In 1868, George T. White and his wife sold an acre of land to the people of Burnt Hill for twenty dollars for use as a school and a church. The people of the community held picnics and other fund-raising activities to build a church. The Bureau of Engraving gave a donation to help with the project. After the funds were raised, Mr. John Burdette offered to use his horse and wagon team to go to Frederick and haul back the lumber needed for the building at no charge to the community.
On September 12, 1869, the building was ready for use as a school and a church. The school closed for a period but the church continued to operate. The school reopened in 1897 (some accounts say 1908) as a result of Frances Dorsey’s request to the Board of Education.
Over the years, the building has undergone numerous renovations to accommodate its increasing church membership and community activities. The original building remains and serves as the main sanctuary. The first trustees were Jeremiah Mason, Benjamin A. Davis, and Howard Gray.
Early records and accounts indicate that Reverend Bradley Johnson served as pastor of the church as well as the school teacher from 1912 to 1917. However, his name is not listed in the Montgomery County Board of Education’s records probably because his service was before public schools were formally established for colored in Montgomery County. The building was first known as the White School House and later as Pleasant Grove Methodist Church.
In 1917, Rev. Johnson was succeeded by Rev. J. M. Rome. In 1920, the Mt. Airy Charge was divided. Friendship and Pleasant Grove became the Damascus Charge with Rev. Benjamin Brown as its first pastor, serving two years. His successor was Rev. James A. Jackson, followed by Rev. James E. Carter, and Rev. R. H. Carpenter.
The late Mrs. Elsie Carter recalled hearing her father, Warner Wims, say that the Montgomery Chapel Church in Hyattstown and the White School House, now Pleasant Grove Christian Community Church, were the first two churches in the area colored could attend after slavery ended. Previously, colored could attend services at white churches, but had to sit in the galley or in the back of the church.
From early 1950 through 1967, Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church was pastored by Rev. J. Sherman Mason, Sr., Rev. Aaron Johnson, and Rev. James H. Smith. In 1967, Pleasant Grove withdrew from the Methodist Conference and joined the United Council of Christian Community Churches of Maryland and Vicinity.
The church was renamed Pleasant Grove Christian Community Church, and its founder and first pastor was Rev. Alonzo O. Graham, a former Methodist minister. His tenure from 1967 to his retirement in 1992 was one of distinction with great spiritual leadership and successful physical growth in the church. Although having to retire due to a stroke, he continued to attend his church faithfully every Sunday while serving as its Pastor Emeritus until he went to be with his Lord Jesus on July 1, 1999.
Reverend Graham’s successor is the Reverend Lawrence W. Bryant, also a former Methodist minister. Rev. Bryant served a short trial term until officially appointed, ordained, and installed as the pastor of Pleasant Grove Christian Community Church in January 1993.
The above history of the church was taken from recordings of first-hand accounts by Miss Martha Brown Foreman, Mrs. Elsie Carter, Mr. Arnold Hawkins, and from a book on the early history of black schools in Montgomery County available in the Montgomery County Public Library.
Pleasant Grove Christian Community Church is a multicultural church consisting of a diverse background of worshipers who come together to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. We seek to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
Pleasant Grove is a member of the United Council of Christian Community Churches of Maryland and Vicinity (UCCCC). Under the UCCCC, we are self-governing, having autonomy with the freedom to structure our worship. We practice and teach the Word of God and doctrinal beliefs as found in the Holy Bible.
Our Work – MISSION: Pleasant Grove Christian Community Church is committed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to let the world know of the saving Grace of God that is available to everyone.
Our Goal – VISION: “To become a body of believers who will impact the world through teaching and preaching the Gospel, making disciples who desire to win souls for Christ.
Affirmation of Faith - The Apostles Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.