A Brief History of Beans in the Belfry Reformed Church, 122 W Potomac Street, Brunswick, MD

History of 122 W Potomac Street

History of Beans in the Belfry /
Reformed Church, 122 W Potomac Street,
Brunswick, MD

The First Evangelical and Reformed Church of Brunswick is located at 122 West Potomac Street. The church has the same appearance as it did when constructed in 1910.
The first attention given to building a church was at the regular session of Classics, (which is the Synod now). In 1891, due to the rapid growth of Brunswick, Pastor J. M. Micley was instructed to canvass Brunswick and vicinity in order to obtain funds to purchase a lot and raise money to build a church. Nothing was accomplished this particular year. In 1892, it was reported the B & O RR Company would donate a lot in Brunswick for a church provided plans were submitted to the Company and approved. The committee was unable to raise money for the church building.

In 1893, the whole project was dropped again. After several attempts to organize a Reformed Church in Brunswick, the idea was never abandoned.

In 1906, William J. Main and others took immediate steps to make the hope become a reality. The organization took place October 14, 1906 with 53 members. A Sunday School was organized in December of the same year. The congregation met in the Pythian Hall until a house of worship could be erected.  By May 1909 the lot had been paid for in the sum of One Thousand Dollars, and a church was started.  The church was completed and dedicated in 1910. The cornerstone can still be seen on the East front of the building. Beautiful stained glass windows were given as memorials of loved ones in the church have long been a notable part of  Brunswick’s downtown scene.
In 1912, Classics appointed a committee to recommend Brunswick and Knoxville congregations become a charge. The new charge was constituted effective June 14, 2014.  The church bought their first parsonage in 1926, which was located at 26 North Virginia Avenue. The parsonage was sold when Brunswick and Lovettsville merged.  Pastors serving the Brunswick Charge between 1914 and 1937 were Rev. L. Nevin Wilson, Rev. William B. Werner, Rev. Robert L. Bair, Rev. R. Franklin Main, Rev. Jacob W. Getz, and Rev. Clark S. Smith.

 In 1928, the church installed a new pipe organ. This was a big project for the church and enjoyed by the community.
On April 15, 1936, the Brunswick Church united with Burkittsville to become a charge under the pastorialship of Rev. Clark S. Smith.  Effective on August 1, 1937 the Petersville Congregation was granted a request for dissolution and joined Brunswick.  Brunswick Reformed Church and Lovettsville became a charge in the early 1940s sharing the same minister.  One of the strongest groups of the church was the Mite Society, consisting of both men and women of the church. The objective of this society was to create, stimulate and foster the spirit of sociability and good fellowship among the members of the church, and also to aid financially the congregation in meeting its current expenses. Some of their fund raisers consisted of Washington Birthday Socials, Fastnacht Day, Easter Flower and Bake Sale, Strawberry Festival, Election Day Oyster Supper and Chicken and Waffle suppers for 35 cents.

On February 25, 1915 the name was changed to Aid Society. The name again changed in 1943 to The Pastor’s Aid Society. In 1945, Mrs. Katherine Powell instituted the membership into the Women’s Guild of the Evangelical and Reformed Church.  The Church’s name changed in early 1950’s to the United Church of Christ when two denominations joined together. Pastors through the later years of the church were Rev. Fravel, Rev. Johnson, Rev. Willson, Rev. Fesperman, Rev. Guy Bready, Rev. Paul Mehl, Rev. Mary Wench.

The last service held in the church sanctuary was on December 27, 1968 with a Service of Holy Communion conducted by Rev. Mary Wench, Supply Pastor. Members of the church could transfer upon request to neighboring congregations of the United Church of Christ or to any other denomination as they chose.  Several different churches purchased the Property but could not keep their doors open and had to close also and sell. Presently Mr. and Mrs. Michael Boyer own the church. Boyers Drafting Service is located in the downstairs of the building and Peddlers Landing, a unique craft and antique shop is occupying the sanctuary.  

Written by Kay Souder Cooper in memory of gransparents Mr. and Mrs. John N. Souder, who worked so diligently to get the church started.)  Other owners since Boyers Drafting and the Peddlers Landing have been Billy and Edie Simms of Middletown, MD, and Dr. Kittrick, professor at American University in Washington, D.C.

In 2003 Melanie DiPasquale and her sister Natalie Politis Andrews purchased the church building in a dilapidated condition for the purpose of making it into a Café and Meeting Place for the residents of Brunswick. The café, Beans in the Belfry, opened on October 16, 2004 and has become a very successful destination coffee house that attracts local residents and people from the entire tri-state area and the Washington metropolitan region.