunton.

As the congregation entered the decade of the 70s 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.