A HISTORY OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF ROCKVILLE
On the 19th day of August, 1821, eight members of the Old Seneca Church separated themselves and formed a separate and distinct church to be known as Bethel Baptist Church of Montgomery County. These 5 men and 3 women were joined by 7 more by October 20, 1821 and met in the home located on East Montgomery Street. Rockville was just 20 years old at this time.
In 1922 the Church made application to and was received into the Baltimore Association. By this time they had doubled their membership to eighteen. They began to build their first house of worship, meeting at the Court House or Academy on Sundays and at homes during the week.
The building was located on Jefferson Street next to the Old Baptist Cemetery. This Cemetery was deeded to Peerless Rockville Historical Preservation Society.
As the church increased in numbers, it was split into two branches, one in Rockville and one in Poolesville though remaining as one church. In 1831, by mutual agreement, they were separated into two churches, Bethel in Poolesville and Rockville.
The Rockville church grew to a membership of 54 by 1834 but stayed at that number for many years.
In November 1849 the Church joined the newly formed Maryland Baptist Association.
The Church had 66 members at this time. Many new people were baptized, three new churches were constituted and new houses of worship were built at Poolesville and Germantown.
For the next few years the Church had a series of short term pastors and by 1884 the Church had a membership of 175.
That year a large plot of land was given to the Church to build a parsonage.
A new Parsonage was erected on Washington Street in 1914. This was built on the site of the old Hungerford Tavern, which was demolished in 1913.
The Church structure on Washington Street was erected in 1908 and the Sunday School addition added in 1958. The Church was razed after selling the property in 1973 and relocating on Adclare Road that year.
The Church has grown lo a church of diversity in terms of many nations and cultures since the membership of the first servant of color in 1923. We, the Church have become equipped and enabled to do the work of God’s Kingdom on earth.
As we head into the twenty first century, we are capable of becoming that mission church of our forbearers.