In 1944, a group of Christian believers organized as a Mission, and met for worship each Sunday and Wednesday under the leadership of the late Reverend Chester L. Smallwood in a house on “Q” Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C.
As the membership grew, the tiny house on “Q” Street became too small to accommodate the members. A committee was formed to seek a more suitable building for worship. A larger site was found at 425 New York Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C.
The late Reverend James G. Ford was called to serve as Pastor of the Mission and to organize it into a church. In late 1944, following a meeting with the District Baptist Council, the church was recognized as St. Stephen’s Baptist Church (SSBC).
The membership of the church grew rapidly. Soon the building was filled to capacity and once again, there was a need to find a larger site for worshiping. The Pastor and Officers found the property located at, 628 M Street, Northwest and the membership purchased it in 1954. They moved into the building with splendor on Sunday, April 11, 1954.
Pastor Ford served thirty-five years with dedication and untiring service. Upon his departure from St. Stephen’s, he organized the Victory Memorial Baptist Church. The late Pastor John E. Crump, Assistant to Pastor Ford, picked up the mantle and piloted the church until he left to Pastor another church.
On December 6, 1981, Pastor Thomas Lee Rogers, former Pastor of Union Bethel Baptist Church, King George, Virginia, was installed as the Pastor of St. Stephen’s and served untiringly for more than five years. Under his leadership, the membership grew spiritually and numerically. He served as Pastor until April 26, 1987.
On November 4, 1987, Reverend Dr. Allen R. Horton, an Associate Minister of Shiloh Baptist Church, Washington, District of Columbia, was called to serve as Interim Pastor. On November 22, 1987, he accepted the call and assumed the leadership of the Church. On April 6. 1988, he was elected as the third Pastor of St. Stephen’s Baptist Church, was installed on October 2, 1988 and served until December of 1994.
In November, 1995, Elder, Dr. Alton L. Taylor, Sr., was called to serve as the Interim Pastor and under his leadership, souls were continually saved.
Our Pastor, Bishop Lanier C. Twyman, Sr., was called on May 1, 1997, as Pastor of the St. Stephen’s Baptist Church. As Bishop Twyman continued to spread the Word of God, he felt a need to reach outside the parameters of St. Stephen’s Baptist Church.
Thus, the Radio Broadcast began and continues to be aired every Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on 1340AM WYCB. It is called the Mountaintop Experience.
In March, 2003, due to the overwhelming expansion of God’s Word being spread throughout the Nation’s Capitol, and the growth of disciples, there was a need to expand our Sunday Worship service to two services, 7:45 am and 10:45 am.
With the steady growth of the people attending worship services, it was necessary once again for the officers and disciples of SSBC to consider a larger building for worship.
Our last service at 628 M Street, NW, Washington, DC was held on October 26, 2003. We moved into our new location at 5757 Temple Hill Road, Temple Hills, Maryland the very next Sunday on November 2, 2003, with excitement and immense joy!
The name was changed from St. Stephen’s to St. Stephen Baptist Church shortly after moving to the Temple Hills location.
In 2006, Bishop Twyman initiated a Mortgage Burning Program with an aggressive plan to burn the church’s mortgage.
On Saturday, May 29, 2010, for the first time in the history of the St. Stephen Baptist Church, seven ministers were ordained. We are grateful to God for the leadership and training of our Pastor, Bishop Twyman who continues to pour into the leaders and the members of this congregation to assist in developing us into our God-ordered purpose.
Our church embarked upon a building beautification crusade in 2011 and numerous renovation projects took place. Our interior received a major facelift and it is beautiful.
In 2012 our Pastor was elevated to State Overseer for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. Four more ministers were licensed to preach and there are several Ministers In- Training. On Sunday, March 10, 2013 two Deacons and two Deaconess were Ordained to serve as part of the Diaconate.
In May 2013, our Pastor was elevated to Bishop Designate for the DC Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and was Consecrated as a Bishop on June 20, 2013! On June 8, 2013 several Ministers from our Ministerial Alliance were Ordained as Elders.
By God’s grace, St. Stephen has continued to grow spiritually and increase in the number of new disciples. With such a growing Church, Bishop Twyman knew that it was now time to change forward as it pertained to Leader Shifts, and for the first time in the history of the St. Stephen Baptist Church, we now have an Executive Pastor, Clarence Wm. Dow.
Another leader shift that took place was the implementation of an Executive Team. It’s all about the Kingdom! While we are grateful for our wonderful history, we still need to move forward towards our destiny. We thank God for the anointed leadership and powerful preaching by our Senior Pastor, Bishop Lanier C. Twyman, Sr. which has resulted in 3,200 souls coming to the Lord as of May 11, 2014.
To God be the glory for the many blessings that He has bestowed on the loyal and faithful members of St. Stephen. “We are one in the Spirit.” (John 17:21). Our theme for 2014 is: “Blessed and Balanced”. God indeed has a plan for us and the best is still yet to come!