Founded in 1885, Faith Chapel Presbyterian Church held weekly Sunday services for 130 years, until attendance dropped and left the church with no way to sustain itself. The last service was held during Christmastime in 2015.
Fast forward three years and the church is experiencing a rebirth, thanks to the organization of Gary Mears, a Riverside Presbyterian Church member who moved from Sterling to Lucketts to breathe life back into the 134-year-old worship center.
Mears said that it was in spring 2016 when he and his pastor, Brian Clark, were asked to survey Faith Chapel and make a recommendation to sell, demolish or restore the building. He said it didn’t take long to realize what had to be done. “It was fairly clear to us that we should not sell the property … but that work should be done to reopen a church there,” he said.
Once Mears made that decision, he moved with his wife into the manse across the street from the chapel in July 2017 and began renovating the chapel, partnering with local organizations and putting together new programs and events.
Two years later, Faith Chapel is prepared to open its doors for weekly Sunday services beginning March 24 at 9:30 a.m. Mears said that the church’s community is expecting a large turnout.
That’s because more than 150 people crammed into the chapel in December for the first worship service since 2015, some of whom were lifelong members and others who had never previously set foot in the church. “We had people sitting everywhere,” Mears said.
Mears attributes the chapel’s revival to the desire of the Lucketts community for a local worship center.
“This is not about getting the band back together, this is about starting a new worship community,” he said. “There is a desire for community and there is a desire for people to explore their faith.”
Aside from reviving worship services, Mears has made connections with Loudoun Hunger Relief to create the Lucketts Community Food Pantry, which provides food to those in need on the second Saturday of every month.
He said the idea for the pantry arose after talking with Lucketts Elementary School Principal Carolyn Clement, who mentioned that 25 percent of students there take advantage of the Free and Reduced Meal Program. “That put the seed in my head,” Mears said.
And there is more: The church’s “The Porch at Faith Chapel” program offers weekly gatherings on Wednesday nights to discuss the Christian faith and the Bible. Food Truck Sundays on the first and third Sundays of every month feature outdoor games and live music.
To learn more about Faith Chapel and The Porch, go to faith-chapel.org.