About Us

The purpose of the Barren Ridge Church of the Brethren is to affirm the love and work of God in His world. We believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; we are called to be His disciples, sharing in a loving ministry of reconciliation, healing, and justice. We will trust the continuing guidance of the Holy Spirit to shape our witness and service, our nurturing efforts that include study of the Bible, and our fellowship and worship – so that every person may be brought into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ.

(Colossians 1:28, TEV)

Approved by Council, 2/19/1968

Pastors Henry and Janet Elsea

Pastors Henry and Janet Elsea joined Barren Ridge Church of the Brethren as our co-Pastors September 1, 2019. Pastor Henry was raised in Winchester VA and Pastor Janet in Culpeper. They have been married 40 years with 4 children and 7 grandchildren and have served Churches of the Brethren in Grantsville, MD, Harrisonburg, VA and Crimora, VA. Pastor Henry is actively involved in Brethren Disaster Ministries as a Project Leader, has served on the District Board and Standing Committee. Pastor Janet currently serves on the District Ministry Leadership Team and Standing Committee. She has also served on the Mission and Ministry Board at the Denominational Level and as District Board Chair and Moderator. Both bring a variety of gifts and experience and look forward to what plans the Lord sets forth.

A Brief History

The Barren Ridge Church of the Brethren was founded in 1865 as a mission effort of the Middle River congregation. It is the third oldest Church of the Brethren in Augusta County. In its early history it founded six other local congregations. They include Mount Vernon, Forest Chapel, Staunton, and Waynesboro.

The congregation has met and worshiped in three different buildings throughout its history, with various additions and renovations made at different times.

Throughout its history Barren Ridge has called forth and employed many prominent leaders, missionaries and pastors in the Church of the Brethren.

In its (150) years of operation, this congregation has provided significant and consistent ministry to the residents of the surrounding community. Because of the dedication of its membership thousands of people have been touched and challenged by the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Barren Ridge is a congregation with a rich history and a great potential for continued significant service and leadership in the Kingdom of God, in the community, and in the world.
-Taken from Homecoming Bulletin, May 1990

Building Committee for 1979 Sanctuary Addition:

  • Arthur Lawhorne, Chairman
  • Harry Eavey
  • Elizabeth Crickenberger, Secretary
  • E.L. Harris, Jr.
  • O.W. Gilbert, Jr.
  • Paul Davis
  • Ray Coffman
  • Richard Lindamood
  • James Adams

Building Committee for 2010 Addition:

  • Larry Wade
  • Diane Garber
  • Scott Hildebrand
  • Daniel Phillips
  • P.J. Wright
  • Gary Wingfield
  • Nelson Young
  • Wilmer Phillips
  • Lawrence Hildebrand
  • Jennifer Cook

Below is a chronology of events:

1924 – 8 classrooms added with a single center entry, four classrooms on the main floor and four upstairs.
1932 – Cement walk poured
1933 – Piano purchased
1938 – Electric lights added
1940 – East wing with basement added
1942 – Electric bell system installed
1945 – Basement under east wing improved for fellowship purposes
1947 – Parsonage built for $1,200
1951 – Basement under sanctuary completed for a fellowship hall, and kitchen added
1953 – Second floor of east wing improved
1955 – Electric organ purchased
1663 – Narthex facilities added at a cost of $5,255
1965 – Forty by seventy foot addition built with fellowship hall and Sunday School rooms for $68,450
1979 – New sanctuary dedicated at an estimated cost of $165,000
1985 – Air conditioned the sanctuary
1993 – Paved the parking lot
1996 – Reroofed the entire building and vinyl wrapped the wood trim
2000 – Air conditioned the office and fellowship hall sections
2002 – Carpeting and painting of sanctuary, and main building
2005 – Began broadcasting Sunday services on WNLR AM 1150
2006 – Outdoor picnic shelter built at a cost of $32,000 partially funded by memorial donations
2008 – Repaving and marking of parking lots to include spaces for handicapped parking, also partially funded by memorial donations
2010 – Addition to existing building of handicap restrooms, new Pastor’s study, Sunday School classroom, and Choir Room with cost of $275,000, note paid in 2014
2011 – Renovation of kitchen, expanding into former Pastor’s Study, increasing cooking, cabinet, storage, and work space
2018 – Dedication of new organ in Memory of Harper Phillips
2019 – Renovation of Parsonage currently in progress