1860 Beulah Road
Vienna, VA 22182
In 1900, Vienna, Virginia, was a typical rural community with dirt streets and no modern conveniences. It was ten miles to the District of Columbia by way of Chain Bridge Road, named for the old chain bridge across the Potomac that connected Virginia with the District and ultimately to Washington, D.C.
At that time, local farming residents met at the old Beulah Methodist Protestant Church, located a quarter-mile north of Antioch's present location. In 1902, however, a division developed in the congregation. A group led by C. C. Dyer and G. W. Bryant withdrew from the church. Shortly after the division, the church was struck by lightning and burned down. Those who had withdrawn from the old church began a Sunday School at Clark's School House on Clark's Crossing Road and identified themselves as "only Christians," with no denominational affiliation.
Joel Grayson, a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), began attending the newly organized Sunday School. When told that the people were "Christians only," he exclaimed, "Why, I have belonged to that group of people all my life!" Then he told them of the group of frontier Christians who discarded all human creeds as tests of fellowship. These Christians took only the Bible as their guide and basis of their faith, accepting as their creed nothing more than Peter's declaration, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." The local people agreed this was a concept of Christian fellowship they could accept.
The new group of "Christians only" now wanted a preacher. In August of 1903, Grayson attended the Shenandoah Valley Convention of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and asked for a preacher. Joseph T. Watson, a young man just graduated from Milligan College, answered the call. C. C. Dyer gave the land for a new church site. Plans were ordered, and the cornerstone was laid at 11:00 AM, Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1903. Lumber was hauled to the site from the nearby community of Navy by Pastor Watson. Tragedy struck when a son of C. C. Dyer fell under the wagon wheels and died of his injuries, but construction continued. The construction of Antioch was done mostly by volunteer labor which went on during the winter of 1903-1904. The Sanctuary was completed and dedicated on June 12, 1904, at a cost of about $300.
Antioch's members agreed "to stand together to spread the word of God as laid down in the Bible," proclaiming, "We know no other creed but what is taught in the Bible." This statement of dedication was signed by forty-one members, including the Rev. Joseph T. Watson and his wife, Annie Burner Watson.
Since those early days, the members of Antioch have continued to honor the pledge of the founders. Descendents of the founding families have been joined by others who brought growth and prosperity to the Vienna community as well as the congregation. Antioch has changed very little over the years. The Christian spirit that gave birth to Antioch continues today, as does the traditional form of worship that has inspired this community of faith for more than a century.
We invite you to become a part of Antioch today and a piece of its history for tomorrow.