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The Parish of
the Holy Communion

P.O. Box 177
Glendale Springs, NC 28629
(336) 982-3076

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
N.C. Highway 194
West Jefferson, NC 28694

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
120 Glendale School Road (N.C. Highway 16)
Glendale Springs, NC 28629
Rev. Stephen A. Miller – Rector
Rev. Shirley Long – Deacon

Glendale Springs, NC
Kirkland, WA
Linville, NC
New Haven, CT
Ojai, CA
Olney, MD
Opelika, AL
Orleans, MA
Oshkosh, WI
Provincetown, MA
Salem, OR
Sherwood, TN
Toledo, OR
Washington, DC
St. Phillips, Wrangell


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Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Mountains of North Carolina are two small historic Episcopal churches just twelve miles apart. They not only have the distinction of having full wall frescoes by internationally known artist Ben Long, but they also share the same congregation – "The Parish of the Holy Communion".

In the late 1800’s Episcopal missionaries came to this region of the Blue Ridge Mountains to provide schooling and medical help for the people living there. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church was built in Glendale Springs in 1901 and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church was built in 1905 in West Jefferson.

Rev. Faulton Hodge became priest-in-charge at St. Mary’s in 1972. Not only did Father Hodge bring new life to this small church, but his interest in art would also lead to a meeting with Ben Long and to the frescoes.

A native of North Carolina, Ben Long apprenticed in Italy to learn the art of true fresco and became an international master of the technique. When Long returned from his studies and work in Italy, he was anxious to bring the ancient technique to this country. After being introduced to Father Hodge by a fellow artist, Ben Long offered to paint a fresco as a gift. Father Hodge responded, "We’ll take it," followed by, "What is a fresco?"

Buon fresco is the art of painting on wet plaster. The powdered pigments are mixed with water and applied to fresh lime plaster so that the pigment is absorbed into the plaster. The painting actually becomes part of the wall. It is a technique that has been practiced for centuries and reached its peak with the great masters of the Italian Renaissance.

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Services are held each Sunday, but it is recommended to call ahead for information on which location is conducting the service. The churches are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for prayer and meditation. There is no admission charge, but donations are accepted for the upkeep of the churches. Docents are usually on site during daytime hours. A gift shop is located in the Parish House across from Holy Trinity Church.


    © 2002 The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts