Organized in 1887, Emmanuel Baptist Church has been a place of worship for 132 years, touching the lives of many. Emmanuel stands as a testament to the faith, hope and love that is found through Jesus Christ. Emmanuel is an affiliate of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the National Capital Baptist Convention of Washington, DC and Vicinity, the Potomac River Baptist Association, the American Baptist Churches of the South, and the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention.
The Early Years
The Emmanuel Baptist Church was organized in 1887 by Reverend Jesse A. Taylor, Georgiane Harrison, Geneva Taylor, and five other persons. Until a permanent structure could be built on the present site, the members worshipped within various homes. In 1893, a brick building was erected. Reverend Taylor remained in leadership until his death in 1922. From that time until 1930, three men served as interim pastors: Reverend Willis Coleman, Reverend J.S. Miller and Reverend Emmitt Starks. In 1931, Reverend Claggett W. Ward was called as the pastor of Emmanuel. Under his leadership various congregational organizations and choirs were developed. In the 1940’s a program was started to procure surrounding property to accommodate growth and to foster vision of ministry. In September 1959, groundbreaking services were held. The Mortgage Retirement service was held on August 6, 1972. Through his efforts, Emmanuel joined with the Allen A.M.E. Church and the Young’s Memorial Church of Christ Holiness in holding the first joint Thanksgiving service which continues to the present. Reverend Ward entered into eternal rest on March 26, 1974.
Continuing The Vision
Reverend Willie J. Mason was called as pastor in May 1975. Under his leadership church growth continued. Several programs and Annual Day celebrations were instituted. Emmanuel celebrated its first Church Anniversary, the 90th. Land was purchased to facilitate building expansion and an Education Center. Reverend Mason’s pastorate ended in 1984. Over the years, Emmanuel continued to be blessed tremendously. In 1986, Emmanuel installed Reverend Clinton W. Austin as pastor. With the completion of Emmanuel’s Education Center, the pastor and congregation set forth new goals and objectives to develop ministries that would specifically address the needs of the changing community. The ministries grew in the areas of religious and secular education, health awareness, and outreach ministry services. Emmanuel operates an after-school program, Project Spirit and a Summer Camp that serves primarily neighborhood children. In coordination with the American Baptist Churches of the South, five mission trips to Zambia were taken providing training and inspiration to our brothers and sisters in South Central Africa. Emmanuel is a member of the Church Association for Community Service and the Collective Cooperative Banking Group. Emmanuel has undertaken bold initiatives and has seen them to fruition. In 1993 the church adopted the theme, “Come Grow With Us and Establish a Blessed Family.”
The 21st Century
Under the leadership of Pastor Austin, the Ainger Place Development Corporation (the non-profit economic development component of the church) was established and plans were initiated to replace our current 24 unit apartment building on Ainger Place with a modern 72 unit affordable housing structure. We entered into partnership with the Michaels Organization, architectural plans were drawn and financing was secured from several sources (including $10 million dollars from the D.C. government). After thirty years of faithful and dedicated service, Pastor Austin retired from the pastorate on June 30, 2016. Several celebratory events were held including special Friday night worship services, the 30th Anniversary service, a musical worship experience, tribute to First Lady, Deaconess Theora H. Austin and a “fun” night, all culminating with an Anniversary/Retirement Banquet at the Camelot. In recognition of faithful and exemplary service, the Emmanuel Baptist Church family unanimously voted to honor Reverend Austin with the title of “Pastor Emeritus” in 2018.
Moving Faith Forward
The church elected Reverend Christopher L. Nichols as Interim Pastor on July 1, 2016 to serve as the spiritual leader of Emmanuel until a pastor was called. While serving as Interim Pastor, Reverend Nichols executed a vision to Emmanuel that the work of the church would not falter during the pastoral search process. Reverend Nichols brought forth the theme: “Moving Faith Forward,” 1 Corinthians 15:58. Each Sunday we are exhorted to be “intentional with our witness”, always demonstrating God’s love. On Tuesday evenings during the summer months, groups of EBC congregants go out, walking the streets before prayer service to witness in the community and local neighborhood shopping centers. During the month of August, Sunday worship services are held outside under a tent in order to take the Word outside the four walls ending with a fellowship meal with our neighbors.
On October 12, 2017, Emmanuel extended the call to Reverend Christopher L. Nichols to become its fifth pastor. Reverend Nichols accepte and was formally installed on Sunday, December 10, 2017. Reverend Welton Fields, Jr., pastor of Southern Friendship Baptist Church, preached the installation sermon and Paso Emeritus Rev. Dr. Clinton W. Austin resided over the Act of Installation. An installation banquet followed on Friday, December 15, 2017 in the banquet hall of First Baptist Church of Highland Park. Pastor Nichols assumed the role of pastor with great exuberance. Emmanuel continues to grow and be a church with a true vision for this age. The third Sunday of each month is now known as “Unity Sunday” where we come together as one body and break bread together. We now broadcast our services live on facebook and youtube. Our noon day worship on Wednesday (LIT) grows in attendance each week and our disciples are spiritually nourished and a boxed lunch is served. “Meals on Wheels” was implemented and our sick and shu-in receive delicious meals twice a month.
Our community outreach efforts have grown tremendously. In addition to our semi-annual clothes and household goods give away, we host basketball tournaments, summer musical concerts, and “Show Love” community days at our neighborhood Giant and Safeway by purchasing groceries to random persons in line. Emmanuel has experienced additions to the gospel ministry. Sister LaJuanda Brewer and Brother Christopher Slade preached their initial sermons and were granted their license to preach. Upon uniting with Emmanuel, Elder Sharon N. Townsend was added to the ministerial staff. Under Pastor Nichols’ leadership an EBC Drama ministry is now organized and the Women’s Ministry has been renamed “Women of Emmanuel”. The Safety Team has been established. To enhance the church’s stewardship, a Financial Investment Team has been organized. Our first Leadership Conference was held and each ministry leader received a revised handbook of ministry mission statements, church policies and procedures. In January 2019, Emmanuel and its subsidiary Ainger Place Development Corporation broke ground for the new 72-unit Ainger Place Apartments along with our partner the Michaels Organization.
Over the past 132 years we have truly experienced God’s grace! Emmanuel Baptist Church has been served by visionary pastors and leaders: Reverend Jesse A. Taylor (1887-1922), Interim Pastors, Reverend Coleman, Reverend Miller and Reverend Starks (1930-1931), Reverend Claggett W. Ward (1931-1974), Reverend Willie J. Mason (1976-1983), Interim Pastor Reverend Rudolph Keys (1984-1986), Reverend Dr. Clinton W. Austin (1986-2016) and Reverend Christopher L. Nichols 2017-present. We are poised to move faith forward through the power of the Holy Ghost!
As Emmanuel Baptist Church, we are a family (fellowship) of believers sharing a common commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are growing toward Christian maturity with worship, proclamation, witness, nurture, education and ministry to the world. We do this so that God’s purpose may be achieved – in us (our local fellowship), in the community (including the wider faith community) and in the world. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because He has anointed us to preach good news to the poor. He sends us to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s Favor.
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Greetings with the Joy of Jesus!
Growing in the love of Jesus Christ is paramount in our church. We place great emphasis on Missions, Evangelism, Bible Study, Prayer, Praise, and Worship. Our belief is that Disciples at Emmanuel Baptist Church should go beyond a mere surface faith and make sure that their lives are in line with the will of God, seeking to have a Faith Forward approach in Ministry, possessing a Kingdom mentality. A membership mentality must be transitioned to a discipleship lifestyle.
Our goal is to be Disciples of Jesus Christ and not just Members of a local church. We serve a global God and that is why we must be visionary, proactive, and progressive in our approach to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a vibrant and expansive Ministry that continues to reach higher and higher in the name of the Lord.
Every time we enter Emmanuel’s Sanctuary we experience the power of God and that is evidenced when Cynics become Seekers, Seekers become Believers and Believers becomes Achievers. It is extremely clear that “God is doing great things at EBC!”
Emmanuel Baptist Church seeks to minister to the entire Body of Christ, as our church is extremely diverse and has relevant ministries for all age groups. At the core of everything we do is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers, presence, and participation in that which God has called us to do, because we know that this is a special church that is filled with the love of the Lord. Our prayer for you is that the God of all grace anoints you with fresh oil and His precious Spirit illuminates His Word as you seek Him.
May He empower you to effectively communicate to others the vibrant hope that He has given you to persevere the struggles that you have overcome and continue to overcome.
Salvation(to be saved) is the GIFT that God wants to give to each of us. To receive this gift, you only have to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was resurrected. By accepting the gift of salvation, you are promised to live in heaven (like Jesus) and eternally with God. You are also promised to have the Holy Spirit, to guide you as you build this new relationship with God.
STAY STRONG AND KEEP THE FAITH!!!
Reverend Christopher L. Nichols
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
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