MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - The Maryland town once known as Quince Orchard has been absorbed into other Montgomery County communities, but its legacy is lasting.
During the late 60s, three churches there, confronted with evaporating populations, overcame adversity and segregation to endure.
Esther Hallman Lyons – a resident of Quince Orchard – is the youngest daughter of Samuel and Evelyn Hollman, who were founders of Pleasant View United Episcopal Church.
Quince Orchard is now dispersed into Darnestown, North Potomac, and unincorporated Gaithersburg. But in the 1960s, it was a rural town known for its churches.
Pleasant View – a predominately black church - and two white churches in the community began to struggle to fill their pews as residents headed to more populated cities.
The Pleasant View congregation gathered one night to discuss its uncertain future, and whether it could merge with those other churches. In the middle of that meeting, they got word that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“I heard my mother and father talk about was we were not going to give up our church, we were not going to give up our graveyard no matter what the outcome was going to be we would not give up what we had fought so hard for,” Hallman Lyons said.
The churches merged in 1968 to form Fairhaven – the church that Hallman Lyons was baptized in.
The other two churches sold their land, but Pleasant View retained their property, and both the school and the church remained intact. And to this day, people can still experience what the original congregation members experienced.
"We have all of our ancestors here. It's a wonderful feeling to come to place where you can associate with the people who have come before you. the people that have set the path for you, the people who have prayed for you," Hallman Lyons said.
“This story is fundamentally a story of the possible. It's a story of hope,” said Jason Green.
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