No contest

Dear Ace: In light of the “Best Of” voting, I was wondering: What’s the best church in Charlottesville?—Evan Lee

Evan: Ace was really hoping he’d be assigned to cover “Best Place to Stumble Home From At 4am” this week, as he’s already been preparing for that assignment a hefty portion of his adult life. Alas, not only is that completely contrary to how things work around here, that’s not even a category on this year’s “Best Of” ballot. (Though Ace still maintains that readers would have been interested to hear how he handles the situation with humor, dignity, and dry pants.)

Comparatively, trying to recommend to his readers where to find the “best church” in Charlottesville is, to Ace, a little like calling down fire and brimstone: The public may find it interesting, but in the end, someone always gets burned. Thus, Ace won’t even try to determine such things (he’s never been too keen on warm temperatures). Instead, he can tell you that this little hamlet is rife with Baptist churches, or so says

More than 30 sites (even Mudhouse doesn’t have that many locations) dot the city, including a couple in the UVA area, a few down in Belmont and a good many of them including the word “Mount” (as in “Mount Ed” and “Mt. Calvary”).

Then, coming in at a not-at-all-close second, are Charlottesville’s nondenominational churches (as a not-at-all-related but otherwise amusing anecdote: As Ace typed “denominational,” he reversed the first “m” and “n”), which means that either you Charlottesvillians can’t figure out what you want, or you’re just plain greedy. Ace thinks it’s probably the former.

While you don’t know what you do want, you’ve made it pretty clear what you don’t: Mennonites, Pentecostals and Orthodox Presbyterians are among the denominations underrepresented in the ’Ville, according to Ace’s limited source.

Ace noticed, because he is prone to cue in to these things, that the Vineyard Church isn’t represented in town at all. As far as he can tell, and despite its intriguing name, this particular denomination doesn’t have anything to do with vino. The topic warrants further investigation, but don’t worry—that’s Ace’s cross to bear.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 19 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to

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