Parish History

parish history

The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, the older of Danville’s two Episcopal Churches is a significant landmark located in the center of Danville’s Historic District at the corner of Main Street and Jefferson Avenue.  Epiphany’s history reflects service to the needs of our community, respect for the beauty of a place to worship, a love of music, and a need to enjoy and respect diversity.

The Reverend Dr. George W. Dame founded the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in 1840.  Within its first decade, Epiphany completed its first building and acquired an organ.  During the Civil War, Rev. Dr. Dame took communion to and served as the Prison Chaplain to the Northern Army’s (USA) prisoners being held in the tobacco warehouses.  A new Church bell, which remains in service to this day was donated in 1867 by local citizens who wanted to recognize Rev. Dr. Dame for his ministry and pastoral care to the soldiers of the Southern and Northern Armies.

From 1879-1881, a new Church building was constructed and consecrated. In April 1895, shortly after Rev. Dr. Dame retired, Professor Robert S. Phifer was hired as organist. Phifer, an accomplished musician, who was a friend and benefactor of British Composer Frederick Delius, cemented Epiphany’s reputation for excellent music.  In 1927, Epiphany acquired a Skinner organ and the interior of the Church was redesigned to house the instrument.

The Reverend George R. MacClintock was called in 1944.  Under the 27-year tenure of Rev. MacClintock, a new Parish Hall was built and the Budget Box was created.  The Budget Box was a ministry of the Church women, selling gently used apparel to our Church and community.

In 1975, E. Stuart Grant, a local newspaper women and parishioner, purchased an adjacent property to the Church and Epiphany’s Memorial Garden was created.  Soon thereafter, the original steeple was replaced and a forty-seven rank, mechanical action Andover organ was purchased and installed in the balcony at the rear of the Nave.  In the late 1970’s significant gifts from Dr. Howard W. Church and Mrs. Bland Schoolfield were received and formed what is now known as the Schoolfield Fund. In the late 1980’s, use of the facilities increased, including AA and ACOA support groups, Teen Care and Lay Eucharistic Ministers.

The Reverend James Mathieson was called to Epiphany in 1993 and the Free Clinic of Danville was established.  The clinic was housed in the Church and served those in the community who were unable to afford health care.  During Rev. Mathieson’s tenure, an elevator was installed, a new Sacristy was constructed as well as a new parking lot.  A Columbarium was also added to the Memorial Garden.

In 2018, the Reverend Jon Anderson accepted the call to be Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany.  During his tenure, he helped the Church navigate the COVID pandemic, led us into the streaming era and focused on the maintenance of our physical facilities. He departed Epiphany in mid-2023 when the Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado called him to serve as Canon for Mission and Operations.

Owing to Epiphany’s contributions to the area over many years, the Danville community is aware of and takes certain measure of pride in the Church’s deep and significant history.  The members of Epiphany are especially cognizant of Epiphany’s past.  We are more diverse and welcoming to all than any other time in the past.  Our history reminds us of our resiliency, our commitment to God, our community and ourselves.  We eagerly stand together excited about where we are. With God’s help, we will work with one another to grow and face our challenges. 

stained glass

Most of the stained glass memorial windows, installed during the first quarter of the 20th century, were designed and executed by the J.R. Lamb Company of New York. The chancel “Christ as Shepherd” window honors the lifework of Epiphany’s first rector, who retired in 1895.  

In the Episcopal tradition, we value worship in beautiful spaces as a way to honor God and to help us to connect with God. This is a gift from our Catholic heritage. Stained glass windows are not only a teaching element, but also "lift our hearts." We worship in beautiful spaces, giving our best to God. Our worship space gives a sense of worship as beauty and wonder invites us to mark time differently - sacramentally, eternally.

180 years

In celebration of Epiphany’s centennial in 1979 of the current structure, the balcony at the rear of the nave was enlarged to accommodate an Andover tracker organ. The installation of this instrument was one of the early projects made possible by the Schoolfield Trust. About the same time the church received two more significant gifts. Longtime member E. Stuart James Grant, purchased and donated to Epiphany, the Main Street property immediately adjacent to the church. In 1980 a beautiful garden was created on this land in memory of Mrs. John G. Boatwright.