We remembered when our church was founded in 1956, with the new congregation of 103 members worshiping the Lord in the auditorium of Annandale High School with Organizing Pastor Rev, Kirk Hammond. FPCA grew quickly. We were excited to celebrate and look to the past and to our future with gladness and hope. We remembered that in the same year Rev. James Payne was ordained and installed as first pastor, a church school was started with 152 students and 27 teachers; an adult choir and a youth choir were accompanied on a little field organ.
Two years later plans for a church building were approved and in 1960 the church was dedicated. In 1963 the building was expanded to house offices, school rooms, a library.
And the membership grew from year to year, till it reached its climax in 1972 with 833nactive members! No wonder the church building had to be enlarged. In 1974 the present Sanctuary and the Activities Building were dedicated. Of course, the Church School also grew. In the year 1970, 575 students attended classes.
Music has always been an important part of our worship. We had an adult choir from the very beginning, accompanied by the small field organ. Besides the Adult Choir, we had several youth choirs for different age groups. The dedication of current, enlarged church building in 1974 included our wonderful organ. At Thanksgiving 1977, a hand bell choir added to the beauty of the worship service for the first time. Let us be grateful to our organists and choir directors for demonstrating their wonderful skills and leadership.
Let us not forget our secretaries, each of them contributing their own skills to enhance the work of FPCA. And think of the many volunteers serving this church – from church school teachers bringing the love of God to our youngsters, to people decorating the sanctuary, singing in the choir, playing bells, maintaining our wonderful library, leading Bible studies, taking care of the proper maintenance of the buildings and its surroundings, and much more.
None of the above could have happened without the guidance of our pastors. Let us imagine them walking down the Sanctuary, one by one. They are being lead by our first pastor, Rev. James A. Payne, Jr. Rev. John R. Hornick follows, then come Rev. Cecil M. Jividen with Co-Pastor John R.Wilcox, Rev. Sherwood C. McKay as Associate Pastor, and Rev. W. Paul White. Last, but not least, comes Rev. Dr. Chris Looker, our current pastor, who is leading us into the future. And don’t forget the many interim pastors and supply pastors who brought the word of the Lord to FPCA, with Rev. Bob Curry preparing us for the future before the Lord sent us Dr. Looker. They all brought their dedication, their skills, their faith and their love to the congregation, every one of them in their own way. We can only be grateful for their leadership.
Today our church family is smaller, but its spirit is just as large, its fellowship is just as active. All of us are looking forward to a successful future. The First Korean Presbyterian Church of Virginia (FKPCV) has been using our building since 1956, but, unfortunately, previously we only saw them as tenants. Now we are in partnership with them, particularly in offering combined church school programs for the youngsters of both congregations, in encouraging our young people to attend the contemporary worship service presented by FKPCV. We also went on in mission trips and worked together, including the Lubondai Hydro-Electric project, the Catamayo Children’s Education Center in Ecuador, a monthly “Feed the Homeless” mission in Washington, D.C., and regional mission trips to Cumberland, MD, Paddy Run, VA, and Charleston, WV. God has blessed us in our partnership with a Spirit of Oneness in Christ.
Yes, we are looking towards a vibrating and successful future, working together for the glory of God!