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The Mount Horeb Baptist Church, which was founded in 1870, has been led by eleven different 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 Harry B. Sampson, III.
The Reverend William Gresham and the Reverend James Holmes served as the first two pastors of the Mount Horeb Baptist Church which was organized in 1870, when a small group of Christians who had been members of the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, began to hold prayer meetings at 203 Warren Street, N. E. Worship services were held there for nine years. As the 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 Mt. Horeb was installed in 1879. During his pastorate, an agreement was reached with Mr. John Taplett, a black businessman, for a plot of land in the 200-block of the east side of 16th Street, N.E. to erect a church building. The building at 217 - l6th Street, N.E. was built and Mount Horeb Baptist Church was incorporated on August 31, 1880. In that same year, a few members left Mt. Horeb and organized the Israel Baptist Church, now located at 1251 Saratoga Avenue, N. E. Reverend Lewis' pastorate ended in 1885.
He was succeeded by Reverend Dr. Randolph V. Peyton in 1886. During his time as pastor, Mt. Horeb experienced a significant growth in membership, the church building was renovated, and the sanctuary was enlarged. Pastor Peyton was well respected in the community and credited with being both a great orator and one of the most progressive young pastors in the District of Columbia. He served Mt. Horeb for fifteen years, until early 1902 when he accepted the call to the Rising Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, where he succeeded the renowned John J. Jasper, who is famously known for his sermon, "De Sun Do Move."
Following Pastor Peyton, Reverend Alfred J. Tyler (1902-1903), Rev. Marzy V. Morris (1904), and Reverend J. T. Clark (1904Ė1916) served as pastors of Mt 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 the District of Columbia. It was also during this time that Mt. Horeb gave birth to another church ministry when a group of members were led to organize Peace Baptist Church, located at 712 -18th Street, N. E. Reverend Clark passed in 1916 and Mt. Horeb was without a pastor until the early months of 1918.
On April 11, 1918, Reverend Charles Fox was installed as pastor. Reverend Fox's pastorate was one of exceptional progress for Mt. Horeb. The Church building was completely re-modeled 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, among them were the Tribe of Judah, the Missionary Circle, Pastor's Aide Club, the Junior Melody Chorus, Choir #2, Young Women's Club and the Nurses' Unit. Reverend Fox served until November 23, 1951, when he retired as Pastor Emeritus by the membership.
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 one year. At the end of that year, December 26, 1952, he was called to pastor Mt. Horeb and was installed in February 1953. Under Reverend Trueheart's dynamic and innovative leadership, Mt. Horeb enjoyed an on-going period of spiritual, numerical and financial growth. It is also worth mentioning that by the direction of the Holy Spirit and through the urging of Reverend Trueheart, collection plates were last passed October 8th, 1956. Since then members, visitors and friends have placed their tithes and offerings in depositories, conveniently located in the Church building. Church Membership increased and a number of new Church Groups were organized.
During his 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 in conjunction with the ten-thirty a.m. service was added. His deep concern for the welfare of his parishioners led him to establish, with the consent of the Trustees, a benevolent fund to provide financial assistance to members facing emergency situations. In 1962 he was also instrumental in establishing the Mt. 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 the Church and land for a new building was purchased in 1977. Groundbreaking services were held on December 10, 1977 and the cornerstone was laid on July 1, 1978. On August 27, 1978, the new building was dedicated to Godís service. Consecration services were held on August 29, 1978. All of this was accomplished without lifting offerings in the Sanctuary or sponsoring of fund-raising events. Reverend Gregory Trueheart ended his tenure as Pastor in 1986.
Reverend Delmas U. Cooper was elected and installed as our tenth Pastor on March 28, 1988. His teaching and preaching of the Gospel brought many souls to Christ. Many new auxiliaries were organized, and dormant programs were expanded. The church purchased properties on Bladensburg Road and on Earl Place (Mount Horeb Plaza). An Extended Building and Expansion (B&E) Program was put in place 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. Volunteers staffed new programs as well as a dedicated Security Patrol. Ten thousand dollars was gifted annually to supplement funds from special membership contributions and the Church Budget to award scholarships to deserving Mt. Horebís high school graduates wanting to further their education.
In March of 2001, final approval was granted by the D.C. Council on the closing of the two public alleys. One alley separated the Church building, 2914 Bladensburg Road, from 3015 Mount Horeb Plaza (Earl Place). Now in its place are our elevator and storage shed. The second alley is now a paved area which separates the St. Michaelís Church building from the Mt. Horeb parking lot. As a result, the buildings on Mount Horeb Plaza were renovated and then dedicated on Sunday, March 30, 2003, now housing: (1) the Albert L. and Mamie G. Steward Recreation Center; (2) the Mount Horeb Annex Fellowship Hall with seating capacity for approximately 500, a stage, a full commercial kitchen, and administrative offices; and (3) an elevator to upper floors and the main church building. Following the 3rd floor renovation project, the Christian Education Center was dedicated to God for service, on August 19, 2007. Reverend Delmas U. Cooper retired as Pastor Emeritus on December 31, 2008.
Reverend Dr. H.B. Sampson, III was installed on September 19, 2010, as our eleventh Pastor. We have been blessed with his leadership. During his time as Pastor, Mount Horeb Baptist Church has experienced a significant increase in new and restored members to the body of Christ. He has brought about a renewed interest in ministry targeted to youth involvement through liturgical praise dance during morning and evening services, audio/video ministries, the Generation Praise young adult choir, and intentionally having the youth help redefine the culture of Mount Horeb Baptist Church.
He has also initiated and implemented new ministries at Mount Horeb: the aforementioned Liturgical Dance Ministry, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Ministry, Prayer Warrior Ministry, Cancer Support Ministry, Sick/Bereavement Ministry, and the Health and Wellness Ministry. Doors were also reopened to welcome back the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program.
Under his leadership, administratively, offices have been renovated; audio equipment in our sanctuary upgraded; and a new finance, accounting, payroll, membership tracking and ministerial monitoring system installed and instituted. Furthermore, he has sought to increase the physical and financial security for the well-being of this body of Christ. Pastor Sampsonís interest in the community has increased Mount Horebís participation in joint efforts with the cityís urban renewal initiatives by hosting itsí first Job Fair during Costcoís development efforts and being actively involved in Fort Lincoln and other neighborhood Community projects.
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 and may He ever keep us as His children, growing in grace and united in His love.
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