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St Timothy’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal celebrates 50 years

Jan. 20, 2013 @ 08:24 PM

HURRICANE — The idea of establishing an Episcopal Church in Teays Valley began its evolvement over apple cobbler and coffee in the Holliday kitchen.

John Embleton stopped by, and soon the conversation centered on the number of people living in Putnam County who were members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in St. Albans. It was at least 17 miles from Hurricane — 34 miles for every trip to the church. With growth taking place in both Hurricane and Teays Valley, it seemed a church should be established in Putnam County. John Embleton, Jim and Sally Holliday, excited with the concept, discussed it with Lib Fletcher and on Jan. 25, 1963, Sally called Bishop William Campbell and presented the idea to him.

Half a century later, that idea is still proving to be a good one. St. Timothy’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church will celebrate its 50th anniversary at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. Everyone is invited to attend and help celebrate the church’s milestone.

On a cold and icy Sunday morning, Jan. 30, 1963, a meeting was held in Lib Fletcher’s home with 27 adults and 30 children among them. With Bishop Campbell’s blessing, the mission of St. Timothy’s became a reality. On Feb. 21, Lib Fletcher was appointed Diocesan Missioner.

The newest mission of the West Virginia Diocese was officially organized on Feb. 27, when the first Vestry was elected at the meeting in the home of Ann and John Slaughter. The Vestry included John Embleton, Carroll Fletcher, Bob Rea, Lucille Dudley, Charlotte Cutlip, John Slaughter and Dick Paff.

On May 5, 1963, John Embleton, Richard Paff and John Slaughter were elected as the first trustees in a congregational meeting. One week later, 15 families applied to constitute and organize an Organized Mission to be known as St. Timothy’s-in-the-Valley. A service of dedication and Holy Communion marked the inauguration of the Teays Valley Mission of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Fifty-eight residents of an area from Nitro and Red House to Milton, met in the Hurricane High School Gymnasium. The Rev. Walter Mycoff charged the congregation with the privilege and responsibility afforded by such an undertaking.

Sally Holliday, recalling those early days said, “It was not unusual for a mouse to scurry out of the piano as Libby Embleton played the hymns. Little girls in their Sunday dresses tumbling on the wrestling mats and little boys dribbling balls were hard to contain. We attempted to hold Sunday school in the locker rooms, but the aromas proved stronger than the gospel lessons and we had to admit defeat.”

The growing congregation needed a better place to meet. Bill and Sharon Garvin, though not Episcopalians, were attending the services. They volunteered to have services in their basement in a large laundry room. The Garvin’s washer and dryer provided an altar for baptisms and the church’s first confirmation. It was a shock one Sunday morning when parishioners arrived to find Bill in his pajamas. He forgot to turn back the clock for daylight savings time.

The congregation needed its own building. The problems of where were solved when Carroll and Lib Fletcher donated land on their farm for that purpose. At this time, the Rev. Bill Stathers was appointed by the Bishop to serve both St. Timothy’s and the Cross Lanes church.

The story of this community-active church is filled with a wide variety of ministries and exciting events. Laura Leslie wrote about the last 13 years of the church’s history. This church of 280 members has been a growing and involved congregation of believers. G&G Builders constructed the building. Approximately $3,600,000 was pledged for new construction. Today, the church, with its programs of service, reaches every segment of its community and county.

The church’s pastor, The Rev. Cheryl Winter, who has served as the Rector of the congregation for the past 20 years, gives this public invitation, “Do join this fabulous community of faith as we remember and celebrate.”

The community is invited for coffee at 9:30 a.m. and worship at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. The church is located at 3434 Teays Valley Road, Hurricane.