Sunnyside Presbyterian Church
History...with Open Doors and Open Hearts
Our congregation covers many generations, among which are people of every stage of faith. We welcome those seeking God and His truths, regardless of questions, baggage, or plain old life experiences. The Sunnyside Presbyterian Church origins begin at Stine’s Chapel, about ½ mile from the church’s present location, from 1945-1953 and was used by The First Presbyterian Church to organize a new congregation at Sunnyside. For five summers, student ministers from the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA filled the pulpit. They were: John Williams, John McKinnon, Middleton Raynal, Campbell Wallace and John Hottle. September 1950, the Chapel congregation received their first minister, the Rev Raymond Womeldorf, under his leadership the people organized and planned to build a church of their own. Ada Snively gave financial help and the gift of land. Ground was broken on June 29, 1952. The men and boys used their spare time to dig the foundation and haul concrete blocks. On January 18, 1953, the first service was held in the basement of the new building. The building was dedicated November 14, 1954 after the completion of the sanctuary. There were 35 members. The Sunnyside Presbyterian Church was formally organized on Sunday, May 1, 1955 with 45 charter members. Four members were elected and ordained as Elders: James Beam, Olon Lowe, Carl Nesselrodt and Melvin Sager. October 1955, Sunnyside and Burnt Church in Albin agreed to form a two church field and join in calling a minister to serve both churches. John C. Livingston accepted the call. Livingston added a children’s sermon to worship service. New hymnals purchased and Nursery begun during worship service. Men of the Church held their first meeting the first Sunday in March 1959. The organ was purchased and used for the first time during Worship on Sunday, June 12, 1960. The church decided in November 1962 to become self-supporting and call a minister. John Page resigned and became full-time pastor of Burnt Church. James Huffaker was installed in November 1963. In the 1964, plans were made to add the Education Building. Ground breaking was Wednesday, April 15, 1964. Raymond Mims, architect and Olon Lowe, contractor presented plans. At this time the Sanctuary was reversed to make more room and create a narthex. The Building was dedicated on August 8, 1965 with the cornerstone laid and two stained-glass windows dedicated. The Educational Building was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Ada Snively by the congregation. Rev. James Huffaker left October 6, 1966 to accept another call. The Church congregation called Rev Thomas J. Nash III, who began August 6, 1967. The church grew to 98 members. Rev Nash left October 6, 1969 accepting a call to North Carolina. Rev Foster L. Couchman was called and began his work on September 1, 1970 until he retired May 31, 1986. The church continued to grow under his leadership. The membership continued participating in the Winchester Church Softball league, they had joined in 1954. The Church team was later resolved in the late 80’s. As well as, have an active Adult Choir and Children’s Choir, and Vacation Bible School. During these years, the church purchased a new organ with chimes, furnished a church lounge, and remodeled the kitchen, added air conditioning to the sanctuary. Rev Couchman retired May 31, 1986. The church had an interim minister for six months before a call was issued to Ronald Potter, a graduate of the Union Seminary of Richmond. Ronald Potter was called to Sunnyside Presbyterian Church and began on May 5, 1987. Rev. Potter was ordained and installed August 1987. Under his leadership the congregation has continued its growth, presently 166 members. Vacation Bible School attendance has grown, Adult Choir grown, taping of the weekly sermon for the shut-ins, Guitar classes, Activities for the youth, Hunger committee feeding members in our community, continuing growth of our church’s help with C-CAP, missionary support in Rwanda, Children and Adult Sunday School classes increase, and a Book Study group In the last 15 years, air-conditioning was added fellowship hall, refurbished the Nursery, new lighting chandeliers in sanctuary, air-conditioners for the education building, TV/DVD machines for classrooms, new pews and carpet in the sanctuary and tile for the fellowship hall. Plans are in the works for a playground area for children and a shelter for outdoor activities.
By: Cephe F. Place
Men of the Church – Easter Breakfast, Several Clean-up Days a year
Women of the Church – monthly Bible Study
Hunger Committee – Once a month provide meals for the Union Mission Center and for C-CAP
Paddy Run Weekend – twice a year the church members and youth spend a weekend in the spring and fall to fellowship and enjoy the camp and activities planned.
Guitar Class – Teach members how to play guitar and they participate in performing for various activities during the church year.
Sunnyside Book Club – Read an inspiration book and meets to discuss
Activities Committee – has a fellowship activity 6-7 times a year for the whole congregation.
Outreach/Missions – C-CAP, Hunger Committee, Rwanda Missionary.
Christian Education programs- Sunday School classes, Children’s Church during Worship, Vacation Bible School, Monthly Children Activities, such as visiting Nursing Home during various holidays through out the year, celebrating the holidays with the Children with various activities.
September 1950-December 1955
Rev. Raymond Womeldorf
July 1956- December 1961
Rev. John C. Livingston
June 18, 1961 – November 1962
Rev. John Page
November 3, 1963 – October 9, 1966
Rev. James Huffaker
August 6, 1967- October 6, 1969
Rev. Thomas J. Nash III
September 1, 1970 – May 31, 1986
Rev. Foster L. Couchman
May 5, 1987 – October 31, 2013
Rev. Ronald Potter
A booklet was printed for the “Twentieth Anniversary” – Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, Winchester, Virginia. No author named. It is out of print.
There are a few copies still in member’s possession, but none available to be purchased.