Organized in 1863 by former slaves from Caroline, Spotsylvania, Louisa, and Orange Counties, Virginia, First Baptist Church has had a long history of promoting the cause of Christ, and providing hope and inspiration to mankind. Prayer, evangelism, preaching and service have been major vehicles in carrying out our mission.
The early years of the church was characterized with home prayer meetings and the development of a church school, which have remained important elements of our church life. The major organizations for spiritual growth and Church maintenance were established during the first twenty years of the church.
First Baptist has been impacted by the changing factors in society, culture, and national influences. It was a beacon of hope during the period after slavery, a refuge during the Jim crow period, a shared struggle during the great depression, a source of comfort during war, a support for a struggling people during the civil rights movement,, and a source of healing for those struggling in the face of disease. The church has experienced its good and bad days as well as its strengths and weaknesses during these extraordinary times in history. God has always demonstrated His steadfast faithfulness to his people.
The church has had two facilities located at Sixth and G Streets, S.W. In 1958, the church moved to its present location at 712 Randolph Street, N.W., Washington D.C. During our fifty-three years at this location, First Baptist has served this community, the Washington area, and the World.
The leadership of First Church has served with distinction over the past 148 years. The pastoral leadership includes Rev. William H. Lee 1864-1888, Rev. Henry C. Robinson 1889-1896, Rev. Peter Lewis 1896-1898, Rev. Botley Phillips 1898-1900, Rev. William J. Robinson 1900-1923, Rev. James H. Marshall 1923-1935, Rev. R.P. Gainey 1936-1939, Rev. P.P. Samuels 1940-1940, Rev. William H. Brown 1940-1943, Rev. J.W. Bundrant 1944-1946, Rev. R. Lavelle Tucker 1947-1971, Rev. Dr. Terry Wingate 1972-1974, and Rev. Dr. Frank D. Tucker 1975 to present.
The Chairmen of the Deacon Board in succession are as follows: Deacons Joseph Hall, Fred Wilson, Ralph Parker, Alfred Williams, Ralph D. Peters, Jr., Percy Baynes, Leroy Bagley, Reginald Hardman, Parrish Rembert, Sr. and Lamar Pearson. The Chairpersons of our Trustee Board in succession are as follows: George W. Carter, Samuel D. Malone (served twice), Alonza Clarke and Dr. Linda A. Smallwood (served twice).
A wide variety of men and women have provided dedicated services to insure that the broad ministry of First Baptist Church is carried out. We provide outstanding programs for youth, young adults, men and women. Our growing Christian education ministry has begun to pave the way for stronger and better equipped saints for service. We are enhancing our programs to strengthen our efforts for an improved health ministry.
Home and Foreign Missions remain the central reason for our gathering together and pooling our resources. Praising God is what we do and He provides the strength for our continued growth and development. To Him we give thanks.