And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.
~ Colossians 1:18 KJV
The Mt. Rona Missionary Baptist Church is a direct outgrowth of the Comer Memorial Baptist Church, of which the late Reverend Rufus I. Thomas was the founder and Pastor. It was in 1948, when just a few worshippers gathered in a small storefront in the 300 block of Fifteenth Street, SE in Washington, DC to worship the Lord. This small band of believers settled at 1816 Fifth Street, NW, also in the District, in the mid 1950s, where they glorified and magnified the Lord with great fervor and conviction. First Lady Elizabeth Thomas was the musician and Sister Bell Casson served as the first Church Clerk.
The Pastor’s determination was in bringing the lost to Christ, so the church embarked on its first radio broadcast called, “Look and Live Broadcast” with Reverend Thomas bringing the gospel message. Believing that the message of the gospel just had to be fervently planted, Deacon Willie Lloyd (later Chairman of the Deacon Board) labored diligently with the “Back Home Hour,” which followed the broadcast where well-known, inspirational gospel singers would bring the message in song. The “Look and Live Broadcast” and the “Back Home Hour” attracted large numbers of worshippers.
As the church was empowered by the mighty hand of the Lord, blessings continued to flow. Mt. Rona was subsequently led in July 1961 to secure a building at 432 M Street, NW where the church worshipped for 13 years. The church continued to grow the membership, increase the number of auxiliaries, and continued in the teachings of Christ through its growing Sunday School. Some of the renowned teachers at that time were the Reverends Joseph Perkins, Thomas Martin, and Jasper Martin, as well as Deacon Carr.
From 1948 to 1968, the foundation of Mt. Rona had been well established. In March 1968, the church body officially reorganized as the Mt. Rona Missionary Baptist Church with Reverend Rufus I. Thomas as Pastor, Deacon Collie Gregory as Chairman of the Deacon Board, Reverend Roy Marrow as Chairman of the Trustee Board, and Sister (now Mother) Doris Terrell-Moore as the Church Clerk.
With God’s blessings, the members’ faith, the consecrated efforts of the late visionary and Building Fund Chair, Sister Annie Mae Rollins, and the negotiating skills of the late Reverend Marrow, we marched to our present edifice on Sunday, September 22, 1974. The church had “come this far by faith” leaning on the Lord. What a glorious time that was…God had heard and answered our prayers! What some thought could not be done -- God did it! There was indeed a bond of unity amongst the membership during that time.
The “Look and Live Broadcast” resumed with Reverend Thomas preaching the Word for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. The church continued to prosper and was able to count its blessings and spiritual growth as it witnessed the licensing of its first son in the ministry, Trustee Roy Marrow.
Our shepherd, Reverend R.I. Thomas, was called home to rest on November 10, 1982. Deacon Ronald Jackson, Chairman of the Deacon Board, the Deacons and members of the Trustee Board all worked together to ensure that the bond of unity would prevail and that the church would continue in its mission.
That said, on December 17, 1983, Reverend Henry E. Johnson was installed as the second Pastor of Mt. Rona. The late Jean Johnson, who was preceded by Sister Maggie Thomas, was honored as First Lady. Reverend Johnson served faithfully from December 1983 through December 2000, but had to retire because of medical reasons. During Reverend Johnson’s tenure, the church burned its mortgage. Reverend Johnson’s vision for starting an outreach ministry in the neighborhood was realized through the persistence of Deaconess Francine Blackwell, Sister (now Mother) Annie Jackson, and Reverend Roland Roy.
By 1985, God had blessed the church with more than twelve (12) auxiliaries and eight (8) singing groups. Brother Roland Roy was ordained as a Deacon, preached his trial sermon, and became the second son of the church. Reverend Stanley Butler, the late Reverend Dewey Young, and Reverend John Morton became Associate Ministers. Earlier pulpit associates were Reverend Wright, Evangelist Wooten, Reverend Jasper Martin and Reverend Thomas Martin. Reverend Herbert Odom became an Associate Minister and was later ordained. Deacon Collie Gregory was the first Chairman of the Deacon Board and was succeeded by Deacon Willie Lloyd. Other Deacon Ministry chairs were Deacon John Lloyd, Sr., Deacon Ronald Jackson, who has served two terms totaling 15 years, and Deacon Reginald Blackwell. With conviction and determination, Deacon Ronald Jackson is currently serving yet again as Chairman of the Deacon Board.
Reverend Roy Marrow served as first Chairman of the Trustee Board. Other chairs were the late Trustee Alfred Jackson, Trustee Wilkins Pittman, Trustee Cleo Ebron, Jr., Trustee Marlene Howard (the first female Trustee), Trustee Greg Turner, and Trustee Ronald Pittman, who is currently serving.
Church clerks who have served with distinction were Sister Bell Casson, the late Evangelist Bertha White, Sister (now Mother) Doris Terrell-Moore, Minister Shirley Jackson, Brother Swami White, Sister Sheila Butler, Sister Charlotte Cunningham, Minister Lorraine Lucas, and Sister Judy Washington, who is currently serving for a third term. The Mothers of the Church were the late Mother McCall, Mother Julia Austin, Mother Grace Watkins, and Deaconess Laurenteen Lloyd, who is currently serving.
Reverend Charles A. Johnson came to be an Associate and helper to Pastor Henry E. Johnson. Reverend Charles Johnson was voted in as the Assistant Pastor and later installed in January 2001, as the third pastor of Mt. Rona on January 20, 2001. Sister Armetta Johnson was honored as First Lady.
The ministerial staff grew again as the leadership grew. The following persons served with vigor and determination: Minister Shirley Jackson, the first daughter of Mt. Rona, Reverend Jesse Johnson, Evangelist Claudette Austin-Johnson, Evangelist Walton, and Evangelist Harris. In 2007, Pastor Charles Johnson resigned from the Pastorship of Mt. Rona. We will always remember our theme, “We’ve Come this Far By Faith, Leaning on the Lord”. God had not failed us, but moved us instead to greater heights. As a result, we were constantly in prayer for an anointed shepherd that God had already appointed to be our pastor.
So in August 2008, God sent Mt. Rona an anointed man of God who is not only a dynamic preacher, but a pastor who tends carefully, lovingly, and reverently over his flock, Reverend C.A. Thompson. On November 15, 2008, Pastor Thompson, anointed and appointed by God for this assignment, was installed as the fourth pastor of the Mt. Rona Missionary Baptist Church. Susie Thompson was honored as our First Lady.
With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Thompson has baptized and grown the membership by more than 400 souls through his preaching and teaching the unadulterated gospel. He has surely taken Mt. Rona to the next level! As Mt. Rona strives to be a Five-Star Church, we continue to pray and be committed to God as faithful servants.
ONE Church, TWO Locations!
7:45AM/Washington, DC Location
10:45AM/Forestville, MD Location