Church History

The year was 1917. A World War was raging in Europe, but so was the battle for souls in Maryland. Following an evangelistic crusade, Mr. and Mrs. Grant Franklin became the first Seventh-day Adventists in Westminster. During the next 22 years, a small group of Adventists met in various members' homes.

The Westminster Seventh-day Adventist Church was officially organized on October 7, 1939, in the home of Mrs. Edward (Katherine) Witte, by Elder W.C. Moffitt, President of the Chesapeake Conference, and Pastor Patzkowski. Charter members included: Mrs. Eleanor Witte Byers, Harry and Mary Curlett, Mrs. Leona Hynson, Mrs. Ada McNeave, Donald Schaefer, Edward and Frances Schaefer, Harry and Bertha Schaefer, Mrs. Helen Witte Shaffer, Albert and Marion Van Tessel, Mrs. Katherine Witte, and Gordon Witte. In less than a year the membership increased to 22 and a larger meeting place was needed. A second floor hall was rented on Main Street and the first meeting was held there on August 17, 1940.

As the membership continued to grow, a building fund was established and in 1949 land was purchased on the corner of Sullivan and Shaffer Avenues. Elder John Osborne came to serve as both Pastor and contractor. After meeting in the Nazarene church during the construction, the congregation rejoiced when they were able to meet for the first time in their own building on March 15, 1952. Five years later, on March 2, 1957, the church was dedicated free of debt.

With a vision of future growth, five acres of land was purchased two miles south of Westminster on Highway 97 for a new church and school. The school was built in 1965 under the direction of Aaron Shaffer. The last service in the Sullivan Avenue church was conducted by Pastor Philip Neal on May 11, 1974. But it was not until March 14, 1976, that the members gathered on the windy hillside on Crest Lane, next door to the Baptist church where they were meeting, to break ground for the new church. Bill Doss, a member of the church served as the general contractor for the new church.

June 11, 1977, was a high and holy day, as the 127 members worshiped in their new church for the first time. Since that time, a new addition has been added and the membership has grown to over 200. The church was dedicated free of debt on March 11, 1989.

We thank God for His blessings and guidance, for the members who worked so faithfully through the years, and for the leadership of the ministers who have served us since the birth of our church.