SHARECOMMENTMORE

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Metropolitan AME Church is celebrating a milestone. It's 175 years old.

It's the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the District.

The choir, more upbeat than ever on Sunday, not only celebrated their rich sound but also a history unmatched by any other of its kind in Washington D.C.

Jeannette McCottry said, "This is a glorious day and I'm extremely proud."

Jeannette McCottry is a fourth generation member. Her family and ancestors have been coming to Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church continuously since the Civil War.

The famous, past and current presidents have sat through these sermons. So has the Dean family.

Dr. Anna Dean Chandler said, "I remember coming here with my parents. I taught Sunday school here. At one time there was a movement to sell the church and do something else with the land. Fortunately the congregation resisted. We're still here and still alive."

Thelma Dean Jacobs is now the church historian, in charge of the rich history since it was founded in 1838.

"I found out in 1837, it was the worst depression in the country since 1929. To have a group of black people enslaved, some free, suffering economically, to start a church is amazing to me," Dean said.

It's also suspected the church was a stop on the 'Underground Railroad.'

The pre-Civil War church survived slavery and its congregation believes it will endure many more challenges in the future.

John White, a church member, said, "we're going to do our part in abolishing gun violence and racism. I feel like with this building and our congregation we'll be here for another 175 years."

SHARECOMMENTMORE