the history of our Church

The Church of Our Saviour, Hillandale began as a  Mission of the Church of Our Saviour in the Brookland area of Northeast Washington, D.C. Soon after the Rev. Harwood Bowman became rector at Brookland in 1954, he called for construction of a new church in Montgomery County, Maryland. The new mission began in 1956, first in the Hillandale firehouse, then in the new building’s completed undercroft. On February 2, 1964, 614 people crowded into the church for its dedication. Our Saviour-Hillandale and Our Saviour-Brookland operated as one parish until 1964, when the Vestry voted to separate the congregations.

Fr. Bowman chose the Hillandale site knowing the Beltway would pass nearby. Since the new church would welcome people from “all over,” the Church of Our Saviour was established as a ‘separate congregation,’ rather than a parish. (A parish is defined by geographic boundaries; Church of Our Saviour has none.) The Diocese of Washington received Our Saviour, Hillandale as a full and separate congregation in 1966.

The Church of Our Saviour, Hillandale has had four rectors. The Rev. Harwood C. Bowman retired in December 1984 after nearly thirty years. Our second rector, the Rev. John F. Koepke, III,  served from 1986 to 1997. The Rev. Mark B. Pendleton served from 1996 until 2004 when he became Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford, Connecticut. The Rev. Robert Harvey served from 2006 to 2016.  Our current rector is The Rev. Francisco Valle.

Today, there are still members of the congregation who have been worshiping at the Episcopal COS, Hillandale from the very early days.  Although there are some who worship at 10:00AM, most of these members attend the 8:00AM service, so plan to arriving early if you want to meet them.

As expected, these long-attending members host a wealth of information, so conversing with them often reveals some interesting stories and might even dispel long-standing rumours.  Perhaps the mistery of the history of the bell might even be unveiled.  Start by talking to Dee or Bob or Wilbur.

COS 30th Anniversary - Burning of the Mortgage in the Undercroft
Rev. John Koepke and Abdullah Skerritt
COS' 2nd rector, John Koepke, reminisces with People’s Warden, Abdullah Skerritt (12/28/2019)
Dee Henderson - Member since 1966
Robert "Bob" Mann
Wilbur Jenkins