All Saints' Episcopal Church Observes 100th Anniversary

SOUTH HILL – The Rt. Rev. Susan Bunton Haynes, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, was the Preacher and Celebrant of the 100th Celebration Saturday afternoon of All Saints' Episcopal Church at 203 Franklin St.

The Rt. Rev. Haynes told the crowd of 90 persons that whether they think about it or not, “barriers are in place and they should be faced and that those barriers should be abolished.”

Rev. Haynes explained that those “barriers” were those people that you dislike. “What should exist is the idea of forgiving your enemies.” She then suggested that we don't wait for those we dislike to do something, but that we should think about our relationship with God.

She told her audience to “draw closer to God and if you do and live for God year long, that it would go a long way to eliminating your barriers.”

Those in attendance were treated with music by Dr. Angela Parker and singing during Communion by Smokey Wilson and afterwards on the church backyard during the meal.

All Saints' Church History

While the members of All Saints' Episcopal Church are celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Building of the Church at 203 Franklin St. in South Hill, there were several Episcopal families living in the South Hill area in 1919-21. They were attending 8 PM services on the second Sunday of each week, at the South Hill Christian Church on High Street and the South Hill Methodist Church on Mecklenburg Avenue. Later, the South Hill Mission group attended services at St. James Episcopal Church in Boydton with The Reverend Herbert Nash Tucker, Rector.

In 1919, W. G. Pleasants and W. T. Brown were the Wardens and William Hunter was Treasurer. Also, in 1919, the name All Saints' was attached to the church report to the Diocese of Southern Virginia. The Church received $3,000 in a nationwide campaign to build a new church and voted to borrow $2,500 for the construction of the new church building at 203 Franklin St. The lot, 50 feet by 90 feet, was donated by W.G. Pleasants and his wife, Grace Yancey Pleasants. The Vestry then appointed Mr. Pleasants and Doc Peoples to select the building plans and to decide on its financing.

There were 26 people in the Sunday School with four teachers, and eight ladies forming the All Saints' Ladies Guild.

Construction was started in the summer of 1921 and was completed in early 1922 with the first service held in All Saints' on March, 12, 1922, with Rev. Tucker still the Rector. There were ten families, or individuals, who were members. They included the W. G. Pleasants, the W. T. Browns, the J. A. Butts, Mrs. Gilberta Smith Hubbard, the Edward G. (Doc) Peoples, the William Hunters, the Frank L. Nannys, the Ashley G. Watsons, the Mack Pritchards, and Mrs. Augusta R. Lucy.

The Rev. Valerie J. Mayo Speaks on Sunday

The Rev. Mayo is a former member of All Saints' Church in South Hill who is now the Director of Beloved Community Initiatives at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. She received her Master of Divinity Degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexander, Va.

She congratulated the church on its 100 years of serving the Episcopal audience in the South Hill area and spoke of how thrilled she was to be back at All Saints' Church.

She told of how she almost quit the church after some disappointments and facing ten weeks of intense training. “Never have I experienced ten weeks such as this.” She explained that God had told her to stick with the program.

“And, I said, okay, Lord, and then I put myself back into the program.” As Bishop Haynes had explained the day before, “I had a barrier and never have I been alone as God as we have worked together to eliminate barriers.”

Those in attendance were treated to a reception with treats outside in the colorful backyard and had the opportunity to speak with Rev. Mayo.