EP was founded in 1964 by a small group of people who were involved in various forms of ministry in the Annapolis area, and desired to see a church established that would help to sustain a solidly scriptural witness to the Gospel of Christ. Sam and Sylvia Elder, Jim and Betsy Wilkins, and Graham and Libby Gutsche were the first to commit to this new work, and were soon joined by John and Ruth Ehlers, and Ron and Jeri Sweany, among others.
The first gatherings for prayer and Bible study were held in the home of the Ehlers’, in the community of Wardour in West Annapolis (a painting of this home is displayed in the hallway of our facility between the Sanctuary and the Fellowship Hall). The first worship services that were open to the public were held in the Wilkins’ home in the Lindamoor community.
Once the group grew too large for these homes, EP Church began holding public worship services at West Annapolis Elementary School. It was during this season of the church’s life that our first Pastors were called. Our first Supply Pastor, Rev. George Bragdon, traveled to Annapolis each weekend from Wilmington, Delaware, where he served as Associate General Secretary for World Presbyterian Missions. His part-time ministry at EP lasted for about 1½ years. Then, following the ministry of Pastor Bragdon, Rev. David Gardner was called to serve as EP’s second Pastor. Pastor Gardner served for just over a year before being called to his native England in early 1967.
Within a few months of Pastor Gardner’s departure, Rev. William A. Mahlow began to preach each weekend at EP. Uncle Bill, as he was affectionately called, along with his wife Sarah, traveled each weekend from Wilmington, DE where he served as the General Secretary for World Presbyterian Missions. But after about a year of commuting, Pastor Mahlow accepted the call to move to Annapolis and serve as the permanent Pastor of EP Church. Uncle Bill preached God’s word faithfully at EP for over 25 years, until he retired in May of 1991.
During the time of Uncle Bill’s ministry, he was assisted by a number of godly Assistant Pastors, some of whom have been: Jim Ferguson (still serving at EP today), Art Bonney, Bob Kramer (still a member of EP), Chuck Miller, Mike Conord (founding Pastor of Severna Park EP), and Keith Peck (founding Pastor of Broadneck EP). It was also during the time of Pastor Mahlow’s ministry that EP purchased the property at the corner of Ridgely Avenue and Wilson Road, and built both the initial facility (current Fellowship Hall, 1971) as well as the current Sanctuary (dedicated in 1979). During these years, EP was most known for her sound biblical teaching, the planting of numerous “daughter” churches, and zeal to support and send Missionaries to the “ends of the earth”.
In 1991, Pastor Dale Linder moved to Annapolis with his wife, Joyce, and their 4 children, and succeeded Bill Mahlow as our Senior Pastor. Dale was a gifted preacher who brought rich insight from God’s word, and led EP through a season of growth, broadening ministry, and vitalized worship. Pastor Linder ministered among us for over 15 years.
In 2007, Bruce O'Neil and his wife, Kathy, and their 3 children, moved to Annapolis to succeed Pastor Linder as our Sr. Pastor. Pastor Bruce has brought a renewed appreciation for the centrality of the Gospel, and a renewed vision to see the implications of this Gospel lived out in our devotion to Christ, our love for Christ's people, and our service to Annapolis and the surrounding community.
But for all that the Lord has done through our Pastors and church facilities, the real ministers of EP Church have always been her members as we build redemptive relationships with one another and with the people that the Lord has placed in our lives. And it is to this effort that we invite you to partner with us! God has done a wonderful work in us, through us, and even in spite of us! And we look forward to seeing what He will continue to do in the months and years to come—until He returns in glory!