Our History

New Bethel Baptist Church (NBBC) was organized in 1902 by seven former members of Salem Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.. The history of NBBC is based on the experiences of the members who worshiped within its walls and reached out to the unsaved in the community. Each chapter describes the church’s trials and successes, joys and sorrows, special occasions and celebrations and, most importantly, the expressions and testimonies of a deep spiritual belief and faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With the passing of the staff from its first pastor to each successive pastor, the church has evolved with a keen sense of and adjustment to the times in which we live. NBBC has always and will continue to address the needs of its congregation, community, city, and world-at-large as set forth in the Word of God.

Chapter 1: The Beginning (1903 – 1940)

Reverend Dr. William D. JarvisNew Bethel's first pastor was Reverend Dr. William D. Jarvis (1903 - 1940). Under Rev. Jarvis, the church experienced spiritual growth and prosperity during his 37 years of leadership. On February 7, 1915, the New Bethel congregation held its first worship service at a site located on 9th Street, N.W. Rev. Jarvis retired in 1940 leaving a rich legacy as a benchmark for Christian outreach and service.

Chapter 2: The Story Continues (1941 – 1958)


Reverend C. David Foster assumed the pastorate of New Bethel in 1941. Under Rev. Foster, the church name was changed to Greater New Bethel Baptist Church and many clubs and auxiliaries were established to meet the needs of the church and community. Like his predecessor, Rev. Foster oversaw continued spiritual and numerical growth and prosperity during his tenure. Rev. Foster succumbed to illness in 1958.

Chapter 3: Casting the Net (1959 – 2009)


Reverend Walter E. Fauntroy, a son of New Bethel, was selected to serve as Supply Pastor shortly after the death of Reverend Foster. In 1959, the church unanimously voted to name Rev. Fauntroy as the third pastor of New Bethel. The church was renamed New Bethel Baptist Church and a new era of Christian service in the Shaw community was born. Under Rev. Fauntroy's leadership, both New Bethel and the Shaw community were revitalized. The New Bethel Housing Corporation was formed in 1958 and in 1973, the Foster House Apartment Building was constructed on the comer of 9th Street and Rhode Island Avenue N.W. This 76-unit complex continues to be a cornerstone of the community as it provides housing to low and moderate income residents in Shaw. Additionally, New Bethel was at the forefront of significant change locally and nationwide during Rev. Fauntroy's tenure. This includes the design and implementation of the Shaw Urban Renewal Project, engagement in civil and voting rights campaigns with Martin Luther King, Jr., the effort to win Home Rule for residents of the District of Columbia, and numerous worldwide humanitarian campaigns during Rev. Fauntroy's tenure as a Member of the United States House of Representatives.

Chapter 4: The Future (2010 and Beyond)


Pastor NutallIn 2009, New Bethel called another of its sons, the Reverend Dexter U. Nutall, to lead the church into the future. Reverend Nutall holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Mt. St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, MD, a Juris Doctor degree from Howard University School of Law, and a Master of Divinity degree from Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. In Reverend Nutall's first career as an attorney in DC, MD, and VA, he worked for the Supreme Court of VA, the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, the United States Senate, and the law firm of Reed Smith LLP. Reverend Nutall is a gifted preacher, teacher, vocalist, and musician. His writing and sermons have been published in several notable publications and he receives numerous repeat requests to minister at services and revivals. His pivotal ministry experience came in serving as New Bethel's Supply Pastor from January through June 2006. During this brief period, NBBC was blessed with financial, spiritual, and membership growth with over 50 new believers and converts who committed themselves to the cause of Christ. The arrival of Reverend Nutall as Pastor has generated new excitement at New Bethel. Programs have been revitalized and expanded, and as in 2006, there has already been significant spiritual, numerical, and financial growth among the membership. In addition, New Bethel has established new community partnerships that will be the launching pads for expansion in the areas of housing and community service. Reverend Nutall endeavors to continue this growth trend as New Bethel expands its impact and offers the empowerment and the hope and light of Jesus Christ to its members, the District of Columbia, and beyond.