This historic church was established by Scotch-Irish and German settlers who migrated from eastern Pennsylvania in the early 1730's. William Hoge donated two acres of land for a meeting house, and an additional two acres for a burying ground. Two log and two stone houses of worship have occupied this site. The congregation was officially organized as a Presbyterian Church circa 1736 under oversight of the Donegal (Pa.) Presbytery. Named Opequon Church after the original name of the area "Opekon settlement" it grew in size and influence. By the time of the French and Indian War in the 1750s it had become the primary place of public worship within a wide area. Tradition holds that George Washington worshiped here on occasion during that time. During the Revolutionary War Opequon Church made a major contribution to the effort, and seven known veterans are buried here. In 1790 a new stone sanctuary replaced the two earlier log structures.
By the early 1800s Opequon's prominence as the area's leading place of worship had declined, and for many years its membership ebbed and flowed. During the Civil War years the first and second battles of Kernstown were fought near and around the church, and the buildings and cemeteries were badly damaged. Worship services were discontinued in 1863, and the ruined structure was used as a stable for horses. Following the war, and after a partial restoration, the church building was destroyed by fire in 1873. The abandoned church site reverted to nature and the remnants of the congregation worshiped elsewhere.
A Renewed Vision
Out of the past comes motivation and direction for the future. The hardy Scotch-Irish descendants refused to accept defeat, and in 1889 plans and financing were arranged for reconstruction. In 1897 the present sanctuary was completed, and is built on the same foundation as the 1790 stone church. Often called the "Mother Church of the Valley," the congregation has set forth over the years 43 ministers and 8 missionaries, whose families were nurtured here. Sunday schools and chapels were organized and supported in the surrounding countryside. Today, Opequon Presbyterian Church is a vibrant, caring, and growing congregation, continuing to serve community, nation, and God. Our heritage over four centuries inspires and challenges us as we continue to glorify God in this place.
For more information you are invited to contact the pastor or visit our church office