Celebrating 125 Years
It is a deep personal privilege and honor to introduce this historical record of Christ Church, Groveton/St. Mark's, Alexandria, on the occasion of its 125th year. The record states that in 1880, in the midst of a new period of evangelical excitement at the Virginia Theological Seminary, students went forth into a new community known as Groveton, just south of Alexandria, Virginia. It was a time of spiritual renewal in the Episcopal Church, and its reflection was seen in the sending forth of disciples into all the corners of the world, and here at home. For almost sixty years, this mission was under the guidance of seminarians, teachers, and its own community. Because of that relationship, it did not have the same kind of Episcopal oversight as other churches in the Diocese, and the mission was released from some canonical expectations. The Vestry for instance was made up of elected members from the parish, whether or not they were Episcopalian. Therefore, it is recorded that Methodists and Presbyterians were elected to the Vestry. Outreach went into the nearby neighborhoods, regardless of race or creed. The mission's isolation strengthened its dependence upon its own resources. However, changing demographics and world events would open new opportunities. The Second World War and the growth of the neighborhood along Richmond Highway, or Route 1 as it is also known, would lead Christ Church to new ground a mile away, and a new name. Nevertheless, its fundamental DNA function would not change. It proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ, and sends its members into all corners of the world.
We are greatly indebted to Charlotte Brown for her arduous labor on behalf of this parish and its historical record. Charlotte has deep roots in this parish, and we are grateful that she has provided this information to the public record, and our parish memories. May it be said that St. Mark's is celebrating not only the 125 years of its past, but also the far more many years of its future.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. John A. Weatherly