The original idea to organize a unique church was conceived by Rev. Robert L. Walker. On April 10, 1965, six persons (F. Jean Walker, Rosa Leak Clayton, Geraldine Blount, Beaulah M. Leak, and Raymond and Doris Jackson) met with Rev. Walker and after prayerful consideration decided to organize and present the true Image of Christ by serving God through complete and full service to their fellowmen. After much intensive work, a program was designed to meet the needs of the whole person of any age. A theme for direction was agreed upon. The theme, “Building for Christ Spiritually, Morally and Physically,” continues to be an inspiring element attracting new workers.
In light of the theme and inspired by God, the group selected from among many names the one presented by Mrs. F. Jean Walker (the pastor’s wife), New Image Community Church (Christ Image). On May 3, 1965, the church was incorporated.
On October 31, 1965, our first program entitled, “Musical Number One,” was given at the First Baptist Church, Deanwood, Washington, DC, pastored by the late Rev. Andrew Allen. The program was an overwhelming success and we were graciously supported by neighboring churches and friends. This was one of the first realizations that Pastor Walker’s dream for a Chapel, Day Care Center, Youth Community Center, and a home for senior citizens was beginning to materialize.
On April 4, 1966, the church purchased approximately 45,020 square feet of land at the 1839 Alabama Avenue, SE site. This section of the city was selected at Pastor Walker’s advice. The DC Council of Churches had advised that approximately 90,000 unchurched people lived in this area.
On May 3, 1969, with Dr. Andrew Fowler, Pastor of Capital View Baptist Church, presiding, the name of the New Image Community Church was amended to the New Image Community Baptist Church, which gave the church all the rights and privileges bestowed as set forth in the New Testament. A groundbreaking service was held on June 7, 1969, with Dr. Fowler as the guest speaker. On May 15, 1970, Julian W. Curtis Co., Inc., began construction on our new church, which was to house approximately 300 members and service 30 children for day care services. In June 1971, our church was dedicated to the service of God. At the dedication service, Rev. Walter Fauntroy, our Congressman and Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, served as the guest speaker, and Rev. Dr. Louis McComb, President of the Minister’s Conference of Washington, DC and vicinity, presided.
Groundbreaking for a large sanctuary, fellowship hall and day care facility was conducted as part of the 13th anniversary celebration. The anniversary observance covered the period from April 16 through May 6, 1978, with 7:30 PM services nightly. Following these services, the entire church became intensively involved in the vision of a new fellowship hall and day care center. In 1979, the anniversary celebration was held during the first week of May.
On October 18, 1980, NICBC celebrated its Pre-Dedication Service and Cornerstone Laying at 10:45 AM. Rev. E.L. Jarman, the builder, presented the keys. Presiding for this service was Dr. M.A. Covington, Vice President of the Minister’s Conference of DC. Officials attending the Cornerstone Laying were Dr. and Councilwoman Calvin Rolark; Rev. Lewis Anthony of Mayor Barry’s Office; Dr. James E. McCoy, President, Minister’s Conference of DC; Rev. William Turner of New Jersey; Rev. M.A. Carver; Rev. Ronald Divers; and many other ministers, singers, officials and friends. The Cornerstone Laying Ceremony was performed by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., District of Columbia, Inc.
Future building plans included a three-story youth center, R.L. Walker Mission Station, and a senior citizen home (organization already named and incorporated “UNICAY” (United Children, Adults and Youth)), which was a joint venture with the Greater Southeast Community Hospital Foundation (GSCHF). In 1984, plans to build the senior citizen’s development at 22nd and Savannah Streets, SE, were implemented. Construction began after receipt of a $4,000,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
On March 16, 1984, Rev. Robert L. Walker, our founder, leader, beloved Pastor and friend went home to be with the Lord. A Robert L. Walker Memorial Fund was established and the senior citizen facility was named, “The Robert L. Walker House” in his honor. On October 9, 1989, the Robert L. Walker House was officially dedicated and in April 1989, the first group of occupants took up residence in their new apartments. Mrs. Ollie Gray was the first member of New Image to occupy the facility. The Robert L. Walker House - what a fitting memorial to a great Pastor, friend and community leader.
In August 1984, the church elected the late Dr. Sloan S. Hodges as the Interim Pastor. During this period, three young sons of the church were licensed into the Gospel Ministry - Ministers Herbert Odom, Alton Jordan and William A. Brown. Sherman Wright was already serving as a minister of the church at the time.
On March 30, 1987, the Rev. Ricardo L. Brent was called as the second Pastor of NICBC. He was officially installed on May 17, 1987. Rev. Brent presented his main goal as being the Unification of the Church - The Body of Christ. With this in mind, he continued bible study, strengthening our prayer life, spiritual growth, evangelizing, soul winning and mission work in the community.
Over the next 13 years, Pastor Brent established many programs that were beneficial to the church. He established The WDCU Mentors Program; GED Program; Mother’s Board; School of Ministry; Noon Day Prayer; Sunday Morning Worship Service at the Walker House; Alcohol and Drug Abuse Ministry (ADAM); Senior’s Ministry; Financial Control Board; and the New Creation Child Development Center.
Under the leadership of Bishop Brent, he licensed eleven men and seven women into the Gospel Ministry. Of these, he ordained six, including his wife, Dorothy Brent, who was the first woman to be ordained in the history of the church. On April 29, 2000, Bishop Brent went home to be with the Lord.
On July 22, 2000, Pastor Donald M. Garner was installed as the third pastor. Keeping the visions and dreams alive of our late pastors, Pastor Garner is leading us into new directions as the Lord leads him.
The attic space was renovated into five additional rooms. The majority of the work was done by Pastor Garner, saving the church thousands of dollars had we had to hire outside people—and a beautiful place it is! The dedication of this new space was held on Sunday, April 21, 2002.
Elder Harvey Reedy was elevated to Assistant Pastor in 2003. Several other appointments have also been made: Minister of Education; Church Administrator; Praise & Worship Coordinator; Coordinator for Healing and Restoration; and a Financial Secretary.
In January of 2004, we purchased a 7,600 square foot three story building and was later sold to the D.C. Government.
Under Pastor Garner’s leadership, he has licensed two people into the Gospel ministry, ordained six deacons and appointed three junior deacons in training. He established the Outreach Ministry which includes Street Evangelism; the SHARE Network that reaches out not only to our church, but also to the community; the Card Ministry; the Transportation Ministry; the Ministry of Intercessory Prayer; the Ministry of Inner Healing and Restoration; Women of Praise; Children’s Dance Ministry (Genesis); collaborated with Ballou Senior High School, where New Image served as an off-campus site for adults to receive their high school diploma; the Children’s Church Ministry was implemented under the direction of Minister Julia Plummer; the PACERS (Senior’s Ministry) was started in December 2006 under the leadership of Deacon Betty Worthington; Marriage Enrichment Classes began in January 2009 under the teachings of Pastor Garner; and new pews, carpet, and two 15-passenger vans have been purchased as well.
In addition to the above mentioned ministries, Pastor Garner has developed partnerships with the Hospice Foundation, Henson Ridge Development Corporation, and William C. Smith Company to further engage the church with the community. As a result of our relationship with William C. Smith Company, a 25-passenger bus was donated to the church. Pastor Garner is also leading the efforts to totally renovate and modernize The Robert L. Walker House (the church’s 69-unit senior citizen building) at an estimated cost of $2.5 million
In March 2013, a state-of-the-art Media Room was built consisting of audio and video equipment which allows us to capture all services. In November 2014, Bro. Preston Boyd preached his initial sermon and was elevated to Minister Preston Boyd.
As of 2015, the current ministerial staff consists of Elder Harvey E. Reedy (Assistant Pastor); Elder Terri Lamar Smith (Education Ministry Director); Minister Julia Plummer (ADAM Ministry Director and Children’s Ministry Director); Minister Virginia Guiles (Intercessory Prayer Ministry Director); Minister Annie Coates (Outreach Ministry Director); Minister Marcus Dorsey (Young Adult Ministry Director); and Minister Preston Boyd (Men’s Ministry Director and Station of Hope Ministry Director).
The Education Ministry has thrived in its effort to train and teach leaders on how to minister the Gospel not only to God’s people but to a lost and dying world. The Outreach Ministry has been ministering to patients of United Medical Center and residents of Carolyn Boone Lewis Health Center at least twice per month. The Station of Hope Ministry was started in 2014 by then Bro. Preston Boyd and its mission is to provide services to members who have family members who have been or are currently incarcerated.
Finally, as we reflect over these 50 years, we thank God for the dream and vision of our founding Pastor Rev. Robert L. Walker, and the great hosts of individuals who pressed on during the early days of our existence. We also thank God for the desire of the late Bishop Ricardo L. Brent who carried out those dreams and was open to new direction as the Lord led him. We thank God for our present Pastor Donald M. Garner, who believes “We Are A Church Where Everybody Is Somebody!”