Gary and Becky Kent Woolman recently paid a visit to Washington, D.C., where they stopped by the church building which formerly housed the First Brethren Church at 12th and E Streets. Her grandfather, Homer Kent Sr., was the pastor there from 1925 to 1940 when he took a faculty position at Grace Theological Seminary and the family moved to Winona Lake, Ind. Becky’s father, Homer Kent Jr., was 14 years old when the family moved. (Homer Kent Jr. went on to also teach at Grace Seminary, finally serving as president of Grace College and Seminary from 1976-1986.)
They saw many of the original furnishings, including the pulpit and the organ. The pews were the same, but have been upholstered.
Becky shared these photos on Facebook and graciously gave permission to GraceConnect to post them here.
A little history — in 1962, a group from the First Brethren Church sought to begin a congregation in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, according to the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine in March 31, 1973. They purchased property in Temple Hills, Md., called James Dixon, who had been pastor at the Washington, D.C., church, as the pastor, and established the Grace Brethren Church of Greater Washington, D.C.
According to the annual that year, W.A. Ogden was the pastor at First Brethren Church, which continued at 12th and E Streets in Washington, D.C.
Later in the decade, the remaining members of the First Brethren Church sold the property and moved to Lanham, Md. The church purchased property on Good Luck Road for a building and established Lanham Christian School. A visitor at the Grace Brethren Church in Lanham today will see some artifacts that came from the original property in Washington, D.C.
Years later, when the congregation at Temple Hills had opportunity to move again, they decided to stay in their community, according to a 1999 story in the Washington Post. (See Church Dedicates New Sanctuary.) The church continues to thrive in Clinton, Md., under the leadership of Irving Clark.
The property at 12th and E Streets continues to function as a place of worship. The Holy Temple Church of Christ, which purchased the building in 1970, is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, according to their website.