History of the BeaconLightSDAChurch – Annapolis, MD
"The Church With A Heart"
“Someone Had a Great Desire”
Hundreds of years ago, a message was given; Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching tem to observe all things, whatsoever, I have commanded you? And Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world. (Matthew 28: 19-20).
In the late 40’s and early 50’s, three members from Annapolis and a gentleman from Baltimore gave many Bible studies around the Annapolis area. Those members were, Mrs. Carrie Pindell, Mrs.Victoria Turner, Mr. Wesley Turner and Mr. Lawrence Joyce.
Each of us is aware of the fact, that one cannot always say just what was or is the reason for a Church being established. However, we can say, in the spring of 1956, a Sunshine Band was organized for the purpose of carrying sunshine to those longing for the love of the Saviour. Mrs. Lauraina Griffin was the leader. Members were: Elder Richard J. Houston, Jr. Mr. James Fulford, Mr. Edward Griffin, Mrs. Inez Fulford, Mrs. Hortense Hayes, Mrs. Vivian Knox, Mrs. Mary Penn, Mrs. Victoria Parker, Mrs. Julia Couper, Mr. Sherman Cox, Mrs. Carrie Pindell, Mrs. Pearl Hayes, Mr. Richard Brown and Mrs. Ruby Johnson. This band traveled from Baltimore to Crownsville and them to Annapolis on designated Sundays.
The Sunshine Band presented programs at the Crownsville Institution and the Annapolis Jail. There was a two-hour break between the Crownsville and Annapolis Services. Lunch was always brought and generally eaten in a store-front room at 1963 West Street. The store belonged to the father or Mrs. Carrie Pindell. We later rented the store front from her father, Mr. Herndon, who became a member of the Church and died
in the faith. Often Sister Griffin would exclaim, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we could start a mission here!” This was a great idea! Brother and Sister Wesley Turner and Sister Carrie Pindell had to travel to the BereaTempleChurch in Baltimore at least twice a week.
The desire for this mission so impressed Sister Griffin and the Sunshine Band that prayer was offered. Sister Griffin presented it to the Pastor, W.A. Thompson, of BereaTemple in Baltimore, Maryland. Elder Thompson, being a Pastor who had a love for winning souls, and wanting toe establish other light houses in the state, consented to hold an open-air meeting on the lot at the corner of West Street and Parole, several nights a week for four weeks. Elder Thompson preached the third Angels Message. Assisting him were the Gospel Choir, the Sunshine Band Singers and others from the church in Baltimore with Sister Ruby Johnson at the piano. Many people stopped along the road to listen to this man of God. There was fruit from this effort, some still members of Beacon Light today, including Francis Harris, Thomas Parker and Thomas Duvall. Not forgetting that the first and oldest man was none other that Mr. Herndon, who was 83 years of age. He was the first to become a member through he works of the faithful few.
The Sunshine Band, who were members of the BereaTempleSDAChurch along with the newly baptized members were organized into a Church on December 7, 1957, and this Church was called Beacon Light. The first offices of the church included Elders Richard Houston and Sargeant Richard Brown; Sister Vivian Knox, Home Missionary Leader, Florence Dorsey, Associate; Brother Wesley Turner, Treasurer, Francis Harris, Associate; Deacons James Fulford and Francis Harris; Deaconesses Inez Fulford and Elaine Harris; Ushers Thomas and Victoria Parker; and Thomas Duvall. Due to the pressing duties of Elder Thompson, at BereaTemple in Baltimore, he could not get down as often as he desired, the local Elder Richard J. Houston, Jr., along with the elected officers carried on the services. Students from ColumbiaUnionCollege would come in from time to time and assist in the preaching.
Alfred Jones, an intern, was the first Pastor after the organization of the Church. Under the Pastoral guidance of Elder Jones, the members had a desire to work. They brought both adults and children to the services, so much so, that the building at 1963 West Street became too small, and there was not enough room to house them. The building Committee was tasked to seek larger quarters, and we were able to rent a building owned by Mr. Blake on Parole Street, but this too became too small and Pastor Jones again called on the Building Committee; they presented their plans to the membership to purchase a lot and build a Church.
The members rallied at the opportunity to build a house for the Lord. Our finances were meager, but with God’s blessings, it was made possible. As Adventist, we have an Annual Ingathering. Our primary purpose for the Ingathering is for souls to be won into God’s Kingdom. At this time, Brother and Sister Roland Plater of the Prince Frederick area, were out Ingathering and met a man named Mr. Daniel Holden. In talking with him, they found out that he was a contractor. They told him how we were making plans to build a Church. Mr. Holden told them how he had always wanted to do something for God and would be so happy if he had this opportunity to build a house for God. We have received many blessings through Ingathering, but this one – only God could have sent.
The Platers brought his name to the Building Committee and they decided to meet with Mr. Holden to discuss the arrangements. Plans were made for the cost and in 1961 with God’s blessings and the help of Mr. Holden the BeaconLightChurch foundation was built. Beacon Light today maintains the same purpose that the very young Beacon Light envisioned – a church home, willing and waiting for any person who would like to give their heart to God.
Beacon Light, now on the map, began to grow. Always a church with dedicated members, it became a common sight around the Annapolis area to see member of the church; knocking on doors to pass our tracks, inviting the community to programs, giving Bible studies and just spreading the word of God became our trademark. It was our goal to be the “Beacon” for community.
Fellowship was sweet. Beacon Light was filled with members who were loving and kind, we truly did become a Church Family. We often continued our fellowship after services at different members’ homes. It was not uncommon for the church to meet at the Parker’s house for dinner or the Reagan’s house for a social or bonfire, and still we grew.
In the 80’s we had another dream. The Lord continued to bless us with members and he made it possible for us to add a Fellowship hall to our Church. The rooms in this fellowship hall have been dedicated to the memory of some of our original members.
Beacon Light today still shines in the community. Still working diligently as a Church, blessed with Charter members still active; Elder Francis Harris picks up food to food giveaways and Deacon Thomas Parkerarranges for and picks up clothing for our ongoing clothing ministry. Brother Thomas Duvall continues to faithfully maintain the grounds and the Church.
Under the direction of Pastor Pearson, our Elders and loyal members, we know that the Lord will continue to bless our little Church as we continue His work.
“I must work the works of Him who sent me, while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work.” John 9:4
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