The history of Clifton Park Baptist Church (CPBC) is a story of people believing, dreaming, planning and building in the name of Jesus - Savior and Lord.
CPBC began in the heart of the people of Calvary Baptist Church in the Nation's Capital. In 1949 a committee unanimously decided to start a mission church in the Greater Washington area. After much searching and prayer a site was purchased for $42,000 in Clifton Park, at the intersection of Old Bladensburg Road (now University Boulevard) and Piney Branch Road. The Property included almost two acres of land and a large white frame two-story colonial house, which served as a meeting place for the congregation in its earliest years.
Opening services in the "Chapel on the Hill" were held on December 3, 1950. Dr. William J. Crowder, the church's first interim pastor, and Director of Missions and Evangelism for the D.C. Baptist Convention, presided in the worship service with sixty-one persons present. In October 1951, the Reverend William J. Millar was called as the CPBC's full-time permanent pastor.
In 1952, the church approved a long-range building program and proceeded with the first phase. This building, which was dedicated on April 26, 1953, included a sanctuary and church office on the main floor and four classrooms and a boiler room on the lower level. Under the leadership of Pastor Millar and dedicated laypersons, the congregation became fully constituted as a church of 193 charter members. The years to follow saw the church become fully established, self-supporting, and efficiently organized. The church emphasized Christian education, fellowship and missions. The Woman's Missionary Society and Men's Brotherhood provided opportunities for fellowship and service.
In 1960 phase two of the building program began with completion in 1961. This phase saw the expansion of the sanctuary, the erection of a steeple, and the addition of a choir loft and a balcony, administrative offices, fourteen classrooms, two large social halls,kitchen and its long desired baptistry. In 1971, Rev. Robert K. Kanagy was named pastor. Clifton Park became the location for the V.I.P. (Voluntary Interfaith Program) School in which volunteers from many churches came to teach English to speakers of other languages, and where students could take courses to secure their G.E.D.
On September 1, 1974, the church called Reverend Gary K. Javens to assume the pastorate. Under his guidance, a committed core of lay persons led in renewed growth in the church, both numerically and spiritually. The church established its Diaconate Ministry, weekly evangelistic visitation; and extended its building use to several mission churches including Korean, Hispanic and Vietnamese congregations.
Church growth accelerated and ultimately led to the addition of a second worship service on Sunday mornings. The church entered into a capital funds program and work commenced in the summer of 1988. The Service of Dedication was held on May 1, 1990, with approximately 600 persons in attendance. On December 31, 2005, Pastor Javens retired as pastor and Intentional Interim Pastor Reverend Paul A. Clark was selected and led the church through the transition and in the selection of a permanent pastor.
On February 17, 2008, Clifton Park Baptist Church called Rev. Essentino A. Lewis, Jr. as the fourth pastor of the church. Recognizing the great potential of Clifton Park Baptist Church to reach many lives for the cause of Christ, Pastor Lewis has focused his pastorate on enhancing the strong foundation necessary to support the blessings of added membership and increased scope of ministry. Clifton Park continues to grow in each of its core areas of ministry – worship, discipleship, fellowship and outreach, ultimately making it an effective community partner, extending its benefits to those surrounding the church, so that it fully engages the Great Commission of making disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18).