Our History

Our History

Brethren began to settle in Roanoke as early as the 1830s and possibly much earlier. However, they were slow in establishing a formal organization or building meeting houses, as the early churches were called. No one knows when Peters Creek was organized. However, the earliest reference to the congregation mentions a council held at the home of Elder Daniel Barnhart in May 1841.

In the fall of 1845, the original meeting house for Peters Creek, which measured 75 feet by 45 feet, was erected at a cost of $250. David Deyerle, who built the first brick building at what is now Hollins University, was the contractor. Mr. Deyerle dug the clay and fired the bricks near the church site. The bricks were laid by Henry Langhorne. The walls were 18 inches thick. Lumber for the church was furnished by John Garst of Hanging Rock. The meeting house was roughly finished on the inside with bare brick walls and exposed joists.

During the Civil War, Brother B. F. Moomaw often preached against the horrors of war while Virginia soldiers could be seen through the open doors of the church. According to legend, the church served as a hospital for injured soldiers following the Battle of Hanging Rock.

The original church building was remodeled for the first time in 1908. The roof was made self-supporting. Stairways at each end of the building and a fireplace were removed. A new floor and pews were installed.

In 1925, a vestibule was added and five classrooms were partitioned from part of the sanctuary. The inside walls were plastered. The outside of the building was painted and the brickwork was penciled. The original fireplaces were replaced by wood stoves.

The wood stoves were replaced in 1938 by a central heating system, first powered by coal, then by oil, and now by gas.

In 1945, a choir loft was added.

In 1950, Peters Creek purchased a lot behind the church for the amount of $360.

In 1957, Peters Creek began construction of a new sanctuary with basement classrooms at a cost of more than $100,000. The new facility was dedicated on August 17, 1958.

By 1961, there was a need for additional classrooms. Mr. and Mrs. Miller Garst gave the gift of a new building. The new facility, consisting of eight classrooms on the ground floor and a large unfinished room on the second floor, was completed in 1966 at a cost of $30,000. Another addition was completed in 2004 at a cost of $130,000.

Many free ministers served the congregation generously during the early years. In 1939, the Peters Creek congregation made the transition to the professional ministry under the leadership of Robert L. Strickler, who had been a summer pastor the year before.

Peters Creek Church of the Brethren is the mother of several churches in the Roanoke Valley. From her came First Church (Roanoke), Green Hill, Masons Cove, Oak Grove and Poages Mill.

Peters Creek Church of the Brethren is a member of the Virlina District of the Church of the Brethren. The district is made up of 90 Brethren congregations and fellowships in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Learn more about the history of the Church of the Brethren