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Mount Horeb Baptist Church, founded in 1870, in Washington, District of Columbia. It has been led by eleven pastors of mention: William Gresham, James Holmes, Madison Lewis, Randolph V. Peyton, Alfred J. Tyler, Marzy V. Morris, J.T. Clark, Charles H. Fox, Gregory Trueheart, Delmas U. Cooper, and our current pastor, Reverend Dr. Harry B. Sampson, III.
In 1870, under the pastoral leadership of Reverends William Gresham and James Holmes, a small group of members formerly of the Fifth Baptist Church of Washington, DC (now Vermont Avenue Baptist Church) began to hold prayer meetings at 203 Warren Street, N.E. Worship services were continued there for nine years. As membership grew, church officials recognized the need for a larger place of worship and began to formulate plans to build a church.
Reverend Madison Lewis, the third pastor of Mount Horeb was installed in 1879. During his pastorate, an agreement was reached with black businessman, Mr. John Taplett, to erect a church building at 217 - 16th Street, N.E., between B and C streets. Mount Horeb Baptist Church was incorporated August 31, 1880. In that same year, a few members left to organize Israel Baptist Church of Washington, DC. Reverend Lewis' pastorate ended in 1885.
Reverend Dr. Randolph V. Peyton, the forth pastor, was installed in 1886. During his tenure, Mount Horeb experienced significant growth in membership; resulting in renovating church building facilities and enlarging the sanctuary. Pastor Peyton was well respected in the community and credited with being a great orator. In addition, he was recognized as one of the most progressive young pastors in the District. He served Mount Horeb for fifteen years until early 1902, when he accepted the call to pastor the Rising Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. Here he succeeded the renowned Reverend John J. Jasper, famously known for his sermon, "De Sun Do Move."
Reverends Alfred J. Tyler (1902-1903), Marzy V. Morris (1904), and J. T. Clark (1904–1916) served as the fifth, sixth, and seventh pastors of Mount Horeb. During the pastorate of Reverend Clark, the Senior Choir under the direction of Mr. George Gaskins and accompanied by Mrs. Mamie Monroe, was rated the most outstanding church choir in DC. During this time, a group of Mount Horeb members were led to organize Peace Baptist Church, located at 712 -18th Street, N.E. Reverend Clark passed in 1916, leaving Mount Horeb without a pastor until the early months of 1918.
April 11, 1918, Reverend Charles Fox was installed as the eighth pastor. Reverend Fox's pastorate was one of exceptional progress for Mount Horeb. The Church building was completely remodeled and enlarged to add a study for the pastor, a kitchen, rest rooms, a baptismal pool, and the building was wired for electricity. A number of clubs and service groups were organized: the Tribe of Judah, Missionary Circle, Pastor's Aide Club, Junior Melody Chorus, Choir #2, Young Women's Club, and Nurses Unit. On November 23, 1951, Reverend Fox retired as Pastor Emeritus.
Reverend Gregory Trueheart had been assistant Pastor for one year when Reverend Fox retired. On December 23rd, 1951 the Church called Reverend Trueheart to serve as Acting Pastor for a year. At the end of that year, December 26, 1952, he was called to pastor Mount Horeb and was installed in February 1953. Under Reverend Trueheart's dynamic and innovative leadership, Mount Horeb enjoyed an on-going period of spiritual, numerical, and financial growth. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit and through the progressive urging of Reverend Trueheart, collection plates were last passed October 8, 1956. Since then, members, visitors and friends have placed their tithes and offerings in convenient Church building depositories. Church membership increased and new Church groups were organized.
During Reverend Trueheart’s tenure, the Church became affiliated with: the Lott Carey Missionary Association, the District Baptist Convention, National Council of Churches, and the National Baptist Progressive Convention. A seven-thirty a.m. service and a ten-thirty a.m. service were added. His deep concern for his parishioners’ welfare led him to establish, with the consent of the Trustees, a benevolence fund providing financial assistance to members facing emergency situations. In 1962, he was instrumental in establishing the Mount Horeb Federal Credit Union.
As both church membership and church activities continued to grow during the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, the need for a larger facility became more and more acute. After many years of prayer, struggle and sacrifice, contributions to the Church increased from members and friends of Mount Horeb. Land for a new building was purchased in 1977. Groundbreaking services were held December 10, 1977, with the cornerstone being laid, July 1, 1978. Funding was accomplished without lifting offerings in the Sanctuary or sponsoring fundraising events. On August 27, 1978, the new building was dedicated to God’s service. Consecration services were held August 29, 1978. Reverend Gregory Trueheart ended his tenure as Pastor in 1986.
Reverend Delmas U. Cooper was elected and installed as our tenth Pastor, March 28, 1988. His preaching and teaching of the Gospel brought many souls to Christ. Many new auxiliaries were organized, and dormant programs were revitalized. The church purchased properties on Bladensburg Road and on Earl Place (Mount Horeb Plaza). An Extended Building and Expansion (B&E) program was initiated to allow contributions from members and friends to help fund the renovation project.
Mount Horeb increased its educational and training activities in the Department of Christian Education. New programs, including a dedicated Security Patrol, was staffed by volunteers. Annual gifts of ten thousand dollars, special membership contributions, and Church Budget allocations awarded scholarships to deserving Mount Horeb high school graduates to further their education.
In March 2001, final approval was granted by the D.C. Council for closing two public alleys. One alley separated the Church building, 2914 Bladensburg Road, from 3015 Mount Horeb Plaza (Earl Place). The second alley, now a paved area separates the St. Michael’s Church building from the Mount Horeb parking lot. As a result, the buildings on Mount Horeb Plaza were renovated and then dedicated Sunday, March 30, 2003. The facility houses: the Albert L. and Mamie G. Steward Recreation Center, the Mount Horeb Annex Fellowship Hall (seating capacity for approximately 500, a stage, and a full commercial kitchen), and administrative offices. Additionally, an elevator was installed to access upper floors and the main Church building. Following the 3rd floor renovation project, the Christian Education Center was dedicated to God for service August 19, 2007. Reverend Delmas U. Cooper retired as Pastor Emeritus December 31, 2008.
Reverend Dr. H.B. Sampson, III was installed September 19, 2010, as our eleventh Pastor. We have been blessed with his leadership. During his tenure, Mount Horeb is experiencing a significant increase in new and restored members to the body of Christ. He brings about a renewed interest in ministry targeted to youth involvement; which includes the liturgical praise dance during morning/evening services, audio/video ministries, and the Generation Praise young adult choir. Thereby, intentionally having the youth help redefine the culture of Mount Horeb Baptist Church.
He has initiated and implemented new ministries: the Liturgical Dance Ministry, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Ministry, Prayer Warrior Ministry, Cancer Support Ministry, Sick/Bereavement Ministry, and the Health and Wellness Ministry. The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program was reestablished.
Under his leadership, administrative infrastructure improvements include: offices renovations, sanctuary audio equipment upgrades, and new financial system (accounting, payroll, membership tracking and ministerial monitoring) were installed and instituted. In addition, he seeks to increase the physical and financial security for the well-being of this body of Christ. Pastor Sampson’s community interest has increased Mount Horeb’s participation in the city’s urban renewal initiatives. Through collaborative efforts with the sitting 5C ANC Commissioners, Mount Horeb has hosted two job fairs. The first job fair was held during Costco’s development efforts. The second job fair was hosted during the opening of Lowe’s on Market Place in Fort Lincoln. Mount Horeb is continuously involved in Fort Lincoln and other neighborhood community projects.
In December 2016, under Pastor Sampson’s leadership, the membership approved renaming the Mount Horeb Annex to the Mount Horeb Baptist Church Family Life Center. The Family Life Center is comprised of the Banquet Hall (once referred to as the Annex Fellowship Hall), offices, and the Albert L. and Mamie G. Steward Recreation Center. This name rebranding fosters a community center minded facility to improve outreach efforts. This capacity building effort is to develop and strengthen the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources of our surrounding northeast DC corridor to survive, adapt, and thrive in this fast-changing world.
The many achievements in the history of our church are the fruits of visions, prayers, hard work, sacrifices, and an abiding trust in God. Let us give thanks to God, who has showered us with blessings beyond measure. He has blessed us with dedicated and progressive leaders, loyal and faithful members, and marvelously kind and helpful friends. We pray that God will grant us unity and understanding that we may continue to serve Him. May He ever keep us as His children, growing in grace and united in His love.
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