In a village setting of apple orchards and dirt paths, fourteen people met on October 22, 1924, to establish the Silver Spring Baptist Church. Services were held in the old Armory, which became the Silver Spring fire station (and is now a restaurant). From the beginning the group had the firm backing of the Columbia Association, later the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. This tie has endured over the years, with five members of First Baptist serving as president and with many church members being strong participants in Convention ministries.
In 1925 three lots were purchased at the corner of Wayne and Fenton for $4,393.62. A parsonage was built, followed by an auditorium. With the advent of the New Deal, Silver Spring became an urban community and the tradition of community service was firmly established. The church facilities were used as a day nursery and the church voted to give ten percent of its income to missions.
In 1947 the church changed its name to First Baptist of Silver Spring. The years following World War II brought unprecedented growth to the area. A temporary sanctuary was built; later, the permanent sanctuary was built on the corner reserved for it. It was dedicated in 1957. Ministers of Music and Education were added to the staff to help with the expanded program.
Our buildings in 2013
Becoming an urban church with growing cultural diversity called for new programs. The Child Development Center was begun in 1968, and a class of religious instruction for mentally hadicapped young people was formed. A continued response to community needs over the following years brought an expansion of the Food Closet, the use of a church-owned property for the Shepherd's Table (a community supported soup kitchen), and the use of the church facilities by Haitian and Spanish congregations.
Our future building
In recent years, Dr. Duncan McIntosh has served as senior pastor for a deliberate interim period while we re-evaluate the church's mission and methods. We are embarking on a building program that will allow us to remain at our present site with a more modern and more practical facility that will be at home in a rapidly changing downtown Silver Spring. In addition, we have formed a closer partnership with congregations that share our location. In the interim the church will meet at temporary locations while the first phase of our new building is constructed.
We will be located less than a block from the Silver Spring Library, which includes a proposed purple line Metro station site. We will be near a thriving shopping and dining area with a large theatre, many restaurants, and an active arts community. We see many exciting opportunies and some real challenges ahead as our congregation changes its focus to a new generation.