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A short story by Etta Belle Walker

Hebron Church

Title:     Hebron Church
Author: Etta Belle Walker [More Titles by Walker]

Outstanding among the old churches in this part of Virginia is Hebron Church in Madison County.

The little colony of Germans at Germanna, to whom we have already referred, and a few immigrants from Holland were responsible for its early establishment. First it was known as "Old Dutch Church." Located on its original site its existence has been in three different counties: Orange, Culpeper and now Madison!

Hebron is the oldest Lutheran church not only in Virginia but in the South. About 1733 the nucleus of the congregation met and sent a representative to England for a pastor. It seems a bit surprising that no English parson felt the call to tend the flock in an outpost of Virginia, but it is true that no one was possessed of the missionary spirit to that extent.

In 1735 a Hessian who had come to America eight years before, the Rev. Casper Stoever, left his home in Pennsylvania and became the first pastor. His annual salary, by the way, was four thousand pounds of tobacco or just about forty dollars in currency. This was paid by the congregation in addition to the taxes which were required of the Non-Conformist churches towards the upkeep of the established English church.

Everyone in Madison is vastly proud of the old pipe organ at Hebron. It was built in 1800 at Philadelphia and brought to its present place on wagon--a journey which took a long time and infinite pains. Jacob and Michael Rouse were entrusted with the task of hauling. The organ cost two hundred pounds sterling. Interesting, too, is the complete old communion service which dates back to the church's early beginnings.

In recent years visiting concert organists have played on the fine old instrument at the request of the congregation.

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Etta Belle Walker's short story: Hebron Church