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Church History

Williams Chapel CME Church is Front Royal's oldest Antebellum house of worship.  Williams Chapel was built by Presbyterians around 1844. The exact construction dates are not known but records show that it was under construction in the year 1844. It has served as a church, court house, school and civic center not only echoing praise, prayer and preaching, but voices and footsteps of judges, magistrates, teachers and pupils.  The Front Royal Presbyterian congregation was organized in 1794 by the noted Rev. William Williamson, but it shared houses of worship with the old School Baptist and Methodist for nearly two years before erecting the church. This edifice was the seat of the Warren County Government during the first year of the War Between the States when the Court House was being used as a military hospital. On November 18, 1862, the sheriff was ordered to pay Giles Cook, one of the Elders of the Presbyterian Church, the sum of $25 in consideration of the use of the church for holding court for the past year. Within Williams Chapel's church walls were made the decisions during that critical period of transition from Federal to Confederate government, under the jurisdiction of many men in local annals appointed by the Governor to serve as "gentleman justices."  Sometime after the war, extensive repairs were made to the Presbyterian Church. Windows were reduced, however the balcony was provided for seating of African American members who did not have separate churches until after the Civil War. In 1885, during the pastorate of Rev. C. W. Hollis, the Presbyterians bought a site for a new church at the corner of South Royal Avenue and Jackson Street, selling their Chester Street Church to the Warren County School Trustees to be used as a school. In 1890 the church was bought from the school trustees by M. C. Richardson, who sold it three years later to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Upon this acquisition, the church was given the name Williams Chapel CME in honor of Bishop Williams. At the present, the CME Church has been worshipping in this edifice for over 100 years. Williams Chapel is currently under the divine direction and leadership of Reverend Tonia Leavy . Williams Chapel recognizes the awesome responsibility to continue the legacy and history of the Front Royal community and the life of the church.
We at Williams Chapel C.M.E. Church have a saying, "We are more than Conquerors". We ask for your prayers as the Williams Chapel Church Family goes forward in the name of the Lord. Thank you and May God bless you.

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