Hermitage Presbyterian Church
The eighteenth-century settlers who homesteaded in the Shenandoah Valley were a diverse group called, Scotch-Irish. Thomas Jefferson called them, those wild-Irish. In reality, these settlers were a mixture of Border and Lowland Scot, Highland Clansman, Border English and Anglo-Irishman, Welchman, Londoner, and French Huguenot. They had a reputation for keeping the Sabbath and everything else they could lay their hands on.*
These Scots-Irish were Presbyterian who demanded an educated-clergy, good schools, and frugality. The schools they produced included Princeton, Davidson, Mary Baldwin, and Hampden-Sydney. Their frugality gave them the ability to look at a field and calculate its potential yield of whiskey- down to the last pint.*
Tinkling Springs (Presbyterian Church) congregation established a center at Hermitage in 1871. The church shared a minister with Tinkling Spring. In 1877 Sunday School was established at the Hermitage Chapel. The Chapel referred to as the Union Chapel at Hermitage was located two hundred yards from the present Church. In 1880, two acres were donated to the Chapel. In 1981, the cemetery plot at the back of the property was added. It is believed the the construction of the Church was begun in 1885 and finished sometime in 1887. Hermitage remained a part of Tinkling Springs Church until May of 1916. There were forty-seven charter members of the church and Sunday School had an enrollment of 162.*** In 1962, Hermitage began calling their own pastors.**
Today, this early focus on good schools and frugality continue to be a strong current in the life of Hermitage Church. The emphasis for good schools has translated into a strong program of religious education for both children and adults. Frugality now has less to do with distilling and more to do with a faithful stewardship that reaches out to a broken world. Locally, members of Hermitage are involved in ministries of feeding the hungry, provided shelter for the homeless, and refugee ministry. Globally, members can be found in Guatemala, Mexico, and South Africa sharing gifts of the Spirit.
Hermitage Church is a caring family church that finds joy in worshiping, fellowship, education and mission. You are invited to come and experience this loving and hopeful community of faith.
*Sanders II, I. Taylor, Now Let the Gospel Trumpet Blow, Lexington, VA, The News-Gazette Printing Dept, 1986. Sanders quotes extensively from Leyburn, James G., The Scotch-Irish, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1962.
** Shenandoah Presbytery: A Heritage of Service, Staunton, VA., Lot’s Wife Publishing, 2012.
***The Tinkling Spring, by Howard McKnight Wilson, 1954