Mount Jezreel Baptist Church
Love God. Love People.
The evolution of Mount Jezreel Baptist Church was among some of the earlier churches in Washington, D.C. Between 1865 and 1873, Mount Jezreel was born out of a group of people from the congregation of Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in Northwest Washington who simply got tired of walking across town to church and desired to move closer to the areas in which they lived.
The original four members of this new church, "MOUNT. JEZREEL", were William Shanklin, Peter Gray, Abraham Blackmore, and Catherine Wilson. During 1873, their first services were conducted in an old building on Van Street, SE known today as "M" Place, SE. In 1876, Mount Jezreel's growing congregation moved to a larger building on G Street between 3rd and 4 1/2 Streets, SE. The pastor was the late Rev. Temple S. Robinson under whose leadership the church continued to grow.
In 1879, Mount Jezreel found a more suitable facility located on 7th near L Street, SE. This site was commonly called the old "Meat House." During the congregation's tenure in the old "Meat House," the industrious Rev. Robinson never stopped seeking the ideal location for the church. Knowing the financial needs of the church, Rev. Robinson, with a determined mind and God's guidance, was blessed to obtain the previous site for a modest sum of $900. The property was secured and the work that they faced was evident. In 1882, the trustees and congregation voted to purchase the lot on the southeast corner of 5th and E Street, SE.
Rev. Robinson, along with other dedicated members of the church, worked. unceasingly to establish a physical structure in which to worship. Accordingly, the church hired Calvin Brent, a black native-born 'Washingtonian (builder/designer) to help design and build the new facility. The structure was, in comparison to other churches of the era, very modest. Finally, after many turbulent days, the members were rewarded when the cornerstone was laid in October 1883. “OH WHAT A HAPPY DAY THIS WAS FOR MOUNT JEZREEL!”
In May 1884, Mount Jezreel held a fellowship meeting in part of the new structure. Funds were so scarce from the congregation that construction could only be continued at a very slow pace. Although the road seemed rough, God saw fit to open the way; and on the first Sunday of November 1888, the church was finally dedicated. Mount Jezreel emerged as a beautiful edifice with a splendid location and a property value of approximately $20,000.
It was at this this point, that Mount Jezreel Baptist Church started on the road to becoming one of God's greatest churches. Perhaps Mount Jezreel's stake in history was founded in its growth of spirit, growth of congregation, and growth of community involvement. It is here that Mount Jezreel's backbone was founded in strength and togetherness. And so, Mount Jezreel moved on.
Rev. Robinson served Mount Jezreel faithfully, and through his intense determination and courage, made the present church the reality it is today. After a few more years of labor, he was called home for his work was well done. Mount Jezreel will be ever mindful that his persistence and hard work vastly enriched this religious establishment.
Rev. Robinson's successor came in the person of the late Rev. Philip Steward. Although there were some stormy periods, which is commonplace in the beginning of any organization, Rev. Steward accepted the charge and led Mount Jezreel. After 17 years of devoted service to the church, he departed this life on April 15, 1911. There is joy in knowing that Mount Jezreel's history was determined by the deeds of such a God-fearing man.
The next pastor was Rev. Randolph Peyton who served for just over a year. Rev. Peyton was called to another church and, as a result, the need for another shepherd was facing the congregation again.
Rev. Joseph P. Green came to Mount Jezreel around 1914. With his unique character and love for the church, electric lights were installed, and the remodeling of the church was completed. Rev. Green's tenure ended in 1923 as the needs of the church were fulfilled and enjoyed by a truly humble group of believers.
In 1925, the Rev. Luther T. Hughes became the Pastor and served Mount Jezreel for 39 years. He was a straight-forward, upright, Christian man who was always willing to do whatever possible to further the advancement of the church and spread the Gospel throughout the community. Rev. Hughes was a very unassuming, uncompromising preacher of the Gospel. He lived what he preached -- a true, clear, upright Christian life. Under his leadership, extensive changes were made. Rev. Hughes became known as the "Mighty Man on the Corner" of 5th and E that everyone wanted to hear. He realized a dream that every pastor thinks about -- more souls came to Christ.
In 1928, the church was successful in borrowing $6,000 to have the building remodeled. The chief concern was to raise the balance of $2,500 to pay off the total amount due on that debt. Headed by the Pastor and an untiring committee, Mount Jezreel worked arduously. On Monday, November 24, 1941, the efforts were crowned with success -- THE MORTGAGE WAS BURNED!
The main goal during 1942 was to rid the church completely of its indebtedness by paying off the amount due on back salaries which was accomplished. A centralized treasury and budget planning system allowed the church the successful upkeeping of its financial obligations. Subsequently, as a result of a powerful organization, the property adjacent to the edifice on 5th Street was purchased between 1955 and 1957 with plans to construct extensions needed for greater spiritual, education, and social development of the church and surrounding community. In July 1961, the groundbreaking ceremony was finally held for Mount Jezreel's Christian Education Building. On September 16, 1962, Mount Jezreel held a Homecoming. It was during this celebration that Deacon Aulin E. Johnson presented Rev. Hughes with the keys to the newly constructed building.
After many years of plowing ahead for Mount Jezreel, Rev, Hughes went on to his heavenly home. The void that was left in the midst of the church was a constant reminder of the presence of the Lord. Rev, Hughes was loved by all and Mount Jezreel constantly thanks God for his Christian life of overwhelming devotion.
Rev. Harold E. Trammell was called to pastor Mount Jezreel Baptist Church in October 1965 and delivered his first sermon on the first Sunday in December 1965. This new shepherd was a man of wisdom, vision, patience, and most of all LOVE. Again, the master plan was to get out of debt and renovate the church which was introduced and adopted by unanimous vote of the official board. Thus, COD 5 was his plan which included the purchase of new carpeting, pulpit furniture, central air-conditioning and other various items the church needed.
Under Rev. Trammell's outstanding leadership, many great things began to happen. The church was restored, painted, and a new front installed. Modern facilities were installed in the church and new equipment purchased for the offices. Auxiliaries were reorganized and organized to do better church work and the work of the church. Among them were the Home and Foreign Missions, We Care, the Courtesy Club, and the Jezreelite Gospel Choir.
Rev. Trammell, in his infinite wisdom, recognized the absence of young adults in the congregation and set out immediately to rectify the situation. While giving the problem a clear and closer look, he found that there were no activities for young people nor programs which they could call their own. Rev. Trammell, realizing that the youth are the church of today, made great changes. The youth who were interested in singing organized and named themselves "The Trammell Chorale" out of Rev. Trammell's unselfish love, devotion, and support of the youth. Mount Jezreel was truly on the move!
About this time there was a new spiritual wave moving through the church with increased spirit. Every Sunday morning visitors would walk down the burgundy aisle to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior because they could feel the love of God circulating and overflowing from the pulpit to the doors. Once again, Mount Jezreel had begun to grow - this time, enormously. In the midst of the growth was the dilemma for additional space. Rev. Trammell and the trustees, inspired by God, began to make plans for the renovation to accommodate the additional growth.
Throughout its history, Mount Jezreel has faced difficulty in executing moves and renovations, but God never failed the church. Although historical and technical aspects prevented Mount Jezreel from extending the 5th & E Street building, our church leaders did not stop there - for no one can stop the will of God.
On the first Sunday of September 1982, the members of Mount Jezreel Baptist Church relocated to Faith Baptist Church where they were extended the privilege of shared worship space.
The faith and the strength of the membership were tested because Mount Jezreel had to worship at 8:00 a.m. every Sunday morning. For approximately 2 years, Mount Jezreel's leaders looked for an adequate facility to which Mount Jezreel could relocate. Praise God, they endured!
Finally, on the beautiful God-given morning of Sunday, April 1, 1984, the day of the Courtesy Club's Anniversary, Rev. Trammell held up the keys and announced that on the next Sunday morning, we would be worshipping in our new edifice! Praises of God could be heard for blocks. There was no sermon that morning - hearts were glad, tears were of bittersweet joy, and smiles were of anticipated sunshine of what was to come.
"TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR THE THINGS HE HAS DONE." On Sunday, April 8, 1984, Mount Jezreel held its first service in its new location, 405 Riggs Road, NE. Oh, how you could feel the presence of the Lord in that place! Through God's grace and the perseverance and longsuffering of our Pastor and trustees, our dream had been realized. The great spirit of Mount Jezreel carried the church on. It is a strong and highly motivated church which is still growing.
Perhaps one of the most important endeavors occurring with this historical period was the continued induction into the Ministry of those persons called by God to preach his Holy Word. Rev. Trammell guided, taught, and shaped 17 Sons and Daughters in the Ministry. All have been blessed to teach and preach unto souls thirsty for the Word of God. God has seen fit to make some of them shepherds over their own flock.
Mount Jezreel is ever thankful to God for the leadership and dedication of Pastor and First Lady, Mrs. Denese Trammell who demonstrated loving, caring, and sharing in every phase of their lives. No matter how many people joined, Rev. & Mrs. Trammell became familiar with them, making them feel special and drawing them into the church family. Every person joining the church was assigned a brother or sister to assure the complete phasing and involvement into church activities. Children hold a special place in Mount Jezreel and are taught the ideals of God, especially the concept of excellence. Rev. Trammell believed that excellence instilled in children can only lead to excellence in adults, especially with Christ guiding their lives. With such a strong belief, he established the Kiddie Kollege where youngsters could learn and grow within the realms of their own individual spirituality.
When the doors of Mount Jezreel opened on Sunday morning, the freedom of expression and demonstration of love was all around. Altar calls were unique in that one could receive blessings, peace, and guidance. You could visibly witness God's healing power when individuals gathered for the special healing service. The word of God was radiated through good old fashion preaching. You received consolation and joy from the versatility of the Music Department which grew to seven choirs. Every Tuesday evening, Mount Jezreel offered the “real meat of the gospel” through the realization of God’s Word in Bible Study. Rev. Trammell was led to turn regular Tuesday night Bible Study into an established Bible Institute where students could successfully complete courses for credit and obtain an appropriate certificate upon completion. Classes were so dynamic, and spirit filled that you could feel the power of the Lord radiating in the air before you entered the door. At the end of each semester, students anxiously awaited the next session.
In June 1986, Mount Jezreel, with its capacity to identify the needs of its members, opened the Mount Jezreel Federal Credit Union. This entity was organized to serve the financial needs of the membership while building toward the financial stability of the church. All members were encouraged to invest in the credit union.
Mount Jezreel is proud of its community involvement. In the summer of 1987, Rev. Trammell, saw a need to integrate the church in a community organization that reached out to the community in a loving, caring, and sharing way. And so it was, birth was given to the Kiwanis Club of Lamond-Riggs. This was the first time such an organization had been born out of a church community. The Club was chartered with a mission to direct its efforts and channel its energy in the direction of those projects, activities, and community affairs which would best benefit and make a difference in the community. Since the inception of the Kiwanis Club, Rev. Trammell saw a need to establish other organizations within the church, i.e. LOCASHA, COP, and Bridge-to-Life, with a goal to integrate and serve the community. Through these auxiliaries and others, assistance is provided to drug and alcohol abusers and their families; feeding and clothing the hungry and the disadvantaged; reaching out and assisting the elderly and the sick and contributing to various charitable organizations.
Mount Jezreel is not a church to rest on its laurels. With the limitless insight he possessed, Rev. Trammell saw a need for the church to go into the community and minister to the lost and unsaved, spreading the word about our Risen Savior. To this end, emerged the Evangelistic Tent Ministry. Easier said than done. Obstacle after obstacle tried to prevent God's Word from going forth. But it takes more than an obstacle to stop Mount Jezreel. "WHAT A SIGHT TO WITNESS, WHAT AN EXPERIENCE TO BE A PART OF, WHAT A PRESENCE TO BE FELT,,,.THE WORD OF GOD GOING FORTH UNDER A TENT.,,,SOULS BEING SAVED, BODIES BEING HEALED,
Mount Jezreel recognized its political responsibilities to the community and became actively involved in encouraging persons to vote thereby exercising a right that we struggled to achieve while providing for the possibility of positive change.
Looking deeper into Mount Jezreel's future, Rev. Trammell noticed a need to reorganize the women, men, and youth. From this brainchild emerged S U R E (Sisters United for Righteous Endeavors) and the MIGHTY MEN OF MOUNT JEZREEL. These ministries have not only benefitted the church enormously but have stimulated their individual personal growth. Retreats, conferences, fellowships, and the like were held throughout the year. Pastor’s proclamation of “The Year of Victorious Living” foreshadowed the remaining years of a victorious decade as the church instituted a variety of innovative and forward-thinking initiatives including the inception of the Koinonia Bible Institute in 1995 and the purchase of the property and structure at 420 University Boulevard East in 1996. The church moved into that edifice in June of 1996. The decade of the nineties saw additional innovation including the first church wide conference in 1997, capping off educational initiatives that included the establishment of the Christian Education Department in 1997 and the creation of Camp Hope Bible School for the youth in 1998, a year fittingly proclaimed, “The Year of Prosperity.” The year 1999, “The Year of the Family,” saw the inception of the Prison Ministry. In 2000, Pastor and First Lady Trammell celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary as the church entered into the 21st century celebrating “The Year of Living Victoriously.”
Mount Jezreel continued to nurture and expand its ministries throughout the first decade of the 21st century beginning in 2001 with the proclaimed “Year of God’s New Thing” and into 2002 “The Year of Miracles” when Pastor Trammell retired, and Pastor Eldridge Spearman was pastor elect. In honor of Pastor Trammell, the Education building was renamed the “Reverend Harold E. Trammell Educational Center and Mount Jezreel café was renamed and dedicated “Neese’s Place” in honor of First Lady Denese Trammell.
Reverend Eldridge Spearman was installed as the seventh pastor of Mount Jezreel Baptist Church on November 10, 2002, in the auspiciously proclaimed “Year of Miracles.” Under the leadership of the newly elected pastor, the church experienced an explosion of growth as programs continued to grow. In 2003, the church celebrated Pastor Spearman’s first anniversary in the year aptly proclaimed “The Year of Church Alive! And Miracles II.” In the remaining years of this decade, proclaimed in succession “The Year for Glorifying God”; “The Year for Serving God and Developing Disciples”; “The Year of Living and Walking in the Spirit”; “The Year of Living and Working for the Kingdom”; “The Year of Being Fit for Kingdom Service”; and “The Year of Being Sold Out for Our Savior,” Mount Jezreel grew and prospered. Developing ministries included the MJBC Book Ministry (2004) and the Healthy Temple Ministry (2008). As well, exciting spirit filled conferences and other initiatives were established as the church continued outreach and service to the community and surrounding areas. These conferences included the Annual Men’s Conference and the yearly Church Alive! Conference. Mount Jezreel also hosted the Shalom Outreach World Mission Conference for several years during this period. The Evangelism Tent Crusade was also instituted during these years. Mindful of our mandate to spread the word throughout all nations, early Missions trips led members to Brazil, Africa, and Jamaica in 2005. As well, Pastor and First Lady Spearman travelled to South Africa in 2008 as part of an expanding Missions program that has continued to grow even to the present day. Established programs in the church addressed needs in all areas of members’ lives. The One Flesh Ministry, the Purity Ceremony, the Rites of Passage Ceremony, and the Freedom School are all initiatives that thrived during this period of Church growth.
Mount Jezreel is a dynamic ever-changing entity and in 2010, proclaimed “The Year for Shining for the Kingdom”, the church ordained an additional four Ministers, adding to the ten additional Ministers previously ordained in 2007 and 2008. In 2011 and 2012, the church theme was “Serving the Kingdom with Passion and Purpose” as the church continued to host and promote a variety of programs. The Annual Community Day that started in 2010 and the Annual Blood Drive that began in 2010 both represent Mount Jezreel’s continued commitment to service to the community. Significant new ministries and programs evolved in response to the needs of a growing church, including the Beacon of Hope Cancer Care Ministry and the Stephens Ministry.
In 2013, the church celebrated “140 Years of Serving God: Making a Difference for the Kingdom” with continued emphasis on community outreach and church growth. Programs that continued throughout these and coming years include the Annual Community Day and The Annual Church Alive! Conference. In 2013 the book Miracles of God: The Mount Jezreel Experience was published. This book chronicled the lives of Mount Jezreel disciples who shared stories of overcoming sickness and other life-threatening situations.
As the church entered the “Year of Building Mature Disciples for the Kingdom,” this was the theme for the church for the next several years. During those years, the church sponsored several noteworthy endeavors including Missions trips to Kenya and New Orleans and ordained 13 ministers in 2016. Also, of note, Pastor Spearman was fittingly honored at the 14th Annual Praise 104.1 Prayer Breakfast for his dedication, focus, love and sacrifice.
The church entered 2018 celebrating the 145th Anniversary with the theme “1873 – 2018: Celebrating 145 Years of God’s Mercy, Grace, and Love.” This year the church on September 8, 2018 held the ribbon cutting for the new senior living facility: The Sanctuary: A Mount Jezreel Senior Community. Additionally, the year saw the inception of an added worship experience for the growing, diverse congregation: The Hour of Power All of U! a groundbreaking service held on Saturday afternoons. Young or old, rich or poor, black or white, Mount Jezreel continues to find ways to meet the needs of people all over the community.
The church entered 2020 “Prepared to Serve and Ready to Work”. Additionally, the Pastoral Succession Committee completed its work and recommended The Rev. Dr. Jamison Douglas Hytche Hunter as the eighth pastor of Mount Jezreel. Dr. Hunter was voted unanimously by the congregation on July 11, 2020, as senior pastor. Dr. Hunter assumed full leadership on October 1, 2020. Dr. Hunter’s dynamic preaching and teaching with inspired interpretation of the Bible have been centered on bringing the unsaved to Christ and challenging believers to greater spiritual maturing. His vision for God’s people to become a caring, conscientiously Christ-infused community involves reaching out beyond the physical walls of the church building to give hope and social justice to all humanity. Indeed, this begins a new era in the history of Mount Jezreel. To God be the glory as we write the next chapter in our history!