Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church History
On Easter Sunday in 1900 in a carriage house on Kalorama Road in Northwest Washington, D.C., Clara Finley Bliss, M.D., one of the first women physicians to practice in Washington, gathered a group of children to form a Sunday School. From this beginning grew the Washington Heights Presbyterian Church.
This church served its neighborhood until after World War II, when it sought to relocate. At the same time, a group in Bethesda was organizing to build a church to serve the growing community. With the assistance of the Presbytery, the two groups joined to form the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in 1955.
Longtime Partners: While a number of other organizations have shared our space overtime, two longtime partners have greatly helped shape the structure and programs at Bradley Hills: Bradley Hills Nursery School, which came into existence here in 1957, and Bethesda Jewish Congregation (BJC), beginning in 1967. In 1991, BHPC and BJC entered into a covenant relationship between two spiritual siblings.
Our Buildings and Organ: The present church building (the education wing and Memorial Hall) was constructed in 1956, and the present sanctuary and its wing were completed in 1965. The Holtcamp pipe organ was added in 1972. In 2002, Covenant Hall and the Gathering Space were completed. Covenant Hall transformed the overall building so that our structure reflects the covenant between Bradley Hills Church and BJC: the addition was designed as a hexagonal space – a Star of David standing next to the original cross-shaped sanctuary. In architecture as well as in spirit, BJC and Bradley Hills are “spiritual siblings sharing sacred space.”
To read a detailed church history, written for the occasion of our 50th anniversary in 2005, read 'Called by God For 50 Years.'