OUR HISTORY

 

The Diocese of Southern Virginia called the Reverend Clayton E. Crigger to Virginia Beach on Jun 5, 1963 to seek out communicants and organize a Mission. The congregation held its first service in Rinaldi's Plaza Bowl on Plaza Trail in Princess Anne Plaza on July 7, 1963. The congregation thrived and elected its first vestry on March 8, 1964.

Ground breaking for the original building was held on May 7, 1964. The first service was held in the building on January 24, 1965. St. Francis attained Parish status at the Diocesan Council of January 29-31, 1967. At that time Reverend Crigger became the the first Rector of the Parish. The early years of St Francis proved to be a time of tremendous growth both spiritually and numerically. By 1980, it was evident that a new church would have to be built. Ground was broken for a new church on September 8, 1985. The first services were held on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1986. In our early days, we used the Church nave/sanctuary for both worship and fellowship. Originally we used folding chairs, and later traded these for more tradition pews.

The Reverend Clayton Crigger retired on September 30, 1995, after over 32 years of faithful service. St. Francis then entered a sixteen month interim period with the Reverend Elisa Wheeler and culminated with a call of the Reverend James W. Hunter as its second rector on January 13, 1996 who served until April 2000. In August 2000, the Reverend Susan S. Keller became the new Rector, serving through December 2002. The parish was without a priest until the Reverend James R. Anderson arrived in July 2003, after completing a career as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force.  Under Fr. Anderson’s leadership, the parish began to thrive once again, binging in new families and building up the Christian Formation program.  After seven years of faithful service Fr. Anderson retired, and the vestry called The Rev. Conor M. Alexander as their next priest.  Fr. Conor continues to serve to the present day, and loves to see lives transformed through the gospel and the good work that St. Francis does.

St. Francis is a congregation which embraces and celebrates its diversity while at the same time recognizing we are all one in Christ. "The Beloved Community" is indeed the word that best describes our congregation. We are ready to embrace all people who come through our doors and to offer them the unconditional love and acceptance of God through Jesus Christ.