Strasburg Christian Church

During the early part of the 19th century traveling ministers of the Church of Christ visited towns in Shenandoah County. As early as 1808 records indicate residents of Strasburg were meeting to hear these individuals. In 1820 enough members of the community supported the denomination to build a church near Oranda, a rural community to the west of town that was centrally located between member’s houses.

In 1856, the local population had grown and a new congregation was formed in the town of Strasburg. They met at the local school and the Presbyterian Church until the Civil War began and regular church services were suspended.

Seven years after the conflict ended the congregation had reorganized and were able to build their first church building. The total cost of the land and construction was $3,225.

The late 19th and early 20th century was defined by the Rev. James D. Hamaker who served the church for 34 years. He was so involved in the local Christian Church that he became known as the unofficial “Bishop of the Valley.” His efforts led the church’s involvement in the newly founded Virginia Christian Missionary Society and Lynchburg College. He also added 673 members to the church rolls.

Strasburg Christian Church’s building was altered under Hamaker’s tenure and that of his successor Arthur Wake. In 1912 the sanctuary was enlarged and the distinctive towers added to the front of the church. Two decades later the church built an educational wing to house the Sunday School classrooms and social space. These later expansion was completed despite the financial trouble the face church during the Great Depression.

The 1960s also saw extensive changes. During the beginning of the decade a new fellowship hall was added. In 1962 the Rev. David Derby became the minister and served for 35 years. His leadership was just as defining as Hamaker’s and saw the church move into the modern era. Worship services and outreach ministries were expanded to meet the needs of a changing community. Though he retired in 1997, these efforts continue today.