Our Brief History
Israel Baptist Church in Washington, DC was founded in the fall of 1880 by a small group of faithful and hardworking visionaries who were members of Mt. Horeb Baptist Church. These men and women saw a vast and immediate need to increase the number of churches in the northeast section of the city to accommodate African-Americans who walked far and wide because of limited transportation. United in their mission, they withdrew membership from Mt. Horeb Baptist Church and established the Israel Baptist Church.
The first place of worship for Israel Baptist Church was at 7th & A Streets, NE, and the first pastor was the late Reverend Madison Lewis. In the early 1890s, the church rented a two-story house with a church front at 635 Eleventh Street, NE. Under the pastorate of the late Reverend John Henry Burke, who served as the fifth pastor, the church purchased the building as well as two houses adjacent to the church. Fifty years later, under the pastorate of the late Reverend Raymond Robinson, land was acquired to construct a new church home at 1251 Saratoga Avenue, NE. Members of this notable church have labored in love at this site for 30 years. We moved from Vision to Victory, in June 2015, as our long awaited dream became a reality with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Dedication Service and Grand Opening Gala & Banquet, in celebration of the opening of the “Rev. Dr. Morris L. Shearin, Sr. Community Life Center, the Capital City Hall of Distinction and the 45 unit Senior Residential Community known as Visionary Square", servicing the community, churches, universities and other organizations.
For 136 years, Israel Baptist Church has served as a dwelling place of comfort and joy for Christian worship. It is a church filled with loving people who strive to live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, to fellowship in joy, to offer encouragement to one another during challenging times, and to pray for and reach out to those who have not yet accepted the transforming power of Jesus Christ.