Millian Church is a Rockville Methodist Church

Church History  


1952: March 2, first worship service/Viers Mill Theater/Rev. Harold Bell Wright, pastor

  • Apr.20, first Sunday School session
  • May 18, Charter Member Sunday
  • July 10, Wrights occupy Faroe Court parsonage
  • Oct.15, first meeting Official Board
  • Women’s Society Christian Service 21 members

1953: John.C. Millian died on July 12, 1953

  • Name approved: Millian Memorial Methodist Church

1954: Dec. 5: Groundbreaking Service/1st building

  • Sunday School at Wheaton City School/ 6 classrooms
  • Methodist Men begins
  • First Missionary support:Budaun Christian High School,Northern India
  • Building Fund Drive begins

1955: Cornerstone Laying Service

  • Nov. 20: First worship service in new building
  • Nov.27: Consecration Service/Bishop G. Bromey Oxnam ,speaker

1956: Dedication of memorials in 1st building

  • 600 children in Sunday School/12 classrooms

1957: 3 Sunday morning services required

  • 14 marriages, 99 baptisms, 7 funerals
  • First death of a Millian member: Barbara Ann Weimer
  • 155 W.S.C.S. members
  • 39 Methodist Men

1958: Mar.30: Groundbreaking Ceremony/Education building

  • Sept.28: Cornerstone laying/Gov. Theodore McKeldin, guest
  • 17 classrooms needed for Sunday School
  • Civil Defense Committee formed

1959: Feb.15: Consecration service/Education building

  • Sunday School in Education building

1960: 2 sessions of Sunday School/960 enrolled/85 teachers

1961: Larson Parsonage purchased

  • Parking lot purchased
  • 5 choirs
  • 1,189 children enrolled in Sunday School
  • Don Allen hired as choir director

1962: Mar.4, Tenth Anniversary Observance

  • June 1, parking lot finished
  • Nov.20, Bishop John Wesley Lord preaches

1963: Approval for new sanctuary

  • $430,000 estimated cost
  • Dec.1 Groundbreaking for Sanctuary Building

1964: July 26: Cornerstone Laying

  • Nov.22: first services in Sanctuary/ Rev.Harold Bell Wright speaker
  • Chapel building renovation into offices, chapel, committee lounge
  • Consecration service/Bishop John Wesley Lord, speaker

1965: Feb.6, staff occupies offices

  • Rev. Drennan appointed as a District Superintendent
  • Rev. Carroll Doggett appointed as pastor

1967: Sept.1, Millian Preschool begins

  • 76 baptisms
  • Senior Millianaire group begins

1968: D.C. riots lead to “sister” churches

  • Help, Uninc. starts
  • Millian sponsors Brito family and two other Cuban refugee families

1969: Professional Leadership for stewardship campaign

  • Chapel renovation plans developed
  • Conference “Fund for Reconciliation”
  • Council retreat: Doggetts’ cabin
  • Time and Talent Survey of congregation Emergency Homes family helped
  • Brito Family arrives from Cuba

1970: Rev. Doggett transferred, later becomes a District Superintendent

  • Rev. Purnell appointed to Millian
  • Air Conditioning &renovation Larkin Parsonage
  • Parking lot paved
  • Visitation to 93 members not paying pledges
  • Financial “pinch” felt
  • Sponsored Mission to Honduras/Rev. Richardson
  • Push for member involvement leads to “Block leaders”

1971: Chimes installed

  • Week long revival meeting
  • Margaret Purnell dies after lengthy illness
  • Survey of congregation to determine major focus for Millian

1972: Aspen Hill Parsonage purchased

  • Christmas Card plan introduced to fund summer interns
  • Jack Reitz, Missionary to Africa, speaker

1973: “Lay Witness Mission” weekend retreat leads to small groups forming, 13 youth doing Mission work

  • Multi-media presentation for Finance Campaign
  • 30-hour “Crop” fast ending in Third World Banquet
  • Wednesday Evening Family Worship
  • Visits to 230 inactive families

1974: Colossians 3:16, contemporary service with folk singers

  • UMW program: “Pantry or Pulpit for Women”
  • Summer Youth “Drop-in”
  • Youth participation “Walk for Crop”
  • Youth and adults perform “Celebrate Life” at Millian and Lovely Lane UMC on their 200th Anniversary.
  • Charge conference mandated vote on having women pastors

1975: Youth Lay Witness Convention attended

  • Red Bird Mission adult and youth workers
  • Southwest Indian Mission youth workers

1976: Faroe Court parsonage sold

  • Millian sponsors Carol Noyes as candidate for ministry ( baptized at Millian as an infant)
  • 3rd annual Adult Retreat
  • Communications work area established

1977: 25th Anniversary/Bishop James K. Mathews, speaker

  • Church retreat: “Changing Community”
  • Older population recognized as majority in congregation
  • Focus on visibility/outreach to community
  • “Mothers’ Day Out” begins

1978: Rev. Purnell leaves to become a District Superintendent

1979: First African-American pastor, Rev. Harold Johnson

  • Rev. Johnson has bi-pass heart surgery
  • Laity leads church forward, cares for pastor & family                                                  
  • 1981: Adult Spiritual Retreat
  • New Life Mission established
  • Visitation Program to all member homes
  • Puppet Ministry begins
  • Clowning ministry attempted
  • Outreach to unchurched in community becomes focus

1982: 30th Anniversary/ guest speaker Superintendent Rev.Thomas Starnes

1984: Ortgage Burning and Dedication Service

  • Revealing study done on declining attendance and membership

1985: First hand bell festival

  • Millian Advanced Committee (MAP)
  • Search for introspection/ Survey: “What’s wrong?”
  • New member recruitment priority
  • Effort for Men’s Ministry enlivenment

1986: Transition in community noted

  • New age-level programs started
  • Renovation of chapel room
  • Need for more staff expressed

1987: Mar.29, Bishop Joseph W. Yeagel, guest

  • Pews removed from back of sanctuary
  • Saturday evening Folk Service attempted
  • New church marquee installed
  • Sanctuary carpeting and air conditioning

1988: Many staff changes: Pastor, assistant pastors

  • Year of adjustment

1989: New hymnals

  • First Camp Joy mission
  • Parking lot for handicapped and elderly
  • Replacement underground heating pipes
  • Celebrate 25 years in sanctuary
  • Retreat: “Celebrating the Church; Rejoicing in Our Faith”
  • Seasonal flyers distribution door-to-door in community

1990: Don Allen retires (29 years)

  • Van Neel new choir director
  • Our Missionaries from Ireland visit: David Range and C.J. Walter

1991: Aspen Hill parsonage sold       

  • Information from local school:1/3 student turnover each year.
  • 50% student’s non-white/rapidly changing community.
  • Hospice Care Seminar
  • Citizens against Crime Seminar
  • Family Life Committee developed

1992: 40th Anniversary celebration

  • Council Retreat: “Millian Visibility in a Changing Community”
  • Multi-ethnic community changes lead to outreach programs: language
  • Classes, after school program, Parent Education class, Sewing classes

1993: Joche Wilmot Choir director, organist

  • Increase in violence, drugs, jobless, homelessness, other social problems in the area
  • First Catered Christmas Dinner
  • “Family Reunion” retreat

1994: Task force: “Changing Community: What is God Calling Us to Do”

  • Financial struggles
  • Charitable giving, volunteering down

1995: Harper’s Ferry Planning Retreat

  • Action Plan Team formed
  • New Mission & Vision Statements: “To Become a Christ-centered, motivated,
  • Empowered congregation, living as Disciples of Christ”

1996: Laity Empowerment Institute formed      

  • Spiritual retreat at Skycroft

1997: Young Choi, choir director, organist

  • “Walking Into the Future: A New Paradigm” developed
  • Work area profiles/names changed
  • Unrest in the congregation

1998: Telephone Shepherd ministry begins

  • Depressed atmosphere, strife between Pastor and staff, pastor and congregation.
  • Pastor on sabbatical/ laity operate the church
  • Congregational “intervention” evening with Bishop & others

1999: First female pastor, Rev. Connie Paulson

  • “Sweet Talks” for new pastor
  • “Messiah” with 3 other churches
  • Paw Paw Mission begins
  • One Sunday church service tried

2000: Larkin Parsonage sold

  • Attitude of hope and vision
  • Trolly Car Church picnic
  • New Years Epiphany party
  • Hobby/craft show
  • Volley ball-on-the-lawn
  • All Church birthday party
  • After school homework help for community children
  • Coat/shoe collection

2001: June Beach Party on the lawn

  • Service after Sept. 11 tragedy
  • Building committee formed for elevator/renovator project
  • Labyrinth Walk

2002: 50th Anniversary celebration

  • Pledges for building project: $458,000
  • Grand Piano donated by Millian Family
  • Easter Egg Hunt

2003: New Choir robes

  • Youth attend “Ocean City Rock”
  • Groundbreaking for Elevator
  • Visit from Canadian Millian Family
  • Bishop James K. Mathews, speaker

2004: Stephen Ministry starts

  • Millian’s Web page starts
  • Parent Resource Center begins
  • Camp Millian instead of Camp Joy held
  • Pipe Organ committee appointed
  • Elevator/renovation consecrated

2006: Stained Glass Windows installed/consecrated

  • V.I.M. Nicaragua trip
  • 2007: “Action Now” initiatives
  • Safe Sanctuaries
  • Before and After School help
  • Bus stop water ministry
  • Women’s Shelter luncheons here
  • English/Spanish classes
  • Allen Pipe/digital organ purchased

2007: “Action Now” initiatives:

  • Safe Sanctuaries
  • Before and After School help
  • Bus stop water ministry
  • Women’s Shelter luncheons here
  • English/Spanish classes
  • Allen Pipe/digital organ purchased

2008: Rev. Paulson retires

  • Rev. Alice Ford appointed to Millian
  • Chat sessions for new pastor
  • Calvary Redeemer Methodist Church from Ghana uses sanctuary for services
  • Meetings to start Spanish-speaking Services (Edgardo Rivera/Rev. Oswaldo Cuevas)
  • Pastor’s Bible Study class
  • Clean a Stream project

2009: Outstanding VBS/youth Theater

  • Search for Hispanic leadership
  • Focus on Latino ministry, youth ministry and community outreach
  • New roof on Education building
  • Community Network to serve needy:
  • Extensive food distribution
  • Snack sacks for children
  • Weekly worship in Spanish: “La Casa de Alfarero”/Rev. Oswaldo Cuevas
  • Teen CafĂ©
  • ESOL classes staffed by Millian volunteers

2010: Hispanic Associate Pastor, Rev. Braulio Torres, appointed

  • Worship services “Spanish friendly”/headphone translations and some bulletin items
  • in two languages
  • Spanish Sunday School class
  • New furnace for Education bldg.
  • Bishop John R. Schol, guest speaker
  • Spiritual Retreat “Why Christ; Why the Church, Why Millian, Why Me”
  • Director of Music, Elaine Dalbo, leaves
  • David Leahey hired as Director of Music




  • Harold Bell Wrigh-1952-1954
  • Merrill W. Drennan-1954-1965                                                                                                   
  • Carroll A. Doggett, Jr.-1965-1970
  • Raymond J. Purnell-1970-1978
  • Harold G. Johnson-1978-1981               
  • Joe D. Sergent-1981-1988
  • Earl W. Sulmonetti-1988-1995
  • Walter E. Middlebrooks-1995-1999
  • Constance A. Paulson-1999-2008
  • Alice Ford-2008--

Associate Ministers:

  • Robert W. Richardson
  • Jarrett J. Wicklein
  • William C. Miller, Jr.
  • Clifford H. Kelbaugh
  • G. Robert Hottinger
  • Katherine Brown
  • Braulio Torres

Assistant Pastors:

  • Mark BarwickGlen Arnold

Ministerial Assistant:

  • Marjorie Palmer

Diaconal Ministers:

  • Konni Brantner
  • Sandra Leathery

Minister of Music and Spiritual Education:

  • Nae Pearson

Secretaries/ Administrative Assistants

  • Elaine Housel
  • Nina George Hacker              
  • Chris Barona
  • Alma Bradley                 
  • Betty Schmidt                   
  • Betty Hughes                  
  • Cheryl Thompson
  • Dottie Reed                    
  • Emma Ridgway
  • Kathleen Daly           
  • Dora Roberts
  • Maureen Austing          
  • Emma Ridgway
  • Tyrone Stott               
  • Yvonne Jerman
  • Brenda Watson               
  • Bambi Blackwell

Choir Directors/Directors of Music:

  • Jack Blace  
  • Joche Wilmot  
  • David Leahey
  • Betty Anger   
  • Young Choi                      
  • Don Allen    
  • Nae Pearson
  • Van Neal        
  • Elaine Dalbo


  • Hazel Young           
  • Karen Bartman       
  • David Leahey
  • Mary Link
  • Joche Wilmot
  • Janet Montgomery     
  • Young Choi
  • Elizabeth deAyala   
  • Nae Pearson
  • Nancy Mullins              
  • Elaine Dalbo

Director of Christian Education:

  • Sterling Evans

Educational Assistant:

  • Nan Doggett

Children’s Coordinator:             

  • Martha Nelson                                                    
  • Mary Ebinger

Adult Coordinator:                                      

  • Jean Holmes