History of the Church in Manassas

The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Manassas sits on the location of the railroad station over which the armies fought during the 1860s. Most of the fighting took place at some distance from this location but the station was often destroyed as the armies moved back and forth.

A small Roman Catholic community, associated with the railroad, obtained the property and erected All Saints Church in 1879. Bishop Elder dedicated it the following year. The architecture reflects a popular New England design of the period.

For many years All Saints was the only Roman Catholic Church in a predominantly Protestant area. Eventually priests of the Stigmatine Order took charge of the building and used it as a regional headquarters. These priests lived on the property while serving eight local congregations. The simplicity of Stigmatine devotion made the transition of the sanctuary much simpler when the Reformed Presbyterian Church purchased the property in 1973.

The tracker organ became part of the church after the building became Presbyterian. The Odell Organ Company’s Opus 80 began life serving a Dutch Reformed congregation near Princeton, New Jersey. The late Mr. Francis Elliott, former organist, learned of the availability of the historic instrument during his tenure as leader of the regional Organ Historical Society. Under his direction, the Odell Company fully restored the instrument and music lovers from as far as New York City came for the instrument’s re-dedication.

Restoration and expansion have always been features of the communities which have worshiped here. The building has undergone a major transition to repair and strengthen the structure featuring new foundations, improved floors, and modern heating and cooling systems. This is expected to continue with future focus on the plaster ceilings.

The current congregation is dedicated to the theology of the Reformation in the 16th Century. Churches which trace their heritage through the Geneva Reformer John Calvin use the name Reformed to reflect his vision of re-affirming the faith of the early church. The term Presbyterian derives from the word elder and reflects dedication to governing all parts of life by the Bible. The congregation is associated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church Hanover Presbytery., spiritual heir of the “Hanover Dissenters” (colonial Presbyterians identified with Virginia statesman Patrick Henry), and is true to the historic creeds of the Reformed faith.

The building also housed the editorial office of America’s oldest religious magazine, the Christian Observer, which began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in September 1813. Former Pastor, the late Edwin Elliott, was the managing editor until his death in 2009.