Church of Our Saviour, located on Route 33 in the Village of Montpelier, was founded more than 120 years ago as part of St. Martins Episcopal Parish in Hanover County, Virginia. Church services were originally held in the Montpelier School building and surrounding grove of trees and led by Reverend Robert Nelson of Oakland Plantation, a missionary who was on leave from China. Reverend Nelson served in Shanghai from 1820s to the 1880s where he started the original Church of Our Saviour. He was so encouraged by the outpouring of support from the people of western Hanover county, that upon his return to China, Dr. Nelson solicited funds among the members of his congregation in Shanghai to build a namesake church in Virginia.
These contributions, supplemented by a generous gift from an American relative of one of the Chinese congregation made the Montpelier church building possible. It was consecrated on October 17, 1882, after being erected on land given by Mr. Edward Morris of Clazemont Plantation.
For more than 40 years, a growing congregation of parishioners, many from Hanover and surrounding counties, worshiped and met in this original church building until it was destroyed by fire in 1928. Soon after the fire, the present church structure was built in a similar style upon the ashes of the original. The first contributions for its restoration came from the Church of Our Saviour in Shanghai.
It is felt that the church and this act represents a singular, if not unique, example of the reciprocal missionary work in the Episcopal Church in this county.
The Thompson Memorial Building was built adjoining the church in 1978-1979 as a bequest from Mr. Victor Thompson and serves the church family and the community.
Today Church of Our Saviour is no longer a part of St. Martins Parish. It is a self-supporting church, under the supervision of the Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia with The Reverend Herbert H. Jones, as Vicar. In early fall, the congregation and Diocese will celebrate completion of its new building addition providing more room for community and youth activities.