Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnp2017 is a year of anniversaries. Fairfax County is celebrating the 275th anniversary of its founding; Fairfax Water will celebrate its 60th anniversary on September 27; the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) will celebrate its 50th anniversary on October 3; and Lincolnia’s Mount Pleasant Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary with the dedication of a county historical marker last Saturday. Mount Pleasant was organized in 1867, and four buildings have been constructed to house the church in the intervening years.

Saturday’s celebration was held in the historic old brick church on the corner of Lincolnia Road and Old Columbia Pike Its predecessors included a one room wooden structure, built when the church was organized, and a wooden structure built in 1881. Now called the Pinkett and Sheppard Memorial Chapel, the little church was overflowing with parishioners, including a centenarian, and memories, of the church’s history. Following a “raise the rafters” church service, complete with gospel choir and previous pastor, Bishop Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr., the entire congregation, led by current pastor, Dr. Carl M. Johnson, marched out to unveil the historic marker. Painted in the traditional buff background and blue letters, representing the colors of General George Washington’s Continental Army uniform, the marker reads:



Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was founded in 1867 during post-Civil War Reconstruction. Freedmen were given one acre of land for religious and educational purposes and a burying ground for colored people. The first church was a one-room wooden structure built by individuals using lumber provided by the Freedmen’s Bureau. A subsequent wooden structure was built ca. 1881 and was replaced by a Depression-era brick church in 1931. This structure was later renamed the Pinkett and Sheppard Memorial Chapel after two former pastors. The church played a vital role in the Mount Pleasant community where freedmen settled, many of whom were farmers.

The new marker is readily visible from Lincolnia Road, just east of its intersection with Columbia Pike, in front of the church. In fact, if you are waiting for the traffic light there, just look to your left, and you can read it for yourself!

The metropolitan region, and Northern Virginia, lost a good friend this week, with the passing of Patricia (Patsy) Ticer, former mayor of Alexandria and Virginia state senator. Patsy served her community, and the region, for more than a quarter-century, and was well-known for her advocacy for children, as well as the environment. Patsy was soft-spoken, but she had a spine of steel about her defining issues. In 1995, when she was running for state senator and I was running for Mason District Supervisor, I recall that some thought we both had embarked on a doomed voyage. Not so — we both won our races that year, and went on to win many more. I’ve always appreciated Patsy, who had served as chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and president of the National Association of Regional Councils (only the third woman to do so), positions that, in recent years, I also had the privilege of holding. Thank you, Patsy Ticer, for your inspirational leadership on behalf of Northern Virginia.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.