Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill was established in 1941 by the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). The Very Rev. Alexander C. Zabriskie, then Dean of VTS, served as the first rector. The Rev. Robert F. Gibson, Professor of Church History (and later Bishop of Virginia) served as Priest-in-Charge. Services were held in the historic Immanuel Chapel on the seminary campus.
In 1946, the Seminary gave a parcel of land to the parish for the purpose of building a rectory and a parish hall, which were completed in 1948. In 1958, a smaller chapel, named in honor of Dean Zabriskie, was dedicated at this site to accommodate a 9:00 a.m. Sunday service.
The Zabriskie chapel and parish hall were renovated in 1992, and a new Mander organ was installed in June, 1994.
From 1948 to 2010, Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill conducted services in both the Immanuel Chapel and the Zabriskie Chapel. Immanual Chapel was destroyed by fire on Oct. 22, 2010. Upon completion of the new Immanuel Chapel in 2015, services are once again being held both in Zabriskie Chapel and on the VTS campus.
The parish bylaws were approved by the Vestry on August 14, 2018.
Click here to read and/or download the parish bylaws.
The need to adopt parish by-laws arose when Immanuel attempted to get circuit court approval to replace the trustees for parish property. The court would not approve new trustees without a copy of the parish by-laws. The Vestry created a by-laws committee ably led by Sara Fein. The members included the Rev. Randy Alexander, Candy Levin, Ken McDonald, Doug Onley, and Jim Snow. The committee identified canonical and diocesan requirements for member parishes, reviewed by-laws of other parishes, drafted proposed by-laws, and edited the draft for consistency and clarity. The by-laws are designed to be useful governing guidance to the Parish, the Vestry and executive committee. They can be amended by a super-majority vote of the Vestry.
John O. Walker, Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill: Origin and Early Years -- 1936-48 (1966)
Duncan B. MacDonald, Immanuel: In Interesting Times (2d ed. 1995)
"All About Zabriskie: Who Was He and Why Is Our Chapel Named for Him", Did You Know column, The Almond Tree Quarterly Magazine: The Final Issue Spring 2023, pg. 6
The banner of Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill was approved by the Vestry in June 2013.
It features elements that represent the history of Immanuel, as well as our commitment to outreach and mission:
A second banner, donated by a parishioner, carries the seal of Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill.
This banner was designed and produced by Trevor Floyd and Company for Immanuel.
The beautiful nine-foot cross that graces our services in Immanuel Chapel, and the scaled-down matching cross that crowns the sanctuary at Zabriskie Chapel, were gifts from a parish family, and the result of thoughtful design work by Immanuel parishioner and architect Tom Kerns.
The crosses are made from wood salvaged from the old Immanuel Chapel at the Seminary following the 2010 fire. Indeed, one can see burn marks upon close inspection of the wood.
The Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill Parish Seal was approved by the 2014 Vestry on January 27, 2015.
The Vesica (the overall shape of the seal, on which the name of the organization, location, and date are shown) is oval, which by tradition indicates a church. The Canterbury Crosses at top and bottom of the Vesica link our church to the Episcopal Church of the United States and to the global community of the Anglican Communion.
The Shield is the lower portion of the seal. This Shield simply but boldly represents key elements of the identity of our church. It reflects the blue of our church banner, with the Holy Hill of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in green and Immanuel’s Celtic processional cross high on the hill. The Bethlehem (Immanuel) star, also from the church banner, is shown in the sky. Use of a cross on the shield echoes the Calvary Cross on the VTS seal.
The Crest is the upper portion which sits on top of the shield. Immanuel's Crest depicts the Book of Scripture, with the words “God with us,” as a translation of “Immanuel” as well as a statement of God being with us in all our activities. The lettering of “God with us” is based on hand written script used by Celtic monks. Behind the book are pumpkins and pumpkin blossom vines to reflect our church’s fundraiser and strong commitment to Outreach. The book sits on a stylized wreath of gold and green, pulling the Holy Hill color and the gold metal color from the Shield.
The shield was designed by heraldic artist George Cannizzaro, of Cardinal Custom Heraldry, in consultation with Rector Randy Alexander and the Parish Seal committee (Wardens Hance Haney and Sara Fein, the Rev. David Crosby, Dr. Elaine Davies, Tom Kerns, and Kerry Kelly). Mr. Cannizzaro presented the seal and explained it to the parish at a Forum Hour on February 8, 2015.