Little Fork Church Celebrates its History and Much More

By Posted on Sep 20 2019 | By

On September 21, the historic Little Fork Episcopal Church in Rixeyville will open its hallowed grounds and celebrated Lord’s house to the Piedmont community. Called “Little Fork Day,” it will provide a unique opportunity to relive the church’s history while embracing its future.

The event will be held the same day as the Culpeper Farm Tour, providing an educational and fun “twofer” for adults and children alike. Reflecting the legendary hospitality of the renowned church, there is no charge for admission. Events kick off at 10:00 a.m. and run until 3:00 p.m. For the young and young at heart, it offers the opportunity to bank some wonderful memories.

The program includes guided tours of the church by parishioner-docents dressed in colonial attire, a 75-foot-long inflatable obstacle course and rock climb slide, a white elephant sale, bake sale, and old-fashioned games. Lunch of bratwurst and hot dogs with sides will be served by the men’s ministry.

Church administrator Renae Gutridge notes that while proceeds from the sales and lunch will be donated to the church, the event isn’t geared as a fundraiser. “It’s an opportunity for the community at large to visit our church and immerse themselves in its history,” Renae says.

Seldom will a walk back in time include so much fun.

Fabled History
The Old Dominion is gifted with numerous legendary homes and government buildings, and Little Fork Church is among the most notable, albeit lesser-known jewels in the state.

Completed in 1776 after three years of construction, it is named after the confluence of the nearby Hazel and Rappahannock rivers. The church’s records reflect that John Voss designed the edifice and William Phillips built it for a fee of 35,000 pounds of tobacco.

The 83-foot by 33-foot building approached the limits of audibility during services in an era absent of amplified sound. Our colonial pastors must have been strong voiced to project the message of salvation to the assembled faithful.

During the Civil War, the church interior was destroyed by a unit of the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry stationed in the area. Soldiers and horses were quartered in the church during a bitterly cold winter. The combatants tore out the pews, the wineglass shaped pulpit, wainscoting, and most of the interior’s wooden features to fuel their campfires.

After the war, an apparent guilt-stricken Union officer sent the church $100 to help defer the cost of repairing the damages.

A full church renovation took place in the 1970s, including the relocation of the Little Fork Rangers cavalry unit memorial to the side yard of the church.

The building’s pastoral setting is located on a small knoll east of Route 229 and is the perfect venue to reflect on the historical and spiritual importance of this unique place of worship.
New Rector

On October 1, the church welcomes its new pastor, the Reverend Stacy Williams-Duncan, who celebrates her 20th anniversary of ordination this year. She has served parishes across the country and looks forward to leading Little Fork toward its 250th anniversary in seven years.

“Together we will determine how God is calling us to be the church, how Little Fork can be both a faithful steward of our history, and plant seeds that will bear fruit to carry us into a life-giving future,” says Reverend Stacy.

For more information on Little Fork Church, including its services and outreach programs, visit

Published in the August 11, 2019 edition of Discover Fauquier.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES