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Object ID 1988.01.01.05
Title Chevy Chase United Methodist Church
Object Name Manuscript
Date 1967
Creator William Brown and Raymond Supper
Description Short history of Chevy Chase United Methodist Church
signed by William Brown and Raymond Supper

CHEVY CHASE METHODIST CHURCH. Chevy Chase, Maryland (U.S.A.) is located in a fine suburban community, a mile north of the boundary of the Nation's Capitol.

In the fall of 1912, two months before Woodrow Wilson was elected president, and two years before World War I started in Europe, 31 persons met in Chevy Chase to organize a Methodist Church. At that time Chevy Chase was an area of farms and scattered homes. At that first meeting, Dr. Lucien Clark, recently retired from the active ministry, volunteered his services and gave the group the benefit of his experience and counsel. A committee was appointed, with Dr. Clark as chairman. For several months the group met Sunday nights in a little two room shingled church made available to them 'without cost by the Chevy Chase Baptist congregation.

The organisation of the new "First Methodist Episcopal Church of Chevy Chase" moved forward rapidly. On January 29, 1913, the purchase of the little church and the corner lot from the Baptists was completed at a cost of $3,960. Steady growth in membership and increased attendance at the church school soon called for enlarged facilities and several rooms were added and a basement was excavated. In 1921 the lot north of the corner lot was purchased, providing space for future expansion. In 1922 a parsonage was built on an adjoining site east of the church.

In 1934 the Building Fund had grown to $12,000 and it was felt the time had come to build the long-desired sanctuary. Plans were drawn for a beautiful gray stone structure on the corner lot adjoining the old buildings. The architect and builder were members of the congregation. The new sanctuary, seating 250 comfortably, was completed at a total cost of $20,240 and was formally dedicated on April 14, 1935 by Bishop E. H. Hughes.

Following the unification of the Methodist Churches throughout the nation in 1939, the name of the church was changed to "Chevy Chase Methodist Church."

By 1944 the membership of the church had outgrown the "new" sanctuary, and it became necessary to hold two services of worship each Sunday morning. Meanwhile, a committee With William Orem, Jr. as Chairman, was appointed to make plans for a much larger sanctuary. In July 1948 ground was broken for the new sanctuary, but rising costs limited construction to building of the Parish Hall, which actually was the basement of the new sanctuary. The Parish Hall was consecrated on April 10, 1949, "by Dr. Clifford H. Richmond, pastor of the church since 1941. In June 1954 the Parish Hall was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. G. E. Phillips, a generous benefactor of the church, and the name was changed to Phillips Memorial Hall.

The remaining construction of the new sanctuary was begun in the summer of 1953 with Mr. William Orem Jr. still serving as chairman of the Building Committee. On November 7, 1954 it was consecrated by Dr. Asbury Smith, District Superintendant. It is an imposing multi-colored stone structure with beautiful stained glass windows, similar in architecture to the adjoining little church on the corner. It cost $550,000 to construct the new building, including Phillips Hall which is its basement. In 1957 the pastor and his family moved into the new parsonage at 3810 Taylor Street and the former parsonage was used for Church School purposes.

By 1958 the need for more space for the Church School became acute, and a committee was appointed to plan for a new educational building. The handsome three story structure was completed at a cost of $382,000, and was consecrated September 24, 1961 by Bishop John Wesley Lord. This building provided adequate space for each Sunday school class to have its own room, for the choir to have a suitable practice and robing room, for the ministerial and secretarial staff to have ample office space, as well as providing facilities for a church library, a visual-aid library, a parlor with adjoining kitchen, a fully equipped first aid room, and several janitorial and storage rooms.

Soon thereafter the Church purchased the house and large lot adjoining the Educational Building on the east, and this became the second parsonage, occupied since by the associate Pastor.

At the time of the 50th Anniversary, September, 1962, the church had a membership of 1950, church school enrollment of 1080, a budget of $l02,000, and a church plant valued at over a million dollars. When these figures are compared with the original membership of 31, and the records in 1937 at the time of the 25th anniversary, when membership was 415, church school enrollment 319, and budget $8000 - it is obvious that the Church experienced a healthy growth and an ever widening service to the community in its first 50 years.

The final step in bringing about the present Church facilities was taken in 1963 when
the old stone sanctuary on the corner was rebuilt and refurbished to provide for a chapel
The continuing growth and development of the Church has been due largely to faithful leadership of men of God. The pastors who have guided and directed the Church were as follows:

Dr. Lucien Clark 1912 - 1920
Rev. J. Luther Neff 1920 - 1924
Rev. A. S. Mowbray 1924 - 1926
Rev. Turnball Spicknall 1926 - 1932
Dr. Edward G. Latch 1932 - 1941
Dr. Clifford H. Richmond 1941- 1966
Rev. Elmer L. Kimmell 1966-

Through the years, the congregation of this Church has included many prominent persons
in Government including a Vice President, members in the Cabinet, Senate and House of Representatives and officials of various agencies in Washington. Since 1959 the Church has supported a missionary in Brazil, Rev. Norman Brom and his family, who are doing outstanding work there; and the church contributes liberally to many missions, schools and relief activities around the world.

May this Church continue to serve God and the community, for many generations to come.