Grace Chapel began as a home Bible study in the 1970s, then rented facilities in the metropolitan D.C. area for a period of nineteen years before purchasing its current property in Rockville, Maryland, in 1994.

A Brief History

Grace Chapel of Washington, D.C. has been part of the Washington metropolitan area for more than thirty years. Our history as a church began in 1970 when George and Carolyn Martin moved their family from Southern California to Northern Virginia. The Martins began a Bible study in their home as a distant outreach of the church they attended in California, Grace Chapel of South Gate.

In 1975 the Bible study was moved to the home of Stephen and Diana Noland. In October of that same year, John Robert Stevens—pastor of Grace Chapel of South Gate and founder of The Living Word Fellowship—commissioned George Martin and Dan Statton to pastor the church that was emerging in the D.C. area. Statton and his family moved to Bethesda, Maryland, in 1976.

MacAuthur TheaterIn the summer of ’76 the church began meeting in MacArthur Theater in Washington, D.C. and experienced a time of growth and change. People such as Elmer Raba and Maury Hampton reached out to everyone they knew and introduced them to Grace Chapel. Many people came to hear a living Word, and those who felt the calling of the Lord to be there stayed and became a part of the church.

Over a period of eighteen years, the church rented a theater, church buildings, schools, and a warehouse—all in the D.C. metropolitan area. In 1994, after months of prayer and a painstaking search, and shortly after John Dempster received a commission to pastor the church, Grace Chapel purchased a five-acre property in Rockville, Maryland.

In 2007, Grace Chapel began working with the Montgomery County zoning department in preparation for construction of a new sanctuary. In the fall of 2012, construction was completed and John Dempster was led into another phase of his ministry, moving to Church of the Living Word in Los Angeles, California, where he continues in the ministry of the Word. In the interim, Lynne Cotton was the primary spiritual covering of Grace Chapel. In the fall of 2013, Amanda Dempster, John’s daughter, felt the Lord was leading her to return to the Washington D.C. area to minister. Amanda relocated from Kalona, Iowa, to Rockville, Maryland, in March of 2014, when she was commissioned as associate pastor with Lynne Cotton. In March of 2015, Amanda was ordained as senior pastor of Grace Chapel of Washington, D.C., continuing in her father’s footsteps.

From the beginning Grace Chapel was envisioned as a place where every heart, from the least to the greatest, might partake of a living Word. Our spiritual roots are firmly planted, and from this established foundation we look ahead with great anticipation for how the Lord will lead us to grow and fulfill our destiny in the Body of Christ.