Jerusalem Baptist Church has a rich history that even predates the Revolutionary War and the Constitution of the United States. Originally founded as “Payne’s Church,” the church’s roots began as an Episcopal church in 1766. It remained Payne’s Church until 1840 when Jerusalem Baptist Church was formed.
Prior to the Revolutionary War, the only church buildings available for church services were those built by the Church of England in colonial times. In 1766, Colonel George Washington and the vestry of Truro Parish authorized the construction of a church in this region. Payne’s Church became the first brick church structure in Fairfax County. Colonel Washington noted in his diary that the vestry agreed to accept the new church building for use in September 1768, though it was not complete yet. Following the Revolutionary War, Virginia twice passed legislation declaring that all Church of England property was forfeited to the state. As a result, churches were allowed to obtain these properties and use them for places of worship.
In 1840, Jerusalem Baptist Church was constituted and began to meet in the old Payne’s Church, until the outbreak of the Civil War. In the summer of 1861, the Confederates occupied the region and used the church briefly as a hospital. Later when over taken by Union forces in the winter of 1862, the original church structure was torn down, with the bricks of the building used to prepare winter quarters for the Union soldiers. After the Civil War was over, the members of Jerusalem Baptist Church were anxious to have a meeting place once again. So in 1866, the original facility was replaced by a small white frame structure, which still stands today.
***For a complete history of the church, a church history book has been written and is available through the church office.***