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History of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church

Forestville Baptist Church (FBC) had some very humble beginnings. In 1952, there was a census taken of the North Forestville area by the Boulevard Heights Baptist Church.  Sensing the need for a Sunday School, the church sent out letters inviting those interested to a meeting at 8103 Mason Street on June 8th .  The Lord blessed one family to respond,  Mr. & Mrs. David Corbin.   As a result, nine people gathered in the home of the Corbins, whom shared a common concern for a witness in this rapidly growing area.  Thus,  the Sunday School was birthed in their home (especially since a piano was available)  the following Sunday, at 3427 79th Avenue. It was called the Mission Sunday School of Boulevard Heights Baptist Church and for 6 weeks those nine persons were in attendance meeting at the 3 p.m. hour.  Rev. Arthur Harris  was chosen to lead this work, but after 3 weeks, he left to accept the call to become pastor of Oxon Hill Baptist Church

It was decided that more progress could be made at a morning worship hour, and since Boulevard Heights could not share in the teaching at that hour, the Corbins shared in the teaching ministry until the arrival of their baby son,  causing  the meeting place to be changed to the home of Mr. & Mrs. Doc Bradley for one month, in September 1952.  It was at this time that following the
9:30 a.m. Sunday School, an 11:00 a.m. worship service began under the leadership of Rev. Rankin.  He performed this duty for about 6 months. 

In January 1953, while under the leadership of Rev. Charles Kusmaul, the Odd Fellows Hall on Marlboro Pike was obtained as a meeting place.  However, Cleaning the hall at 6:00 a.m. every Sunday following a Saturday night barn dance became quite a chore.  Rev. Kusmaul was interim pastor from March to September 1953. 

Continuing the work was Rev. William E. Nash and under his leadership
Fountain Memorial Baptist Church sponsored this group of 13 as a mission church.  Rev. Nash was ordained  to serve as pastor and he did so from 1953 to May 1956.  Under his leadership the membership grew to 172.  A Women’s Missionary Union was organized, a Brotherhood ministry established (The Royal Ambassadors), a Girl’s Auxiliary and four choirs were organized; the Sanctuary Choir, the Junior Choir,  the Intermediate Choir and the Primary Choir.   

On December 12th  the church moved to the W.O. W. Hall.  In May of 1955, the growth of the Sunday School demanded that more space be acquired and a cinder block building was built, mostly with volunteer labor at a cost of about $1,700.  Then a home on the adjacent property was obtained as rental property for the growing Sunday School. 

On September 1, 1956, Rev. Richard Sweetman became the pastor and the membership had grown to 214 by this time.  Attendance at Sunday School was 261 and at the Training Union 107.  The Church was constituted in November 1956 as the Forestville Baptist ChurchOctober 1, 1958 the Church  planted a mission, the Central Avenue Baptist Chapel (now known as Seat Pleasant Baptist Church).  

The First Deacons were John Duncan, Earl Holtzscheiter, Al G. Bembry, Jack Rudy, Joel Walters and Robert Walters.  The First Trustees were John Duncan, Batson Pope, Thomas Graham, Ernest Hedges and William Turner.  The First Treasurer was Mrs. Margaret Ward and The First Church Clerk was Mrs. Ina Spruill.  The First Sunday School Superintendent was Mr. David Corbin and The First Training Union Director was Mr. Jack Rudy.  The First Vacation Bible School was held in July 1953 and the Training Union  and Evening Worship were initiated on December 27, 1953.  The First Revival was  conducted by Rev. Walter Mitchell, Pastor of Fountain Memorial Church which was held in May 1954.  There were 191 Charter members that are listed under separate cover.  

In 1957 the church purchased the W.O.W. property and a construction office building was purchased and moved to the property from Fort Meade.  During 1958 two acres  immediately adjacent to the property was purchased and a 7-room home was converted to the Adult Department.  Improvements were made to the church property by addition of sidewalks and graded parking area.  In 1959 plans were made to build a new church building and a parsonage. After a few revisions the plans were submitted to a local architect and a ground breaking ceremony took place on September 25th, 1960.  Building the parsonage was postponed.  The church building was completed in time to hold the first Sunday Service on Easter Sunday 1961.  In March 1962, a home at 7217 Earl Drive was purchased for a parsonage.  It became the residence of Pastor and Mrs. Sweetman & Family. 

In 1965, preparations for the educational unit began. In November 1966, FBC established a second mission, the Ritchie Baptist Chapel with the cooperation of Parkway Baptist Church and Upper Marlboro Baptist Church.  The first service was held in Mr. Don MacDaniel’s home.  Later the property at 1706 Sansbury Road was purchased and Rev. Nash became their first Pastor. The membership of FBC now totaled 692 which included 435 Residents, 141 non-residents and 116 in the Ritchie Baptist Chapel. 

The Church later  became a part of the Baptist Convention of MD/DE and the Prince George’s Baptist Association.  Rev. Sweetman served in the ministry at FBC from 1956 until his retirement in 1977.  In 1977 Rev. Robert J. Veil, Jr. began the pastorate until 1981.  Under his leadership the church facilities were shared with the Korean Central Baptist Church of Washington which had its beginning in September 1976.  Their Pastor, was Rev. Yong Dae Kim, and their enrollment grew to 103.  During their revival services they had prayer meetings each morning at 5 a.m. When asked why 5 a.m., their response is they want to give the Lord the first and the best part of the day.  It is not certain but it is estimated that they left to go to their own space around late 1979 or early 1980.

In December 1981, Rev. Wayne Taylor was called and served as pastor for 2 years followed by Rev. Francis Stout who served until early 1987.  He resigned due to illness.  Rev. Terry Brown served as pastor from November 1987 to June 1994.  In March 1965, Rev. David J. Rodgers was called to Pastor.  Though membership attendance had fallen, he felt the call of the Lord to rebuild and restore both the physical and spiritual body of FBC.  We thank the Lord for the faithful few who continued supporting the church through prayers and finances.

In October 1998, Rev. James Norsworthy was called as pastor and served until March 2005.  The parsonage was sold to accommodate financial shortage.  In 2001 FBC began sharing facilities with Train Up A Child Christian Academy (TUCCA) a Christian School for Pre-K3 – Pre-K-5, and the Washington Logos Korean Church.  In 2003 New Redeemer Missionary Baptist Church  (NRMBC) joined in sharing the facilities of FBC along with them. 

In the Spring of 2004 the merger between FBC and NRMBC was considered.  During this time, the Washington Logos Korean Church moved out of the building. The negotiations were finalized in the Spring of 2005.   Finally, Sunday, June 12, 2005, Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church (FNRBC) was officially constituted and the Rev. Dr. Nathaniel B. Thomas was unanimously accepted as the Pastor.  Beginning Sunday, September 11th through the 14th 2005, we enjoyed a pre-dedication celebration and  Sunday, September 18th 2005, the church was dedicated and consecrated for the coming together of the two churches under one God, one vision, one body. In the year 2006, the Christian School (TUCCA) went through a revamping of the teachers, staff  and students and the school was renamed Children of Promise Christian Academy (CPCA).  The school flourished and began to offer grades from Pre-K to 8th grade.  However, the recession in 2010 affected many families and in 2011, the School Board decided to just offer grades K-3 – K-5.    

January 2011, the Pastor met with the Deacon/Deaconess Ministry to move to combine them as one Ministry. The female Deaconesses would be called Deacons as the males are, thereby formulating a Diaconate Ministry. However, before this action could come to fruition, he wanted the persons whom had been consecrated and the ones in training to be ordained.  After much study and preparation, 11 deacons were ordained March 31, 2012. The current complete Diaconate staff are Deacons Ervin Wiggins, Chair; Early & Inez Taylor, Vice Chair; Alfred & Sabrina Alston, Leonie Bond, William & Georgette Ferguson, Raymond Flowers, Joseph & Ruth Gardner, Carolyn Hansford, Darlington & Fredericka Jackson, Shirley Marshall, Alford Scott, Robin Shingler, and Mother Estell Thomas.

The Trustee Ministry has also been and integral part of the church from its early inception.  The late Dea. Tyrone Dorsey served as the first chairman alongside Dea. Johnnie Smith and Trus. Mark Jones. In 2002, Trus. George Blyther served as chair and Dea/Trus. Nathaniel Gibbs as Vice Chair.  January 2006, Trustees Dianne Savoy & Frank Brown were selected to serve.  In June 2010, Trus. Savoy became Chair of the Trustees and Trus. Blyther now serves as the Vice-Chair.  Two other persons serving on the financial committee are Sis. Katrina Wiggins, Financial Secretary & Shirley Robinson as Treaurer.  They have served in these positions since the inception of the church. 

Come this June 20-24, 2012, the church will celebrate 19 years of the Pastor and 59 years of the church.  To God be all the Glory!  

  

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