About the year 1880, Codman Square was changing from a rural to a residential community. Streets were laid out, houses were built and people moved here from the South End of Boston and from South Boston. Young businessmen came here with their brides.
In a few years this district was a prosperous community of comfortable homes. By the fall of 1884, the only church building within a radius of two miles was the Second Congregational Church in the Square.
In November 1884, a dozen members of the Tremont Temple Baptist Church of Downtown Boston visited Dorchester to inspect the new hall in a building recently erected by Deacon George Chipman on Norfolk Street.
On March 8, 1885, the hall was dedicated as a place of worship and a Sunday School was started. From that date regular services were held. Dorchester Temple Baptist Church(DTBC) grew out of the Sunday School, organized on November 8, 1886 with a membership of 36.
Dorchester Temple Baptist Church was designed in 1889 by architect Arthur H. Vinal.
What Is In The DTBC Name?
A more detailed history of the church
In 1884 a small band of Christians from Union Temple (now Tremont Temple) led by Deacon George W. Chipman, visited Dorchester (which was then changing from rural to a sub-urban area) for the purpose of ascertaining if a building on Norfolk Street, erected by Deacon Chipman, was a suitable place for worship. Such was found to be the case; and on March 8, 1885 the hall in this building (called Temple Hall) was dedicated to that purpose.
A school was started here with services at 3:00 PM on Sunday afternoons. The first Superintendent was Richard B. Hasserr. It was believed that from a Sunday School a church is likely to follow. This was the case here. Scholars, parents and friends gathered, and in the following year a church was formed.
Four names were under consideration as a title for the church as follows: 1) Dorchester Baptist Church 2) Dorchester Temple Baptist Church 3) Dorchester Temple Church 4) Temple Hall Baptist Church
On November 8, 1886 the church was organized, and incorporated, under the name of Dorchester Temple Baptist Church with a membership of 36. One of the stories is that the members wanted to start a Sunday school on Norfolk Street. With the blessed success of the Sunday school ministry came the planting of a church at 670 Washington Street.
The other story told by an American Baptist Denominational Leader is that some members of Tremont Temple wanted to leave the church because of the sympathy that the church showed to the abolitionist movement sweeping America. Tremont Temple has a sign on the front of their church that states that is was the first integrated church in America.
I tend to believe the second story because during the 60’s, when the former all white Dorchester neighborhood changed to people of color some of the white members of Dorchester Temple began to leave the church. When Dan Buttry, the pastor at Dorchester Temple stated that he was going to open the church to the neighborhood, many of the remaining white members fled the church and neighborhood.
20 Different Pastors
For many years, Dorchester Temple experienced the revolving door of pastors and church members. Over the past twenty years a new history has been written. Two pastors came with a vision to stay and not abandon the city or leave the church, but to help the church to become spiritually strong and to spread the Word. This began the new and present chapter in the history of Dorchester Temple Baptist Church.
Now, one of the two pastors who made that initial commitment is still at the church, with a vision that will take 25 years to establish. Over the past 20 years the membership has changed, the church leaders have changed, the by-laws were replaced with Guiding Principles, the exterior and interior of the church has changed; a new vision and core values charted a new direction for Dorchester Temple.
Names Change When Lives Change-
In the scriptures you read of God transforming men or women and then giving them a new name to designate the call on their lives. Saul’s name was changed to Paul, Abram was changed to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. The names of places were changed as well, Bethel from Luz.
– A final transformation was needed to turn Dorchester Temple in the right direction it was to re-name the church. The name of the church fellowship was changed to speak to the mission and purpose of the church fellowship. The name Dorchester Temple Baptist Church made three statements that did not speak or point us in the right direction. First is Dorchester. Although our church is located in Dorchester our ministry must start in Dorchester but expand to the World. Jesus said in the Great Commission to start in your neighborhood and to expand into the world by making disciples. Second, Temple says that we have a connection to our mother church, Tremont Temple Baptist Church, in downtown Boston. Unfortunately, we do not have a relationship or partnership with the church out of which we sprang. Thirdly, The term Baptist says that we are a Baptist church. Our call is to be a global church that reaches out to anyone regardless of their denominational experience. I did not want us to be exclusively Baptist. It is alright to be affiliated with a denomination for accountability and support but you do not have to advertise your denominational affiliation in the name of the church, doing so, may lose potential members. Suffice to say, God placed the name of Global Ministries Christian Church into my heart and lead me to call Dorchester Temple to be named a world-wide ministry. That’s right, we must mature spiritually and grow numerically into a church that will be able to support a world-wide ministry. The name that God gave me was Global Ministries Christian Church.
The Meaning of Global Ministries Christian Church:
Global: Adjective of relating to, or involving the entire world. (Matthew 28:19-20
Ministry: An agent, channel…we are ministers of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
1) The Body of Christ
2) The entire body of those who are saved by their relation to Christ
3) A building designated for Christian worship
4) The church is the mystical Body of Christ of which He is the head. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
We have changed as a church fellowship and ministry. Consistent with an internal change comes the re-packaging of the ministry. A new name helped us write a new history that we could be proud of and would serve as the catalyst for our children to take this ministry to the next generation.
(this document from November 2003 was edited for publication purposes)