*Greater MD 1st Jurisdiction

Maryland Church History:

One day a young man was walking down the street and stopped in a small holiness church where he received his first spiritual blessing and gave his first testimony. Having been taught by his mother to live right, this young man developed a yearning for deeper spiritual fulfillment. The seed was planted and the thirst for salvation was embedded in his soul. The young man gave his life to Christ was saved and baptized with the precious Holy Ghost at the age of 23. This young man was the founder of the Maryland Church of God In Christ, Bishop Theodore Robert Young.

In 1924 he joined a small storefront church on Pressman Street. He soon became Deacon and serving under the leadership of his uncle, Elder Abraham Young. Deacon T. R. Young later became the Superintendent of the Sunday School as well as the church musician. He then worked in any capacity that he could to further the work of the Lord. He had a dream and a vision for his own church, but remained under his uncle’s leadership until the Lord directed him to start his own church. God elevated Deacon T. R. Young to an Elder and then Assistant Pastor of his uncle’s church. But in March 1931, Elder Young was called to the Pastorate. He founded a new church and named it the “Maryland Church of God In Christ” and located it on Pressman Street. He later in the same year joined the National Churches of God in Christ under the direction and leadership of the late Founder and Chief Apostle of the Church of God In Christ, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. As God blessed Pastor Young, his congregation spiritually, making him known to many local and national COGIC churches and other denominations.

The Late Bishop T. R. Young

Pastor Young established new auxiliaries at the Maryland Church. The auxiliary leaders always received encouragement from their pastor. Pastor Young was a hands-on leader and attended meetings, rehearsals, and events sponsored by the auxiliaries. When necessary, Pastor Young served as the pianist for the choirs of the church. He taught his members to love and support one another in all of our endeavors. Pastor Young encouraged his congregation to "follow peace with all men," and to "follow him as he followed Christ." He constantly reminded us that we had come this far by faith. God continued to elevate Pastor Young for his faithfulness and good works. As the church grew, so did our leader. In 1960, he was consecrated as the Bishop of all the Churches of God In Christ for the State of Maryland.

One writer wrote, "big trees from little acorns grow…" and so the Maryland Church of God In Christ grew. Bishop Young had a vision of a larger edifice with folding doors. By faith, prayer, and God's power the church moved to its current location at 5100 Denmore Avenue (now T. R. Young Place) in 1970. Bishop Young and a small portion of his members used their personal money to help purchase the building. At that time the Maryland Church was the largest COGIC edifice in the state of Maryland. Bishop Young used infinite wisdom, unfaltering leadership, and fatherly love to guide the Maryland Church to becoming a unified body and a strong pillar in the community.

In 1980, Bishop Young became incapacitated due to illness and appointed Elder Stafford B. Sutton, Sr. as his assistant. Six years later, the Lord called Bishop Young from labor to reward. On November 20 1986, Bishop David Washington Spann, Sr., Prelate of the Greater Maryland First Jurisdiction officially installed Elder Sutton as the Pastor of Maryland Church of God In Christ.

Pastor Sutton graduated Cum Laude from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a degree in Microbiology. He also attended Morgan University in Baltimore, Maryland under the Business Administration graduate school. He received a Master of Theology degree in 1974 from Saint Mary's Seminary & University, Baltimore. The Lord called Pastor Sutton to the ministry many years before he acknowledged the call and say (like Jeremiah), "Hear am I Lord, send me," Instead of heeding the call in the early 70's, Elder Sutton established a business in Philadelphia. Then in August 1974, he was ordained as an Elder in Pennsylvania by Bishop O.T. Jones. He moved to Baltimore and established Columbia COGIC and became the Pastor in 1979.

He was a man of great knowledge and wisdom and had a determination to carry on the work of the Lord. God has greatly blessed him during his two decades of leading the Maryland Church. God is yet blessing the Maryland Church as they seek to save the Lost - "For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Pastor Durant S. Graves now serves as the the third pastor of Maryland Church of God in Christ.