History of Beulah Baptist Church Washington, DC

Beulah Baptist Church (“Beulah”) began in 1909 when the Rev. James Cobb, after perceiving a need in the neighborhood for discipleship, organized a Sunday school. Soon, the need for a church body emerged. Rev. Edward Blackwell became the first pastor of Beulah Baptist Church. The founding adherents were Albert and Edith Gay and their daughter, Alberta. The church membership/fellowship grew significantly when in 1912, twelve persons from the First Baptist Church in Fairmont Heights, Maryland, joined Beulah. Rev. Blackwell served as pastor from 1910 to 1914.

In 1914, Rev. W. Dixon became pastor and served for ten years (1914–1924). It was during Rev. Dixon’s pastorate in 1915 that Beulah momentously went from an unincorporated body to an incorporated church, in the District of Columbia. The Rev. J.D. Catlett, a son of Mt. Airy Baptist Church, was called to the pastorate in 1925. Mt. Airy contributed pews and an organ to Beulah. Rev. William B. Marsh became pastor in 1926 and served nine years (1926–1935). The sanctuary (current the Oliver W. Evans Center) was completed and construction of the lower auditorium was started. In 1936, Rev. J.B. Reid of Athens, Georgia, was called to serve as pastor. He led this ministry for three years (1936–1939).

One of Beulah’s own sons, Rev. Oliver W. Evans, was called to the pastorate in 1939. He served for twenty-two years (1939–1961). Rev. Evans served for four years without accepting a salary – until the mortgage was burned. The lower auditorium was completed; memorial windows were installed; new pulpit furniture, a Hammond organ, and a piano were purchased. Two lots on Dix Street between 58th and 59th Streets were purchased for future construction of a larger edifice to accommodate the growing congregation.   

Following Rev. Evans’ retirement, Rev. Moses L. Jackson, Jr. served as Minister-In-Charge and Supply Pastor; he was elected Pastor of Beulah on November 3, 1961.  Dr. Jackson served as Pastor of Beulah for thirty-eight years (1961–1999). During his ministry, the membership/fellowship grew significantly. In alliance with his vision for Beulah, several parcels of land were purchased. The groundbreaking services for the present edifice were held March 5, 1966; and the cornerstone was laid November 6, 1966. The Dedication Services were held on April 16, 1967 and the mortgage was burned on October 3, 1976. Dr. Jackson’s vision of Beulah – serving the whole community – led to the purchase of additional land; the purchase of a three story building on Dix Street, NE; and the completion of a parking lot. The groundbreaking service for the multi-purpose building was held April 1998 and the construction began. Just as King David did not complete the temple, and King Solomon, David’s successor completed it. The multi-purpose building was not completed under Dr. Jackson’s administration. It was completed in 2004 under his successor, Dr. Turner. Dr. Jackson retired from Beulah as Pastor in August 1999, and was Pastor Emeritus until his death in January 2002.

Dr. Marcus E. Turner was appointed Interim Pastor in September 1999 and was elected Pastor on November 4, 1999. He was officially installed December 5, 1999. Dr. Turner’s primary thrust has been quality in programs and activities, organization, giving, transactions, conversations, and leadership. An able teacher, he has led Beulah in dynamic Bible Study and seminars in discipleship efforts. One of the first visionary tasks, Dr. Turner began to embrace was completing the multi-purpose building started under Dr. Jackson’s administration. In 2003, a loan was secured to completed the necessary build-out of the multi-purpose building. Dr. Turner has developed a social media presence for the Church (i.e. website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, etc.).

On April 9, 2010, at a church meeting, in an effort to be more like the New Testament Church, the current bylaws at the time were distributed then shortly thereafter a constitution revision committee was selected. On April 29, 2012, at a church meeting, after two years, the Church amended its Bylaws to be in further compliance with the New Testament Church.

On August 7, 2010, Pastor Turner ordained Reverend Bernard Spencer as a Minister of the Gospel. On March 12, 2013, under the visionary direction of Dr. Turner, Beulah licensed the first woman—First Lady Lisa S. Turner—to be a Minister of the Gospel in its 102 year history. Shortly following the licensing of Minister Lisa Turner, two deaconesses were licensed (Deaconess Ella M. Moore on May 4, 2014 and Deaconess Sia C. Milner on June 29, 2014). On September 30, 2018, Cynthia E. Smith was licensed to be a Minister of the Gospel.

Further, Dr. Turner follows the same philosophy of the previous pastors – serving the whole community. Under his divine leadership, the Church has established a GED Center; a computer center; and a mentoring program. Beulah has become a vital partner in the redevelopment of the Deanwood Heights community, by establishing mutual beneficial relationships with the Mayor, City Council, and neighboring pastors, churches, and community development corporations. The Church has also purchased several properties on Dix Street and on 59th Street for future expansion in line with the Church’s mission. In 2011, Beulah had the groundbreaking for a 63 unit townhouse development called "Eden Place at Beulah Crossing." The unit models for the development are named after the former pastors of Beulah. In 2015, Beulah participated in the groundbreaking of a 39 unit apartment building called "Eastbrooke at Beulah Crossing."

Beulah has indeed made it through struggles to monumental achievements: from the small tin-covered building to a community campus. To God be the glory for the great things He has done!

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