Forcey Bible Church, first known as the Non-Sectarian Tabernacle and later the National Tabernacle, had its beginning in 1933 through the faith of its founder, Dr. Clark J. Forcey.
From 1933 to 1970 the facilities were located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Whether in the original tent of the early 30's, or in the large frame building of the 40's and 50's, or in the modern brick structure of the 60's, God used His people to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to instruct Christians in a useful walk with Him.
In 1970, it became evident to the congregation that its work in that particular location was accomplished. After much prayerful consideration, an offer by another congregation to buy the property was accepted.
The congregation was able to find temporary quarters in the John F. Kennedy High School during the construction of the present church facility from 1971 to 1974, during which time they continued to experience God's sustaining blessing. The present facilities are dedicated to the continued proclamation of the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to the instruction of believers to the end that they may truly be His Ambassadors.
To God Be The Glory!
Forward In Faith - 1972
Forcey Bible Church was founded on faith that God would supply all its needs. And it has lived by faith since the beginning. This trust in God has been sound, for He has supplied all of our needs, and His grace has given us strength during many times of trial.
By faith, Dr. Clark J. Forcey came to Washington at the call of God. With a wife and five children, he left a flourishing pastorate to inaugurate a ministry here in April, 1933. Without friends or a means of support he started to preach in a small building on Vermont Avenue. Immediately the Lord blessed this work greatly. Seeking a location from which to expand this ministry for God, he came upon a vacant lot at Underwood Street and Piney Branch Road N.W. He prayed over it, claiming it by faith even before tracing the owner. The owner was not interested in selling the property, but agreed to rent it. With a borrowed $300, Dr. Forcey rented the lot and a tent. With a sawdust floor, and wooden planks for seats, the tent seated 300. Services commenced in May, 1933.
A severe storm destroyed the tent in 1933, and a second tent suffered the same fate in 1934. These trials only strengthened the faith of the congregation. Wearing overcoats and outer clothing when necessary to provide warmth it attended open-air services. The growing congregation called itself the "Non-Sectarian Christian Tabernacle Association". After many tests, suffering and hard work, and with practically no funds on hand, construction was started on a "temporary" building. This building was constructed on rented land because the owner refused to sell the land. Step by step God provided, and on October 14, 1934, the building was dedicated as the "Non-Sectarian Tabernacle".
A three-day week radio ministry was launched and four preaching services a week were held at the Tabernacle. Prayer services daily and before all services occupied a prominent role in the progress of work. Seven and a half years after founding the work, Dr. Forcey died November 25, 1940 at age 39.
Following Dr. Forcey's death, Dr. John McNeil of Glasgow, Scotland served as pastor until March, 1945. This was an era of deep testing in which the sifting of the flock had its purpose in God's plan.
In October, 1945, God called Reverend DeLoss M. Scott of Toronto, Canada to pastor what was then known as "The National Tabernacle". Under Pastor Scott's leadership, an extension work was begun in Clinton, Maryland. By 1948, the Clinton Gospel Tabernacle had its own pastor. In 1949 the first missionary was supported by the Tabernacle. The rented land claimed by Dr. Forcey by faith twenty years earlier was purchased by the congregation in April, 1954. On April 16, 1959, ground was broken for an educational building, which was completed and dedicated in 1960.
In March, 1960, the Lord called Reverend Scott back to Canada. In May 1960 God led Reverend Raymond E. Befus of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to shepherd the flock. Prolonged congregational concern over community misunderstanding of the church name led to the renaming of the church to "Forcey Memorial Church" in recognition of the founder.
Under Pastor Befus' ministry four children's worship services were inaugurated. Church attendance increased until it was obvious that the Tabernacle structure did not provide the facilities required if the work were to continue to grow. A challenge was put forth to the congregation regarding liquidating the large indebtedness on the educational building. On March 3, 1963, we were blessed with a single Sunday's free-will offering of $45,000, thus paving the way for a new sanctuary. A ground breaking service for the new facility was held March 15, 1964. Adult services were held at Takoma Park Junior High School during the construction period. The new sanctuary was dedicated April 4, 1965. In June 1966, God called Pastor Befus to a pastorate in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Lord then led Reverend Gerald G. Small from a pastorate in Little Rock, Arkansas to pastor the church in April, 1967. A newly created position of Minister of Education gave additional emphasis to Christian Education. Daily Vacation Bible School was reinaugurated after being suspended for seven years. Sunday School attendance grew rapidly. By 1970, space for these activities was insufficient to fill the need. Enrollment in Daily Vacation Bible School had to be restricted, and the Sunday School classes became more and more crowded.
Additional Bible School space was greatly needed. A study of membership residency revealed that the center of church membership was located north of Silver Spring. About this time the congregation had an offer to sell the church property to another congregation in the neighborhood. By faith the congregation voted to sell the church property although no land was in view on which to build a new church. The property was sold. The last service in the church was held May 2, 1972.
Commencing May 9, all services were held in the John F. Kennedy High School in Wheaton, Maryland. On September 19, 1972, seven acres of land at Randolph and Columbia Roads in Silver Spring were purchased for our new church building. On September 24, 1972 the congregation approved an architect's concept of a sanctuary and education wing.
Since the construction of the new facility, Forcey Bible Church has enjoyed God's blessings in many ways. In January 2000, Dr. Philip Powers joined Forcey as Senior Pastor. We are now a vibrant body of believers, seeking to grow in our love for God and for people through a wide range of worship, learning, ministry and outreach opportunities.