"And again he said, whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
Luke 13: 20-21 (NIV)
Undated photo from Bladensburg Road storefront Sunday Bible School.
Our congregation grew from a merger of sister congregations – Avalon Heights in
Washington, D.C., and Mt. Rainier/West Hyattsville, Maryland.
Avalon Heights started in about 1924 as a Sunday Bible School in a vacant
storefront on Bladensburg Road, N.E. The 14th Street Church of Christ (now 16th and
Decatur) sponsored the work. Members from 14th Street took turns attending what they
called “the mission.”
The suggestion for opening the Bible School came from a member of 14th Street, a
woman who lived in the Bladensburg Road area in the neighborhood called Avalon Heights.
Undated photo of the storefront Avalon Heights Church of Christ.
On April 11, 1926, at the storefront, the Avalon Heights Church of Christ officially met in
worship for the first time. Members of the 14th Street Congregation continued to meet with
Avalon Heights in the early years.
Invitation to Bible School on April 11, 1926, establishment of the
congregation at Avalon Heights.
Constructing a Building
In 1930, the members paid $1200 for land within a block of the storefront. The
14th Street congregation assisted in fundraising for the construction.
On September 18, 1932, Avalon Heights met for the first time in its new building. It cost $3,450 to construct.
The address is 28th and Douglas Street, N.E., and anyone passing on Bladensburg Road can see the building.
Avalon Heights Church of Christ in 1944.
Mt. Rainier/West Hyattsville
In July 1945, the 14th Street Church held a tent meeting in Mt. Rainier. As a result, several members of 14th Street and members of other congregations began meeting in a rented dance hall in the town. It had to be aired out and bottles picked up each Sunday before services. On November 5, 1950, the congregation began meeting in a building they constructed at 36th and Jefferson Streets in West Hyattsville (nearby to Mt. Rainier). The congregation changed its name from Mt. Rainier to West Hyattsville Church of Christ. This building still can be seen today from 36th Street.
On July 14, 1957, the Avalon Heights and West Hyattsville Churches of Christ merged to form the Avalon-Hyattsville Church of Christ, with approximately 85 members. The congregations sold their respective buildings and pooled their resources to buy property at 6420 Colesville Road, Hyattsville, Maryland. Thereafter, the members worshiped in rented space at the University of Maryland main campus in College Park and at Thomas Stone Elementary School in Mt. Rainier.
Olin Stout, who would serve as one of three elders of the new congregation, displays a model of the building being constructed.
Construction began shortly after groundbreaking, with the purpose of completing and opening the building in July, 1960. In this period, the congregation changed its name to Colesville Road Church of Christ, Hyattsville, Maryland. The property was located at 6420 Colesville Road
This advertisement is thought to have
appeared in the Washington Star newspaper
before the July 31, 1960, formal opening of the
building. Actual use by the congregation began
earlier in July, with the first wedding on Saturday,
July 2. Members of the congregation came to the
building on the preceding evening to bolt pews to
the floor for the wedding.
In the early 1960’s, the State of Maryland changed
the name of Colesville Road to Adelphi Road.
Once again faced with a need to change names,
the congregation adopted the name of the town on
the opposite side of Adelphi Road and became the
University Park Church of Christ.
“UPCOC” Since 1960
In July 2010, the University Park Church of Christ celebrated its 50th
anniversary at our location on Adelphi Road.
In April 2026, we will mark the 100th year since the “official” beginnings of the
congregation in the storefront on Bladensburg Road, N.E. Information before April
1926 has come to us through oral history.
Much binds our members through the years. Our fellowship in the church of
our Lord is our eternal blessing, and many persons once associated with Avalon
Heights and West Hyattsville continued with us into the years at University Park. We
are blessed to have a few of those people still with us. Most were children when the
two churches combined.
University Park had a 40-year elder – Francis Earl Williams – who attended
the storefront church with his parents.
This congregation began existence as all white. That changed permanently in
about 1970. God saw our hearts and brought multiple races and nations to us
through natural growth and without controversy or resistance. God truly blessed us.
We twice have renovated and added to our building. It no longer looks like
the original construction.
The historical records of the congregation are on file in the offices of
University Park Church of Christ.