The Gibson Grove church building is more than 104 years old and held the second oldest congregation in the Cabin John, Maryland community.
In January of 2004 the congregation were participating in Bible study at a member's home when they received news the church building was on fire. Before firefighters arrived on the scene the roof, part of the exterior, and most of the church's interior, including its' contents were destroyed.
It has taken years to start rebuilding due to a number of issues including our small congregation's lack of funds, and restoration requirements set by the state, county, and Historic Society. Additionally, a section of the DC Capital Beltway's drainage system was excovated within three feet of the church facility, complicating efforts and negotiations with the Maryland State Highway Commission.
The church is located at 7700, Seven Locks Road, Bethesda, MD.
First Agape AME Zion Church at Gibson Grove is named after Sarah Gibson, a former slave from Virginia who migrated to the area shortly after the Civil War and crossed the Potomac River with her two small children during the battle of Bull Run to escape the abuse of Slavery. She landed after much struggle in Potomac where she found work as a seamstress with a Quaker family. After several years she earned enough money to purchase the land where the church was built. Her goal was to have a place where God's name could be glorified. Not only was God's name glorified, but the church served as a small school for Montgomery County's African American children in the 50's when it was illegal for them to attend school with white children.
At this time First Agape Church at Gibson Grove is continuing to pay pre-construction costs, including payments for a civil engineer, architect and various other project developers. Although the church has spent $100,000 for these costs and has about $200,000 from offerings and donations, it is in need of 1.5 million to begin construction and fully restore.
We are deeply grateful for your interest in supporting the restoration of First Agape at Gibson Grove Historic Church. Donation may be mailed to First Agape Church, Post Office Box 1016, Burtonsville, MD 20688 or directly through our webpage www.1stagape.com/history-and-future