In the heart of the northwest area of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., like a beacon on a hilltop, Shepherd Park Christian Church continues to hold aloft the light of the Gospel at this crossroads of the world. The influence of this church and its opportunity for service to this area were only dreamed of by those men and women of faith who established the original church over 120 years ago. As heirs of a glorious past, we enter the years ahead with confidence, facing new challenges and embracing new opportunities.
We are proud of the history of our church and proud that it has played an important part in the religious life of our Nation’s Capital. Shepherd Park Christian Church, formerly known as Park View Christian Church and Whitney Avenue Christian Church, was established in November of 1899 and occupied the “Union Chapel,” a small brick structure built in 1877 and previously used for a community Sunday School.
A special meeting of the congregation was held on March 28, 1945. During that meeting, the church members voted unanimously to purchase four parcels of ground, which included three lots and part of the fourth on the corner of Twelfth Street and Eastern Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C. This location was deemed a suitable site for the future home of the congregation. On September 16th, 1945, the congregation celebrated its Ground Breaking Ceremony. Excavation began on November 8th, 1946. Construction work continued until the summer of 1947.
The beginning of World War II and the rising cost of building materials and labor delayed the Cornerstone Laying Ceremony and temporarily stopped the completion of the building. Nevertheless, the basement was still prepared and furnished to house our Bible School and church services. The basement, the first unit of the building, was then dedicated on Sunday, September 14th, 1947.
The changing of the church’s name from Park View to Shepherd Park Christian Church took place on Sunday, August 29th, 1948. As the congregation entered its Golden Anniversary year of 1949, an extensive spiritual campaign was organized to insure the completion of the Church building. Later, after that had been accomplished, the educational wing and the balcony were added, and the church building was completed. Most recently, the congregation successfully added the Sacristy Room for communion preparation and remodeled rooms on the first and third floors to accommodate our music ministry and Sunday School.
Past memories and present projects are fused together in our future expectations. Our history is woven with the magnificent threads of a relevant past— a past that is just the prologue to our future. Responding to these desires and expectations, Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation worked with our minister at the time, Reverend Marcus Leathers, our church leaders, and our congregation to discern the needs of the present and our paths for the future.
As we minister in the next one hundred twenty years with our current pastor, Reverend Terri McLellan, may we be found faithful to our calling as Disciples of Christ. Moving forward with God’s help and our minister’s leadership and guidance, we are assured that our church and its growth will be measured by the quality of its purpose, its plans, and its programs. Today, as in the past, we vow to work together in shaping that future.
Shepherd Park Christian Church has the opportunity to continue to have a great influence on our community, our nation, and our world; and we want to seize that opportunity. The dedication, energy, planning, determination, and spirit that formed our congregation over one hundred years ago continue to inspire and motivate us toward the future.
- Full History of Shepherd Park Christian Church
- History of the Disciples of Christ