Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Piedmont Episcopal

MAILING ADDRESS:P. O. Box 305
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 214 Church Street
CITY, ST, ZIP: Madison, VA 22727
PHONE: 540/948-6787
FAX: 540-948-5420
E-MAIL: NA

CLERGY: Terry Miller
TITLE: Interim
E-MAIL: Terry Miller
WEB URL: Piedmont Church

 

ECW:  Piedmont ECW

HISTORY:

Piedmont Episcopal Church is at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central Virginia. It is 87 miles southwest of Washington D.C., 90 miles west of Richmond, and about a half hour drive north to Culpeper or south to Charlottesville. The church is an historic landmark, constructed in 1832. William Phillips, a renowned brick mason and builder, built the church during a lull after completing Monticello, the University ofVirginia, and the Madison Courthouse. The church was consecrated October 27, 1834.

The church’s interior is adorned by a colonial-style chandelier and sidelights. Pews, built by Madison’s Clore Furniture Company in 1880, and walnut paneling, given by Mrs. Herbert Hoover in the 1930’s, complement the outstanding feature of the sanctuary: the inspiring stained glass depicting Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The small hole above Christ’s head allows a small beam of light to shine through. However, the hole was not part of the original window. Legend has it that a group of Madison boys were hanging out in the churchyard (in the area now occupied by the addition). One boy was showing off a new “B-B” gun. What better target than a newly installed window?

In 1961, a two-story addition was added to the rear of the original building. Excavation for the addition disturbed only one grave, that of Captain Henry Barnes, who had given the land to the church. Captain Barnes’ gravestone was later sealed into the brick wall at the rear of the addition. In mid-1980, Piedmont became very involved in the founding and support of Madison Emergency Services Association (MESA). Piedmont was also instrumental in helping to found the Madison Child Care and Early Learning Center, which had its first home in the Church undercroft.

In October 1995, the Rev. Brad Lee Jackson was called as Vicar of Piedmont Episcopal Church and part-time assistant rector at St. Stephen’s, Culpeper. Brad was officially recognized in December 1998 as Piedmont’s first full-time Rector. Brad grew up and received his education on the plains of Kansas. He holds degrees in Music (B.M.) and in Music Education (B.M.Ed and M.M.Ed). He received his Master of Divinity (M.Div) from the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia. He and his wife Jaynie have two children, Claire and Paul.

Due to growth of the congregation under Brad’s leadership, the Vestry began studying expansion options which culminated with the purchase in 2002 of the property adjacent to the church. By early 2004 a number of modifications and improvements had been made to the Parish House, and the landscaping was significantly “beautified”. The Parish House is enjoying a seemingly unending growth of usage with both the congregation and outside organizations.

A Brief History of Graves Chapel

Graves Chapel is located in southwestern Madison County at the intersection of State Routes 662 and 615 in Graves Mill with inspiring views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Chapel has had a rocky history of intermittent closings with the decline of the community population, occasional hard times, and difficulty in retaining clergy support.

During one period of vacancy, the Chapel remained unlocked because someone had lost the key down a groundhog hole. When the Chapel was reopened ten years later, the tiny glasses from the last Communion service in 1969 were found still in the pew racks with the dregs of grape juice still in them.

The last regularly scheduled Episcopal morning service as an independent church was held at Graves Chapel on Sunday, June 25, 1995, the year of its centennial. Oversight for Graves Chapel was then combined with Piedmont Episcopal Church.

Two days after its last service, a cataclysmic natural disaster hit Madison County. As much as 26 inches of rain fell that day, causing floods of most of the agricultural land, damage to all the highways and destruction to all of the bridges. There were mammoth landslides in the mountainsides in the Graves Mill area, which buried fields, homes, and livestock under tons of debris. Graves Chapel, one of the few buildings left standing in Graves Mill, was severely damaged. Members of the community, other churches, and Piedmont Episcopal worked together to both restore and improve the building. The Diocese of Virginia gave much need financial aid.