Northern Virginia is dotted with churches that hold memories of the United States Civil War that raged on their property and outside their doors. The Jerusalem Baptist Church in Fairfax Station is one of those churches.
Originally the land where the white wooden church now stands was Payne’s Church founded in 1766 by agreement with the Church of England and the parish founded by George Washington. After the Revolutionary War properties owned by the Church of England were now property of the “state” and could be used as places of worship by other denominations. Payne's Church was the first brick church built in Fairfax County which made it even more unique.
The Jerusalem Baptist church congregation formed in 1840 and was given use of the original Payne’s Church building for their services. As with most local churches it was pressed into service as a hospital as the Civil War battles raged in the area. In 1862 the Union soldiers dismantled the brick church to build their own winter quarters leaving the congregation with no place to meet.
When the war ended the congregation reformed and in 1866 built the wooden church still standing today. As with most of the small churches in the air it was built with timber milled locally. It is still in use for prayer services and is a popular place for small weddings.
When you drive down Route 123 between Burke Centre and Braddock Road take a moment to look. past the shoping centers and houses. What you will see Jerusalem Baptist Church and St. Mary of Sorrows both small but powerful reminders of our local history.
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