THE CHURCH OF GOD at 403 Dorsey Avenue has been a landmark in Essex, Maryland since 1931, but its history goes back even further.
In 1930, a few families (the Ester, Lewis, Bacon, Sturtz and Reynolds Families), who were worshiping at the Baltimore Church of God, located in Highlandtown, were living in the Essex area. They had homes and friends here, and a desire to establish a church in their own community.
With this goal and the leadership of Brother E.E. Shaw, the Pastor of the Baltimore Church, they began to hold tent meetings. These meetings were held at the corner of Virginia and Taylor Avenues in Essex. Brother B.E.Warren, the writer of many of the songs in our hymnal was the minister in some of these services. The meetings were successful and the church in Essex grew.
On January 17, 1931, a Sunday School started in the home of Mrs. Horn, under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Hass. The name “THE CHURCH OF GOD COMMUNITY SUNDAY SCHOOL” was adopted.
On April 21, 1931, Norman J. Hass, Chairman of the Trustee Board, deposited $25.00 down on the property on Dorsey Avenue, where the Church and parsonage are now located.
Beginning on June 14, 1931, with the pouring of the foundation, members of the Baltimore and Essex congregations then erected the building.
The first Pastor was Brother Walter L. Ott, installed on March 14, 1933. The work continued to grow and he was pastor of the congregation for eleven years. Brother Ott resigned on March 31, 1944.
On August 23, 1944, the congregation adopted the First Constitution and By-Laws for incorporation under the laws of the State of Maryland and changed the name of the Church from “THE CHURCH OF GOD COMMUNITY SUNDAY SCHOOL” to the “FIRST CHURCH OF GOD OF ESSEX”.
In 1946, the addition was added to the church building and it was turned to face Dorsey Avenue. The parsonage was built during this same time. Brother Barber, Brother Owen Roe and other men of the church did the work on this project.The congregation called Brother Harold Barber, of Roanoke, Virginia, on September 28, 1944, to be the pastor. He moved here with his wife (Jenny), daughter (Georgia Lynn), and son (Harold Clay), and began his duties as pastor on October 29, 1944.
After nearly nineteen years, Brother Barber resigned the pastorate of the Essex Church in September 1963 and moved to Tampa, Florida. He continued to serve in mission work and as an evangelist. He passed away there on June 1, 1985. Sister Barber passed away on May 1, 1994.
Brother Davis preached his first message as pastor on May 17, 1964 and led the congregation for 32 years, until September 15, 1996, when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee. He and his family still reside in the Nashville area.On April 12, 1964, Brother Raymond C. Davis, Sr., of Iaeger, West Virginia, held a week’s revival at Essex. As a result of this meeting, the congregation called him as their third pastor. He moved into the parsonage on Mother’s Day, May 10, 1964 with his wife (Arlene) and three children, Amaleia, Karen and Raymond Charles Jr. (Chip). They had another son William Neal in 1965.
Brother Walter Coats and Brother Douglas Koerner, Sr., of the local congregation, and Brother Greg Tyler of Hagerstown, Maryland, along with other visiting ministers, fed the flock of God here until God called Brother Doug to be our permanent pastor.
These ministers were all faithful to preach God’s Word in its fullness.
The world has changed, times have changed, people have changed, but God has not changed, His Word will never change.
The world is full of churches that teach a shallow message, but II Corinthians 5:17 says “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
If you are looking for a church that still teaches the Bible truths according to Scripture you will find it here.