A Modern Day Miracle:
How FBC Deale Was Born
First Baptist Church of Deale began through the vision of a fifty year old man named Benjamin N. Kerby. In 1959, he became the founding pastor.
Prior to becoming a pastor, Benjamin Kerby was a hardware salesman from District Heights, Maryland who was heavily involved in an Episcopalian Church. He was later employed in construction for the High's Dairy Stores.
Just before his father died, he told Benjamin, "Don't depend upon the church to save you!" Oddly, that was exactly what he was depending upon to get him to Heaven. This statement perplexed him and drove him to ask his priest about it. He was told, "Oh don't worry about that! You're okay! Just keep doing the things you've been doing!"
With those words lingering in his mind, and being 40 years old, he soon found himself sitting in a Revival service that was being held at the Boulevard Heights Baptist Church in District Heights, MD. The church was then pastored by Rev. Frances Chilton. It was there that he heard that he was a sinner, but he could be saved. While attending that Revival meeting, he made the choice to receive Christ as his Savior.
After the Revival, he came home and told his wife, Vera, about his decision to trust Christ. He felt so deeply about being redeemed that he decided to dump all the liquor from his liquor cabinet down the drain. At first, his wife stopped him because she feared he might later be sorry and replace it. The following night Benjamin took Vera to the Revival meeting and when she saw his determination to live for Christ, she came home and emptied the bottles into the sink.
The Kerbys served in the Boulevard Heights Baptist Church for about ten years before leaving to answer God's call to come to Deale, Maryland to find and prepare a place to begin a Baptist Church. With no formal training, he located a place to meet and began the First Baptist Church. He started it in what was formally a community center, just a few hundred feet South of where the church is now located. During that time, Pastor Kerby traveled back and forth from District Heights to attempt to get this church started and functioning.
In time, Pastor Kerby's faith and work paid off. On July 5th, 1959, a fledgling group of believers organized itself into the First Baptist Church of Deale, Maryland, Inc. In 1960, they incorporated the church, but still needed their own property on which to establish a building.
Just up the street, an African-American doctor who had fallen on difficult times had an office that he wanted to sell. It was a time when racial prejudice was at its peak; crosses were burned on his property and he feared for his family's well-being. He said that he would not sell the property to a white person, but when he was approached about a church being built there, he made an exception and sold the property. Pastor Kerby and his congregation utilized the old doctor's office as a church building.
With no funds available for use, Pastor Kerby announced a building program to his congregation. The puzzled people asked, "Where is the money going to come from?" He said, "It's going to come from God! We just need faith to trust Him for it!" In 1965, construction began on an auditorium and an expansion to the building.
Shortly after their ground-breaking ceremony, a mysterious check arrived at the church for about $151.00. It was mailed from Virginia and was drawn from a bank in Florida. It was sent faithfully and anonymously with an additional few cents added each month, for the next five years until it was about $200.00 per month. It was just enough to meet the mortgage payments in those days. Within five years, the church had grown enough that it was able to meet its own needs without any outside help.
It took nine months to determine where those checks were coming from. When Pastor Kerby finally found the sender whose name was Col. Waters, he asked him, "What made you send that money to us in the first place?" Col. Waters said, "You know about as much about that as I do! I was just driving by the church and saw everybody standing outside with shovels and God told me to start mailing some dividend monies to you." It showed the congregation and community that God's hand was on this great work!
First Baptist Church was originally started as a ministry of the Boulevard Heights Baptist Church, in District Heights, MD which has since relocated itself to Upper Marlboro and it was renamed, "Fellowship Baptist Church."
Pastor Kerby and Vera, took this church through some miraculous times. It was his steadfast faith that proved itself time and again as the building and the ministry of this church progressed. They never had children of their own, but they parented children all over the Deale area while he served the community. He was able to impact the lives of hundreds of people for the Lord in his day. He said his great regret was that he didn't do more for his God. He always dreamed of starting other churches. Perhaps he did start churches indirectly, as many churches have been started as a result of his investment into this church. He was truly a man of God with a real Pastor's heart.
He used to say, "There are a lot of preachers who can preach the Gospel better than me, but there are no preachers that can preach a better Gospel than me!"
In April 1978, after experiencing a church split in which 32 people announced their intentions to leave First Baptist Church, Pastor Kerby felt that it was time for him to retire. On November 19, 1978, at the age of 69, he handed the reins of the church's Pastorate over to Robert A. Mayes. Brother Mayes was a 29 year old Baptist preacher who just finished up a five year pastorate at the Iola Baptist Temple of Iola, Kansas. He and his wife, Shirlena, have continued Pastor Kerby's ministry. Thus far, in the 57 years of ministry of this church, First Baptist has yet to be without a pastor.
First Baptist is a Fundamental, Independent Baptist Church with stands upon the KJV Bible as God's Holy Word. It's purpose is to point people to Christ for salvation from sin and to help Christians to grow in the knowledge and practice of God's Word. It's outreach is through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, and with evangelistic and missionary appeals.
Missions is the "Heartbeat of the Local Church", both at home and abroad. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on Childrens' ministries, Teen ministries, Bus ministries and World Wide Missions. First Baptist loves missionaries and is currently supporting 23 different missions projects around the world with an investment of approximately $20,000.00 per year.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF DEALE
5907 DEALE CHURCHTON RD
P.O. Box 117
DEALE, MD 20751