Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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History

 

 

Church of the Spirit was founded by Pastor Roger Schellenberg in 1997.  The first service was at his house on December 21, 1997.  The first service in the church building was while the building was still under construction in the summer of 1998.  The grand opening for Church of the Spirit was on December 20, 1998.

The original concept of the church was as a “seeker sensitive” church.  That is a church for the unchurched, as well as for people who have had bad experiences with other churches.  The church building had an untraditional look. It was located in a large warehouse behind Kohl’s Department store in Kingstowne.  This would remain the church’s location for almost nineteen years. 

 

 In addition to the unusual look of the church building, the church had a very casual atmosphere, with a come as you are dress requirement, a live band, and a non-judgmental attitude for people seeking answers to difficult questions about God and their faith.  It was not unusual for people to get a cup of coffee during the service and then return to their seat.  While no church can operate without money, giving money was not emphasized, and the word tithing was almost never heard. 

 

 

                Today, Church of the Spirit is still a very warm and inviting place to attend worship.  We still have all the same philosophies that we had when we opened, however many of our members have been with the church for years and are well grounded in Christianity.  Tithing is still rarely, if ever, heard from the pulpit.  Money is mentioned when necessary. 

                We welcome everyone and have a racially diverse congregation.

The church is still open to people who have never been to church, people who never wanted to return to a church and people looking for a somewhat untraditional church service.  In fact, the church is open to anyone and everyone.  We still have the live band, we are still come as you are, and we are still open to questions about God and faith.  While you cannot have a coffee during the service anymore, we do have coffee and snacks afterwards.

 

                Over the years we have helped Koinonia, the local food bank, and have had a great mission to Central America.  Today we try to help people find Jesus and then help all our members to have changed lives which reflect Christ’s teaching.  We also have a strong sense of community.  Finally, in recent years both our church and the local Episcopal District have been working on, and having programs about, racial reconciliation in church and society.

                We are an Episcopal Church, but many of our members are not, and that is perfectly acceptable.  Traditional Episcopalians might have difficulty at first with our service, but the liturgy is still present.

                In 2014 our founding Pastor, Roger Schellenberg, retired from the Episcopal Church and we selected an interim leader, Pastor Corry Weierbach.  She has guided us for the last three years and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. 

                In 2017 the church moved from its long time location in Kingstowne to being hosted by another Episcopal church.  Our building might look very traditional (beautiful historic 1868 white chapel on Franconia and Beulah Road) but we are still untraditional.  However, we manage to blend the ancient with the modern.  We moved to this location to spend less resources on maintaining the building and more on God’s work.

               

Please come and give us a try at our new location:  6107 Franconia Road, Alexandria, Virginia  22310.  Our service is at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday morning.