The Randolph Years
The Nazareth Baptist Church was founded and organized by the Dr. William A. Randolph on March 13, 1941. The first service was held at the YMCA on 12th Street, N.E., Washington, DC. After holding services there for approximately one year, a brick house located at 1816 5th Street, N.W. was acquired and completely remodeled. The congregation moved to that location on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1942 and the Recognition Council was called to set the Nazareth Baptist Church apart as a regular Independent Baptist Church. In October of 1953, the mortgage was burned on the 5th Street church and the congregation began planning for another church home. On June 13, 1956, a dwelling located at 3935 7th Street, N.W. was purchased and the mortgage was burned on that dwelling in July of 1964.
Rev. Randolph pastored the Nazareth Baptist Church for 34 years and the church membership grew under his leadership. During his tenure the church purchased two buildings, burnt two mortgages, constructed a new church on the 7th Street, developed church policies and procedures, established many church ministries and organizations, and was set apart as an Independent Baptist Church
Due to poor health Rev. Randolph was forced into retirement in July of 1975; however, the Lord allowed Rev. Randolph to see his dream come true before his death in 1979.
The Anderson/Butler Years
After Rev. Randolph’s retirement, the late Rev. Robert J. Anderson was called to pastor the Nazareth Baptist Church, where he served for three years. While Rev. Anderson’s tenure was short, it was during his pastorate that the old church was leveled and the new one was built in 1977.
After approximately one year of searching, the church called as the third pastor of the Nazareth Baptist Church in July 1979, Rev. Edward E. Butler.
During Rev. Butler’s pastorate the church was tremendously blessed. The membership grew and the music ministry expanded with the formation of the Mass Choir. Rev. Butler developed regular fellowship opportunities with other churches in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area and licensed men and women to the gospel ministry. The following ministers were licensed under Rev. Butler; Rev. Jessciner Williamson, Rev. James Short, Bishop James Martin, Sr., Evangelist Ruth Bellfield, Evangelist Josie Butler, Evangelist Anna Noel Harrington, and Minister Harold Alexander.
One of the most significant accomplishments under Rev. Butler was having the church building debt declared “PAID IN FULL.” The mortgage burning service was held in September of 2002 and it was a great celebration for the church. Under Rev. Butler’s leadership, the youth ministry was developed, the mortgage was burned, and fellowship with other churches grew. In December of 2006, after 27 years of leading Nazareth Baptist Church, Rev. Butler ended his term as pastor.
The Thomas Years
Pastor Thomas is leading the church in spiritual renewal and revival. Nazareth was without a Pastor for only a few months when Rev. Roy D. Thomas a longtime friend of Nazareth and our current pastor was asked to come and help the church through the transition. The church voted that Rev. Thomas become the Interim Pastor in March 2007. During this time, the church began to grow. In April of 2008, the church voted to make Rev. Thomas the 4th pastor of the Nazareth Baptist Church. Under Pastor Thomas’ leadership the membership is continuing to grow and the church is flourishing.
Rev. Thomas places great emphasis on the WORD OF GOD, spiritual growth and church unity and love. Rev. Thomas has added to both the Deacon and Deaconess ministries, and established a Joint Board, Planning Committee and has consecrated the Deaconess for spiritual service.
At God’s direction, Pastor Thomas instituted or reestablished the following ministries:
Vacation Bible School
Weekly Prayer Service and Bible Study
Sunday School Expansion
New Member Training Classes
Women’s Fellowship Ministry
Created Church Website
Led the church in Evangelism and Outreach
Instituted Women’s and Men’s Retreats/Conferences
Instituted Church Planning Committee
Updated Constitution and Bylaws
In addition to the emphasis on unity and spiritual growth, the church finances have increased which enabled Pastor Thomas to lead the church in the following church renovation projects without having to secure debt:
Front wall and steps replaced
Constructed new bathroom on the upstairs level of the church to accommodate the senior members
Additional parking added to the rear of the church
Replaced the roof, air conditioner and carpet
Purchased new keyboard and sound system
Established a church beautification projects which included painting the sanctuary, vestibule and downstairs areas.
We are truly thankful for what God has done for the Nazareth Baptist Church and we stand in awe of what He shall do in the future.