The First A.M.E. Church story began on April 27, 1984. This new congregation would fulfill the need for an A.M.E. church in suburban Montgomery County.
Birth of a Miracle
Our first worship service was scheduled for July 1, 1984 at Gaithersburg High School under the Founding Pastor Rev. Lois Ann Poag. That first Sunday was a glorious day of celebration, praise and thanksgiving. The Pastor’s first sermon, “Cast Out Your Net” (John 21:1-11), spoke to the challenges set before us.
As the congregation grew, we organized a weekly Bible Study, an Usher Board, the Dolly Desselle Adams Missionary Society, a Sunday School, a Lay Organization, a choir, and a Young People’s Department.
Seeking a Sanctuary
During our fourth year, we purchased two and a half acres of land at our current site. The existing house on the property became a church activity center, and on November 14, 1987, friends from around the Washington Conference joined us as we dedicated the land and house, and broke ground for our new worship facility.
In the spring of 1988, we celebrated our first Men’s Day, and developed The Sons of Allen. To serve the children, we formed a Junior Usher Board, and The Sunbeam Choir. The women held the first Women’s Day in the fall of 1988, which was both a spiritual and financial success.
In 1989, the First A.M.E. Church home was completed. We added several choirs: The Agape Choir, The Voices of Inspiration, The Promises of Tomorrow (Youth Choir), and The Men’s Ensemble. We formed the Prison Ministry, which regularly holds service at the Montgomery County Detention Center.
In the spring of 1992, the church-wide Parking Lot Project was completed.
First Full-time Pastor
In 1993, the Rev. E. Lewis Williams was assigned as the first full-time pastor of First A.M.E. Under Rev. Williams’ leadership, we added a Prayer Ministry, a Career Ministry, the Tape Ministry, and the Young People’s Bible Ministry.
Change in Leadership
In November 1996, Rev. Charles D. Smith was appointed to lead the First A.M.E. flock. The youth Bible study was divided into youth and teens. Under Rev. Smith’s leadership, we held our first Easter Sunday Sunrise Service, began Friday night fellowship, observed the First Veteran’s Day Service, organized the First Community Christmas Caroling and held the First Church-wide Christmas Fellowship.
In his efforts to unite believers, Rev. Smith brought area A.M.E. churches together for a series of Lenten services. We developed a new church theme: “Striving for Unity of the Spirit.” With Unity as our focus and winning souls for Christ as our commission, First A.M.E. Church continued the Miracle in Gaithersburg.
The Miracle Continues
In Spring 2002, the Rev. Dr. Barbara Y. Glenn was appointed to be our new pastor, and Rev. Marvin T. Glenn, Jr. was appointed associate pastor. Her first sermon was entitled “Ready. Set. Go!” The Glenns brought a fresh,, invigorating anointing that still keeps the Miracle in Gaithersburg alive as we move toward expanding the church.
Attendance continues to grow steadily, and we’ve added an 8 a.m Sunday worship service.
We established The Children’s Church for grades 1-6 to allow them to experience worship and Christian learning. In addition, a spirit-filled youth ministry is thriving under the leadership of youth minister Rev. Ayana Newton. A bimonthly youth newsletter, “Word With You”, which is written predominantly by the young people, gives them a distinctive voice in the church.
We organized the Men’s Ministry that enables men to gather, study the Word, and express themselves openly while encouraging a greater male presence and participation in the church.
The church newsletter has been reestablished under the title “Kingdom News”, and this website became a reality under Pastor Glenn’s dynamic leadership.
Our Vision Expansion Project, which seeks to provide hope to all people as we gain more space to serve the community, is now in full swing. We also purchased the adjoining land parcel and the house. Rev. Glenn named it the Unity House. This property will allow us to further expand our ministries, even as we move toward building the new edifice.
We are confident that this is only the beginning of something greater to come in the life of First A.M.E. Church of Gaithersburg.
For “..he who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)
Meeting At The Well
At the end of the 69th Session of the Washington Annual Conference of the Second Episcopal District, Rev. Dr. Vanetta Brice was appointed to be the 5th pastor in the 35th year of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
More to come…