The congregation at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church at 5th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE Celebrated its 175th anniversary last Sunday.
After the morning service, members cut a large birthday cake and visited in the Mima Dennison social hall to examine an exhibit of historical photos, records and artifacts.
The histroy they traced is so entwined with that of many Methodist groups established later that Capitol Hill is thought later that Capitol Hill is thought of as the "mother church," even though two churches are older, Dumbarton United Methodist Church and Mount Zion United Methodist Churc, both in Georgetown.
It was founded by Georgetown Methodis minister William Waters in 1802 and its first meeting place was neac Ft.McNair where its 20 families' homes formed the largest congregation in the city.
Five years later, the congregation moved into "Tobacco House" at New Jersey and D Street Se., near the present Capitol South Metro stop. The tobacco barn/meeting house was the former home of Christ Church, where Thomas Jefferson worshiped.
In 1811, the congregation finished its first new building, at 4th and H Streets SE. now the site of Mount Joy Baptish Church.
Though the congregation then was racially and sexually mixed, they were segregated, men from women, blacks from whites. In 1838, the black formed Ebenezer United Methodist Church, which is still the sister church of Capitol Hill, sited in the same block and sharing the children's Sunday school, holiday services and neighborhood projects.
The histry of Capitol Hill is enriched by the fact that it is made up of a 1961 merger of four congregations. Trinity, Waugh, Wilson Memorial and North Carolina Avenue Methodist Churches.
The present building at 421 Seward Square displaced the boyhood of J. Edgar Hoover, to whom it s main sanctuary window is dedicated. A large chandelier salvaged from the demolition of the Yrinity sanctuary now hangs in the Senate Rotunda.
Church members had a part in forming local and national institutions such as American University, the United Methodist Home at 4901 Connecticut Ave! NW and the Central Union Mission at 6th Street and Indians Avenue NW.
"Our present goal is to help those who live in the area of the church, whether they are members or not," said the Rev. James P. Archibald.
"Presently, we take responsibility for the lcal meals on wheels program, we take of children whose mothers work all day, we have a senior citizens lounge from where we drive older people to do shopping and errands and we are working with.
Fbenezer on a project to create housing for the elderly," he added.