Pastors 1869-1909

Civil War Beginning

John Chester 1864-1894


Early in 1864, a group of Presbyterian ladies on Capitol Hill read about a pastor, the Rev. Dr.  John Chester who started a Church under a tree in New Jersey.  They write to him suggesting that Capitol Hill would also be good place to start a new congregation.

The Rev. Chester feels called to respond and travels to Washington DC to meet with a small group of Capitol Hill residents.

On April 11, 1864 the Presbytery of the Potomac charters the Capitol Hill congregation and installs the Rev. Chester as its first pastor.

The Rev. John Chester was the pastor during tumultuous times in the nation’s history.

  • His pastorate saw the end of the civil war
  • assassination of two presidents (Lincoln in 1865 and Garfield in 1881)
  • era of reconstruction of the nation after the war
  • end of the reconstruction era

During this period the Capitol Hill Congregation:

    • Worships briefly in the Capitol Building and celebrates the sacraments of baptism and communion while there;
    • Changes its name to Metropolitan Presbyterian Church;
    • Erects a large church building between 1869 and 1872 at a cost of  $60,000
    • Repays the building construction debt in 1878;
    • Installs a pipe organ  in 1884 at a cost of $2500;
    • Increases in size from 35 members in 1864 to 520 members in 1889;
    • Approves building a side chapel to house the Sunday School. (Erected in 1892 at a cost of $4000.);
    • Contributes liberally to city organizations for mission work and the relief of the poor; and
    • Provides a number of missionaries including ministers and medical personnel in Beirut, Alaska, Indian Territory, and Japan.

Rev. Chester is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Northeast Washington, DC.

Rev. Dr. John Chester headstone


George Luccock 1984-1903




The Rev. Dr. George N. Luccock became Metropolitan’s second minister.


During his ministry the congregation:

  • Installs concrete surfaces on the first floor halls and rooms;
  • Repaints the building inside and out;
  • Installs electric lights;
  • Extends the balcony to provide more seating; and
  • Installs a water-powered compressor for the organ.

NEW:  Read a specially written article about Rev. Luccock by Gene Larkin

Albert Evans 1904-1909





The Rev. Dr. Albert Evans became Metropolitan’s third minister in 1903.

During his ministry the congregation:

  • Purchases a manse in 1905 at 17 Fifth street, SE for $7250;
  • Substitutes individual glasses for the common chalice in the communion service;
  • and Supports a missionary in China.