Church History 1919-2006
In March, 1919, the Takoma Park Baptist Church had its beginnings when, with the assistance of the Columbia Association of Baptist Churches and Petworth Baptist Church, a Sunday School class was organized in the Takoma Park community. This Sunday School class, with Rev. Paul Longhome and Deacon Harry G. Heiges as organizers, was named the Pearce Class, after Mrs. G. Pearce, the first teacher. The Pearce Sunday School class is still alive. Having been combined with the Martha Class in 1994, it is presently known as the Pearce/Martha Class.
On June 8, 1919, the Takoma Park Baptist Church was organized, and in November 1919, The Columbia Association accepted the church as a member. In November 1920, the church was legally incorporated with the Rev. William E. LaRue becoming the first pastor on September 20, 1921. Worship services were held at Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church from November 1921 until 1924 when the church building was officially opened during a week of dedication services, April 6-13, 1924.
In November 1929, the Columbia Association was informed that the Takoma Park Baptist Church had become self-supporting and no longer needed assistance as a mission church. The pastor, Rev. LaRue served 24 years as the spiritual leader until May 6, 1945. The church membership had grown, and stood at 620 members when he moved on.
In the absence of Rev. LaRue, the Rev. A.R. Pixley served as interim pastor, serving from May through December 1945. A month later, the Rev. Herbert W. Baucom, Jr., became the pastor of January of 1946. During his tenure, Outlook, a monthly paper, was first published in 1946. On June 7, 1953 the education building was dedicated.
In September 1955, Rev. William L. Scurlock was called, serving as pastor until 1965. During his service, in August 1960, the prayer phone was installed. In September 1965, Dr. Paul G. Gillespie became pastor. During his tenure, the mortgage burning ceremony was held on March 31, 1968, and on July 8, 1972, the church's Moller pipe organ was dedicated. Dr. Gillespie served as pastor until 1977. His successor, the Rev. Clinton Helton, became pastor and served from 1977 to 1984. Following Rev. Helton's service, Dr. Henry Osgood served twice as interim pastor with a number of associate and assistant ministers on the church staff until on August 1, 1986, when our previous pastor, Dr. Joseph M. Smith began as pastor.
During Dr. Joseph M. Smith's tenure, there were three staff assistants, the Revs, Luke E. Torian, Adrian T. Arnold, and Shelby M. Haggray, along with seven part-time and interim ministers. The Rev. La Verne A. Wilson served as assistant pastor from April 2001 to July 2004, then as Acting Senior Pastor from July 2004 to April 2006.
On April 1, 2006, Rev. Dr. Ernest Trice, Sr. began as pastor.
Pastor Ernest Trice, Sr. is the seventh Pastor of Takoma Park Baptist Church. He began his ministry in April 2006. Since his arrival at TPBC he has sought to lead the church to fulfill the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. Pastor Trice has placed emphasis on developing effective ministries, making prayer a priority, and committing to a clearly defined Mission Statement, Core Values, and Vision. In October of 2007, TPBC revised its Mission, Vision, and Core Values in order to position itself to grow and do ministry more effectively in a 21st Century context. Pastor Trice has worked tirelessly to make the Mission and Vision a reality.