Rader’s “Old” Doors

Join Us at Rader

Rader’s worship is each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Sunday school is beforehand at 10 a.m.

Contact Us

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1123

Timberville, VA 22853

Physical Addresses:

Rader Lutheran Church and Timberville Parish

17072 Raders Church Road

Timberville, VA 22853

T: (540) 896-4241

Maps & Directions


Parish Email


If you have questions or comments about this site, please contact Beth Branner Gore at beth@brannerdesign.com


Top: Rader Church around 1940, before the 1942 fire; Bottom Left: Rader Church, oldest picture, date unknown; Bottom Right: Present day church building, October 2008

Note, the links highlighted below provide additional information. If you click on them, they will open either JPG images or PDFs. To view PDFs, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader here .

Rader Lutheran Church, c. 1765

Though there is uncertainty as to the exact date of the beginnings of Rader Evangelical Lutheran Church and congregation, it was founded by German settlers in Timberville, Virginia and the church obtained its charter in 1765.

The Adam Reider family (also spelled Röder or Rader) and Alexander Painter family donated the land upon which the first church was built. The deed (RevMaderOriginalDeed.jpg) gave two acres to last, “Forever, as long as the sun shines and the water flows.” On February 5, 1964, a marker was erected in the old cemetery (ReiderAndPainterLandMarker.jpg) honoring the Painter and Reider Families for their original land donation.

The exact organizers, as well as the first pastor(s), are unknown. The Rev. Paul Henkel became the first regular pastor in June 1792 and served until 1798. With the absence of a regular pastor from 1798 to 1829, the congregation was supplied by other ministers. In 1829, Rev. Ambrose Henkel became the second full time pastor. (A full list of pastors is available here: RaderPastors.pdf.) The German language was spoken in the church until about 1838.

There were a total of three log buildings built on the west side of the road near the old cemetery, though the dates of the first two are unknown. The third log building was erected in 1806. Around 1878, the Lutheran people erected a fourth building on land purchased on the east side of the road, and the location of the present day church. (OldestImage.jpg, RaderChurch1920s.jpg and OldRaderProfile.jpg and OldRaderFence1.jpg) In 1919 additional land was purchased and used for parking and a new cemetery along the east side of the road. This fourth structure was renovated around 1940 when the church celebrated its 175th anniversary (OldRaderExteriorA1940.jpg and LargeGathering_Likely1930s.jpg). Tragically, it was only to be enjoyed a few short years, as it was struck by lightening on August 13, 1942 during a storm. Before firemen could reach it due to high creek waters, it was almost completely destroyed. Only the altar, lectern, three chairs, and several hymnals were saved (RaderFire1942.jpg and RaderFire2_1942.jpg).

The congregation set about to rebuild the church in the same location. At a cost of $35,500, with much free labor and contributed materials, the new brick building was completed in July, 1944, after 15 months of construction (NewRader.jpg and NewRaderInterior.jpg and Rader1952.jpg). In 1990, an elevator and educational wing were added, housing the pastor’s office, library, kitchenette, classrooms, and narthex. In recent years, a children’s playground has been added and the new cemetery expanded thanks to additional land donated by Miller and Naomi Branner.

In 1919-20 a parsonage (ParsonageOld.jpg), a first for the congregation, was built in the town of Timberville and maintained by the church until it was sold in May of 1960. Russel J. May donated an acre of land adjoining the church property to be used as the site of a new parsonage. In July of 1960, Rev. Bouknight and family moved into the newly completed parsonage (ParsonageNew.jpg). It remains the parsonage for the parish to this day.

For many years, Rader had been a part of a three-point Timberville Parish, composed of St. Paul’s (organized in 1891) and St. John (organized in 1870), but since the Virginia Synod placed St. John on “chapel” status in the 1980s, only Rader and St. Paul’s have continued to be a parish served by one pastor.

Additional images, text and resources:

Historical Briefs: History1940.pdf and History1965.pdf.

St. John (StJohn.jpg)

St. Paul’s (StPaulOldest.jpg, StPaulPreAddition.jpg, and StPaulWithAddition.jpg)

Programs and Anniversaries: 175Anniversary1940.pdf, 180Anniversary1945.pdfDedicationProgram09241944.pdf, Program1924.pdf, Program1954.pdf, and Program1979.pdf.

Children’s Choir, 1940s (KidsChoir.jpg)
(From Left to Right, Back Row: Nancy Walton, Shirley Branner, Richard Berry, Arlene Orebaugh, Guy Orebaugh, Mary Elizabeth Smith; Middle: Janet Thomas, Billy Walton, Bobby Branner, Eilene Harpine, Irene Harpine; Front: Dorothy Harpine, Sandra Miller, Gary Bushong, Betty Miller, Barbara Bushong, Carroll Bushong)

Ladies (1920s-30s?) (LadiesA_Likely1930s.jpg)

Ladies 1950s (LadiesB_Likely1950s.jpg)

Ladies Painting the Fence (OldRaderFence2.jpg)

Women’s Circle September 4, 1958 (RaderWomen.jpg)
(From Left to Right: Ida Knupp, Annie Bowman, Carrie Pence, Arlene Knupp, Ruth Christ, Adelaide Bushong, Jennie Bowman, Annie Simmers, Aileen Lohr, Twila Clem, Refa Ryan)

Women’s Members List (WomenEarlyMembersList.pdf)

Rader Men (RaderMen.jpg)

Nearby Bowman Farm (BowmanFarm.jpg) and another Bowman Family (Bowmans.jpg)
(From Left to Right: William Bowman, Annie Bowman, Jennie Bowman)

Rader Women Making Hand Tied Comforts (Annie Bowman, Aubra Andrick, Ada Bushong, Jennie Bowman) 1972 (QuiltMaking1972.jpg) and 1988 (June Spitzer, Rose Becker, Geneva Branner, Jan Yeich, Verdie Lindamood) (QuiltMaking1988.jpg). Comfort made by the women for Branner-Gore wedding in October, 2008 (Quilt.jpg).

Newspaper Clippings about Rader Church:
News_AnersonByrd.pdf, News_Bicentenial1965.pdf, News_BicentennialTour07191975.pdf, News_Boman101_1976Incomplete.pdf, News_ChrismonTree1_1959.pdf, News_ChurchOlderThanNation05261990.pdf, News_FireDestroysRaderChurch08131942.pdf, News_FirstPastorOrdained In1792.pdf, News_HonoringThePast10082005.pdf, News_LutheranMeetMay1955.pdf, News_NewChurchDedication1944.jpg, News_NewRaderToBeDedicated.pdf, News_Nonagenarians1967.pdf, News_RaderDedicated1000Attend1944.pdf, News_RaderObservesAnniversary1940.pdf, News_ReligiousLifeRader1762.pdf, News_RevMaderDeed02171972.pdf, News_SchoolPupils1856-65.pdf, News_StirewaltSignallyHonored1928.pdf, and News_VaLutheran1944.pdf.

Variety of Luther League Images and materials, mostly 1950s: GroupOnStairs1956?.jpg, LL1951-1954.jpg, ObservationTower_Likely1940s.jpg, LL_Convention1953.pdf, LL_Convention1955.pdf, News_LLArticles1955.pdf, and LL_IfYouPamphlet.pdf.

Misc. Documents: BrotherhoodBanquet1953.pdf, ChildrensHomeCover.pdf, LTSChoirProgram1954-55.pdf, VaConferenceCover1923.pdf, and PreachingMission.pdf.

Additional books in their complete form at Rader Church: Henkel-RenaldsBookletCover.pdf and RaderRecordCover_TransFromGerman.pdf.