The Monacan Homecoming Festival

St. Paul's Church

A generation ago, most of the Monacans who lived near St. Paul's Church worked as farmers and in the local orchards, attended that church only, sent their children to school at the mission, and attended its social events, especially the annual July 4 picnic and the Christmas celebration, held on site. This pattern had persisted since the church was built. Before the 1924 Racial Integrity Act, as many as 500 Monacans lived in the community, dwindling to about 250 after World War II. Today, the regular attendees of St. Paul's Church number less than 30. The Episcopal Diocese provided mission workers until the school closed in 1963 with desegregation, and it provided ministers from 1908 until a few years ago, when B. Lloyd, who succeeded John Haraughty, retired. In recent years services were conducted by Phyllis Hicks, the only Monacan woman to become ordained, and also by Sharon Bryant, who served for one term as Monacan chief before her death.

In 1995 the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Virginia made history by returning to the tribe the 7.5 acres of land on which sit the old log cabin school (now on the National Register of Historic Places), the newer school building that now serves as a tribal museum, and the two-story parish hall that now serves as the Tribal Center, as well as the field above the church, which includes a dormitory-style cabin and a ball field, now used as a community garden.

Monacan Quilt

This quilt, by the wife of a tribal member, depicts the return to the tribe of the 7.5 acres of land containing most of the Indian mission, in 1995.