A Brief History of the Wilson Boulevard
The Genesis of the church dates from June 1913 when Mrs. Elizabeth Dey answered a knock on the door of her home on Georgetown Road which is now 3801 Wilson Boulevard was greeted by Mrs. George Fisher who sought to sell her some religious books. In the ensuing conversation Mrs. Dey and Mrs. Fisher discovered that they both were members of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ which then had no congregation in the county.
A few days later Mrs. Fisher returned to suggest that they establish a weekly circle of prayer and the first such meeting was held in Mrs. Fisher's home on Utah Street in Ballston later in that month. Mr. Fisher had been chosen to lead the services but due to an emergency he was called away. At a moment’s notice, Mrs. Dey was asked to officiate in his absence. At her request, Mrs. Carl Munson, the wife of a Navy man, opened the meeting with prayer. After the singing of several hymns with Mrs. Dey at the piano, the time arrived for the sermon. Mrs. Dey rose and contrary to the Christian standard read the printed weekly sermon. A few more hymns were followed by a circle of sentence prayers after which Mrs. Dey voiced a closing benediction and the meeting was dismissed. Thus, began what is now the Wilson Boulevard Christian Church, formerly known as the Ballston Christian Church.
Almost from the organization of the church in 1913, the congregation had dreamed of having its own church building. They raised a sufficient sum to purchase a small lot at 911 Stafford Street, and then eventually completed a frame church building. When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917 and by the fall of that year the little Ballston Christian Church took on a distinctly novel appearance as the benches began to fill up with officers and with young soldiers in training at nearby Fort Myer. For a number of years, itinerate clergyman who were Bi-Vocational and often chaplains and officers in the military served for brief periods of time.
It was during Reverend S.J. Goods pastoral ministry that the church purchased the site on Wilson Boulevard on which the present church and educational building now stand. It should also be noted that he was the first Minister devoting his full-time to the church. In 1937 under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Ira Preston Harbaugh, the name of the Ballston Christian Church was officially changed to the Wilson Boulevard Christian Church.
Reverend Harbaugh was the longest tenured Pastor in the history of our church. In the 20th year of his ministry, he died of a heart attack while leading a midweek choir rehearsal. The years of his service almost equal the total service of all other ministers having served. The membership of the Wilson Boulevard Christian Church was often transient due to heads of families who were in the military service being continually brought into the area or sent elsewhere to occupy new posts.
Some of the most tenured and memorable pastoral leaders were Reverend Ammon E. Smith, Reverend Henry Lutz, Reverend Earl Taggart, Reverend SJ good, Reverend Carroll Quinn Right, the long and fruitful ministry of the Reverend Ira Preston Harbaugh, who was succeeded by Rev. J Lloyd Black , Rev. Glendale Burton a military officer who served for 10 years, Rev. Curtis Wheeler, Rev. David Chisham and in October 2006, the first woman and African American appointed as Pastor in the then 97year history of the WBCC, the Rev. Dr. Carol Green Freeman. Her ministerial accomplishments while serving as our pastor are too numerous to mention, and are deeply appreciated by the officers, leaders, and members of our great church.
Throughout Pastor Green- Freeman’s tenure, the Wilson Boulevard Christian Church has vigorously sought to meet the challenge of providing for the social, educational, and spiritual needs of people. Our current motto, which we embrace and continue to strive for to the Glory of God is “ Serving in a Spirit of Excellence.”