Church History

1210 N. Highland St. Suite A - Arlington, VA - 22201

The Church of Clarendon

In 1909, Clarendon was not even a village. The total population of the county was only 10,000 when the First Baptist Church of Clarendon was constituted. In 2012 we established our third renovated building at the same site, with the mission of spreading Hope, Faith, and Love. This new building development consists of eight stories of apartment homes atop the Church’s original two stories. The Church also houses the Child Development Center and Leland Seminary in its education building. The apartment community consists of affordable apartment homes and is registered with the US Green Building Council as a LEED certified building.

Clarendon Baptist Church was partly organized with a membership of twenty-three with Reverend W. S. O. Thomas as pastor.
Lots 3, 4, and 5 of Clarendon purchased for $150 cash and $25 per month with no interest.

10am Sunday School established.
A committee was appointed to arrange the first revival.

Land purchased for church building. Lots purchased were on the exact land on which the present church building now stands.

First full-time pastor hired: Rev. H. L. Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

Tent sewn together by various members of the congregation to hold our services during the summer and until our church building was ready for occupancy.
A Vacation Bible School was started.

The first services were held in the new building.

In 1920 a parsonage on Highland Street directly opposite the church was purchased.

A Baptist Young People’s Union was organized.  The first official Constitution and By-Laws were adopted.

A branch of Sunday School was organized at Ballston, out of which grew the Ballston Baptist Church.

Church membership now stood at 801 members.

Ground was broken for a $35,000 Sunday School unit which was completed by September 1936.

Church plant: Westover Baptist Church.

Additional land behind the church was bought for a parking lot.
Property on the corner of Highland and 13th Streets was purchased in May 1946.
Sunday School attendance in 1949 was 708 and the church membership was 1,265.
The existing auditorium completed in 1915 was no longer suitable.
The church moved into its new sanctuary on the last Sunday of 1950.

In January 1952 the church voted to sponsor Bailey’s Cross Roads Mission, which developed into Glen Carlyn Baptist Church.
In 1953, a lot was leased in Lynchburg , VA, at Eagle Eyrie, a  Virginia Baptist Assembly Conference Center. Our lodge at Eagle Eyrie was built in 1957.
The Church sponsored a mission at Vienna, VA., which was constituted in 1957 under the name of Vienna Baptist Church.
Property at 1315 Hartford was purchased.
At the 50th anniversary in 1959, membership was 1660 and Sunday School enrollment 1400.

Along with Westover and Columbia Baptist Churches, we sponsored Westmoreland Mission.
Wednesday Family Night Supper began 1961.
Ground was broken for the educational building.
Two services were started – 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.
The church relocated the Mario Perez family from Cuba to Arlington.
In 1964 we became the mother church of Washington Plaza Mission in Reston.
LIVE & LEARN, the Senior adult group, began in 1965.
The first Spanish language Sunday School class began.
In 1966, the AA group began meeting here weekly.
1969, the Child Development Center began.

The Church began to participate in the Arlington Pastoral Counseling Center and FISH.
A Dodge van was purchased for the bus ministry.
Our youth went to Baptist World Youth Congress in Portland OR.
In 1975, the church voted to have one worship service on Sunday at 10:30.
Indochinese clothing distribution center opened in 1979.
In 1980, women deacons were elected for the first time since 1931.
At the 75th Anniversary in May 1984, membership was 1034, Sunday School 628.
The Spanish-speaking mission was constituted as the first Spanish Baptist Church in the state of Virginia.
1988 David Phan became Pastor of the Vietnamese Congregation.

A Multi Housing ministry program began in 1993 at Barton House apartments, Buckingham and Park Warren.
A seeker service began, called the Highland Community.

The Highland Community contemporary service voted to meet at another site.
Contemporary service called X-Changes established.
In 2000 a Korean group joined the language congregations using the church.
The County Department of Human Services (DHS) moved into the building across the street and frequently used church facilities for meetings.
2002 began with a membership of 477, attendance low and no pastoral staff.
“Time is Now” capital campaign to remodel the church and expand our ministry.

2003 – 2011
2003 a new contemporary worship service began.
2003 Architect Michael Foster was hired and redevelopment plans began to take shape.
2005 church voted to change its name to The Church at Clarendon.
Development plans slowed due to a court suit by five neighbors.  The church spent the next several years in court battles.
2007 Due to the growth of the contemporary congregation, the traditional worship service moved to a 9:30 worship time and an 11 a.m. Sunday School time, with the contemporary service taking the 11 a.m. time in the sanctuary, a move made permanent in January 2008.
Traditional, contemporary, Hispanic, Ethiopian and Vietnamese congregations continue to share Clarendon building.
During renovations, the Church moves to temporary worship space at the Top of the Town, Rosslyn, then First Baptist Ballston.

March 4 the church celebrates its first worship service in the new sanctuary.

Church names Reverend Danielle L. Bridgeforth as Senior Pastor.

To God Be the Glory for walking our congregation through seasons of testing and struggles and reminding us to always trust in the Lord.