A Brief History of All Saints Sharon Chapel
Founded simply as “the Chapel at Sharon” in 1848, All Saints Sharon Chapel has a rich history including war, occupation, fire, collapse and, most importantly, the grace of God to continue to serve our community through it all.
Mr. and Mrs. John Jacob Frobel gave the land where the church stands today so that a small clapboard chapel could be built to further Christian education in the area. About the same time, the Virginia Theological Seminary began to send its seminarians into nearby neighborhoods to do missionary work. Sharon Chapel was the first of twelve such missions.
One of these early seminarians was Phillips Brooks who was in charge in 1859 of the chapel and later became a famous preacher and ultimately the Bishop of Massachusetts. Another famous seminarian was Henry St. George Tucker, in charge in 1897, and later became the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church during World War II.
During the Civil War, the land was occupied by the Union Army. The chapel accidentally burned down in 1864 but in 1866, as soon as the Seminary re-opened, seminarians directed the construction of a new chapel. By 1902 this building was in such poor condition that it was replaced by a more substantial building.
This third chapel was still run by seminarians and was home to the Sharon Chapel congregation until 1952. Between 1952 and 1955 the congregation attended regular services at nearby St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. In 1955 services were renewed at Sharon Chapel.
In 1959 the Reverend Louis Bradford became the priest-in-charge and under his leadership the size of the congregation tripled. The church that now stands was constructed in 1963. In 1974 Sharon Chapel became a parish and signifying that milestone, it became known as the parish of All Saints Episcopal Church.
Today, the church is honored to provide a home to two other congregations, Iglesias de Dios and the Jesus Love Church (Korean). Given its proximity to the Virginia Theological Seminary, All Saints Sharon Chapel benefits from seminarians who are seeking experience with diverse and active congregations and offers them a place to fulfill that objective.
Today, the parish is led by Father Cayce Ramey, who graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is married to Elinor, who is an attorney with the US Department of the Treasury, and they have two young sons.
All Saints Sharon Chapel is the cherished home of an open and affirming, racially and ethnically diverse congregation holding steadfast to our best traditions while seeking to explore the spirit and will of God together.