3 Councilmember Anita Bonds
8 A CEREMONIAL RESOLUTION
12 IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
17 To recognize and honor the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church for its distinguished service to the
18 people of the District of Columbia, on the occasion of its 155th anniversary.
20 WHEREAS, In 1866, seven freedmen gathered in the home of John and Amy Slaughter
21 for the purpose of forming a church;
23 WHEREAS, In 1866, after receiving the necessary certification from the Nineteenth Street
24 Baptist Church, these seven former slaves formed the Fifth Baptist Church at 1630 Vermont
25 Avenue, NW in the Logan Circle Neighborhood;
27 WHEREAS, Reverend John Henry Brooks, a former Union Army wagon driver, was
28 named the Churchs first Pastor who led the group in acquiring the site and constructing the small
29 wooden structure they named the Fifth Baptist Church;
31 WHEREAS, Under his Pastorate, the main sanctuary of the new brick Church was built in
32 1872 and a number of benevolent organizations were established, including the Mt. Bethel
33 Association which is still in operation today;
35 WHEREAS, Under Rev. Brooks successor, Rev. George Wellington Lee, the growing
36 congregation added the current faade and steeple, and adopted the Vermont Avenue Baptist
37 Church name in 1890;
39 WHEREAS, Since its founding, the Church has been blessed with seven pastors; Reverend
40 John Henry Brooks [1866 1884], Reverend George Wellington Lee [1885 1910], Reverend
41 James Edward Willis [1911 1928], Reverend Chasteen Theophilus Murray [1929 1969],
42 Reverend John Rayford Wheeler [1969 2007], Reverend Cornelius Rayford Wheeler [2007
43 2016], Reverend Dr. John J. Cox [2018- Today], and one interim Pastor Reverend Dr. Isaac
44 Alexander Fox [2016 2018];
45 WHEREAS, For more than a century, the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church has been a
46 meeting place for leaders to provide services to uplift the African American community socially,
47 economically, and spiritually;
49 WHEREAS, In the 20th century, the Church was very active in mission work in South
50 Africa and the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church of Zululand was dedicated outside of Durban,
51 South Africa, in 1979;
53 WHEREAS, Today, Pastor Rev. Dr. John J. Cox, his wife Lakisha Cox, and the church
54 family invite you to join in fellowship each Sunday and throughout the week for praise, worship,
55 study, and service.
57 IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
58 that this resolution may be cited as the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church 155th Anniversary
59 Recognition Resolution of 2021.
61 Sec. 2. The Council recognizes Vermont Avenue Baptist Church for its exceptional
62 accomplishments and commitment to local and international humanity.
64 Sec. 3. This resolution shall take effect immediately upon the first date of publication in
65 the District of Columbia Register.