Our Story – A Historical Narrative of Holy Redeemer MCC
Prior to the Christmas rush, a small group of individuals gathered in the basement of MCC-DC to discuss the possibility of planting of a new parish extension in the Maryland, DC, Virginia area. Looking closely at surrounding areas of the community which could potentially support a new church, a decision was made to plant the parish extension in the Northern Silver Spring area.
We celebrated Ash Wednesday, February 28, 1998 as our first worship service and founding date. It was held in a class room of the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church located in Silver Spring, Maryland. Our first worship service in the sanctuary of the church was held on Sunday, June 14th at 6:30 PM with the Reverends Witt and Hicks presiding.
We met at the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church on Sunday evenings (6:30pm) for somewhat over a year.
We were incorporated in October and the congregation was concerned that we would not grow without a morning service. A search committee was formed which looked at over forty potential church locations before a lease was negotiated for our home in College Park, Maryland.
After considering many names, including Noah’s Ark MCC, we became Holy Redeemer MCC, in December 1999. Our first worship service was held on December 12,1999 in our new College Park home. During the next several years we moved from a parish extension to a chartered church. By this time, we had been self-sufficient for several years and it was more of an acknowledgement than a milestone. Reverend Witt was hired as our part-time pastor, assisted by the Reverend Hicks.
Our sanctuary altar, lectern and cross were donated by Ms. Raye-Anne Dorn and our four sanctuary stain glass windows were commissioned from Mr. Adam DeBaugh. The windows were a donation by Reverend Witt, Reverend Hicks and Deacon Raber in celebration of the memory of the Reverend Larry Uhrig and Deacon Robert “Bobby” Smith, both members of MCC-DC. In February, Geraldine Wright, a Lay Delegate of our sponsor church MCC-DC, began attending services and representing the church at denominational meetings and conferences.
During May of 2001, we worked closely with the District Coordinator, Arlene Akerman, on the strategic goals for Holy Redeemer. During these workshops, we finalized many policy statements and processes including Building/Space Use, Risk Management, and support for children’s support during services.
- By the end of 2002 we had grown to a membership of approximately forty individuals.
- Clay Witt retired.
- Hiring of the newly MCC-ordained Reverend David North on May 4, 2003.
- First “Blessing of the Animals” was held.
- First Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper.
- First participation in local DC and Baltimore Pride events.
- First participation in a University of Maryland outreach event.
- Our sanctuary drum set was donated by Jeanie Broderick and Deacon Jim Raber.
- We held our first church “Yard Sale” in support of our General Fund.
- HR-MCC began a feeding the homeless project.
- We were recognized and achieved full “church” status.
- Whitman Walker Clinic of DC established a PG County outreach that used our facility during the week for several years to support the local community.
- In December, Janina Sajka became our sixth Director of Music.
- Our first Maundy Thursday Seder dinner, “The Feast of Freedom: A Celebration in the Seder Tradition” was held.
- HR-MCC hosts its first memorial repast in the memory of Virginia Simms, Fred Simms’ mother.
- Beltway Expressions (B.E.) began and was held on the first Friday evening of each month. B.E. was an event for fellowship and the sharing of poetry and other readings.
- The Music Department held its first Hymn Auction.
- Development and approval of the “Three Year Mission Proposal for Church Revitalization, Growth and Spiritual Renewal”, January 23, 2011.
- Relocation of church from Suite #102 of our building to Suite #101. The move improved and increased the amount of worship space.
- First service in our new location was held on January 20, 2013.
- The entrance stain glass windows were commissioned and donated by Deacon Ed Moore and Stephen Decker. The window framing and installation was donated by Deacon Jim Raber.
- Celebration of our 15th
- A 15th Anniversary dinner was held on Saturday, February 16th at Sir Walter Raleigh Inn located in Berwyn Heights, Maryland which featured a visit from our first Pastor.
- Clay Witt preached “The Journey” on February 17th in celebration of our 15th Anniversary.
- First church fall picnic.
- The church formed its first AIDS Walk team.
- David North’s last service as our pastor was April 30, 2017. The church service was followed by a special brunch.
- Gail Minnick’s first Sunday as our “Provisional Interim Pastor” was the following week on May 7, 2017.
- First Worship Team meeting was held on May 9th. The group was formed to discuss what our worship experience is, what our community needs, and how our worship can be changed to bridge the gap.
- First Board meeting under our new pastor was held on May 15th.
- First Pastoral Search and Transition (Dream Team) meeting was held June 18th. The mission of the team is to codify our history, to determine who we are and where we are going, and coordinate the pastoral search effort.