Vienna Presbyterian Church History

Vienna Presbyterian Church (VPC) was organized in 1871, with nine original members. The first building, now the “Chapel,”was dedicated in 1874. For the next 65 years VPC remained a tiny village church, usually with fewer than a hundred members, and sharing a pastor with another church.

ChapelWorld War II and the post-war years brought boom and growth for Vienna as well as for the entire Washington, DC, area. By 1976, the membership had grown to 1,351. VPC was transformed from a village church to a thriving suburban congregation.

Today VPC has a senior pastor and two associate pastors; more than 2,600 members; a wide range of study, fellowship, service and support opportunities; a deeply involved congregation, and an extensive local, national, and international missions outreach.

It has become the largest Presbyterian church in the Washington, DC, area and in the Commonwealth of Virginia — and a church of great spiritual vitality.

Pivotal to VPC’s growth has been the Reverend Dr. Peter G. James, who came to the congregation as associate pastor in 1979, became co-pastor in 1984, and pastor in 1986. Under his leadership, the church has grown to its present membership. A 1995 capital funds campaign provided a new facility to enable VPC’s ministry to continue growing.

Another capital funds campaign was started in 2002 to enable VPC to build a new Ministry Center, to provide expanded space for Christian education and fellowship. Construction began in mid-2004 and was completed in January, 2006.

The church’s identity, however, has not been found in ministers, in numbers, or in buildings. Throughout its nearly 145 years, it has seen itself as a congregation built by faith and called to serve. This vision has been at the heart of its history.

To hear from our long-time members about their experiences at VPC:

Cap Oliver

Shirley Worth

Frank Wolf

Harris Miller