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A Year in Tribute to the Churches of Floyd County

(Written by By Shielah Elwardani and originally printed in
Floyd Virginia Magazine, Spring Summer 2019 Edition, Volume 11 Issue 1)

The Floyd County Historical Society has designated 2019 as a year to pay tribute to the vital role Floyd County churches have played in the history of the county. During the 1790’s, early settlers established congregations of Brethren, Lutheran, and Baptist immediately upon arrival in the area. Methodists and Presbyterians arrived a couple of decades after with the Second Great Awakening. These congregations became the backbone of community organization and growth during the 1800’s. It would be impossible to separate the history of Floyd County from church history.

These local congregations to which each family belonged were the heart of local community. They were the center for social, political, and even economic organization. Political and family ties usually ran deep within each church, providing the social strength and strong sense of identity which has come to be a key characteristic of Floyd County till today.

In recognition of Floyd County church history, the Floyd County Historical Society Museum Exhibit for 2019 features the history of county churches established prior to 1950. For this exhibit, individual churches have contributed a fascinating variety of items from throughout their individual histories. The exhibit includes iconic images of previous church buildings and congregations, as well as items which illustrate the unique and vibrant nature of each congregation. Items ranging from bibles and hymnals, to beautiful quilts, roll books, crosses and communion tables are but a few of the items on display.

The exhibit encompasses unique aspects of worship in the distinctive denominations. Visitors will learn interesting facets of worship such as foot-washing, which is part of the communion services in both the Church of the Brethren and Primitive Baptist churches. Floyd County is home to the largest concentration of Church of the Brethren congregations in the nation. Church of the Brethren has been the most dominant denomination in Floyd County since the early 1800’s, rivaled only by the Primitive Baptist congregations prior to 1900. This exhibit brings the rich history of Floyd County churches vibrantly to life.