Everything has a beginning. And so it was with Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church. In 1870, a few dedicated people sought to establish a church for their community through which God would be glorified. Henry Walker, Jerry Gaither, and George Gaither as trustees, organized and set out to purchase land under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States for the development of a new church. Surely there was disappointment and frustration during their quest for the land, but God blessed them when William and Lucretia Batchelor agreed to sell them one acre of land for one hundred dollars in an area originally know as “Providence, located in Wheaton, Maryland.”
With only a few members of the community, the foundation of the building was started in 1873. After toiling during the day to make a living for themselves and their families, the members worked nights with the aid of lanterns. Then finally in 1875, the cornerstone was laid, and the building was finished. The original structure was a single-story frame building. The church was named Allen Chapel in honor of Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church.
The theme of the A.M.E. Church, “God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, and Man Our Brother,” burned in the hearts of the newly formed congregation and the community at large. The church’s outreach into the community was evidenced by the founding of the Morning Star Lodge in 1875 by John Addison, Jerry Gaither, George Gaither, and Richard Gaither. The Lodge was formed to lend moral and financial support to members of the congregation during times of personal crisis.
Not only were the founding church members concerned with worshipping and ministering to the community, but they were also concerned about educating the children in the community. In 1880, the church was the site of the first school for Black people in the Wheaton area. Later Allen Chapel became concerned about families in the Kensington area, and, with the help of Alexander and Mary Thatcher, gave birth to a mission church in 1901 known today as Lee Memorial A.M.E. Church.
Throughout the years, Allen Chapel has grown and prospered under the leadership of many pastors. Included in this list were the Reverends: W.H. Manoko, Nance, C.H. Stepteau, John N. Still, Scott, Caustine, Marlin, E.G. Terrell, Goins, John T. Bailey, Charles E. Walden, Sr., Kenneth White, J. W. Selby, Gamble, E.O. Plummer, D.E. Makell, Grant W. Shellman, Perry M. Tilghman, Bell, Fields, James R. Gibson, Napoleon Hines, William McQueen, Jasper Hill, Elmer Johnson, Woodrow Wilson Edwards, Henry Palmer, Colin Lambert, Alfred Simmons, Charles D. Smith, Godfrey R. Patterson, and Gary Curtis. Each of these individuals made contributions to the ministry of Allen Chapel. The path was not always easy and there were many stumbling blocks along the way. One such stumbling block was the devastating fire to the church building in 1957, which destroyed the roof and the southernmost portion of the church. With the help of God and dedicated members, the church was rebuilt, and that structure still exists today.
Since January 25, 1993, the leadership of the Allen Chapel family has been in the hands of Pastors Baron D. Young and Rev. Karen L. Young. Under their pastorate, Allen has seen membership growth and expanded ministries and programs. Rev. Karen Young established an Intercessory Prayer Ministry, a Women’s Ministry, and contributed to the development of youth ministries (especially for young women).
In 1997, Rev. Baron D. Young formally began building upon Rev. Charles Smith’s foundation for growth; Rev. Godfrey Patterson’s spirited worship and passion for a new Allen; and Rev. Gary Curtis’ desire to build. The church expansion effort was fueled by prayer, fasting, and teachings on the Holy Spirit, administrative enhancements, biblical preaching and inspired leadership from officers and members. As it is written “…one plants, another waters, and God gives the increase.” The arrival of the new millennium brought an offer from Pastor, Rev. Dr. Ella Redfield and the New Creation Baptist Church to buy the old Allen Chapel building and grounds, where she and her family attended Allen Chapel in their childhood. Her grandparents worshipped and found a resting place in the church cemetery. Believing this was a move of God, Rev. Young and the trustees recommended that we sell the property to New Creation and use the proceeds to purchase more land where God would lead them. The members voted and agreed and now the old Allen Chapel property rests in the hands of Dr. Redfield and the New Creation Baptist Church family.
So, Allen Chapel set out, like Abraham, to places they knew not and after five months of walking with God, the Lord showed Rev. Young a property just one mile from Paint Branch High School where the congregation was worshipping and two blocks from where Sis. Cheryl Vaughn (vice chair, Board of Stewards) saw some vacant land. This property (known as Covenant of Peace) was owned by Mr. Robert and Mrs. Mae Cole. With shrewd negotiations by Sis. D. Lynn Pugh (Real Estate Agent and member), our attorney Abigale Bruce-Watson and Bro. George Powell (vice chair, Board of Trustees), a deal was signed on March 12, 2001.
In June 2001, Sis. D. Lynn Pugh, Attorney Abigale Bruce-Watson, Pastor Young, and Bro. George Powell secured a Church Annex, one mile from the future site of Allen Chapel in the Fairland community. Then later, in September 2001, Allen Chapel established a spiritual and business presence in the community with the help of the church’s first office manager, Mrs. Carole E. Richardson.
On April 10, 2002, after seeking approval from neighbors, community leaders, and county officials, the plans for development of a new church were approved and ratified. On May 9, 2002, under the watchful eye and provisional hand of God working through: Mr. Charles McNear (CDM Associates), Mr. Tim Miller, the Petree family (neighbors to our property), Mr. Dave Smith (Bank of America), Attorney Abigale Bruce-Watson, and countless others who prayed, gave, and encouraged us, we were able to go to settlement on three acres of land known as ‘Covenant of Peace’ on Fairland Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. Then, on July 14, 2002, our land at Old Columbia Pike and Fairland was consecrated for God’s glory.
On June 12, 2006, after years of development and the continued help of Attorney Abigale Bruce-Watson, accountant George Nwabukwu, Civil Engineer Tim Miller, Architects Bruno Reich (2003-2005), Steve Lauria (2005-2006), Hogg Construction, Inc. (Builder), Third Day Co. (Rev. Will Kenlaw), Willard Mangrum (Construction Manager), Joan Price (Banker), Building Committee (led by Bro. Wendell Leonard and Sis. Kim Parker-Brown); Pastor Young and Bro. George Powell signed a 1.7-million-dollar loan package supported by the Washington Conference Trustees of the A.M.E. Church and Bishop Adam J. Richardson.
Finally, on November 21, 2006, the long-awaited construction on the new Allen Chapel Church building project began, under the watchful eyes and steady hands of Bros. Will Mangrum, Wendell Leonard, and Sis. Kim Parker-Brown. Then under the continued leadership of Reverend Dr. Baron D. Young and the late Reverend Karen L. Young (Aug. 9, 2007), Sis. Cheryl Vaughn, Bro. George Powell, and so many others; we completed our church replanting project as we entered our new home at 2518 Fairland Road on November 18, 2007, to advance the kingdom building work of Christ in Eastern Montgomery County. On June 8, 2008, the church dedication service was held, and the dedicatory sermon was delivered by Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. Presiding Prelate, Second Episcopal District. To God Be the Glory!
Since October 2008, Allen Chapel has been under the dynamic leadership of Reverend Alan M. Gould, Sr. Reverend Gould was instrumental in taking the congregation to a higher spiritual level, and continued growth in membership and new ministries. The church continues to provide dynamic ministry, worship, and outreach experiences in East Montgomery County, embracing their motto: “Loving God, Loving Family, Loving People, Loving Community!!!”
And now a new page has been turned. On May 28, 2023, Allen Chapel welcomed Pastor R. Kevin Brown and First Lady Rev. Annette L. Brown into the hearts of the Allen Chapel family. What a dynamic duo they are! In addition to bringing new energy and enthusiasm to the church, Pastor Kevin Brown and First Lady Annette Brown demonstrate our motto of “Loving God, Loving Family, Loving People and Loving Community,” and under their leadership, challenge the congregation to follow in their footsteps to take Allen Chapel from Good to Great!!!
“The things that are impossible with men are possible with God” Luke 18:27