Although construction of our first log meeting house began in 1788 and was completed in 1789, many believe a society was formed which was in keeping with Methodist principles and practice as early as 1775. Historic records prove itinerant preachers served the Stephensburg society. This would make Stephens City UMC the oldest Methodist congregation west of the Blue Ridge.
The meeting house served until 1827 when it was torn down and replaced with a brick structure on the same site. During the Civil War, the church suffered considerable damage as the sanctuary was used as a hospital to treat both Federal and Confederate soldiers. The 1827 church sanctuary was repaired after the war, but eventually the church was considered “unsafe” and “uncomfortable” for worship. In 1882 the congregation replaced the 1827 building with a more spacious facility on the same site.
Within thirty years, this building had become obsolete. In 1912 the congregation had swelled to over 200 people and church trustees purchased a corner lot just to the south on Main and Locust Streets. The old Captain Joseph Long Tavern (built 1835) was demolished and on this site in 1913 construction of the present church was begun and completed in March 1915. The church building is located at 5291 Main Street.
Nobody knows how many times the 107-year-old front double doors of the Stephens City UMC, built in 1915, have been refurbished. Maintenance records reflect the big doors were last sanded and stained in 2011 and were continuously painted white from 1915 until about 2000.
Due to the entranceway being exposed to exterior weather conditions, the Church Worship Team requested that the doors and trim be either replaced with more modern material or be refurbished in advance of the 20th Anniversary (2003-2023) of the Education Building and Orrick Chapel Fellowship Hall Dedication coming in 2023. A review of the Stephens City Historic District Guideline followed.
Design Review Guidelines for the Town of Stephens City Historic District, Section Porches, Doors, Entrances, states: “In rehabilitation, every effort should be made to save original doors. If the original doors cannot be saved and replacement is necessary, the new doors must be the same size, design and type as used originally, or sympathetic to the building style. In all cases, design assistance should be sought from the Historic Preservation Commission.”
The Trustees agreed to follow the Historic District Guidelines. They voted to save the doors and a capable woodworking contractor was sought. Shelly’s Custom Woodworking based in Winchester was selected to refurbish the wooden doors and also the choir room door which was always painted white and never removed from its framework.
Dustin Shelly was born and raised in Frederick County. A graduate of Sherando High School in 2003, Dustin learned the carpentry trade at a very young age. “My father was a carpenter his entire life and was my biggest teacher; dad had the biggest influence on me and he was my best friend,” Shelly said. Mr. Donald Shelly was self-employed and worked on big horse farms and estates throughout Clarke and Loudoun Counties. “He started buying me tools for Christmas and Birthdays, as early as 12 years old. I still have and use all of the tools he left me.” Shelly now focuses on custom woodworking projects. “I began my own business four years ago,” he said.
According to Shelly, the church doors are old-growth pine which was typically harvested around the turn of the 20th century. Old-growth refers to wood from trees that existed in forests for long periods of time. “This wood is much denser and more resilient to decay or damage than today’s wood. It is resistant to rot, stronger and harder and more stable. The effort to preserve the high-quality material in these doors is worth the effort,” Shelly said.
On August 8, Shelly took down the eight-foot double doors and transported them to his shop in Winchester. The doors were returned and installed fifteen days later. Shelly’s team (Robbie Ramage and Alijah Walker) used the old-fashioned method of sandpaper and elbow grease to remove the old stain and return the doors to their original wooden appearance. “To get the double doors back down to the original wood, it was just sanding, more sanding and mostly sanding by hand to make the wood surface smooth as glass. We employ high performance Minwax products for the stain and clear coat. To create a rich, dark exterior that looked fresh and new, three to five layers of stain were applied to both sides of the front doors. Since the entrance is exposed to outdoor weather conditions, protective sealants were added after the finish dried. We make sure to go above and beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations,” said Shelly.
The Choir Room door, located on the west side of the building, had never been taken off its jambs and was repainted many times over a one-hundred-year period. The old pine threshold was not protected from rainwater and had rotted out entirely. The door was removed from its frame, treated for wood rot, thoroughly sanded, fiber-filled and repainted. Shelly said the lower portion of the door was completely rotted out and had to be patched with a two-part filler. The water-based compound hardens and is ready for sanding in just minutes. He did the work right here on site. The damaged door threshold also had to be replaced with an oak substitute.
Shelly continues to expand and keep pace with new technologies in the custom woodworking industry. “We do have a small Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machine,” Shelly said. CNC is a computerized manufacturing process in which pre-programmed software and code controls the movement of production equipment. “We have been utilizing CNC to make custom signs and home decor and also occasionally applying it to various pieces in our furniture projects,” he said.
Customers of Shelly claim that his work has always been of the highest quality and technical specification. His skill mix brings a wealth of knowledge and innovation to each job. Shelly’s team strives to provide the best quality work and attention to detail; excellent customer communication has led to a 90% call back rate and numerous customer referrals. Shelly’s father Donald, instilled in him the desire to genuinely care about the customer experience as well as the finished product.
“If Stephens City UMC can continue to provide periodic maintenance to these doors, they just might last another one hundred years,” Shelly declared.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Mourning Dove
How is a juvenile dove different from other songbirds?
Last week, this little one was the unfortunate victim of a cat attack. Upon admission, this patient was having trouble breathing and multiple puncture wounds were found over the hips. They were in otherwise good condition and well hydrated—signs mom was taking great care of them prior to the attack.
Mourning Doves grow incredibly quickly, which is why renesting a healthy fledgling with their parents is so important when possible—they’re learning a lot and ready to be on their own within just a few short weeks.
This baby will have to grow up under human care due to the extent of their injuries. There are many babies of various species everywhere still, unable to fully fly or run, and are at great risk of predation in general. This is one of many important reasons that cats should be kept indoors.
Mourning Doves are not like other songbirds we often receive. They are in the family Columbiformes, which only includes pigeons and dove species.
They’re characterized by short, stocky bodies and the presence of a crop, which is a muscular pouch off of the esophagus that holds seeds, allowing them to digest slowly.
They also have a gizzard (“second stomach”) that helps grind up these hard seeds, with the assistance of small rocks (“grit”) stored in the organ.
Because this species almost exclusively eats seeds, babies are fed something called crop milk which is produced in the lining of adults’ crops and is regurgitated into the crops of babies.
In rehabilitative care, nestling doves are fed a slurry that mimics the nutritional composition of crop milk until they are ready for seeds.
Thankfully, after just one week, this dove has grown quickly and figured out how to use our “seed tube” to feed itself, allowing us to be more hands-off, which is always the goal in rehabilitation! (Click here to see it in action!)
We expect this bird to be ready for outdoor conditioning in another week or two and released shortly after that.
Looking for an easy way to help native wildlife? Become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.
Randolph-Macon Academy’s English 7 Students Dive Deep into Myths
Unraveling Myths: From Ancient Tales to Modern Interpretations.
Last week, the main hall of the Middle School building at Randolph-Macon Academy transformed into an arena of tales, legends, and myths, thanks to Mr. Malinconico’s English 7 class. With enthusiasm, creativity, and a profound sense of inquisitiveness, the young students set out on a journey to unravel the mysteries of myths from across the globe.
At the heart of this “Mythology Showcase!” were essential questions carefully crafted to guide students into a deeper understanding of myths. Questions such as “What are myths?” and “How can myths assist people in making sense of the world?” sparked the flame of curiosity. The age-old practice of telling and preserving myths was delved into, along with exploring the essential lessons and morals these stories might impart to their listeners.
The physical manifestation of this study was a series of tri-fold display boards, each carefully created by the students. The center panel offered a definition of myths, their purpose, and a retelling of an assigned myth. The left invited onlookers into a realm of imagination with students’ original myths. Meanwhile, the right panel provided an analytical touch, contrasting the assigned myth with its Greek or Roman counterpart.
Beyond academic insights, this showcase was a stepping stone for students to hone their public speaking and leadership skills. The act of crafting an original myth, juxtaposed against the backdrop of time-tested legends, allowed these young minds to exercise their creativity. Such endeavors speak volumes about R-MA’s ethos. Both educators and learners here don’t merely focus on traditional learning. They seize every day as an opportunity to mold excellence nurturing academic and life skills.
In the heart of this mythology tapestry lies a bigger narrative. It underscores that myths, ancient or new, not only entertain but also foster understanding, build bridges, and inspire excellence in multiple dimensions of life. It reminds us all to keep stories alive and, in doing so, keep the vibrant spark of humanity glowing.
Learn more about Randolph-Macon Academy https://rma.edu/
Warren County Builder’s Association Hosts Candidate Forum – Wednesday, September 27, 2023
An Insightful Gathering for the Upcoming Elections.
On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, Warren County will be abuzz with political fervor as the Warren County Builders Association (WCBA) takes center stage at the Government Center on Commerce Ave. Scheduled for 6:00 p.m., the forum promises to be an informative evening dedicated to presenting the visions and policies of candidates for the forthcoming local and state elections.
As election season heats up, the need to create platforms where the public can gain insight into the thinking of their potential representatives becomes ever-crucial. A candidate forum, like the one being organized by the WCBA, provides an essential space for candidates to articulate their positions on a gamut of issues, ranging from infrastructural development to educational reforms.
For the upcoming elections, several local and state office positions are being contested, attracting a myriad of candidates. The Front Royal Town Council has Glenn Wood, Skip Rogers, Melissa DeDomenico-Payne, and Connie Marshner vying for positions. The Warren County Board of Supervisors will see Rich Jamison, John Stanmeyer, Cheryl Cullers, and Nicole Wanzer making their cases to the public. Additionally, the Warren County School Board has Kristen Pence, Leslie Mathews, Amber Mabie, and Melanie Salins on its candidate list. Other significant roles up for election include the Clerk of the Court with Angie Moore, the Warren County Treasurer with Janice Shank and Allison Ross, VA Delegate District 31 with Steve Foreman, Delores Oates, and Grace Morrison, and the Warren County Sheriff’s position, for which Crystal Cline is running.
With such a diverse pool of candidates, the community eagerly anticipates an evening full of engaging discourse, insightful discussions, and a clearer vision of the future that each candidate brings to the table. To ensure that those unable to attend won’t miss out, the Royal Examiner’s camera crew will be present to capture every moment of this pivotal forum.
The WCBA, as a non-profit trade association network, has always been at the forefront of community-building initiatives. Their commitment is seen in their efforts to bring together builders, professionals, suppliers, and trade employees with a shared dream of sculpting a better community. Through such events, they further their objectives of promoting responsible growth, updating members about crucial industry developments, and influencing policy and regulation at the local and state levels.
In the whirlwind of election season, having informed choices is imperative. Thanks to endeavors like the candidate forum by WCBA, residents of Warren County will have a better understanding of the individuals who wish to represent them and shape their community’s future.
Safety First: ACES Drives Initiative to Protect Pedestrians on West Criser Road
Push for High-Visibility Flex-Stakes Aims to Secure Prominent Front Royal Routes.
In Front Royal, the ever-busy West Criser Road plays a pivotal role for pedestrians, cyclists, and students. Recognizing the road’s prominence and inherent dangers, the Advisory Committee for Environmental Sustainability (ACES) is spearheading a crucial fundraising campaign. Their objective? To install high-visibility flex-stakes, enhancing the road’s safety and ensuring a secure passage for all.
West Criser isn’t just any road in Front Royal; it forms an integral connection between Eastham Park and the esteemed Skyline High School, creating a widely frequented loop. Cyclists, joggers, and walkers often use this scenic route to revel in the town’s natural beauty or engage in daily exercises. Moreover, the pathway is indispensable for students traveling to and from Skyline High and Skyline Middle School.
However, the increasing foot and vehicular traffic warrants a closer examination of the road’s safety features. The proposed flex-stakes, with their high-visibility feature, are specifically designed to draw attention to the pedestrian shoulder, offering a clear and safe boundary. This installation is not only expected to shield pedestrians and cyclists but also act as a reminder for drivers to slow down, particularly in this densely populated zone.
ACES’s commitment to environmental sustainability has always been evident in its various initiatives. With this campaign, they extend their dedication towards ensuring that Front Royal’s natural beauty can be enjoyed safely by all its residents. This fundraiser isn’t just about installing stakes; it’s about building a more secure community, one flex-stake at a time.
As ACES pushes forward with its mission, community support becomes paramount. Donations, both big and small, can play a part in safeguarding the residents of Front Royal and enhancing the overall safety of West Criser Road. With collective effort and community backing, these high-visibility flex-stakes will soon become a reality, offering peace of mind to many.
Please consider donating to help make this section of roadway safer for everyone to use.
Adverse Weather Can’t Dampen Spirits at Celebrate Kids Day
As dark clouds loomed and Tropical Storm Ophelia made its presence felt on September 24th, the Warren Coalition’s 10th annual Celebrate Kids Day proceeded with a vigor and energy that the storm couldn’t dampen. A change in venue to the Health & Human Services Complex did little to deter hundreds of families from partaking in this beloved event.<br><br>
The popular inflatable rides found a new home at the 15th Street Gym, thanks to a quick-thinking reorganization plan. Nearby, Diversified Minds from Warren County Public Schools offered their conference room for local agencies to set up shop. The sheer number of attendees highlighted the event’s significance: rooms brimming with activities, face painting sessions in the “band room,” and games galore.
Though the pony ride vendor had to cancel, the rest of the outdoor activities, like the pitch burst and petting zoo, stood their ground. Nearly a thousand visitors, both young and old, made their way through the attractions, enjoying everything from a T-ball challenge to inflatable rock walls.
Inside, organizations like the Salvation Army, St. Luke’s Community Clinic, and the Department of Social Services, to name a few, had tables set up, offering a range of activities and information. As children flitted between buildings, taking in all the fun, some were drawn to the pitch burst. There, brave volunteers sat poised for a splashy surprise, all in good fun and for a charitable cause, raising over $6,000.
Thanks to generous sponsors like Front Royal Dental Care, Fraternal Order of Police, and City National Bank (which covered the entire petting zoo’s expenses), the event’s price remained a mere dollar per child. Local businesses, from Horton’s Nursery and Garden Center to Martin’s, also chipped in, showcasing a heartwarming communal spirit.
Reflecting on the day, Christa Shifflett, Executive Director of the Warren Coalition, remarked, “This is a testament to our community’s resilience and togetherness. Everyone, from sponsors to parents, played their part, ensuring that Celebrate Kids Day was a roaring success, even in the face of unpredictable weather.” The Warren Coalition, a beacon for health care and substance abuse awareness since 1994, remains dedicated to fostering a safe and nurturing environment in Warren County.
Shenandoah Rail Trail: An Ambitious Vision On Track
Stitching Towns and Nature Together with a 50-Mile Thread.
A broad coalition of elected officials, economic development leaders, business owners, nonprofit partners, and state legislators gathered last week in Front Royal to discuss progress on the proposed Shenandoah Rail Trail. This ambitious 50-mile multi-use trail would convert an abandoned railroad corridor into a shared-use path connecting nine towns and three counties along the Shenandoah Valley.
The meeting provided an opportunity to update Senator Tim Kaine on the status of the project and emerging funding opportunities. Kaine has been a longtime supporter of the trail, noting during the discussion that he’s an avid cyclist familiar with the region’s trails. “When I first heard about plans for the Shenandoah Rail Trail, I thought it would work great, and it’s exciting to see the progress made,” he said.
Kaine emphasized the value of demonstrating successful trails to gain local buy-in, saying, “The more model trails are up and running, the more small towns can see the benefits and want to get on board.”
The diverse group highlighted how their coordinated efforts are building momentum for the project. Natasha Skelton of The Conservation Fund, which is negotiating the acquisition of the corridor from Norfolk Southern, said: “We have strong localized support up and down the corridor, with all nine towns and three counties in agreement that this is what they want to do with the vacant rail line.”
The newly formed Friends of the Shenandoah Rail Trail will spearhead private fundraising efforts. The trail partnership is also pursuing federal funding through a $25 million RAISE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. At the state level, $35 million has been allocated so far from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Proponents emphasized the potential economic benefits of the trail for tourism and small businesses focused on outdoor recreation. “We see this as an asset that businesses can build off of,” said Joe Petty, Executive Director of the Front Royal/Warren County Economic Development Authority.
Others highlighted community engagement progress, including a series of public meetings that collected input on trail preferences from over 700 residents. Outreach to diverse populations, such as non-English speaking poultry plant workers who could use the trail to commute, is also underway.
The scenic value of trail bridges slated to cross rivers and rail lines was noted as iconic attractions for visitors. Local connections via trails and greenways linking to the main corridor will also help residents access the amenities.
Senator Kaine’s visit gave the partners a high-profile platform to share their vision and progress. With strong local alignments, funding pursuits underway, and engagement efforts to spread awareness, the Shenandoah Rail Trail initiative appears to be building unstoppable momentum.