Staunton’s awe-inspiring churches are especially splendid during the holiday season with beautiful candle-lit windows, greenery, and of course, special programming. Here are a few reasons why you should make the drive to Staunton to take it all in.
Tiffany Windows at Trinity Episcopal Church
Staunton’s oldest church dates to 1746 and features 12 Louis Comfort Tiffany windows. Intricately crafted and dating to 1897, the windows include the Benedicite, The Archangel Michael, The Madonna and Child, The Praising Angel, The Good Samaritan, Easter Windows, Angel with a Script, and The Beloved Physician Saint Luke. The oldest, most prominent of the windows are The Ascension Triptych, a series of three windows centered behind the altar. The church is open to visitors Monday-Friday from 1 pm-4 pm.
– December 31: Playing of the Merry Organ with Ben Fairfield, trumpet
Gothic Revival Architecture at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church was the first major design by architect T. J. Collins, built in 1895. One of the most beautiful buildings in Staunton, St. Francis is a beacon for the faithful and those who love architecture. The parish website explains the architecture: “… the spiritual goal of Gothic revival architecture is to lead the beholder to mystically reach towards the heights of Heaven …” Collins called it “English Gothic.” Whatever anyone chooses to call it, we call it captivating. Before you come, take a virtual tour of the church to truly appreciate the distinctive architecture, stained glass windows, various church furnishings, and the liturgical excellence of St. Francis Church.
– December 12: Advent Penance Service, 7 p.m.
– December 24: Christmas Youth Choir performs prior to 5 p.m. Vigil Mass
Glorious Arches at First Presbyterian Church
When you look upon the facade of First Presbyterian Church on Frederick Street, the first things you’re likely to notice are the three large entry arches and complimentary stained glass arch soaring above them. It’s an impressive sight. Historical tidbit: The 28th President of the United States of America was baptized in this beautiful church led by his father, Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson. That’s Thomas Woodrow Wilson, if you need a refresher. The church manse where Wilson was born is now part of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum campus. And here’s a fun fact: the basin used to baptize the would-be President of the United States is still in use today.
Staunton’s First African-American Church: Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church
Organized in 1865, Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church was the first church in Staunton and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains established by people of color. The church body met at various locations for a number of years until 20 members of the congregation secured the original 1868 building site at 921 West Beverley Street. In 1997, Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church moved to a more accessible location at 936 Sudbury Street. You’re welcome to drive past the original 1868 site, but it is now a private residence.
Dive a little further into our beautiful downtown by getting to know our five historic districts. They’re all stunning during the holiday season and beyond. Consult the Calendar of Events to plan your next trip to Staunton and see our list of other holiday happenings taking place.