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St. Thomas' Episcopal Church
315 Lindsey Street • Reidsville, N.C.

HISTORY


St. Thomas has been an important and influential part of the religious heritage of Reidsville for over one hundred and fifteen years! Prior to the Civil War, Reidsville consisted of only one small store, a tiny tobacco factory, a tavern and a very few homes. But the need for a secure military supply route prompted the construction of a railroad linking Greensboro, NC and Danville, VA which brought the first train through Reidsville on May 20, 1864.  It wasn't long before an Episcopal family followed. The Martins were the first Episcopalians to settle in our town, and the Filimans followed them. These families began holding family prayer reading in their homes and were soon being visited by an Episcopal priest from Leaksville (now Eden) about ten miles away. As the town began to grow, more families joined the services, which had to be held in churches of other denominations.

On January 7, 1883, St. Thomas held its first official service, with thirteen members on its roll. The McCargoes, the Galloways, and the Andersons to make up the original families joined the Martins and Fillmans. Several descendants of these founders are active in St. Thomas to this very day!

A frame church was constructed adjacent to the railroad tracks (considered a desirable location at the time) about 1885, but due to industrial encroachment, the building was sold in 1900. In 1902 a frame church building was built on a lot purchased on Lindsey Street. One of the members, Mrs. George Lee Irvin, was quoted as describing the church as "just an ugly square box of a building and no amount of reverent sentimentalizing could make it otherwise". Obviously this structure would not serve the church for very long.

In 1915 a brick church building was completed which has served us well ever since.  A parish member gave the credit for the undertaking to the new rector, Edgar N. LeBlanc: "His fine enthusiasm gave us the courage to attempt a brick church in place of the frame building.... He was a never failing stimulus to our flagging spirits, and through him what seemed the impossible was accomplished."

In 1955 a concrete block parish house was constructed (primarily by the laymen of St. Thomas) which contains an open meeting area, classrooms and a kitchen. In 1991 the church purchased an adjoining piece of property and in 1997 completed the construction of a $324,000 addition. Through the generous stewardship of the congregation and friends of St. Thomas the entire project has been paid for.

Although St. Thomas is small in numbers relative to the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians of Reidsville, our church has been a powerful influence in the life of our city. Three different members have served as mayor during the past twenty years. Our members have been chairpersons and served on the boards of numerous community organizations that provide assistance to those in need.

St. Thomas, through a diocesan financial grant, began a nutrition site in our parish house that became the model for such programs throughout our county. Our church began a soup kitchen in our parish house which was so successful that a permanent site was constructed and is now supported by numerous volunteers from all over the community.

In 1924 Mrs. Manton Oliver, a member of St. Thomas, wrote the following description of our church which is as true today as it was seventy-five years ago:

"There is no lovelier spot in Reidsvllle than our little church; there is no sweeter serenity than within its walls; there is no ritual so beautiful as the one it is our privilege to use, and with God's help we'll grow and strengthen, working ever the coming of His Kingdom upon earth."

Follow this link to see some of St. Thomas' former Rectors

 

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This page was last updated 04/18/07