Inspired by the dedication of Ray and Anita Doyle, lay members from the Hyattsville Church, several Adventists began distributing literature in the Burtonsville and Spencerville areas in the spring of 1940. While working along Colesville Pike (now New Hampshire Avenue) near the intersection with Spencerville Road (Brown's Corner), the Arthur Hume family knocked on the door of Frank DeVilbiss, who had previous contact with Adventists and had determined to make a tangible contribution to their ministry. As a result of the visit, DeVilbiss offered a portion of his property for holding a tent meeting. This eventually resulted in the baptism of seventeen individuals - including Mrs. DeVilbiss. Early the next year, the DeVilbiss family donated a seven-acre wooded lot on the corner of Spencerville and Good Hope Roads for the erection of a church home for the new group.
After clearing the lot of its many trees, the believers constructed a tabernacle from lumber donated by the Chesapeake Conference from its campmeeting grounds in Catonsville. The humble structure, which was built in just two weeks, became a sanctuary for the new church for the next decade. The first service was held there on October 25, 1941.
The group was formally organized into the Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church on December 27, 1941, with thirty-nine charter members. Very shortly thereafter members began dreaming about opening their own elementary school. This dream was realized when the doors of what was to later become known as Spencerville Junior Academy opened in September of 1943 with six students. A two-room cinder block school building was erected in 1948 with a gymnasium being added in 1956 and additional rooms in 1965.
The old tabernacle, destroyed by fire in 1950, was replaced by the building now occupied by the Korean Adventist congregation at the corner of Good Hope and Spencerville Roads. The congregation worshiped there until February of 1980, when it moved to its current location on seven lovely acres on New Hampshire Avenue. In 1989 a generous gift from former members Frank and Dolly DeHaan fulfilled the dream for a pipe organ, and the congregation raised additional funds for acoustical improvements for the sanctuary. The organ was presented to the church and community in its inaugural concert with organist Simon Preston, formerly organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey, on September 21 and 22, 1991.
In the ensuing years, Spencerville has continued to expand. Landscaping for the church, an extended parking lot, two new Sabbath School rooms, a renovated kitchen, and brand new state-of-the-art Pk-Grade 12 facility all stand as testaments to the hard work, commitment, and generosity of the Spencerville members. Truly we can say, God has blessed this church. For a more complete history, including photographs from the past 70 years, please click here.
The organ is a Moller, Opus 11806, inaugurated on September 21, 1991, in a recital featuring renowned artist Simon Preston of London, and dedicated by the congregation on October 26, 1991.
In 1989, Frank & Dolly DeHaan, former members of Spencerville Church, made a generous donation for the purchase of a fine pipe organ. In time, several families in the congregation joined together to finance the antiphonal organ, and the congregation agreed to sponsor a number of acoustical improvements to the sanctuary. In December of 1988, the M. P. Moller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, the world's largest builder of pipe organs at the time, was chosen to build the instrument. Installation took place during the spring and summer of 1991.
Moller, Opus 11806, has 78 ranks, 4600 pipes, and 4 keyboards. Its manual compass is 61 notes, the pedal compass is 32 notes. It has a solid-state capture system with eight memories. The slider chests are electric. It is ranked as one of the finest organs in the Washington Metropolitan area
Our Stained Glass
The theme for this window (left), familiar to every Seventh-day Adventist, is found in Revelation 14:6-12. Three angels carry messages that must be delivered to the world. The first angel (center) carries a book containing the everlasting gospel and proclaims an imminent judgment and makes a call to worship God as Creator. The second angel (top) calls men and women out of apostasy, and the third (bottom) points people to the commandments of God while warning against seeking righteousness through mere human effort. Together, the Cross and the Ten Commandments, show that acceptable faith and obedience must spring from loving acceptance of Jesus' mission at Calvary.
Rear Nave Window
In this window (right) are symbols of the Trinity with the hand of God the Father reaching down from heaven. Christ is identified with His cross, while the Holy Spirit, symbolized by a dove, descends to the faithful in swirling fire. The background lines symbolize rays of light radiating from the Godhead— light which no human can approach other than through the merits of Jesus.
The Stained Glass Designer and His Technique
Designer of the windows was Roy Callagan, who also created several windows in the National Cathedral in Washington. Using a technique begun in France just prior to World War II, he cut brilliantly colored glass to the desired size. Edges of some pieces were chipped in the shape of seashells, leaving the curved facets to divide light into various colors, as well as to focus the light in brilliant concentrations. Herein is source of the name given this jewel-like effect—"faceted glass."
After the glass is arranged in a sandtable to the pattern desired, a matrix of epoxy is poured to form the pieces into a structural unit of great strength. It is the thickness of the glass, from one to two inches, that assures the radiance and purity of color which is the outstanding characteristic of this artistic medium.