History of Emmanuel

Episcopal services have been held in Winchester since at least 1859 when Bishop Benjamin Bosworth Smith appointed the Rev. James H. Morrison and the Rev. John Austin Merrick to visit the community and report on the prospects for a mission.  Various priests held occasional services until, in October 1884, in a borrowed Baptist church, the Convocation of Lexington made tentative plans to establish a mission.  By March, 1887, led by the Rev. Henry H. Sneed, a congregation was ready to be organized, and on May 1, 1888, it moved into its own church home.

Emmanuel Church was built on a donated lot on Hickman Street.  “Simple and tasteful, plain and unornamented,” the frame building had a pulpit and 22 “well cushioned” pews donated by Trinity Church, Covington, and a Bible presented by Mrs. Kimbrough of the Methodist church.

In 1895, Emmanuel became part of the new Diocese of Lexington.  Described in the 1909 Diocesan Journal as “an earnest little band,” the congregation finally achieved parish status in 1954. Two years later, the bequest of Susan Miller Bush provided an endowment that, in 1958, enabled the parish to acquire seven wooded acres outside town.  An Armco steel building served as the church, a barn was converted into a parish hall, and a residence on the property became the rectory.  By 1964, the growing parish needed a new building.  A series of Harvest Balls, held throughout the diocese to aid parishes and missions, raised some $2,100 for Emmanuel’s new church.

Today’s neo-Colonial building, cruciform in shape and with a 66-foot high centered steeple, has glazed brick headers set in Flemish bond style, stained glass windows from the first church, and seating for 200.  The first service in the building was held on Christmas Eve, 1967

On December 1, 1968, Bishop Moody dedicated the church and the old sanctuary was turned into a parish hall.   It was named Bush Hall in honor of Susan Miller Bush and the endowment she bequeathed.  

In the late 1960’s The Rev. Robert E. Anderson helped establish Operation Happiness in Clark County.  This community wide Christmas ministry continues to serve those in need in our county. 

The 1970’s saw continued growth at Emmanuel.  In 1970, Boy Scout Troop 56 began meeting at Emmanuel and continues be sponsored by our parish today.  Emmanuel’s Chapter of Daughters of the King also began that year.  In 1975 classrooms and office space were added to the original Armco steel building (Bush Hall) and the outside was bricked and connected to the sanctuary by a walk-way and cloister.

Another parish hall was built in the mid-1980s and it was dedicated McCready Hall by Bishop Addison Hosea.  Shortly after, in 1986, Emmanuel’s Memorial Garden was begun under the leadership of the Rev. John Allen and Mr. George Gawthrop in memorial to George’s wife, Alice.  Alice Gawthrop was the first person interred in the garden. 

Emmanuel saw continued growth and community involvement throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.  In 2003, after an ambitious capital campaign, Emmanuel further expanded facilities in order to better support our growing congregation and community involvement.  The sanctuary was enlarged and a new parish hall, the Parish Life Center, was built.  The PLC has been home to an independent Christian middle and high school since 2007. 

Following this expansion, the congregation experienced some challenges culminating in the dissolution of a pastoral relationship. During a period of recovery and focus on internal health, the congregation has continued to emphasize outreach and commitment to a strong Episcopal presence in the area.

In addition to our strong standing in Winchester/Clark Co., Emmanuel, since its inception, has been well represented at the Diocesan and wider church levels.  Parishioners and clergy have held many leadership roles including serving on Executive Council, Camps and Conferences Board, Diocesan Youth Commission as well as many other commissions and taskforces.  In addition, Emmanuel members have represented the Diocese of Lexington in a variety of wider church gatherings including serving as deputies to General Convention and the ECW’s Triennial gathering, the Provincial and Episcopal Youth Events, Daughters of the King and much more.

Emmanuel’s expansive campus, welcoming nature and spirit of Christian unity has allowed us to play an integral role in supporting various activities and ministries for our local community as well as the wider region and world in which we live.  Emmanuel is a Christ-centered community working to continually build a deeper spiritual relationship with our Creator through worship, service, and inspiring faithful disciples.  At Emmanuel, we Worship, Serve, and Inspire!

Emmanuel’s Clergy

The Rev. Henry H. Sneed                                        1888-1893

The Rev. E.V. Evans                                                1893

The Rev. W.H. McGee                                            1894

The Rev. George C. Abbitt                                      1896-1901

The Rev. Edgar Carpenter                                       1899-1900

The Rev. George H. Harris                                      1901-1902

The Rev. Frank B. Wentworth                                 1903-1906

The Rev. John S. Banks                                           1910-1912

The Rev. Jerome Kates                                           1912-1914

The Rev. Walter R. Dye                                          1915-1919

The Rev. Lorenzo D. Vaughan                                1922-1923

The Rev. Walter R. Dye                                          1924-1927

The Rev. Wallace F. Thompson                              1930-1941

The Rev. William F. Bumsted                                 1942-1947

The Rev. Emmett M. Waits                                    1949-1962

The Rev. Charles K.C. Lawrence                            1962-1963

The Rev. William H. Rose                                      1963-1967

The Rev. Robert E. Anderson                                 1967-1972

The Rev. Henry M. Pinkerton                                 1972-1981

The Rev. John M. Allen, Jr.                                     1981-1986

The Rev. Edward J. Henry, Interim                         1987

The Rev. Joseph Keblesh, Jr.                                  1987-1992

The Rev. William L. Hodges                                   1993-1994

The Rev. Christopher Platt, priest-in-charge          1994-1995

The Rev. Alan Sutherland                                        1995-2004

The Rev. Buck Lee, Interim                                      2004-2005

The Rev. Melanie A. Mudge                                    2006-2013

The Rev. Chana W. Tetzlaff                                                 2013-present