Our History


  “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 )

Hughes Memorial Methodist Church, now Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church is a venture born of a prophetic vision and a consuming faith of first a handful of people. In the fall of 1948, then superintendent of the Washington District of the Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (a segregated branch of the Methodist Church) conducted a tour and exclaimed, “We’ve got to have a church out here.” A survey was then made by the Board of Missions throughout the Capitol View and Marshal Heights areas and in 1949 the new mission of Hughes Memorial was formally set up in Malvan and Schey Funeral Chapel at 48th and Deane Avenue, NE with two charter members.

After six months of worship services and planning meetings, the group and its now fifteen members established a parish house church at 18 54th Street, SE, and named the church in honor of the late Bishop William A.C. Hughes, the Field Secretary of the Conference Board of Missions and Church Extension. A stadium at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland is also named after him. He was the first Bishop elected after the unification of the segregated branch of the Methodist Church and died shortly after his consecration. We have come this “Far by Faith” since the 67–member historic march on March 23, 1958 to the present location of 53rd and Ames Street.

Our recorded history reveals the details of our steady growth and progress. Included therein are purchases of lots for expansion; the making and liquidation of mortgages under Rev. Charles Johnson; and building programs in the 1950’s and in the 1980-90’s. The latter resulted in the construction of a multipurpose building under the leadership of Rev. Mamie Williams and the renovation of the sanctuary. Bishop James K. Matthews consecrated the new facility on Sunday, August 22, 1993 during which time Sunday morning services took place in the Fellowship Hall of the multipurpose building. On November 6, 1994, worship service returned to the newly renovated sanctuary with a new computerized organ and stained glass windows. In the spring of 1998, a new 15-passenger van was purchased.

Clubs and organizations have played a prominent role in Hughes’ growth and progress. Great effort was exerted to develop ministries to serve and support the community and to bring the two into closer contact. These efforts resulted in our congregation’s participation in the Bishop’s Initiative Against Drugs and Violence; a Summer Ministries Program - Project Spirit; UPO Day Care; the Adopt-a-School program; Boy Scout Troop #582 founded in 1953 (currently inactive); and Charity Outreach (1993). The HUM Federal Credit Union established in 1964 has now merged with the HEW Credit Union

Other activities include Hi-Lites, the church newsletter (1977); Angels Service Network, Hughes HOPE (HIV/AIDS Ministry), CAP Afterschool program, Woman Veteran’s Resource Center, and the Food Bank. The purpose of these small group ministries focuses on fostering friendships within the congregation as well the surrounding community, helping to meet the financial obligations of the church and most importantly, making disciples.

The Reverend Paul W. Johnson is the 12th pastor appointed to serve the Hughes Memorial church family. He follows the pastorates of Rev. Constance C. Smith (2005–14); Rev. B. Kevin Smalls (2001–05); Rev. Dr. Kirk D. Monroe, Sr. (1998–2001); Rev. Mamie A. Williams (1988–1998); Rev. Arlester Brown (1986–1988); Rev. Hal T. Henderson (1982–1986); Rev. Dr. Charles A. Johnson (1974–1982 – deceased); Rev. Thomas H. Brooks (1966–1974 – deceased); Rev. Dr. William E. Bishop (1953–1966 – deceased); Rev. William Hairston (1949–1953 – deceased); and Rev. Kirkland Frazier (Feb. 1948 – July 1949 – deceased).