Faith Assembly of God

Living to Love/Loving to Live

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Faith Assembly of God: Eight Decades of Service to God

Faith Assembly of God has a long and rich Pentecostal history.  The church began with prayer meeting held in the home of  Annie Jones on Franklin Gibson Road in Deale and was attended by Jim and Jayne Hardesty, Lina Nutwell, John Sharer and Eleanor Nutwell.  The fruit of those gatherings multiplied and necessitated the search for a permanent meeting place. The tabernacle built in late 1927 with a tin roof and open sides, was named Cedar Grove Tabernacle, the original name of the village now known as Deale. The Tabernacle was built on land owned by Rev. Howard Parks on what is now Rockhold Creek Road in Deale. As there was no permanent pastor for the church, an Assemblies of God minister from Washington, DC was sent to hold a 3 pm service on Sunday afternoons. Some of the earliest ministers to serve were Rev Mac McCambridge and Jim and Jayne Hardesty. 
In the 1930’s a permanent church was built on the site of the Tabernacle by Brinkley Lawrence and his son Glenn. Mr. Lawrence purchased the lumber to build the church building with money he received from compensation for an injury he sustained.  He became the first permanent Pastor of the church, also named Cedar Grove Tabernacle, along with his wife Doris. Charter members were Jim and Jane Hardesty, Lina Nutwell, John Sharer, Eleanor Nutwell and Annie Jones.
Later Pastors that served the congregation were, Rev. Stahl, Rev. Howard Parks and Rev. and Mrs. Glenn Lawrence (son of the original builder) and a Mrs. Leonard. 
In the late 1940’s a retired District Superintendent to the Assemblies of God, E.F.M. Staudt and his wife Dr. Lorena Staudt, a longtime missionary to India, moved into the little parsonage to rekindle the work which had been started years before. After many years of service, Rev. and Mrs. Staudt retired to Potomac Park Camp.
The pulpit was then filled by a dynamic young pastor, Rev. Cyril Schwab from Baltimore, Maryland. 
The ground work had been laid and in 1959 Rev. A.J. Moses came to serve as pastor. It was under Brother Moses’ leadership that the church was officially set in order under the auspices of the Assemblies of God in April 1959. At this same time the property was donated to the church by Mrs.Carrie Parks, the widow of Rev. Howard Parks. A few of the faithful congregation included, Annie Jones, Fonzie and Mary Siegert, Marion N. Marshall, Thomas L. and Shirley Simmons, Frank and Margaret Miller, (later Margaret Miller Sharer), John Riley, Sissie McDaniel, Gene and Doris Marshall, Lorraine and Calvin Phipps, and Kitty and Bobby Wilkerson. It was during Brother Moses tenure that the old parsonage was removed and a new one was built by the congregation.
Along with their Pastor the congregation had a vision to reach out to the surrounding area and build a new church. In 1968 Marion N. Marshall gave the first $100 donation toward purchasing land and Reverend A.J. Fox, pastor of Full Gospel AG in Prince Frederick, made the second donation. This established the goal to raise funds to purchase land for a new church building.  It is ironic that Rev. Fox had a vision for the expansion of this church, as he would later become the pastor of several of the New Hope Fellowship congregation that joined us here at Faith Assembly.  
Some of the evangelists fondly remembered through the years include, Rev. Guy Duty, Rev. Ethel Huber, Rev. Frank Mays, Fred Pallanen, Sister Myrtle Scott, Rev. Danny Zumma, Rev. Minnick, Rev. L.H. Sheetz and Rev. Buddy Creel. 
Interim pastors serving at Deale Assembly were Rev. D’Angello and Rev. Loren Kohl. 
In 1975 the current pastor Rev. Orville Whipkey, and church board members: Gene Marshall, Thomas L. Simmons, Robert Wilkerson, Calvin Phipps and Gene Clark arranged with Mr. and Mrs. Milton Leitch to purchase 8.5 acres of land on which Faith Assembly of God rests today. These men who were joined by Rev. A.J. Fox and members of the congregation, stood on this land with joined hands and prayed, and then marched around the property and claimed this land for The Kingdom.  
In 1976 under the leadership of Rev. Whipkey and with the help from Potomac District of the Assemblies of God, the land was paid for in full and plans were made to proceed with the building of the new church. We thank God for the faithfulness of former pastors sent to us, for each one had a place in God’s timetable. As Paul said in First Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered: but God gave the increase”.
Rev. Paul Harrup followed Rev. Whipkey to lead the congregation as they continued to move forward with the goal of building a new sanctuary. 
In 1978 a young couple, William L. and Joyce Rodriguez came to Deale to pastor. Under his leadership the congregation grew as well as their enthusiasm and excitement for building a new church. Pastor Rodriguez soon caught the vision of his congregation and in March 1979 construction began. Brother Bill labored daily along with members and friends of his congregation. He often offered encouragement to the congregation, quoting from Matthew 16:18 where Jesus said: “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  
Early in 1980 construction was completed on the church and parsonage. The congregation agreed on the name of Faith Assembly of God and on May 12, 1980 the first worship service was held in the new sanctuary. God blessed us spiritually, financially and materially and when an additional 1.5 acres of land became available it was purchased, giving the church a full 10 acres to use for God’s work.  The church continued to grow and was led through the future decades by Rev. Les Middleton, Rev. Don Carroll and Rev. Glen Gabbard. 
In the early 1990’s Reverend Charles Elliott came to Faith Assembly as the Pastor. During this time the church constructed a building to serve as a school and established the Chesapeake Christian School.  
1998 brought Rev. Irving Steiding and wife Maxine in as interim pastors. The interim period turned into 8 years of faithful service by the Steiding’s.  Pastor Steiding also served as the Administrator for the school.  The membership was small and there were many financial obligations on the congregation. Brother and Sister Steiding made personal sacrifices to keep Faith Assembly viable.   The Steiding’s retired to their home in West Virginia.
In 2006 Rev. Gary Lauffer and wife Millie were asked to serve as Pastor. Faced with a small congregation and unforeseen financial obligations, the decision was made to close the school.  Pastor Gary was blessed with the God given gift of administrative abilities.   He was able to guide the church through some valleys and with God’s guidance maintain the fellowship of believers. These remaining faithful members held weekly prayer meetings asking God for guidance and to see growth in the church. 
God honors faithfulness and He always has a plan for His people.  Pastor Gary met Pastor Larry Barnes who was leading the congregation of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Calvert County.  New Hope was looking for a permanent “home” and Faith was in need of more members.  Pastor Gary sought God’s will for Faith Assembly and felt led to approach the Potomac District and Pastor Larry about the prospect of New Hope Christian Fellowship and Faith Assembly merging into one congregation.  At the same time Pastor Larry and wife Wanda had been praying for God’s direction for New Hope. After much prayer and planning it became clear to all that God had given everyone the same vision for New Hope and Faith. Pastor Gary Lauffer resigned Faith Assembly to facilitate the merging of our two congregations. 
Pastor Larry and Wanda “visited” Faith several times before they and the congregation of New Hope officially merged with Faith Assembly on March 1, 2009.  Pastor Barnes was ordained in the Assemblies the following fall. It may sound like an impossible mission to bring together two congregations successfully, but when God has a plan it makes all the difference.  It was almost a seamless joining; when you all love God and put Him first, and have a common goal of service; it is much easier to become one.  New Hope gave new life to Faith and an instant surge in membership and financial stability. Faith gave New Hope a home and a church family.  The school building has been refurbished and is now called the Impact Center which and houses our children, youth and young adult activities.  Individual ministries, such as the Ladies and Men’s Ministries, Children’s Church, Young Adults, Praise Team, Missions and BGMC are starting to take root. We have hosted several outreach events over the past year, with a wonderful response from the community. 
Today as we celebrate 30 years in Lothian for Faith Assembly and our first year as a blended congregation, let us give thanks to God for His goodness and mercy. As Pastor Barnes often says: “We may not have it all together but together we have it all.” 
To God be the Glory, Great things He hath done. 
Written for the 30th Anniversary of Faith Assembly of God residing in Lothian, MD and the one year anniversary of the uniting of Faith Assembly with New Hope Christian Fellowship. May 2010 by Gayle Moreland and Marilyn Ford.